Questions about food and nutrition come up regularly in my animal communication consultations. Veterinarian Dr. Diana Roberts of Harmony Animal Wellness answered some of the most common questions for a newsletter article in 2009. The information she provided never goes out of date and sometimes it is helpful to have a gentle reminder from time to time!
Q: I feed my dogs primarily dry food because it seems as this will help with keeping their teeth clean and their gums healthier.
A: It is actually a myth that dry food saves dog’s mouths. Many dogs that eat exclusively dry food have horrific oral disease. Genetics and home care really are the biggest factors involved in how healthy their mouths stay. Some breeds are truly genetically predisposed to fast tartar buildup (greyhounds and daschunds, for example). Brushing the teeth daily helps, but just as humans still need professional cleanings despite at least 2x daily brushing, so do most pets. There are some products shown to help reduce plaque buildup – ask your DVM.
Q: I have an elder, and I have recently started buying food with Glucosamine to help keep his joints healthy as he ages.
A: Foods with glucosamine rarely have enough to be truly useful for the animal, and the foods are not regulated as to quality or quantity of that glucosamine.
Q: I know it is best for my dog if I set specific meal times and take his/her food up if s/he doesn’t eat it in a certain amount of time. However, I’ve always let my cat graze by leaving her food out and available to her 24/7.
A: Cats are *definitely* not designed to graze!! They are genetically designed to have periods of fasting between big meals. Grazing allows for constant demands on their insulin production and can predispose them to diabetes as well as obesity. Canned food in measured meals are ideal for cats. (This topic could be a whole newsletter itself!)
Q: We are very careful to never give table scraps or “people food” to our dogs. They get only canned and/or dry dog food.
A: Table scraps are generally not harmful to pets….depending on what’s on your table! If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t ask your pet to do so! Be especially careful with bones and high fat foods; otherwise, the occasional tidbit should be fine if your pet is in good health and not prone to easy GI upset. Don’t make scraps the bulk of his diet, just an occasional treat!
Diana Roberts, DVM, graduated from Michigan State’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1994 and practiced in upstate New York for four years before moving to Colorado. Dr. Roberts enjoys working with small animals and over the years has incorporated acupuncture, herbal and homeopathic remedies, and nutritional guidance into her practice.
For more information about animal nutrition, talk with your local holistic veterinarian.
I look forward to working with your beloved animals for a variety of relevant topics. Schedule your animal communication consultation now for a deeper understanding of behaviors, symptoms, and quality of life.