There is a huge variety in the quality, digestibility and consistency of pet foods. Vets and nurses recommend foods based on the prevention of many common ailments and diseases. It is therefore important that your pet receives a balanced nutritional diet.
Puppies and Dogs
Puppies come in many different shapes and sizes so their nutritional needs can vary. Some puppy products are specially formulated to ensure they get all the nutrition they need to grow healthy and strong, no matter how big or small.
Our general advice is to get your puppy onto a good quality dry food, which meets the needs of that stage of life. Cheaper foods tend to include lots of fibre resulting in lots of poo to clear up. Although the better foods can cost more, by needing smaller portions they are usually more economical to use. Tinned foods can be as much as 80% water and work out more expensive. Dry foods can be moistened if you wish and fresh water must be readily available at all times. Dry food can also help in keeping your dog's teeth clean.
Puppies and dogs should be encouraged to settle after a meal. Exercise and energetic play before or just after a meal can, especially in deep-chested breeds, cause the stomach to twist over itself (gastric torsion). This is life threatening and requires immediate emergency treatment.
Kittens and Cats
Your kitten has limited tummy space so they need to eat often. By 3 months they are almost fully grown and feeding can be achieved in fewer meals per day.
A good quality kitten food should be fed as it is specially formulated to promote growth. Due to this rapid growth, any nutritional mistakes during kitten hood will have more severe consequences later in life. Adult cat food is not suitable for kittens.
Contrary to popular belief, kittens and adult cats have no requirement for milk. In fact after weaning, kittens lose the ability to digest milk sugar (lactose) by about 3 months of age. Cats are obligate carnivores and cannot be vegetarian. Cats require high levels of dietary protein with the appropriate balance of amino acids. Most mammals use protein in food to build and maintain tissue and carry out biological reactions. However, unlike other mammals, cats have evolved in such a way as to be obliged to also use protein in such a way as a source of daily calories.
Fresh drinking water must always be available.