New Puppy/Kitten in Your Life
Choosing the right diet can be overwhelming! There are a seemingly endless amount of choices; diets targeted for size, or breed; diets boasting exclusion of certain ingredients and inclusion of others; diets in different sizes, flavours, colours, oh my!
You have a new furry bundle of joy and you want to do everything right… but where do you start?
Start by reaching out to your veterinary team! Your veterinary team’s knowledge of the fundamentals of nutrition, of the needs of dogs and cats, and of your individual pet makes them the best source for a nutritional recommendation. Puppies and kittens have immature gastrointestinal (GI) tracts. Their GI tract is still growing and forming as they grow. They benefit from nutrition that can support their GI tract, which is also a MAJOR component of your new family member’s immune system. Puppies and kittens put a lot of stress on their immune systems, they are exposed to different environments, and given different preventive medicine (such as vaccines and dewormers).
There are some key ingredients and nutrients to look for in a food for your puppy or kitten. Ultimately, it is the nutrients that come from ingredients that are essential for your new pal, but the quality of the ingredients is still essential. Not all nutrients are created equal, not all protein sources have the same digestibility. Your new furry family member will have an easier time utilizing nutrients that come from whole food ingredient sources.
Prebiotics are beneficial to your growing buddy. A common prebiotic, Fructooligosacharides, or FOS, is a specialized carbohydrate that feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut. This means more growth of healthy bacteria, and less resources for harmful bacteria. A great compliment to FOS is MOS, or Mannanoligosacharides. MOS strengthens gut wall immunity, very helpful to your puppy or kitten! Glutamine is an important amino acid for GI health. An energy source for rapidly dividing cells, like gut cells, glutamine can help support growing puppies and kittens. Like many nutrients, pets are more able to use glutamine if it comes in a natural source instead of a synthetic supplement. Turkey is an excellent source of bioavailable (or easy to use) glutamine. Highly digestible proteins and carbohydrates are essential! High digestibility means more that your pet can use – quality of ingredients is very important! Will your new canine buddy benefit from a diet marketed to his specific size? Will your new feline friend do better if she is fed a diet with her breed on the bag? Talk to your veterinary team, they can help you identify advertising versus science.