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Pet Diets

Find out more about your pet's diet and nutritional needs

Your cat’s diet and nutritional needs will vary depending on age, breed and activity level. Cats are obligate carnivores and require nutrients found in animal proteins in their diets. It’s vitally important to feed your cat a balanced and complete diet which is specific to their needs, to ensure a healthy and happy life.

You should try to stick to one type of diet for your cat to avoid digestive issues and complications. Even if you have a ‘fussy’ pet, it really is better to stick to a single type of food that your pet can easily digest, and that does not cause digestive issues.
 

On the food packaging, you may want to look for:
 

  • The phrases ‘complete and balanced’ and ‘clinically proven’ to indicate the food company’s quality assurance standards.
  • An indication that the food meets FEDIAF or local authority standards.
  • Mention of the country of manufacture, as well as contact details for enquiries and complaints.
  • Mention of the minimum legal requirements.
  • Indication that the food has been involved in feeding trials.
  • The protein source – this may come from by-products such as dairy as well as traditional protein sources.
     

If you are looking to change your pet’s diet, we recommend that you do this gradually over the course of a week to ten days to avoid any upset tummy’s. Some pet’s may take a little longer to adjust to a new diet.

 

Types of diet: 
 

Dry food – There is a wide range of complete dry cat foods on offer but we generally recommend that you buy the best quality food that you can afford. Dry foods are generally considered ‘better’ for cats as they do not stick to the teeth or cause dental issues like wet food does.

Wet or tinned – Again we recommend that you choose the highest quality diet that you can afford. The downside of wet food is that it often sticks to cats teeth, causing bad breath and a build-up of plaque and tartar.

Cats are obligate carnivores and require essential proteins and nutrients that derive specifically from meat sources. For this reason, vegetarian and vegan diets are unsuitable for cats.

You should always try to find a complete diet that does not require additional or supplementary food to be added. A ‘complementary diet’ does not contain all of the nutrients that your pets require, and should be replaced with a more suitable diet. If you are struggling to choose the most suitable diet for your cat, we suggest that you have a chat to your vet, who will be able to make more specific recommendations based on your pets breed, age and lifestyle.
 

Prescription Diets
 

Prescription diets have been designed to help support pets with specific long and short-term conditions. In some cases, these diets have proven to be highly beneficial. These diets should be recommended by a vet, who will talk you through how the diet will work for your pet, and will monitor ongoing progress and benefits with you.
 

Lifestage Diets
 

For Kittens
 

When you first collect your kitten, the breeder will advise you of their current diet, and give tips on moving forward. Kittens grow at a rapid rate and require a tailored diet to aid healthy growth and development. You might be tempted to give them dairy milk early on, however many cats struggle to process milk, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Instead, consider alternative, kitten-specific milks available which may be given as a treat, in addition to their regular diet.

We recommend that you feed your kitten 4 meals per day from 12 weeks to 6 months of age. This may seem like a lot, but remember your kitten is rapidly developing. After 6 months, the number of meals should very gradually be reduced down to 1-2 meals per day.

If you are unsure when your kitten should transition to an adult diet, call to consult a vet nurse.
 

For Adult Cats
 

Most cats will transition to an adult diet around a year old – depending on their weight and breed. Cats usually remain on adult diets from the ages of one to seven, unless otherwise advised by a vet. Dietary needs may also vary for your cat depending on their exercise levels or any underlying or ongoing health issues. Pregnant or nursing cats should always be fed a specific diet suitable for their condition.

Feeding your cat a suitable adult diet can help them to maintain a healthy weight and clean teeth. It may also help prevent or reduce the risk of certain conditions developing later on in your cat’s life.
 

For Senior Cats
 

Senior cats are more susceptible to illness, developing age-related conditions and serious weight changes. It is important to keep an eye on your older cat as changes often come on so gradually that they are difficult to notice.

As cats are living longer – many reaching the late teens and twenties! – the senior diets have been split into two categories: diets for 7+ and diets for 11+. This is often clearly marked on the food packaging.

Senior diets typically contain fewer calories and work to support joints, organs and lower immune systems. Many of these diets also target specific age-related conditions. For these reasons, we strongly recommend that when considering a senior diet, you consult a member of our team first.

In 2020, our Head Nurse Nicola developed our Senior Clinics. These clinics work to help detect the early signs of age-related conditions so that we can then begin care and management of symptoms sooner. For more information, check out our Senior Clinics page, or give the practice a call on 0141 339 1228.

