Benefits of Pet Nutrition Counseling
Pet nutrition counseling is a service that is now offered by most vets. As you may have guessed, the purpose of nutrition counseling is to assess the health and condition of your pet so that their nutritional needs can be established. This information is then used to determine a diet that will ensure that these needs are being met and that your pet is in the best possible health.
Benefits of Pet Nutrition Counseling
There are several benefits associated with pet nutrition counseling. Some of the reasons why you should see a pet nutrition specialist include:
Pet nutrition counselors specialize in how nutrients affect animal health
They will assess your pet as an individual rather than generalize about what they should and shouldn’t be eating
Your pet nutrition counselor will create a plan that is tailored to the specific needs of your pet
They have the experience needed to understand eating problems and behaviors relating to eating and can help you and your pet to overcome them
Seeing a pet nutrition expert could save you money by helping your pet to avoid or overcome health problems
Here’s what you need to know about what to expect from pet nutrition counseling.
Looking at What Your Pet Eats
What your pet eats is exceptionally important at all stages of their life. However, many owners don’t realize that an animal’s nutritional requirements change as they age, and this means that what they may have been eating when they were young is unlikely to be an appropriate diet as they enter adulthood or their senior years. Being able to adapt your pet’s diet is a crucial part of responsible pet ownership.
Infant and juvenile animals: normally need a diet that is high in calories, and that contains the necessary nutrients to help them grow and develop into healthy adults.
Adult animals: need a diet that helps them to maintain a healthy weight, gives them enough energy to function day to day, and contains essential nutrients for proper body function. Weight maintenance is particularly important since animals that become overweight or obese are much more likely to suffer from serious health problems, especially as they age.
Pregnant animals: unsurprisingly, need to have their diet adjusted to reflect the additional calories they need when pregnant and nursing.
Senior pets: are more likely to develop health problems that could benefit from special dietary changes and supplements. For example, senior pets with arthritis could be recommended to take glucosamine supplements which have been proven to help with joint health.
Looking at How Much Your Pet Eats
As well as considering what you feed your pet, you’ll also need to take into account how much you are feeding. Portion control is something that can be tricky to master for our own meals, never mind our pets. Nevertheless, as owners, we are responsible for making sure that we don’t overfeed our animals. While it may seem better to give too much food than too little, most pets will continue to eat even after they are full. Over time, this could cause them to consume too many calories, put on weight and then start to experience health problems. Nutrition counseling helps owners to understand portion sizes for their pets and the consequences of failing to set these boundaries.
Learning How to Change Your Pet’s Diet
You will almost certainly need to move your pet onto a new diet at least several times during their lifetime. However, this isn’t something that should be done quickly and with no preparation. Doing so could cause your pet to reject the new food and refuse to eat at all, or if they do eat, the new food could upset their digestive system and cause pain, diarrhea or constipation, and other unpleasant symptoms. Any dietary changes should be made gradually and your pet nutrition counselor will guide you through this process to ensure that your pet adapts well and with minimal disruption to their day-to-day life.
Learn more about pet nutrition counseling, contact Richfield Animal Medical Center in Richfield, OH at (330) 659-6606 to book an appointment.