Are pets what they eat?
Pet nutrition may be the most difficult part of veterinary medicine. Good, accurate information on nutrition has remained a neglected segment of education in veterinary schools, funding and research. As a result, there is a lack of good, consistent information and advice on nutrition. It has left the pet owners with little choice but to rely on the information put out there by popular brands. Information that, unfortunately, is filled with inaccuracies and unproven claims.
Nutrition, however, remains one of our greatest tools in combating disease and holds huge potential to benefit the quality and quantity of life for pets. If good information is so hard to find, what are we to believe? Well, science may hold a valuable answer.
Nutrigenomics is a promising field in human and veterinary medicine that may unlock the mysteries of how genes and nutrients interact on the molecular level. It potentially will help us understand what diets affect specific genes and maximize the potential health benefits our pets get from their dietary intake.
They are looking at what happens in tissue when animals are fed one diet versus another. The results may lead to a better understanding of the microbial profile and metabolic pathways of animals with varying dietary regimens and at different stages of health and life. Many questions need to be answered before the ultimate goal can be achieved: creating individual diets that make optimal use of, and even manipulate, gene expression.
In laymen terms, we may actually be what we eat. So, which diet is best?
Until science can give us more precise data about diets, there are building blocks to good nutrition that aid us in selecting a good feeding program for our pet(s).
Below we explore several areas in nutrition:
Life stages – what to feed our pets as they age [Link coming soon]
What we recommend to clients [Link coming soon]