Feeding FAQs

Why is feeding a good quality food important?

At the clinic we see lots of illnesses that are related to the diet being fed. The best way to feed your pets to stop dietary causes of illness is to feed a high quality pet food made by reputable brands.

By far the most advanced and proven foods come from Hills™, Royal Canin™, Advance™ and Eukanuba™. They have a lot of scientific research into what helps pets thrive and have strict quality control to ensure a consistent formulation in each bag/tin and from batch to batch.

Unfortunately the best quality foods may not be as tasty as cheaper foods that increase taste with unhealthy levels of salt and other flavour enhancers but is a lot better for them.

How much should I feed my pet?

Feed only the required amount for your pets size and activity level. Good quality foods have feeding guides to help you. If your pet is putting on weight you need to feed less. A regular weigh in at the clinic can help you check if your pet is putting on weight. 

The type of food will determine how much you feed also. A dry food is concentrated and so you feed less weight than tinned food. A high quality dry food is a complete diet for a pet with the meat and other ingredients combined and dehydrated. For fussy pets it may help to provide tinned food if they like the texture of a more moist food.

I think my pet gets bored with the same food, I want to give them variety like all the different flavoured tinned food at the supermarket, is this ok? 

The most important thing is that your pet gets a high quality nutritionally complete and balanced food. It is not ideal to feed different flavoured food as switching diets can be upsetting for the gut and lead to vomting and diarrhoea as well as encouraging them to be fussy eaters. Pets can be good at not eating until you find something they are happy to eat and it can be hard to continue to find new foods to keep them happy. If a pet knows the meal you provide is all they are getting and they have no choice then they are more likely to keep eating it. It is also much cheaper and easier to feed dry food rather than different flavoured tinned food. It is absolutely fine to feed only a good quality balanced and nutritionally complete dry food diet like Hills VetEssentials™ and not feed any tinned food or meat. The dry food has all the meat proteins built in and is dehydrated to make it easier and cheaper to feed.

Why is my pet fat even though I don’t feed my pet much at all?

Pets can become fat if they have a medical problem like an underactive thyroid, too much cortisone from steroid treatments or an overactive adrenal gland. It is important to have your pet checked for these problems if weight control is an issue. 

Certain breeds are very good at storing fat and putting on weight. Labradors and Pugs are the most commonly affected by this.

By far the most common reason is just a matter of being unaware of the energy content of what your pet is eating. Other problems are if pets are able to scavange/steal food or convince multiple people to feed them even if they have already been fed.

How can my pet become trim?

The first step is to make sure everyone at home knows it is important for them to be a healthy weight. Then Measure what you are feeding and give the required amount over 2 meals. Don’t just fill a bowl to the top and refill it as it is empty.

It is essential to cut out all food for people. Energy dense foods like biscuits, chips, cheese and fat off cuts are going to cause obesity in your pet if fed. A small treat of these high energy foods goes a long way toward your pets daily requirement of energy. A small pet food treat like liver treats or smackos are portioned better for a pets nutritional requirement and are enjoyed just as much. To stop you giving too many it is best to break treats into small bite sized pieces and give lots of little ones rather than big pieces. Also they should do something to earn a treat rather than just be given one because they ask for it.

A lot of people don’t realise feeding marrow bones (the big thigh bone) contributes a lot to obese pets as the marrow inside the bone is just fat and a lot of it. Besides the extreme amount of fat there area other problems feeding bones can cause like breaking and wearing teeth, getting stuck in the mouth or gut and causing an obstruction, irritation to the stomach to cause vomiting, the hard bone fragments can cause constipation and pain defecating. For this reason we don't recommend feeding bones and suggest feeding dental treats that can be crunched, chewed and digested when eaten.

My pet is happy, why is it a problem for my pet to be fat?

 Obesity is a major disease that leads to debilitating problems like arthritis, heart and respiratory disease, diabetes. It will take years off a pets life if it is not corrected. People often have to make the tough choice to put a pet to sleep as they cant get out of bed and struggle to get around even though they have an active mind.

What other problems can occur from what pets eat?

We see many cases of pancreatitis from an overload of fat in the gut. This can be fatal in some pets and requires intensive care for many days until a pet recovers. 

We also see lots of pet with diarrhoea and vomiting from pet foods requiring refrigeration going off so avoid refrigerated pet foods from stores. Cats are very susceptible to bladder disease and crystals forming in their bladder. These crystals can form stones and even cause a blockage which becomes rapidly life threatening. Poor quality foods don’t control the mineral and salt content and these concentrate in urine to make crystals more likely to form. The high quality foods are made to prevent this occurring.

Common toxic foods that need to be avoided are: onions, chocolate, macadamia nuts, mouldy/spoilt foods, raisins/grapes, products with artificial sweetener xylitol.

From time to time a pet develops a reaction to the protein in foods and may get skin reactions or intestinal pain. These adverse food reactions are treated with a specially made hypoallergenic diet or by feeding a home made diet with a completely new protein and carbohydrate source.

Can a diet help my pet when they have other health problems?

The best pet food companies also produce diets to help pets with illnesses as well as keep them healthy when they are well. Common problems that benefit from special prescription diets are- obesity, kidney disease, urinary tract diseases, bladder stones/crystals, liver disease, dietary intolerances or inflammatory bowel disease, skin diseases/allergies. We often recommend a prescription diet to help a pet be as healthy as they can and minimise problems from the diet while dealing with the health issues. In certain cases the diet is the main treatment required to fix/manage the problem.

I want to make up my own diet for my pets, is this ok?

Using fresh human grade ingredients and cooking up a recipe for a pet’s maintenance diet is better than feeding a cheap poor quality pet food but it is not the best you can feed your pet. Home made diets are difficult to balance and requires the addition of lots of supplements to get the same effect as feeding something like Hills Vetessentials™.

It is much better to feed a high quality commercial pet food like Hills VetEssentials™ as it has extra health supplements built in to provide more health benefits for your pets and it takes all the work out of cooking and preparing the meal yourself. The balance of nutrients has been perfectly worked out through scientific studies and feeding trials to provide what your pet needs for optimal health. It is a case of why go to the trouble to make your own when there are great quality foods that take care of it for you.

So what do you feed your pets at South Cranbourne Vet Surgery?

We feed Hills VetEssentials™ to our own pets or a specific prescription diet for their health condition. Hills Vetessentials™ is a complete balanced diet with premium ingredients. It has had studies done to prove it provides extra benefits of dental disease prevention, improved joint health, improved skin and coat health, and also intestinal health and weight control with high quality fibre to keep pets satisfied and regular with their motions.

It only uses natural preservatives like vitamin C, E and rosemary extract. There are no artificial colourings or preservatives.

To spoil our pets we give liver treats and every once in a while our pets may get a tiny piece of left over food from our dinner like a tiny piece of steak meat (not fat off cut) or a small piece of toast just to make them feel special.