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Choose the Right Nutrition for your Dogs, not Trends!

“Choose what’s right for your dogs, not trends” Sydney vet warns pet owners against following food trends blindly.

With so much noise about pet food in the media lately, pet owners in Australia are in a state of flux as to what they should be feeding their dogs.

Sydney’s My Vet Animal Hospital veterinarian and owner, Dr Cherlene Lee, has been educating her clients in pet nutrition for the past four years and warns pet owners on the dangers of following certain food trends.

“Dogs are not human beings and they absorb and process nutrients in a completely different way to us. Whilst these holistic or raw food diets may sound great to you, they can be nutritionally unbalanced or even dangerous to your pets,” said Dr Lee. “For example, researchers at the University of Melbourne found dogs that eat raw chicken meat have an increased risk of developing a rare and fatal form of paralysis, polyradiculoneuritis or APN.”

Dr Lee commented, “From a vet’s point of view, a complete and balanced diet that provides all the nutrients at the correct level your dog needs is the best diet. This can be achieved by choosing a dog food that meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards and passes the AAFCO feeding trial tests.”

The pet food industry in Australia is self-regulated. Most local vets recommend clients to use the AAFCO standards and feeding tests as a guideline when purchasing dog food.

“Much like clinical trials, a pet food that passes the tests means its formulation has undergone rigorous testing to prove itself. As a result, manufacturers can’t randomly change the formulation as they will have to start the feeding trials all over again,” Dr Lee explained.

“Forget about the trends, you should always do what’s right for your dog,” said Dr Lee. “Every pet at different stages of life requires different nutrients – a growing puppy requires more calories, different vitamins and minerals compared to a senior dog that has stopped growing. And the diet should be complementary to therapy if your dog has pre-existing medical conditions, say if a dog has pancreatitis, we will recommend a special low-fat diet.”

For pet owners looking at switching their dogs’ diets, Dr Lee suggested they should consult their vets. “There are so many things a pet owner should take into consideration. Introducing a new diet can be detrimental to your pet’s health if it has an underlying disease. Talk to your vet or even work with a certified veterinary nutritionist before making any decisions.”

Dr Lee and her team work with Massey University’s vet nutrition specialists in tailoring specific diets on pet owners’ requests.

Below are Dr Lee’s top five basic tips for dog owners when choosing dog food:

  • Always choose a dog food that meets the AAFCO standards and passes the AAFCO feeding trials – a dog food that complies with the standards and feeding trails will have this printed on its packaging.
  • Learn to read and understand the labels – Garlic and onions may make the dog food smell good to you but they are toxic to your dogs, even in trace amounts.
  • Consider the age, size and breed of your dogs as they need different nutrients in different stage of life. The packaging of dog food should give you some basic ideas.
  • If your dog has underlying issues, always consult your vet before switching its diet.
  • If you don’t want to feed your dog with dog food, talk to your vet and work on a complete and balanced diet plan together. 

MEDIA RELEASE 23/05/2018

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