Quality Pet Food:
As vets, we continually see first-hand the evidence for feeding quality pet food. We are able to help a lot of animals simply by changing their diet, and it is made so easy for us by premium brands such as Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin and Advance.
There are formulated prescription diets that our vets can offer our patients to help treat specific problems, for example: kidney disease or urinary tract health in cats, or pancreatitis in dogs.
There is a noticeable difference when an animal is fed premium food compared to the brands available in supermarkets. The more obvious changes include improved coat and skin, joints, teeth and gum health and more compact, less smelly stools. Other changes are a lot harder to measure, such as improved heart and kidney health and longevity.
Is there really a difference between these brands and the cheaper supermarket varieties, and if so, how do these brands achieve these results?
They have put many years of research into which nutrients best help our animals. One significant difference is that premium foods guarantee the composition of the foods – the analysis given on the side of the packet is a guarantee (i.e. at least 30% protein), whereas some other supermarket brands vary their ingredients depending on what is available at the time, and the nutritional information printed on the packaging may only indicate approximate proportions.
The brands we stock also guarantee the flavour: if an animal doesn’t like it we can refund the bag. We very rarely need to do this as most animals do enjoy the taste (or smell!)
Often people are concerned about the cost of premium foods. Yes, it is more expensive, however we believe you do get what you pay for! The reality is that the cost per day is not as high as expected when compared to the supermarket varieties. This is because animals will require significantly smaller quantities of the higher quality brands compared to cheaper supermarket varieties, due to their nutritional value. Good quality foods promotes better health which also helps to keep vet bills lower.
It has been equated with feeding children junk food versus a healthy balanced diet: they will live on the junk food, but they will thrive on the healthy balanced diet!
Apart from food, we stock a range of pet accessories, toys, shampoos and other associated products. If there is a product we don’t have on the shelf we can order it in for you and normally receive it the next day.
FOOD ELIMINATION TRIAL:
Food allergies are a common cause of itchy skin in our pets. Your vet will suggest a number of steps to be taken to rule out the cause of the itchy skin such as parasite control, and a food trial will quite often be recommended. Once a food allergy is established then steps can be taken to avoid the culprit and to resolve your pets itch.
A food elimination trial is designed to determine the cause of food related allergies. The idea behind a food elimination trial is to introduce the pet to a completely novel (new) protein source and a completely novel carbohydrate source. This must be something that the pet has never eaten before.
Gluten free pasta
**** Preservative Free ****
If your pet has ever eaten one of these, then it cannot be used in a food trial. Chicken and beef are some of the most common proteins implicated in food allergies.
After determining the most cost effective foods to feed, the pet is then placed on a diet consisting of only those 2 foods (1 protein source and 1 carbohydrate source) for 2 months.
No other treats or foods are allowed. If the pet eats them, then the 2 months must start again. For example, the diet may consist of venison and sweet potato, or emu and gluten free pasta.
After the pet has completed the 2 months, it is then reintroduced to its original diet. If the condition reoccurs then this shows that something in the old diet is causing the problem. If there has been no improvement in the 2 months, then a food allergy is less likely, and other causes must be investigated.
If the original diet has caused the condition, then we place the pet back onto the trial diet until the condition settles back down. We then start testing individual foods to determine the cause of the allergy. A diary is very important to keep throughout this entire process.
Food elimination trials are important for ruling out a food source as a cause of an allergy. It does take a long time to get to the bottom of the problem, however if the source can be found and avoided, then the long term wellbeing of the pet is going to be much better. Less flare-ups of allergies means less medications and less visits to the vet.
Tips for a successful trial:
If more than 1 animal lives in the house and feeding cannot be controlled, then feed all pets the same food.
Remove all other treats from the house to prevent slip-ups
FOOD ELIMINATION TRIAL:
Keep pets on a lead when walking to stop scavenging.
Don’t feed from the table, have a set feeding routine.
Don’t let friends feed your animals.
Feeding raw meat is ok, but carbohydrates often need to be cooked a little.
There are blood tests available that give an indication of what things are the most likely to cause allergies. These are not 100% accurate, however if unable to do a food trial are a possible option. Please ask a vet during a visit in regards to this.
(Website still under construction with more content to be added soon, keep an eye on this page to learn more about pet products and premium pet foods available here at the practice.)