Nutrition tips for pet owners

In a study by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and Hill's Pet Nutrition, pet owners admitted that they are nearly twice as likely to buy a pet food based on what their pet likes to eat versus what will actually meet their health needs.

The findings suggest pet owners could use some guidance to better understand the preventive role good pet nutrition plays in helping pets live long and healthy lives.

“Feeding a cat or dog food that's right for their specific age-related and health needs is essential for ensuring they don't receive either deficiencies or excesses of nutrients,” says veterinarian Dr. David Cook.

Here's a look at the role some key nutrients play in overall pet health:

• Vitamin A supports good vision, healthy skin and the immune system. Too little can lead to poor growth, muscle weakness, vision problems and coat loss. Too much can contribute to skeletal deformities.

• Vitamin D contributes to healthy bones and teeth. Too little can cause rickets (skeletal abnormalities). Too much can contribute to hypercalcemia (abnormally high level of calcium in the blood) and can cause weakness, listlessness, loss of appetite and bladder stones.

• Calcium is important for healthy bones, teeth and blood clotting. Too little can lead to spontaneous fractures. Too much can cause bladder stones.

• Phosphorus supports healthy teeth, cells and muscles. Too little can cause poor growth and a dull coat. Too much can lead to bone loss and hardening of soft tissue.

• Sodium is key to the maintenance of body fluid levels and muscles. Too little can contribute to poor water balance, anorexia, fatigue and hair loss. Too much can contribute to hypertension, heart conditions, constipation and seizures.

• Protein supports healthy cell development and growth. Too little can lead to poor growth. Too much can lead to kidney disease.


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