Animal Scene - - THE 411 -

How im­por­tant is pet food to pets?

Com­plete and balanced pet food is one of those mirac­u­lous in­no­va­tions of 20th cen­tury that has changed the way peo­ple care for their an­i­mal com­pan­ions. Pet food gives pets the en­ergy they need through­out the day. To­day’s pet food prod­ucts sup­port long, healthy lives for pets, be­cause these pro­vide the nu­tri­ents they need for proper growth and de­vel­op­ment.

(How about ta­ble scraps?) The nu­tri­tional needs of pet cats and dogs greatly dif­fer from hu­man needs, so it is not ad­vis­able to give them food that has been left over from the fam­ily’s ta­ble, es­pe­cially since many dishes are typ­i­cally cooked with oil, in­fused with aro­mat­ics like gar­lic, onions, and pep­per, or sea­soned with var­i­ous fla­vor en­hancers. Some hu­man food is even toxic to pets. (Are cat and dog food in­ter­change­able? My cats like my dog’s food!) Dogs and cats each have spe­cial di­etary needs and should be fed the ap­pro­pri­ate pet food. Pet food is de­signed to be species-spe­cific. Hence, it is not ap­pro­pri­ate to feed dog food to a cat, be­cause dog food does not pro­vide all the es­sen­tial nu­tri­ents a healthy cat needs. Like­wise, it is not ap­pro­pri­ate to feed cat food to a dog.

Nu­tri­tional con­tent also varies be­tween prod­ucts, so it is im­por­tant for pet own­ers to fol­low the feed­ing in­struc­tions on the prod­uct la­bel. The feed­ing in­struc­tions should pro­vide a guide to the amount of a par­tic­u­lar food to feed and the fre­quency of feed­ings.

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