Pet Nutrition: Your Pet's Health Does Matter
Do you ever think about your pets' health? Does it matter to you? Believe it or not but many people still don't consider their pets' health as all that important. And shouldn't it be?
In 2011 a report was issued called "Canada's Pet Wellness Report" which was commissioned through the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and Hill's Pet Nutrition, the makers of Science Diet, through Ipsus Reid. The results for animals was not encouraging.
This report stated that in Canada only 35% of Canadian households had a dog and 38% had a cat. Keep these numbers in mind as you read through this post.
One of the biggest problems that was reported involved pet nutrition. Out of all the people who owned a pet 60% of the people fed their pets what the pet liked instead of what was good for the animal (33%). Proper nutrition for an animal should be a high priority for pet owners. This is the first step in ensuring that pets are maintained in good health. You can find all kinds of news articles on the Internet that relate to the health of people who are malnourished. The same goes for your pets. If they don't have a proper, well-balanced diet, their health will be affected by this.
Most pet food companies have invested a lot of time and research into pet nutrition. Because of this they have been able to formulate foods that are properly balanced and nourishing to the animal. And just like food products for humans, they have nutritional information written right on the packaging. Price of the food should not be a reason.
It was also noted in the report that overfeeding was a big problem. Most veterinarians say that about 60% of their practice involved overweight animals. This is the number one cause of animal health problems and again it boils down to improper nutrition.
Overweight dogs and cats are ten times more likely to suffer medical problems. And treating an overweight animal is very costly to the pet owner. A healthy animals will most likely only have to see the vet once a year for their annual checkup. An animal in poor health will probably need monthly visits. Each visit costing the pet owner at least $100. That's $1200 per year for something that could have been prevented from the beginning.
The reports states that there are 5 common mistakes that pet owners make when it comes to feeding their pets. These are 1) overfeeding, 2) feeding too many treats, 3) free choice feeding (making food available all the time), 4) poor quality pet food, and 5) feeding table scraps.
I will admit that I too am guilty of giving my dog table scraps. I do this once a week and it's basically only a mouthful or two. But I still shouldn't do this. And neither should anybody else.
Veterinarians (about 70%) admit that they do discuss nutrition with the pet owners. However, pet owners tend to ignore the advice given and continue to do what they want. This is a strong sign that there is an opportunity for pet owners to be properly educated in how to feed their animals.
Think of it this way. Would you feed your child the way you feed your pet? Many pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family. Often calling them their "four-legged children." If you consider them you children why would you want to destroy their health?
Many animals have had to be euthanized because of nutrition-related illnesses. That is a huge number considering the number of pets in Canada. And the statistics are the same in the United States and other advanced countries.
If you are going to have a pet, shouldn't you care enough for that animal? It's time we did the right thing. If you are concerned about the cost of feeding your pet properly, then maybe it is not time financially for you to have a pet.
If you want to read the report that this post is based on you can find it at the link below:
- Canada's Pet Wellness Report: A Snapshot of Canada's Pet Health and Wellness from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), in Partnership with Hill's Science Diet (2011).