July is Back to Basics month at Town N Country, and one of the basic ways to say “I love you” to your fantastic pet is to provide a healthy diet.

What does that mean exactly? Basically, at Town N Country we recommend a balanced, high quality pet food that’s dry, canned or raw for dogs and cats. (We talked about Nature’s Instinct RAW back in the winter. If you’d like more information what we keep in our freezer section, click here.) Pet foods are like many things in life: you get what you pay for.

Imagine the differences in health of people who eat a lot of processed or fried foods compared to the health of people who choose a variety of meats, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. The former group may have purposed to save time or money but will end up paying a greater price in their own health.

The same is true for the cats’ and dogs’ food choices. Their short and long term quality of life is directly affected by their diet. The big difference is that your pet doesn’t choose – you do.

Loved to Death. While it’s true that your pet adores treats and tasty food, moderation is key. In our practice, one of the top diseases we see is obesity. Did you realize that obesity has been proven to decrease your pet’s lifespan by 2 YEARS. That is a lot less time to love your little one. Talk to us about the portion that’s right for your pet. It may be less than you think!

Table Foods: the Forbidden Fruit?? During a routine visit, it we ask pet owners if they give their pet table food, most will mumble an affirmative answer and avoid eye contact. Truth is, not all table food is bad. And not all pet food treats are good. As a vet, I would rather see a dog fed a bit of meat as a treat rather than a sodium-laden Beggin’ Strip!

Raw veggies like carrots and green beans are great healthy snacks for dogs; however, there are many table foods that are bad choices for pets. A few that you want to absolutely avoid include grapes, chocolate and raw onions. Even in small amounts, chocolate can be toxic. And onions may damage red blood cells and cause anemia.

Treated like Family. Dole out your “treats” judiciously, whether they’re purchased from your pet supply or come from your own table. When you look at your dog’s big brown eyes, the message you may receive is “You’re eating, and I’m not. Can we change this scenario somewhat??” Be careful! It’s all too easy to allow your dog to fall into the habit of begging.

Cats, of course, would never stoop to begging. Their course of action might be to refuse whatever you’re offering for dinner until the coveted choice is offered. Love languages can be very complicated!

Feel the Love. Providing good, healthy nutrition is a just a basic way to love your pet. If you have any questions about the best diet for your dog or cat, please contact us at Town N Country. Basically, we love to hear from you.