Commonly Asked Questions on Pet Nutrition

Q 1. What is good pet nutrition? 

Good pet nutrition is a combination of an adequate amount of essential nutrients, required to perform all bodily functions normally and to maintain the overall good health of animals. These basic nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, water, minerals, and vitamins.   

Q 2. Why good nutrition is important for pets? 

Good nutrition improves the quality of a pet’s life. Pets eating nutritious and balanced feed have stronger bones, toned muscles, smooth and shinier coats, and better temperament. A strong immune system protects them against infections and improves well-being over the long term. 

Q 3. How often should I feed my dog? 

Generally, it is recommended to feed the adult dog twice a day. Meal portion size is more important than feeding frequency. It also depends on the age, breed, activity level, and health condition of the dog. 

Puppies should be fed 3-4 times a day and after 6 months of age, should be fed twice a day. 


Q 4. When should I change from puppy to adult food? 

 Small-breed and medium-breed dogs become full-grown at around 1 year of age and gain 80- 90% of their adult weight around 9 months of age. Large and giant breeds gain this weight around 15 –18 months of age. So, when your dog attains 80-90% of adult weight, you can start changing his diet from puppy to adult. 

Q 5. How do I change my pet’s diet?  

 Do not make sudden changes in your pet’s diet, it can cause indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea. Mix a new one with the previous diet, then gradually increase the portion of the new diet and completely replace the old one over a week or 10 days. It gives time for the digestive system to adjust to the new diet 

Q 6. Is it okay to give my dog bones to chew on? 

Bones are a source of minerals and chewing them prevents plaque buildup on teeth. But there are some risks in giving the wrong kind of bones such as cooked bones can splinter and cause injury to gums, and can damage intestinal walls which results in bloody diarrhea. Small bones can get lodged in gums and stuck in food pipes resulting in blockage and indigestion. You can give bones especially designed to chew on. Always supervise your pet when you give him a bone to chew. 


Q 7. Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?  

Raw meat contains some harmful bacteria and pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli, Toxoplasma gondii, Listeria, etc. Feeding uncooked meat to your dog may transmit these pathogens and cause diseases. Properly cooking meat at a high temperature destroy harmful pathogens and it is safe to give your pet.  

Q 8. Does my dog need vitamins and supplements? 

 Pets already eating a balanced diet and are healthy do not need supplements. In case your pet is suffering from any health problem or disease, he might need supplements as support. But always consult with a veterinarian before giving it to your pet. It can be dangerous if given in excess such as a high amount of calcium can cause skeletal problems, excess vitamin A causes stiffness, Joint pain, dehydration, etc. 

Q 9. What are prescription diets, and why would my pet need them? 

Prescription diets are specially formulated diets for dogs with special health conditions and specialized nutritional needs. Prescription foods are available for a wide range of illnesses including gastrointestinal issues, kidney issues, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, weight management, etc. Before switching to a prescription diet always consult your Vet and plan a diet with him. 

Q 10. What are the food items that one must absolutely avoid feeding a pet? 

Some of the food items that are toxic for pets such as grapes, raisins, tomatoes, onion and garlic, chocolate, yeast dough, alcohol, caffeine, etc. You should avoid giving these food items to your pets, as some of them are dangerous and even fatal to pets. 


Q 11. Can I feed my pets a vegetarian diet?  

It is possible to maintain your dog on a vegetarian diet, but it is difficult to formulate a completely balanced vegetarian diet. Plant-based proteins lack certain essential amino acids and are incomplete, while animal proteins contain all the amino acids and are rich sources of quality protein. 

Cats are true carnivores and have high protein requirements. They require animal protein like taurine in their diet, a deficiency of which can cause serious health problems. 

Q 12. Should I give homemade food to my pet rather than packaged food? 

No doubt, home-cooked food is fresh, but it is not always nutritionally complete, while packaged readymade food does contain nutrients in a balanced way and is prepared according to dietary guidelines. Packaged food is processed but cost-effective in the long run and available for different life stages.

Whether you give home-cooked food or packaged food it should be nutritious and balanced and can also give a mixture of both types of food.  Ask your vet for advice and with proper research and hard work, you can prepare a balanced meal for your pet. It should always be monitored and changed according to their life stages and health condition. 

Q 13. What ingredients I can use while preparing homemade food for my pet? 

For preparing complete homemade food, one must include a wide variety of ingredients. Meat is a rich source of quality protein and meat options like lamb, turkey, and chicken can be included. Vegetables provide fiber, minerals, and vitamins, pumpkin, carrots, peas, beets, yams, broccoli, and potatoes are some of the vegetables that can be added. 

Egg whites can be given on regular basis but avoid giving raw eggs. Buttermilk and yogurt are also good options for summer. Some food ingredients although not harmful but should be given on a limited basis like salt, sweets, treats, oil, and dairy food like milk, paneer, butter, etc. 


-Dr. Swati Rawat
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iHerb Code

It is rather valuable information

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