Does Your Animal Have Gastrointestinal Problems?

puppy tummyOne of the top reasons why veterinarians see pets is because of gastrointestinal problems according to the Veterinary Pet Insurance Company.  There are many choices when it comes to feeding your pet, so naturally veterinarians are asked to give recommendations about what food is best for their pets.  Some owners fail to recognize that  bad pet food can be detrimental to their pet, nor do they realize that good pet food and feeding tendencies can be beneficial to their pet.

The most common conditions seen associated with GI tract disease are pancreatitis malabsorption syndromes, protein-losing enteropathies, inflammatory bowel disease, and food allergy.  These conditions can benefit from the proper pet food.  This key to this is proper education from your veterinarian and their team to counter some of the mistaken beliefs about feeding their pets. There are five myths about the pet’s diet and GI disease.

Myth:  There is nothing wrong with giving table scraps to a dog.
Many people love to feed their dogs, but many people foods are just to fatty.  Table scraps can lead to obesity and some GI diseases like pancreatitis. The pancreatitis can flare up leading to discomfort and can be life threatening.

Myth:  The fat content of a food is not a concern because dogs need calories to maintain a high energy level.

Today’s pets are not very active and every dog has different nutritional needs.  If a dog is a working dog or one that goes on daily jogs, then the higher fat content may be okay.  However most dogs are very sedentary and don’t need the extra calories.  Many pet food companies add higher fat to make the diet more palatable to the pet, so lifestyle is a big need for education to the pet’s owner.

Myth:  Most treats are just fine to give to a dog or cat.

The wrong treats could prolong a disease conditon, so it is important that the owner’s be educated what treats can be allowed to not worsen the pet’s condition.  Most people food are inappropriate, but an occasional green bean or carrot can be beneficial. Treats shold not comprise more that 10 percent of the pet’s total dietary intake.

Myth:  Dogs and cats need variety in their diets and I can buy whatever is on sale that week.

The fact is that dietary change can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, because the pet’s can’t handle abrupt diet changes.  These changes can also complicate the GI issue.  A pets diet should be changed gradually over a period of time.  The other point is that all diets are not created equal.  You get what you pay for.  The more expensive diets tend to be made of higher quality ingredients, so are thus more readily available and digestible.  So since the diet is more easily digestible, the pet may eat less (and do better)  and the cost per day would be about the same when comparing the pet foods.

Myth:  I can feed the same food throughout the animal’s life.

As the pet ages, the pets nutritional needs change, so it is best to adapt to what the pet’s needs are for that life stage and health requirement.