Complete and balanced pet food is one of those miraculous innovations of 20th century that altered the way people carry out their lives. Suddenly pet owners were able to provide their family pets with all their nutritional needs by feeding just a can of food or scoops of kibble. Pet food companies take their responsibility of providing this nutrition with the utmost seriousness.
Dogs and cats each have special dietary needs and should be fed the appropriate pet food. Pet food is designed to be species-specific. It is not appropriate to feed dog food to a cat, because dog food does not provide all the essential nutrients a healthy cat needs. Likewise it is not appropriate to feed cat food to a dog.
Nutritional content varies between products, so it is important for pet owners to follow the feeding instructions on the product label. The feeding instructions should provide a guide to the amount of a particular food to feed and the frequency of feedings.
Complex Nutritional Needs
Veterinary researchers have identified between 42 and 48 essential nutrients for cats and dogs. These nutrients include protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Most products on the market are carefully formulated to be "complete and balanced”, which means they are designed to provide all the nutrients a pet needs for a long, healthy life.
Products that do not provide complete nutrition will be labeled that they are intended for supplemental feeding or for special use (such as for pets with particular health issues).
Problematic People Food
Since pet food is designed to be the sole source of nutrition for a healthy dog or cat, supplementing a pet's diet with leftovers or other foods for people is not necessary and may cause health problems. Many leftovers contain too much sugar, salt, fat or other ingredients that are not good for pets. Some foods, like chocolate and onions, can actually make a pet very sick.
Other Nutrition Tips
Make certain that pets have plenty of water to drink.
If for any reason you feel that your pet is not doing well on a particular diet, talk with your veterinarian.