We hear a lot about healthy diets, both for people and for pets. What we often don’t hear about is the importance of balanced nutrition.
Have you heard the phrase “a little will do a little good; a lot will do a lot of good”? On the surface we may think that makes sense, but it’s just not true. Take sodium for example, it’s an important need in our diets, but we all know what can happen to us if we get too much of it! The same is true of other basic needs, too much or too little is never a good thing, just imagine if we didn’t get enough water!
Because we choose the food for our pets, it’s important for us to understand which nutrients are essential to health. With all the choices out there, how can we know what makes a balanced dog food or cat food?
First it is important to understand which nutrients are essential to promote health are protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Protein helps support lean muscle tissue for adult pets, and for puppies and kittens, protein nourishes growing muscle tissue. If a pet’s diet is too low in protein this could lead to poor growth. If a pet’s diet is too high in protein, this could increase the workload of the liver and kidneys to get rid of excess nitrogen. It’s very important to get the right balance of protein (humans take note for your diet too)!
Fats nourish the skin and make it soft, and they help with a luxurious coat and contribute to shiny fur! Of course with too much fat your pet will have weight gain. Not enough fat? Potential for a dull, dry and flaky coat.
Vitamins support the immune system; minerals help puppies and kittens grow strong muscles and healthy teeth. If the vitamins levels are deficient, your pet could experience fatigue or weakness. If the vitamin levels are too high, this could lead to organ stress. If the minerals are too high, your pet could be at risk for bladder stones.
Fiber is important for healthy digestion, in the right amounts! Too little fiber can cause loose stools, while too much can make your pet gassy (which can be painful).
As with everything in life, balance is the key. Each of these nutrients is critical to survival. For optimal health, choose a food for your pet that provides proven, perfectly balanced nutrition.
Author has been compensated for completion of this article. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.