Your pet's overall health is significantly affected by his or her diet. There are specialised diets for each stage of a pet's life (puppy/kitten, adult, senior), for maintenance of particular diseases (diabetes, kidney or liver failure), and for weight related concerns (weight loss, high energy, weight maintenance). So it can be very difficult to decide what food is best for your pet's individual needs. For this reason, we offer dietary or nutritional consultations to our clients.
A nutritional consultation will begin with obtaining an accurate weight. From there, one of our Registered Animal Health Technicians (RAHT) will evaluate your pet's body condition score. This 'score' considers four main points:
1. Is it difficult to feel his or her ribs and spine?
2. Is it difficult to see his or her waist?
3. Is the abdomen sagging?
4. Does his or her face look round with larger cheeks?
The RAHT will also ask about your pet's current diet. This will include asking about what your pet's primary diet is, what treats you feed, and if your pet gets any 'extras' (people food). From this information, the RAHT will calculate your pet's nutritional needs and create a diet plan for you to follow. Once the diet plan is made, we recommend monthly visits for your pet so that we can monitor any weight loss or gain and his or her body condition score. When your pet reaches his or her ideal body weight, our RAHT will recommend a maintenance food and recheck your pet yearly.
In addition, we are able (and willing!) to provide information on when you should switch your pet to an adult or senior diet and the many options for a pet who is dealing with diabetes, kidney, or liver disease. Even further, there are diets which can help a pet who seems itchy all the time (this may point to allergies or other conditions as well) or a pet who seems to be limping more than usual (possibly due to arthritis).
Please feel free to give us a call at 403-327-7387 to book a nutritional consultation with one of our RAHTs or simply if you have more questions regarding diets.
For trustworthy information on some common food concerns, consider looking at the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association's "Pet Nutrition" page.