You are what you eat is an expression that is told to people from childhood to adulthood. It refers to the body being affected by the food that gets put into it. What not everyone realizes is that this motto is equally as important for animals.
Animal nutrition is the base of all animal health. A balanced diet with the appropriate calories for the animal’s needs is the key to a healthy pet. Furthermore, if your pet does have a health condition or is predisposed to one, then nutrition can be a great way to prevent or slow down certain conditions.
Calculating calories and creating meal plans for patients is an important part of a veterinary technician’s job. Therefore, it is important that we understand how to do so, and what foods to recommend for animals with certain conditions. In my animal nutrition class we were taught the importance of nutrition and how you really are what you eat.
I write this as I am literally eating a pizza and cringing over my own unhealthy student diet. I wonder how amazing it would be if I could eat a diet like dog kibble, which has been thoroughly researched and is rich in all of the protein, vitamins, and minerals that I need for my current age and activity level. This type of food isn’t available for people, but veterinary diets have been specifically formulated for dog’s or cat’s specific needs.
A dental diet can prevent conditions like halitosis or periodontal disease. It can also save the owner money by having to pay for fewer dental cleanings. A diabetic diet can help control an animal’s glucose levels by having fewer carbohydrates. A diabetic animal who is fed a veterinary diabetic diet can sometimes be given less insulin, because the condition is dealt with on the nutritional level.
Skin conditions, food allergies, heart conditions, kidney conditions, obesity, urinary issues, and just simple maintenance — there is a food for each that has been researched and confirmed to help these conditions.
Nutrition is the base of all animal health and disease prevention, so it is important that owners understand what they are feeding their pets. Furthermore, it is up to us as students, veterinary technicians, and veterinarians to educate pet owners on nutrition for the overall well being of their pets.