Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Spotting the difference between dogs and cats


Pet Food Institute explains the important differences in pet nutrition

Do pet owners recognize the important differences between dogs and cats? While many of us may notice the physical and behavioral differences, there are distinct internal metabolic variations that impact their nutritional needs, as well. These have important implications for a pet’s diet.

Experts recommend owners to give their pets food that are specially formulated to supply their nutritional needs. Pet owners must never give a dog cat food or vice-versa because a dog’s nutritional needs differ from a cat’s nutritional requirements. As the voice of the US pet food and treat makers, the Pet Food Institute shares some of the major differences between a dog and cat’s diet.

A dogs’ essentials

Veterinarians remind pet owners that man’s best friend needs core essential nutrients in their diet: vitamins, minerals, fat, protein, and amino acids.  Many commercial pet food recipes are designed to provide all of these essential nutrients at the proper levels, and will be labeled as “complete and balanced.” Vitamins and minerals will be found in the food via the ingredients and added in supplemental form to ensure a pet receives proper nutrition. 

Dogs also need fat in their system. Fat is the most concentrated source of energy for dogs, and they require specific essential fatty acids (EFAs) which support the proper function of a dog’s immune system and a healthy coat. 

Another important nutrient that dogs need is protein. Dogs, unlike cats who are obligate carnivores, are not strict carnivores and can thrive while eating selected vegetables and fruits. Protein is made up of amino acids, and protein sources will deliver the amino acids which help and maintain a dog’s blood, bones, muscles, organs, skin and coat. However, despite its health benefits, it is possible for dogs to receive too much protein in their diet, which can impact their health. A balanced recipe will provide the appropriate levels of essential nutrients such protein and fat.    

Cat food is for cats, not dogs

Responsible pet owners understand that cats are not small dogs and they are very different from canines.  One glaring disparity between the two would be that felines are obligate carnivores, unlike dogs, and require higher levels of protein than dogs.

One important reminder for pet owners is that dog food is not appropriate for cats and will not provide adequate nutrition. Commercially-made complete and balanced pet food recipes, including those made from the U.S., are scientifically mixed to meet the nutritional requirements of cats. For example, arachidonic acid is an EFA that cats cannot manufacture, while dogs are able. It is required to support blood clotting and the proper function of the gastrointestinal and reproductive systems. A complete and balanced cat food recipe will have this EFA at proper levels to support your pet’s health.  

Similar to dogs, cats have unique and specific needs for certain vitamins, which help them convert fat, protein and carbohydrate into energy and support specific cellular functions. For instance, cats are unable to produce the active form of vitamin A which supports eye and skin health. Dogs, on the other hand, possess the metabolic processes to convert the pre-vitamin form of these compounds into their active form. This is another distinction between cats and dogs. 

Providing a complete and balanced diet that supports a dog or cat’s wellbeing is an important part of responsible pet ownership. Pet Food Institute (PFI) is committed in educating pet owners about proper pet nutrition to keep pets healthy and happy.  Through its local initiative, Well-Fed, Well-Nurtured campaign in partnership with the Veterinary Practitioners Association of the Philippines (VPAP), PFI seeks to advocate responsible pet ownership to the ever-growing Filipino pet community.

About the Pet Food Institute 
Since 1958, the Pet Food Institute has been the voice of the U.S. pet food industry. PFI is the industry's representative before Congress and state legislatures, as well as state and federal agencies; public education and media relations resource; organizer of seminars and educational programs; and liaison with other organizations. PFI represents the companies that make 98 percent of U.S. dog and cat food, an industry with more than $20 billion in U.S. retail sales and $1.3 billion in exports in 2015.

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