Animal/Pet Nutrition

Helping Families Keep Their Pets.

cats need proper nutrition

What we as humans eat matters. The same is true of our pets. According to the Pet Health Council, “a cat's diet should contain 41 essential nutrients, while a dog requires 37.” Did you know that nearly 40 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight? Your canine companion should see a vet for a checkup. When feeding snacks and treats, choose a low-fat option and make sure they get plenty of exercise. Senior pets should receive smaller portions, so they are not overweight feed your dog food designed for senior pets because this is lower in calories. Obesity in senior pets will put more strain on their heart, lungs, muscles and joints.

Pets pass through life stages requiring different amounts of feeding. Cats are more carnivores and need nutrients only available from animal sources. Most cats prefer room temperature foods. Make sure to provide plenty of drinking water for them, especially if you are feeding the dry food. Cats can be finicky to the point of near starvation. They have tastes that if they don't like something, beware. Avoid sudden changes in their diets.

A new brand or food type change suddenly can upset their digestive system. If you're going to make a quick change, keep some of the old food and gradually introduce them to the new food over a period of several weeks. Cats regulate their foods better than dogs, so give them a single-serve meal that they can nibble on throughout the day.

Milk is not necessary to a cat's diet after weaning. Check with your vet, because believe it or not just as humans become lactose intolerant, so do some cats. If you have a senior cat (over 8 years), they may be less mobile and less able to digest certain foods, a diet of highly digestible food is recommended.

Selecting Your Pet's Diet

Enter anyone of several pet supply stores and the food aisles are packed with what seems sometimes to be an overwhelming variety to choose from. Some labels state for puppies or kittens others are labeled for senior pet, active pets or overweight pets. Deciding on what to choose can be difficult. Making a selection depends on your pet’s needs.

It may help by considering a life stage diet. This is a feeding plan that is tailored to meet the different nutritional needs as your pet ages. All pets, both cats and dogs, will have different dietary needs as they change over the course of their life, from birth to adolescence to adulthood and then to old age.

Dogs’ and cats’ nutritional requirements are very different from one another. It’s best to discuss your pet’s diet your veterinarian at each stage of your pet’s life.

Puppies’ needs vary depending on breed. But overall puppies require more energy from protein to help grow and for bones to develop properly then adult dogs. Your vet will be able to help you decide the right amount to feed your pet while young and once your pet is changing from adolescence to adulthood you will get new feeding instructions that will help you to prevent your pet becoming obese.

Kittens, due to the small size of their mouths and digestive systems, can’t eat much at one sitting. Kittens must be free-fed, meaning there food should be available all through the day.


It is recommended that you switch your dog’s diet to an adult food formula when your dog is close to his adult height. Smaller dogs generally reach adult height in one year, larger dogs in two years.

It is recommended to change how you are feeding from kitten to adult food at about nine months of age. To help your cat get used to the change mix the kitten kibble with some of the adult food and reduce this kitty kibble a little each day for two weeks. Your adult cat should be used to the change by then. Eventually switch to measured portions of breakfast and dinner based on your veterinarian’s recommendation.

Cats tend to put on weight after they are spayed or neutered, which occurs at six months or earlier.



Xylitol is an artifical sweetne that can be found in Candy, gum, toothpaste, baked goods, and some diet foods. It can cause your dog's blood sugar to drop and can also cause liver failure. Early symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and coordination problems. Eventually, your dog may have seizures. Liver failure can happen within just a few days.

Avocados are not a good treat for your dog. Here's why, avocados have something called persin. It’s fine for people if you're not allergic. But too much might cause vomiting or diarrhea in dogs. If you grow avocados at home, keep your dog away from the plants. Persin is in the leaves, seed, and bark, as well as the fruit. Also, the avocado seed can become stuck in the intestines or stomach, and obstruction could be fatal.

Macadamia Nuts
Just six raw or roasted macadamia nuts can make a dog sick. So it is important that you keep your dog away from macadamia nuts and foods that have macadamia nuts in them. Look for symptoms like muscle shakes, vomiting, high temperature, and weakness in his back legs. Eating chocolate with the nuts will make symptoms worse, maybe even leading to death.

It’s not a good idea to share salty foods like chips or pretzels with your dog. This will make your dog seriously thirsty, and means a lot of trips to the fire hydrant that could lead to sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of too much salt include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, high temperature, and seizures. It may even cause death.


Some Fresh Fruits
Slices of apples, oranges, bananas, and watermelon make tasty treats for your dog. Take out any seeds first. Seeds, stems, and leaves can cause serious problems. DO not share peaches, plums, any stone fruit, grapes or raisins.

Some Vegetables
Your dog can have a healthy snack of carrot sticks, green beans, cucumber slices, or zucchini slices. Even a plain baked potato is OK. Don't let your dog eat any raw potatoes or any potato plants from your pantry or garden.

Cooked White Rice and Pasta
Dogs can eat plain white rice or pasta after it’s cooked. And, a serving of plain white rice with some boiled chicken can sometimes make your dog feel better when she's having stomach problems.


Cats Like Tuna But NOT too much... Cats can be addicted to tuna, whether it's packed for cats or for humans. Some tuna now and then probably won't hurt. But a steady diet of tuna prepared for humans can lead to malnutrition because it won't have all the nutrients a cat needs. And, too much tuna can cause mercury poisoning. Remember the saying, "Honest as a cat when the meat's out of reach." Your cat will see an open can of tuna next to the sink as a dinner invitation.

Lilies, Holly, and Other Plants
While any kind of plant material may upset your pet’s stomach, some are more dangerous than others. A few common ones that can make them sick include lilies, mistletoe, holly, tulip and daffodil bulbs, azaleas, rhododendrons, and chrysanthemums. Even small amounts of certain types of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats.