Just like humans, nutrition plays an important role for our fur babies. Proper nutrition has a positive impact on an animal’s health as it enhances their quality of life and is an essential factor to maintain optimal health.
When we think of a diet consult, it’s not just about what diet to choose. We go more into depth about what is best for your animal to maximize its quality of life.
We start off by looking at their age, physiological status, how active they are, and if they have any diseases. Our primary goals are to identify conditions they could be at risk of developing and identifying key nutritional factors, meaning, and conditions that could be putting them at risk of having any deficiencies of certain nutrients.
We then take a look at the diet they are currently on and ask: Is it appropriate for them? By that, I mean, are senior pets getting senior food, or are they getting adult food? Before I got into tech school, I truly never understood why it was so important for my senior pet to get senior food. Then I realized, in those senior diets, they are many nutritional factors like Omega-3 fatty acids and glucosamine that are high in these types of diets to help with joint health. The same goes for puppies with puppy food, it’s important that our puppies get puppy food as it has a high amount of calcium to help promote bone growth. We don’t want our adult pets eating puppy food all the time either, as it has such high calories and other nutritional factors in there that aren’t meant for our adult animals.
After deciding what type of diet best suits your animal, we then figure out how much food they will need per day. We first start off by calculating their Resting Energy Requirements, and what that does is: It calculates how many calories they will need daily. After that, we divide the RER number by their Daily Energy Requirement. The Daily Energy Requirement is the amount of food energy needed to balance the energy within the body to maintain optimal body size, body composition based on their age, physical activity, gender, and weight.
It’s important that we calculate the RER based on their ideal weight. If we have an animal that is overweight, then we have a formula that will calculate its ideal weight. This goes for underweight patients as well.
It’s also very important that every animal gets exercise throughout the day. If that means going for a walk at night or even playing with your cat for 15 minutes with a laser pointer, any type of exercise is recommended!
I hope that by the end of this blog, you have a better understanding of what a diet consultation is and how it can truly benefit your pets!