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National Pet Day 2024: Food Items To Include In Your Pet’s Diet To Keep Them Healthy – ABP Live

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As pets age, their nutritional requirements undergo changes, much like in humans. Providing the right nutrition at each stage of their life is essential for their overall health, longevity, and vitality. From playful kittens and energetic puppies to senior pets, tailoring their diets to their age-specific requirements can help prevent illness, promote optimal growth, and ensure a happy and active life.

Food Items That Will Help Maintain Your Pets Health:

Dr Shivangi, who is the Product Executive Manager at Drools laid down a few foods that can help maintain your pets’ health and align with their specific life stages:

  • Carrots are a nutritious choice for pets. They are rich in vitamin A, which supports the immune system, skin health, and coat condition. Additionally, carrots provide beneficial dietary fiber for digestive health. Cats and dogs can enjoy carrots whether they are raw, cooked, or steamed. Furthermore, chewing on carrots can aid dogs in maintaining good dental hygiene by reducing plaque build-up.
  • Green beans offer valuable nutrients such as calcium, iron, and vitamin K, promoting bone health and overall well-being in dogs. They can be safely consumed both cooked and raw.
  • Watermelon is an excellent source of hydration and vitamins A, C, and B-6. It also provides dietary fiber. When offering watermelon to pets, it’s essential to remove the seeds, which can cause blockages.
  • Apples are a nutritious treat for cats and dogs, offering essential vitamins like A and C and aiding in digestive health due to their fiber content.
  • White rice is a bland, easily digestible option beneficial for dogs with upset stomachs. It provides a source of easily digestible carbohydrates and can help alleviate digestive discomfort.
  • Peanut butter is a healthy source of fats, protein, and vitamins E and B, making it an excellent treat for both cats and dogs. However, it’s crucial to choose peanut butter without any toxic chemicals, and no added sugar for pets.
  • Milk is generally not recommended for most adult cats and dogs as it can lead to gastrointestinal upset, including diarrhea and vomiting. Some pets may tolerate small amounts of lactose-free milk or specially formulated dairy alternatives.
  • Fish, such as salmon, shrimp, and tuna, are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which support the immune system, skin health, and overall vitality in cats and dogs. Shrimp’s vitamin B content contributes to healthy circulation and digestion in dogs.
  • Meat, like lean cuts of chicken or beef, is an essential protein source necessary for tissue growth and repair in both cats and dogs. For cats, as obligate carnivores, meat provides critical amino acids like taurine, vital for heart health and proper vision. In dogs, meat contributes to energy levels, coat quality, and overall vitality. The consumption of cooked meat is always recommended, as cooking helps to destroy any bacteria that may be present in meat.

Additionally, access to fresh, clean water should always be available as it is a fundamental component for maintaining hydration and good health in cats and dogs.

Food Items That Will Help Your Pet Build Immunity:

Did you know, your pet’s gut contains about 70% of its immune system? The gut contains a various collection of hundreds of different species of bacteria – collectively known as microbiome which is heavily influenced by the diet provided to your pet. It is also a known fact that your pet can suffer from many kinds of health issues. While they are able to recover on their own, it is important for pet parents to be mindful of their immunity and overall health. Just like our own health, your pet’s health is equally important.

While there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution in avoiding the ‘gut battle’, Dr. Deepak Saraswat, who is the Head Veterinarian at Zigly, shared some common tips, a mix of diet and regular exercises that can boost your pet’s immunity. 

