L. Weeth1; G. Takashima2
Feeding a complete and balanced diet is known to promote wellness in dogs and cats, but a number of highly publicized pet food recalls, as well as a growing appreciation for the role of diet in health and disease, has raised questions about the use of commercial pet foods to meet this end. Additionally, concerns over specific ingredients, such as corn or wheat, have been promoted through advice columns and pet food marketing companies and has caused some owners to become leery of manufacturers that incorporate these ingredients into their foods. Many owners, and some veterinarians, also advocate feeding dogs and cats home-prepared foods exclusively (raw or cooked, or both) and either cite perceived health benefits or a general mistrust of the pet food industry. At its most basic concept, food is a means of getting essential nutrients into the body. How these nutrients are delivered or which specific ingredients are being used (barring ingredient sensitivity) is much less important than ensuring that the optimal amount is provided on a regular basis. Whatever the reason for a particular diet strategy, it is important for veterinarians to understand the motivations, risks and benefits of that diet type to ensure that the nutritional needs of the individual animal are being met.