Recently we asked you for your questions on pet nutrition for Dr. Tiffany Bierer, health and nutrition science manager for Mars Petcare US. For the next several days, we’ll be featuring Dr. Bierer’s responses to your questions!
The raw diet seems to be all the rage now. Is it OK to mix a freeze dried raw diet with kibble? I have a very finicky eater. I can get her to eat if I mix the two.
Dr. Bierer: Some pets aren’t satisfied with a diet of only dry food. One way to give them more meal enjoyment is to feed a combination of wet and dry food mixed together.
You do need to make sure that you are not compromising on providing complete and balanced nutrition for your pet so make sure both the dry and wet diets you use are 100% complete and balanced for the lifestage your pet is (example: Adult foods for an adult pet and kitten/puppy or growth foods if you have a kitten/puppy).
When you add foods that are not complete and balanced, you add calories but can dilute out essential nutrients that your pet needs to thrive everyday.
If you add raw diets, make sure they are complete and balanced and that you are adjusting the total calories of your pet’s diet to meet their calorie needs and aren’t overfeeding. One thing to be mindful of is that many raw foods, especially meats, carry microbial contamination which can affect you and your family so be careful during handling. Visit http://www.fda.gov for more information on handling raw foods and feeding them to your pets.
Another option is to try canned foods to add enjoyment to your pets meal without some of the risks of raw. It is a good way to add variety and taste while still providing all the nutrition your pet needs.
Wet or canned foods are great additions to the diet of pets because of the meal enjoyment they provide and the fact that they are balanced nutrition. In addition, because they have so much moisture (most are over 70%!) the calories per gram are about ¼ that of dry so you can provide a larger volume of food for the same amount of calories to help your pet feel satisfied. They also provide more moisture for hydration which we all know is important for good health.
Dr. Tiffany Bierer is the health and nutrition sciences manager for Mars Petcare US, makers of PEDIGREE® Food for Dogs, CESAR® Brand, WHISKAS® Food for Cats, THE GOODLIFE RECIPE® Brand, TEMPTATIONS® Treats for Cats and CRAVE® Treats for Cats.