Pet Diet and Nutrition FAQs
Whether you are a dog or cat guardian, you want to support your pet’s diet to the best of your ability to ensure they receive all the nutrients they need to thrive throughout their life. Let’s explore some of the common questions our veterinarians hear regarding pet food and diets.
General Questions About Your Pet’s Food, Diet, and Nutrition
Q: What is the Best Food for My Pet?
To put it plainly, there is no “best” diet or “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes to feeding your pet. Every pet is unique and some may have certain food allergies and health conditions that might limit or restrict their diet. Additionally, you will want to consider your pet’s age when determining which food is right for them.
We encourage you to consult with your Eagle Animal veterinarian who can recommend foods and nutritional guidelines that take into consideration your pet’s:
- Breed, size, and weight
- Health status
- Special considerations (allergies, diabetes, arthritis, skin and coat issues, digestive issues, dental issues, etc.)
A good rule of the thumb is to choose a high-quality pet food sourced from high-quality ingredients that provides a complete, balanced, and nutritionally adequate diet for your pet’s species, age, and health status. Keep in mind that healthy, high-quality pet food doesn’t always mean the most expensive option; there are plenty of inexpensive quality pet foods available. Talk to your vet to learn their recommendations.
Q: How Much Should I Feed My Pet?
Feeding amounts vary from pet to pet. Use the feeding guidelines on the food packaging and adjust recommended feeding amounts according to your pet’s age, health, physical conditions, and any dietary limitations noted by your vet.
Q: Should I Stop Feeding My Dog a Grain-Free Diet?
In July 2018, the FDA issued a warning about feeding your dog a grain-free diet, meaning foods containing a higher proportion of lentils, peas, other types of legumes, and potatoes as the main ingredients. The FDA is investigating the potential connection between grain-free diets and increased reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), many of which are occurring in breeds not typically prone to the disease.
In brief, DCM is a disease of the heart muscle that causes an enlarged heart, which can reduce the heart’s pumping abilities, and can also contribute to fluid buildup in the chest and abdomen. As the FDA investigation continues, we recommend consulting with your Eagle Animal Hospital veterinarian about any food and dietary concerns or changes in their diet.
Q: Is It Okay to Feed My Pet Table Scraps or People Food?
We love our pets, and we want to share virtually everything with them — especially when it comes to our food. The truth is, some human foods are okay to give your pets. Many foods provide them with essential vitamins and minerals that they may lack in getting from their bagged pet food.
Pet-Friendly People Foods
Dog-Friendly Fruits and Veggies
- Carrots, green beans, and celery are excellent low-cal snacks packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Blueberries and strawberries are a naturally sweet, low-cal treat that dogs love, which are loaded with essential vitamins and antioxidants.
Cat-Friendly Fruits and Veggies
Unlike dogs, your cat’s diet should be more protein-based; however, these fruits and veggies make an excellent low-cal alternative to high-calorie processed treats.
- Baked or steamed carrots and green beans are tasty and nutritious treats for cats.
- Blueberries and bananas provide antioxidants and fiber.
On the other hand, feeding your pet table scraps could cause them harm, depending on the food type or ingredients, and may contribute to nutrient deficiencies that could result in health problems. Use the infographic below (coming soon) to guide you on which people foods are safe and which foods are toxic for pets.
Foods That are Toxic/Unsafe for Pets
Avoid feeding your pets any of the following foods, which could cause digestive issues, vomiting, nausea, kidney failure, and may become fatal. If you are unsure of whether or not your pet should consume a specific type of food, contact your veterinarian. If you are concerned that they consumed a toxic food, and your pet’s medical condition is serious, seek immediate emergency care.
- Onion, garlic, and chives (raw, cooked, dried, or powder)
- Grapes and raisins
- Wild mushrooms
- Raw and green Potatoes
- Tomato plants
- Fried vegetables
*Please keep in mind that some of the pet-friendly people foods listed may not be healthy for dogs or cats with food allergies, food sensitivities, sensitive digestive systems, or specific diets. Consult with your Kansas City veterinarian to learn more.
Q: What is the Best Way to Store Pet Food?
When it comes to pet food storage, you have many things to consider. From pest contamination to spoiling and food poisoning, you want to reduce the risk of common health issues caused by improper storage. Follow these handy tips to properly store your pet’s food:
- Store wet and dry food in a cool, dry place (preferably under 100 degrees Fahrenheit), and out of the light.
- Store pet food in an airtight container to maintain freshness and taste while protecting against pests and rodents.
- If possible, store dry food in its original packaging and then place the bag in an airtight container for maximum protection.
- Store food bags off the ground to prevent pest infestation.
- For canned wet food, store cans in a cool, dry environment.
- Once opened, store cans in the refrigerator for a maximum of 5-7 days. Discard after this time to prevent food poisoning.
Questions About Your Pet’s Weight and Health
Q: How Can I Tell If My Pet Is Overweight?
Just like their human guardians, pets can become overweight as a result of a poor diet, being fed improper serving amounts, chronic overfeeding, not getting enough exercise, and even certain health conditions. Here are a few warning signs to help you determine if your dog or cat is becoming overweight:
- If your pet’s ribs are no longer visible or easy to feel without applying much pressure.
- They have a sagging waist, swinging stomach, or the loss of an apparent waist.
- They have excess fat or “fat pads” on the top of their hips or the base of their tail.
- They have difficulty moving, walking, going up and down stairs, or trouble rising when sitting or laying down.
- They waddle when they walk.
- They display shortness of breath.
- They are inactive, bad-tempered, or seem depressed or uninterested.
Q: Can Pets Get Diabetes?
Just like us humans, dogs and cats can develop diabetes, a chronic disease that limits the glucose-insulin connection in the body. Your vet can perform simple tests to check for and diagnose diabetes. While there is no cure for diabetes in pets, it can be managed successfully through nutrition, exercise, medications, and regular wellness exams with your veterinarian.
Q: What are the Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs?
We recommend a visit to the vet if your pet displays these early signs and symptoms of diabetes:
- Weight loss with a normal appetite
- Loss of or increased appetite
- Excessive thirst and drinking
- Increased urination
- Elevated blood glucose
Q: What are the Early Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats?
Reach out to your veterinarian if your cat displays any of these early signs and symptoms of diabetes:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Increased appetite
- Weight loss
Connect with Your Kansas City Veterinarian
If you would like to bring your pet in for a pet wellness visit, consult with your Eagle Animal Hospital veterinarian about their diet, or receive nutritional guidance for your pet, we are happy to help you. We invite you to connect with your veterinarian using the Virtual Vet telemedicine portal via a call, text, or video using your phone. You may also contact our Client Care team to schedule your pet’s appointment at our Top Rated Local® animal hospital in Kansas City. We’re here for you and your furry best friends, so reach out today!