Healthy animals normally eat sufficient food to satisfy their energy requirements. It is one of the jobs of the nutritionist to ensure that all other nutrient needs have been met when animals stop eating because they have met their energy needs. While dogs and cats are members of the biological order Carnivora, scientific observation and research support that differences in their metabolism and nutritional requirements exist. However, the goal in feeding both species is the same; to optimize the health and well-being of the individual. This approach results in dietary recommendations that will vary from individual animal to animal, based on a variety of factors that include the animal's signalment, occupation and environment. Feeding approaches vary between the two species and within the same species during different physiological life stages. However, the practice of feeding to maintain a lean body condition is a common goal. The maintenance of a lean body condition has been proven to increase both the quantity and quality of life in dogs. Currently, similar data does not exist in cats but is suspected to hold true. Each dog and cat's feeding program should be assessed routinely and adjustments made as indicated based on the animal's body condition, life stage and general health.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology