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We understand that adopting a new pet is like welcoming a new member into your family, and we want to help your new dog or cat live a long, healthy life. That is why we recommend feeding your pet a high quality diet.

The term "high quality diet" generally refers to any food that meetsĀ Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines. AAFCO regulates all pet foods sold in the United States.

Your pet has very specific nutritional needs, and those needs vary according to breed, age, lifestyle and many other factors.

Cat and Dog Eating from Pet BowlIn order to function correctly, the body needs protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals and water. All of these nutrients need to be in the correct proportion and at healthy, optimum levels for all of the body processes to function.

One of the best ways to determine if a diet is high quality is to look at the nutritional adequacy statement. This statement can be difficult to find on the outside packaging. It is typically located close to the Guaranteed Analysis and the Ingredient list.

Once you look at the nutritional adequacy statement, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Was the food tested in a feeding test, study, or trial according to AAFCO procedures?
  2. Was the food tested in animals similar to my pet?

The nutritional adequacy statement should state that the food was tested by animal feeding trials using AAFCO procedures and that the food was tested on an animal similar to your pet. For example, if you want to feed this food to your growing kitten, then the nutritional adequacy statement should indicate the feeding trial was done using growing kittens, and is not just "adequate for all stages of life."

For additional and more detailed information, please visit www.PetDiets.com. This website was founded by Dr. Rebecca Remillard, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist.

High quality veterinary diets are more expensive than low quality diets. However, high quality diets are more concentrated and use higher quality ingredients. Therefore, your pet will require less food and produce less stool. Most high quality diets use natural preservatives and contain vitamins C and E as well.

The following are some conditions that can be prevented by feeding a high quality diet:

  • Large, foul-smelling stools
  • Discolored teeth/dental disease
  • Excessive shedding
  • Ear/skin infections
  • Weakened immune system
  • Gas
  • Bad breath
  • Dull haircoat
  • Lack of energy

There are many great high quality diets available for your pet. The four in particular that our veterinarians and staff at Linwood Animal HospitalĀ have had good experience with are: Hills Science Diet, Royal Canin, Iams/Eukanuba brands and Purina Pro Plan.

Our puppy/kitten specialists and veterinarians will be happy to help you decide which diet will help this very special member of your family live a long, healthy, happy life. Don't hesitate to call us at (978) 453-1784 with any questions!

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