Food fuel – All about nutrition in your pets

Just like we humans, dogs too have their own nutritional requirements, which are quite distinct from our dietary requirements. Give your pets your love, but not your food!
–by Yash Laddha

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Understanding and fulfilling these dietary needs is one of the most important responsibilities that we have as a pet parent. The dietary requirements change from breed to breed, and also over the lifetime of your pet. It depends on multiple external parameters like activity level, medical conditions, etc. To ensure that your pet is getting the best nutrition and a balanced meal, it is best that you consult your vet.

Share love, not food!

Sharing human food with your pooch is not a good practice. There is a long list of items that aren’t fit for consumption by your pet. These foods include –chocolate, coffee, soft drinks, avocado, onion, garlic, grapes, alcohol, and any yeast dough based products.

Spoilt for choice in packaged foods

There are so many packaged foods available for pet-parents to choose from.

Dry pet food

Dry pet foods are typically made by mixing dry and wet ingredients together to make a dough. This dough is then cooked using heat and pressure and then cut into bite sized pellets called kibble. It is important to ensure that your pet has plenty of fresh water to drink as in the case a major part of his diet is dry pet foods. These foods do not get as much moisture from the food as is needed. Kibble has typically around 10 – 12 percent moisture content. Dry pet food can be complete or complementary and should be fed accordingly.

Semi-moist pet food

Semi-moist pet food is made from dough at a lower temperature and pressure and is cooled instead of being dried and hence retains about 20 – 35 percent of the moisture content. Humectants are used to ensure moisture retention and higher sugar content inhibits the growth of bacteria.

Wet pet food

Wet pet food is are prepared with around 70 – 80 percent water mixed with dry ingredients and often contains higher amounts of protein and fats, which provide energy as well as act as building blocks for muscles, skin and hair.

While wet pet food is typically more expensive than dry kibble, as the higher water content increases the transportation and related expenses, your pet will almost always choose wet pet food over kibble, when given a choice, because of its taste and aroma.

Fresh food for your furry companion

Options of customised nutrition plan are designed for your pet and the food is prepared accordingly and delivered to your doorstep daily. Nutrients like glucosamine work to help augment joint health, fatty acids to promote healthy skin and an attractive coat, calcium helps build stronger bones and teeth as your pet grows and prebiotic fibres help flush out toxins and improve gut health. The food should also be appropriate for the life stage of the pet, i.e. -growth, reproduction or maintenance as the nutritional needs at each stage are very different. Speak to the team of nutritionists and your vet to get a great diet for your pet.

(Yash Laddha is co-founder of Pet Wagon which provides grooming service (Spa on Wheels), fresh meals and retail products)