Canine and Feline Nutrition Fundamentals

Canine and feline nutrition are important factors in the development of healthy and active pets. Owners should know the nutritional requirements and dietary needs of their dog or cat in order to get the best dog or cat food and provide a nutritious diet for their pet.

Differences in Dog and Cat Food Nutrition

It is important to remember that dog and cat nutrition require different nutritional standards and the same ingredients aren't equally beneficial for both animals. One factor to remember for both canine and feline food, however, is to always check that the food has balanced ingredients from quality animal and vegetable sources.

For dogs, protein is an essential ingredient that should could from named animal sources like beef, chicken or lamb and never unspecified meat and bone meals or meat by-products. Whole grains, fats, vitamins and minerals are also important ingredients in the canine diet.

The Importance of Protein in Feline Food

Cats require an even higher percentage of protein in their diets than dogs. Again, named animal sources like fish, chicken, turkey and lamb should always be on the cat food label and not unnamed meat by-products or meat and bone meals. Protein is an essential ingredient in cat food because it regulates a cat's metabolism, develops a healthy reproductive system and aids in a quick recovery from sickness or injury while preventing illness by building a strong immune system. Proteins can be found in vegetables and soy but they lack the complete nutrition of animal proteins.

Cat Nutrition Fundamentals

Protein is not the only nutrient to look for in cat food. Taurine is an essential amino acid that all cats need to survive and can only be found in meat or eggs. Cats cannot metabolize this amino acid on their own and must ingest it through their feline food. Arginine, thiamin, niacin, vitamin A, calcium and phosphorus are also important vitamins and minerals to look for in cat food. Like meats, fats should be from a named source like flax oil or chicken fat.

Canned or semi-dry food is considered to be the best for cats due to the (relative to dry cat food) lower levels of carbohydrate levels in these foods. Cats don't need carbohydrates and they can trigger food allergies or digestive problems. Wet food is also a good source of water for cats that may not be getting enough hydration, which can affect their urine.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight with Cat Food

Cutting down on serving sizes and meal frequency can be a smart and healthy way to help your cat lose weight; this method of weight loss may also deprive your cat of essential nutrients in his diet. Consult with your veterinarian before starting a new diet routine. Your vet may recommend a diet cat food or vitamin supplements to maintain healthy nutrition.