Healthy and balanced animal nutrition is crucial for your pets. If you have been feeding your animal left-overs from your meals, then there are high chances of them lacking essential nutrients. A balanced diet is one that provides all the essential components that can maintain or improve your general health. A balanced diet is important to prevent and protect many life-threatening diseases for your pets.
An animal’s nutritional needs differ from that of humans. The basic requirement of an animal’s diet is energy, fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins, fiber and roughage and water. You will notice that humans require the same, but in their case, the quantities differ.
Basic Meal Requirements For Animal Nutrition
- Energy: To keep your pets active all day long, you need to give them a diet rich in energy. Even the smallest task requires energy such as getting up, walking or even breathing. Energy is available from carbohydrates. You need to provide healthy carbs to your pet animals.
- Proteins: Proteins consist of amino acids. Animals also require sufficient amounts of proteins to maintain the structure and functioning of their cells. A lactating animal, pregnant animal or a growing up animal requires more proteins.
- Vitamins and Minerals: These are useful in maintaining body functions and metabolic pathways. They also help to regulate body metabolism.
- Fats: Although fats also provide energy, they are secondary to carbohydrates. Fat is stored in the body and used for tougher times.
- Fiber/Roughage: Fiber helps in bowel movements and also in the movement of food through the digestive tract. Fiber is found in plant origin foods and contains elements that are indigestible.
- Water: None can survive without water for more than 3 days. Water is continuously lost through the skin, urine, breathing, and excretion. Give your animal plenty of fluid.
The quantity in which your animal requires these essential elements of food depends on factors like his age, sex, level of activity, climatic conditions and reproductive stage. The food requirements of a baby differ from that of an adult animal.
Adult Animal Nutrition
An adult animal’s diet should contain fewer fats and less calorie-dense foods as compared to that of babies. If the calcium and phosphorous levels are disturbed, it can lead to health issues.
Some Important Tips While Feeding Your Animal
- Ensure that you do not overfeed or underfeed your animal. You can ask your vet for the right amount of food your animal can have. You can also get a pet weight chart according to his height, age and breed to determine his weight.
- Underweight animals have their ribs visible and they have a prominent concavity at the posterior part of their ribs.
- Animals with an ideal weight, do not have their ribs visible, but you can easily feel them while touching.
- An overweight animal’s ribs and concavity are not visible due to fat deposition. You cannot feel the ribs easily.
- The nutritional requirements of a Rottweiler are different from a Chihuahua. The contents can be the same but the quantities differ.
Do Pets Need Supplements Along With Diet?
No matter how perfectly you plan your pet’s diet, it is impossible to give perfect or wholesome food to your pet. Thus arises the need for animal supplements. These can be incorporated in your pet’s daily diet plan as per the advice of your vet. There is a wide range of supplements available, each having different contents and devised for separate needs. If your vet diagnoses a deficiency in your pet, you can give your animal a supplement accordingly.
Does An Itchy, Flaky Or Dry Coat Of Your Pet Animal Have Anything To Do With Insufficient Nutrition?
If you find your animal’s coat looking without any luster, dry and flaky, it is possible that he may have a deficiency. You will have to get your pet analyzed to diagnose the deficiency and to rule out other possible health conditions. More fatty acids are necessary for a healthy coat. If you feed your animal low-quality commercial foods or insufficient foods cooked at home, he might have unhealthy skin and fur coat. Moreover, animals that have unhealthy skin/coat also may develop skin lesions. Such animals require more omega-6 fatty acids and omega–3 fatty acids in proper quantities for healing.
So prepare your diet chart considering the items you eat at home and those that you can feed your pet animal to ensure that you do not miss out on his essential dietary elements. Also, ask your vet for guidance. The items mentioned above give you a brief idea and there are many more such foods easily available.