  • Natural Diets: We all know dogs and cats are mostly carnivores, and their preference is towards a moist, meat-based diet. However, there are some alternatives to this. For instance, vegetables such as Red Bell Peppers, Broccoli, and Mushrooms can boost their immune system. These contain Vitamins A, B, C, and D along with fibres that can assist their gut. Red Bell Peppers have a higher content of vitamin C than oranges. Broccoli contains a phytochemical called Indole-3-Carbinal which has been found to be anti-cancer, while Mushrooms have vitamin B and selenium which act as a detox and antioxidants. 
  • Turmeric: Believe it or not, the humble yellow spice has a positive effect on your pet’s health, just like in ours. Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, it helps the gut improve antibodies and responds well to any diet. A little dash of turmeric in your pet’s diet is considered very beneficial to improving their health.
  • Probiotic/Fermented Foods: Probiotics are live bacteria culture that helps in balancing the bacterial environment in the gut. Food items such as yoghurt, cottage cheese, bananas, and sweet potatoes help improve their overall health. Raw pumpkin is another probiotic item that greatly benefits your dog’s health.
  • Chicken/Red Meat: Poultry contains vitamin B6 which plays an important part in the metabolism of amino acids and building antibodies. A broth made from poultry contains immunity-boosting nutrients. Not only will a broth keep your pet hydrated, but it will also nourish them, as it contains magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous to name a few that build immunity, protect the bones and joints, and improve gut health.
  • Seafood: Fish contains Omega-3 fatty acid which is an anti-inflammatory property. Omega-3 is easily digestible and promotes immune boost, improves joint movements, and reduces any autoimmune diseases. 

“While all the above-mentioned food will help your pet build up immunity, remember, that all food and no play will make any pet dull and prone to diseases. Get involved with them in playful activities, go for a walk or jog, play fetch, basically any activity that will keep them physically fit and mentally stress-free. Regular exercise helps them ward off a plethora of diseases and helps to maintain an ideal weight. Stress and anxiety have been known to cause gut inflammation in dogs,” he further added.

Other Things To Remember For Pet Parents:

Jaisleen Kaur who is an Image Consultant, Life Coach & Pet Parent at Dehradun shared that as dedicated pet owners, it is our responsibility to ensure the well-being and health of our furry friends. 

  • Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Just like humans, pets need regular check-ups with a veterinarian to monitor their overall health. Annual wellness exams allow veterinarians to detect and address any underlying health issues early on, ensuring a longer and healthier life for your pet.
  • Proper Nutrition: Nutrition plays a pivotal role in your pet’s health, and it’s essential to diversify their diet beyond commercial kibble. It’s advised to choose high-quality commercial pet food that meets their specific dietary needs, but it’s equally important to incorporate high-protein, low-carb, fiber-rich fresh foods, including green vegetables, into your pet’s daily diet. Consulting with your veterinarian to determine the best diet for your pet, considering factors such as age, breed, and any existing health conditions, can help you strike the right balance between commercial and fresh food to ensure optimal nutrition for your furry friend.
  • Regular Exercise: Exercise is not just for humans; it’s vital for pets too. Incorporating a simple daily walk into your pet’s fitness routine can help maintain their healthy weight and overall well-being. Whether it’s playing fetch with your dog, providing toys for your cat to chase, or taking a leisurely stroll with your rabbit or guinea pig, physical activity is key to a happy and healthy pet.
  • Dental Care: Oral health is often overlooked but is crucial for your pet’s overall health. Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly and providing dental treats or toys to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Neglecting dental care can lead to serious health issues, including heart & kidney disease and infection.
  • Parasite Prevention: Fleas, ticks, and internal parasites can wreak havoc on your pet’s health. Consult with your veterinarian to establish a year-round parasite prevention plan that suits your pet’s needs. Regularly administering flea and tick preventatives and deworming medications can help keep your pet safe from these pests.
  • Grooming and Hygiene: Proper grooming and hygiene are essential for pets’ health. Bathing, brushing, and trimming their nails can prevent skin issues and discomfort. It is advisable to the pet owners to establish a grooming routine based on their pet’s breed and coat type.
  • Socialization and Mental Stimulation: Pets thrive on social interaction and mental stimulation. Playtime and socialization are vital to prevent anxiety and behavioural issues. Avoid leaving them chained and alone, as this can result in aggressive behaviour. Consider enrolling your pet in training classes or arranging playdates with other pets to keep them engaged and happy.
  • Observe Behavioural Changes: Observing your pet’s behaviour is crucial for early detection of discomfort or health issues. Pay attention to changes in eating habits, activity level, grooming, and temperament. Any significant deviations from their normal behaviour should be discussed with your veterinarian promptly.
  • Safe Environment: Creating a safe environment for your pet is vital. Remove hazards like toxic plants, chemicals, and small objects that can be ingested. pet-proof your home just as you would for a child.

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