I Feed Him the Best Food Already
Pet food commercials have really gotten under your skin, people. They mostly seem to center on the concept that if you would just stop being stubborn and purchase the right food for your dog or cat, he or she would live forever. Although every brand name would love to claim this honor, there is actually no single “best” food. In fact, we are generally going to ask that you NOT switch pet foods. See, the very act of swapping inputs can really wreak havoc on the outputs, resulting in diarrhea, vomiting, occasionallyurine problems too. The specific recipes are not to blame;it’s just that your pet’s body is easily shocked by a rapid change from one recipe to another.
This is not to say you won’t ever be directed to change the diet. Pet owners often seem taken aback when this comes up. They want to share the ingredient list of their usualbrand, the algorithm they used to select it, perhaps a quote from PetStore Employee, who led them to the shelf and assured them it was the very best one. Please understand that diet changes ordered by your vet do not implypoor judgment or negligence on your part. They are just a piece of the overall strategytohelpthe patient feel better.
It’s pretty obvious why diabetics and liver or kidney patients need a specialized diet. In each of those cases, an important part of the body has stumbled and can no longer cope with its original workload. A specialized nutrient profile eases the burden on the impairedorgan.
Overweight pets also need to make some changes at the food bowl. Their owners seem a bit resentful when they discover that high-quality, expensive food does NOT help keep pets slim and trim. It’s just the opposite, actually: lower-quality products contain fillers and undigestible material with less useful nutrients, but really good pet food is more like high-octane fuel. Your eight-year-old beagle is not a high-octane man, however. Instead of Formula One racing, he’s out there puttering around the yard, meticulously inspecting the shrubs to determine which ones should be peed on today. The vast majority of overweight pets have NOT bought themselves the wrong brand of food; they’re just scooping it out too generously.
Many diet changes function as a trial therapy, meaning we can’t know whether the new food will help your pet until afterwards, and this could take months. Unfortunately there isno easy, overnight method for diet trials, so embarking on one can be a real leap of faith. Thenew food could potentially change your pet’s entire life—eliminate some medications, reduce clinic visits, maybeeven extend lifespan… but striking it rich like that does tend to be a tedious process.
Whether due to a newly diagnosed illness or just some nagging issue that hovers like a rain cloud, your doctor may order a comprehensive food change. Remember, that doesn’t imply that you ignorantly failed to choose the right diet, despite howthose glossy ad campaigns may make you feel. Do it. Take a leap of faith.
Dr. M.S. Regan