Ask Dr Josie Gollan: Pet Nutrition

Dr. Josie Gollan is our trusted brand ambassador and companion animal veterinarian with over 10 years of clinical experience. We opened the floor to our customers on social media and asked them what questions they wanted answered about their pet’s nutrition.

Q: Are veterinarians taught pet nutrition as well?

A: Veterinarians are certainly taught about nutrition at vet school, we do a whole subject on the matter. However, just like all parts of our professional development, it is important to continue to stay up to date across the new developments and knowledge that we gain in the area so that we can offer the best advice to our clients in terms of looking after their pets.

Q: Why are there synthetic vitamins and minerals in this food when some other freeze-dried diets don’t have them?

A: The addition of some vitamins and minerals to the K9 Natural range is essential in ensuring that the meals are complete & balanced for all life stages; When you are using wholefood, natural ingredients it is important to realise that depending on a variety of factors (such as time of year, or the grass that the animals are eating), the nutrient value/content can differ. By adding additional minerals and vitamins, K9 Natural is essentially fortifying the diets to ensure the diets meet the AAFCO feeding guide requirements, that they are nutritionally balanced for your animal and that your pet is not going to end up with a nutritional deficiency.

Q: What health benefits does tripe offer?

A: Green tripe is the unprocessed stomach lining of a ruminant animal – so, an animal like a sheep or a cow – and it has excellent nutritional value for our pets. Green tripe is high in essential amino acids, as well as digestive enzymes and probiotics which is great for gut health in our pets. It is also really good for their skin & coat health and can even confer some immune system health benefits. In our house it is a family favourite! It is really good in terms of palatability, so for those animals that are a little bit pickier - or you just want to really get them excited about their meal - sprinkling a little bit of K9 Natural Freeze-Dried Green Tripe over the top is a sure way to get those bowls licked clean. It is certainly a good one to add into your pet’s diet if you haven’t already tried it.

Q: Why is it important that meats are grass-fed and grass-finished?

A: Grass-fed and grass-finished beef typically has a superior nutrient profile to conventionally raised beef. It is generally leaner and lower in total fat, while also being higher in quality nutrients. Typically, grass-finished beef will be higher in omega 3’s, vitamin E, antioxidants (such as beta-keratin), and it is thought when we use this as an ingredient in our pet food our pets will then benefit from this better nutritional profile. Additionally, grass-fed and grass-finished beef is typically thought of as being a more humane way to raise cattle, as the cattle are grazed on pastures out in the open as opposed to being fed in confined spaces or ‘feed lots’.

Q: What benefits do Green Lipped Mussels add?

A: Green Lipped Mussels – which are native to the waters of New Zealand – are an excellent addition to your pet’s diet! They are a rich source of omega 3, which we know has a multitude of health benefits for our pets. They are excellent for joint health, eye health, brain or cognitive health; they also confer an anti-inflammatory affect to many organ systems in the body and are great for heart or cardiovascular health. We also know that for skin or coat health Omega 3’s are essential. The K9 Natural range include green lipped mussels, and therefore Omega 3’s, in all of their Complete & Balanced diets, as well as having their own air-dried Green Lipped Mussel treats which you can give to your pet. Albus loves them and I feed him them every day!

Q: Should you rehydrate Freeze-Dried food?

A: Generally speaking, I would recommend rehydrating freeze-dried foods. This means adding the water content back in before you feed it to your dog. The reason for this is that it can aid in digestibility in terms of having that food rehydrated for your pet before it hits their stomach. Also, we need to remember that for animals a lot of their water content comes from their food. So, if your animal is not very good at drinking from the water bowl, ensuring they get water from their food via rehydrating their freeze-dried diet is really important for their overall health and wellbeing. Of course, you can feed it without rehydrating it and sometimes sprinkling it on the top of another food or giving it as a treat is a perfect way to feed your pet, but on a whole I would recommend adding the water back in before it hits their tummies.

Q: What are the best foods that a dog with pancreatitis should be eating?

A: The overall aim for feeding a dog that has been diagnosed with pancreatitis, which is a very common condition of inflammation of the pancreas in dogs, is to feed them a low-fat diet. Often a veterinary recommendation would be a specifically formulated food that is very low in fat; this works in treating the disease as part of a whole treatment plan, as well as for dogs that have been previously affected by the disease in helping to prevent recurrence of it. This is certainly something I would recommend consulting your vet about – which foods are appropriate for your dog and what they recommend. However, low-fat is the main stay of the disease treatment through diet.

Q: Why are there no gelling agents in the cans?

A: Gelling agents have typically been used in traditional canned food for pets to improve the texture and palatability of the food, and also help with the consistency and stabilisation of it so that it does not separate in the can before it is fed to our animals. The problem with them is that many of the ingredients used as gelling agents aren’t actually very easily digested by our pets and can also cause some inflammation or some allergic type reactions when they are consumed. That is why the K9 Natural canned ranges do not use gelling agents, it is only the natural ingredients in those cans as well as some fresh New Zealand water, making sure our pets are happy and healthy when they eat them.

Thanks for tuning in! Make sure to follow us on Instagram at @K9Natural to submit your own questions in the future and see more for Dr. Josie Gollan.

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