Your dog’s diet and nutritional needs will vary depending on age, breed and activity level. It’s vitally important to feed your dog a balanced and complete diet which is specific to their needs, to ensure a healthy and happy life.

You should try to stick to one type of diet for your dog to avoid digestive issues and complications. Even if you have a ‘fussy’ pet, it really is better to stick to a single type of food that your pet can easily digest, and that does not cause digestive issues.
 

A suitable diet should:
 

  • Be easily digested.
  • Produce dark brown, formed and firm stools.
  • Not cause severe wind, diarrhoea or soft, pale stools.


When buying food for your pet, try to choose a lifestage or prescription diet that is appropriate for your pet’s age and health.
 

On the food packaging, you may want to look for:
 

  • The phrases ‘complete and balanced’ and ‘clinically proven’ to indicate the food company’s quality assurance standards.
  • An indication that the food meets FEDIAF or local authority standards.
  • Mention of the country of manufacture, as well as contact details for enquiries and complaints.
  • Mention of the minimum legal requirements.
  • An indication that the food has been involved in feeding trials.
  • The protein source – this may come from by-products such as dairy as well as traditional protein sources.
     

If you are looking to change your pet’s diet, we recommend that you do this gradually over the course of a week to ten days to avoid any upset tummy’s. Some pet’s may take a little longer to adjust to a new diet.
 

Types of diet: 
 

Dry food – There is a wide range of complete dry dog foods on offer but we generally recommend that you buy the best quality food that you can afford. Dry foods may seem more costly than wet or tinned alternatives, but dogs do not require as much dry food and so the costs often work out the same.

Wet or tinned – Again we recommend that you choose the highest quality diet that you can afford. The downside of wet food is that it often sticks to dogs teeth, causing bad breath and a build up of plaque and tartar.

You should always try to find a complete diet, that does not require additional or supplementary food to be added. A ‘complementary diet’ does not contain all of the nutrients that your pets require, and should be replaced with a more suitable diet. If you are struggling to choose the most suitable diet for your dog, we suggest that you have a chat to your vet, who will be able to make more specific recommendations based on your pets breed, age and lifestyle.
 

Prescription Diets
 

Prescription diets have been designed to help support pets with specific long and short-term conditions. In some cases, these diets have proven to be highly beneficial. These diets should be recommended by a vet, who will talk you through how the diet will work for your pet, and will monitor ongoing progress and benefits with you.
 

Lifestage Diets
 

For Puppies
 

When you first collect your puppy, the breeder will advise you of their current diet, and give tips on moving forward. Puppies grow at a rapid rate and require a tailored diet to aid healthy growth and development.

We recommend that you feed your puppy 3-4 meals per day from 12 weeks to 6 months of age. This may seem like a lot, but remember your puppy is developing bones, joints and immunity, as well as crucial social behaviours. After 6 months, the number of meals should gradually be reduced down to 2 meals per day.

Dogs will transition from puppy food to adult food at different stages – depending on their weight and breed. For example, many larger dog breeds will take longer to reach their adult weight than toy breeds. If you are unsure when your puppy should transition to an adult diet, consult your vet nurse at your next appointment.


For Adult Dogs
 

Most dogs will be on an adult diet from the ages of one to seven – this again may differ depending on your dogs breed and should be confirmed with your vet. Dietary needs may vary for your dog depending on their exercise levels or any underlying or ongoing health issues. Pregnant or nursing dogs should always be fed a specific diet suitable for their condition.

Feeding your dog a suitable adult diet can help them to maintain a healthy weight and clean teeth. It may also help prevent or reduce the risk of certain conditions developing later on in your dog’s life.


For Senior Dogs
 

Senior dogs are more susceptible to illness, developing age-related conditions and serious weight changes. It is important to keep an eye on your older dog as changes often come on so gradually that they are difficult to notice.

Senior diets typically contain fewer calories and work to support joints, organs and lower immune systems. Many of these diets also target specific age-related conditions. For these reasons, we strongly recommend that when considering a senior diet, you consult a member of our team first.

In 2020, our Head Nurse Nicola developed our Senior Clinics. These clinics work to support ageing pets and their owners, to help detect the early signs of age-related conditions so that we can then begin care and management of symptoms sooner. For more information on these, check out our Senior Clinics page, or give the practice a call on 0141 339 1228.

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