Commonly asked Nutrition Questions

- Is the most expensive diet always the best?  There is a lot of competition in the 

pet food market so yes, you will pay more for a high quality diet.  That being said, 

just because a diet is expensive does not mean that it is the right for your pet.  

Buyer beware.

- Does my pet need a “grain-free” diet?  The answer is generally no, but sometimes, 

yes.  Grain – free does not necessarily mean low in carbohydrates.  It is the high 

carbohydrate levels in certain dry diets that are going to pack the pounds on to 

your cat or dog.  If your pet possibly has a food allergy then one of these diets may 

be worth a try.  It is more important to make sure that the protein levels are 

appropriate in the diet that you select for your pet.

- Does my pet need a high protein diet?  The answer is maybe.  Many active dogs, 

especially working dogs do well on a high protein diet.  These diets are often very 

dense and high calorie so they may not be appropriate for less active or 

overweight dogs and cats.  Dogs need 1gm of protein per pound of their IDEAL 

bodyweight per day to maintain their lean muscle mass.

- Why is it that my pet is not losing weight on the “Less Active” / “Low Calorie” 

food that I bought at the store?  There are no store bought foods that are 

formulated for weight loss.  If you truly want your pet to lose weight and you 

want to do it is a safe and balanced way then a prescription diet from your 

veterinarian is best.  Cats are a bit different.  Some cats can lose weight on 

CANNED kitten food but if you want to stick with dry, a prescription diet will be 

needed for weight loss.

- How much should I feed my pet?  Great question and there is no right answer!  I 

will tell you to be cautious about following the directions on the back of the bag of 

food.  A very rough guideline for an adult dog is 1 cup per 25lb./ day and for an 

adult 10lb cat is ½ cup/ day.  This feeding recommendation is a place to start but 

you really should feed based on the body condition score of your pet and their 

activity level.  Pet feeding is a dynamic process and should change as needed.  We 

get in the habit of tossing the exact same amount of food in the bowl every day – 

rain or shine, winter or summer, and run at the dog park or not.  Try to anticipate 

your pets caloric needs and adjust accordingly.

- I give my dog lots of treats because he begs constantly if I don’t.  Is that ok?  NO!  

Treats and table food are not balanced and they are usually high in calories and 

salt and are probably the biggest contributor to our pet obesity problem in the U.S.  

Treats should always be <10% of your pet’s total caloric intake.  Feeding your pet 

intermittently and often will just reinforce his/ her begging behavior (ask 

Skinner).  Try to stick to meals and offer treats only sparingly or reserve them for 

training purposes.   I will take a step down from the pulpit to say that I am not 

against feeding your pets SOME high quality protein or vegetables but recommend 

that you adjust their caloric intake to accommodate these additions.  Baby carrots 

make great treats for dogs and most kitties would appreciate a few pieces of tuna 

every now and again.   Never feed directly from the table or your plate, and use 

your pet’s food bowl unless you are actively training.

 

- Hope that helps!!  Let me know if you have other questions.  Send them to 

arvadavethospital@yahoo.com  cc:  Dr. Adams nutrition question.

 

These answers are my opinion and are based on clinical experience and industry 

research.