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Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Nutrition

Vet in Baltimore advising pet owners about nutrition for their cat

Proper nutrition can do wonders for facilitating good pet health and wellness -- and by the same token, the wrong nutritional choices can cause serious problems for your beloved companion. With that in mind, here are the answers to some frequently asked pet nutrition questions from your vet team at Fullerton Animal Hospital.

  • Why do dogs and cats require different diets? Dogs are omnivores, meaning that they can get their essential nutrients from a wide range of foods. By contrast, cats are carnivores who must get all their nutrition from meat. Cats must also ingest certain nutrients that dogs can manufacture internally,such as the amino acid taurine.
  • Can I feed my cat or dog human food? Dogs and cats shouldn't be allowed to eat human food. Not only do the foods we eat tend to contain too much fat, sugar salt and other unhealthy ingredients to support good health in pets, but some common humans foods can actually have toxic or poisonous effects on animals.
  • What human foods are dangerous for my cat or dog? Chocolate, coffee and other caffeinated products can cause severe digestive, heart and nervous problems in cats and dogs. Other potentially deadly human foods include citrus, grapes/raisins, avocado, garlic, onions, several kids of nuts, and the non-sugar sweetener called xylitol (and foods prepared with xylitol).
  • How many times a day should I feed my cat or dog? How many times a day you feed your cat or dog may depend on the animals breed, size, age and activity level. Some dog toy breeds, for instance, may require several small meals a day to prevent hypoglycemia, while puppies and kittens typically require three or four meals a day to support growth and development. Adult animals may only need two daily feedings. Senior pets who tend to live more sedentary lifestyles may need only one feeding per day as a safeguard against obesity.
  • What are some signs that my cat or dog may have a food allergy? Food allergies often resemble other allergies in their symptoms. Itchy, irritated skin lesions (dermatitis) are frequently triggered by a food allergy. Ear irritation, diarrhea, gas and anal itching may also be signs that your pet has a food allergy.
  • What can my Baltimore veterinarian do if my pet appears to have a food allergy? Your Baltimore veterinarian can test for reactions to specific foods. By swapping out various common allergens, we can discover which foods your pet should avoid and prescribe a healthy diet that excludes those items.
  • How can I schedule an appointment for pet nutrition advice or pet allergy testing? Call Fullerton Animal Hospital at (410) 665-6996 or use our online scheduling form to set up an appointment with your Baltimore vet.

Get More Pet Nutrition Answers at Fullerton Animal Hospital

Our vet team at Fullerton Animal Hospital will be happy to help you make smart nutritional choices for your pet. Contact us today for a consultation!