Fish for cats? Absolutely! And meat for dogs…right? Hmmm, maybe not. Dogs evolved from wolves and fish is in fact a big part of a wolf’s diet. Dr Natanya Smit, from ACANA, shares the below points to show why you might want to add a little more fish in your pup’s diet:
Fish is a great source of protein
Your pet needs protein. Protein is the body’s building blocks. While plant and meat ingredients can contribute protein in the diet, protein derived from meat ingredients are generally more digestible and contain all the essential amino acids that your pets need. Fish as a meat ingredient is a great source of protein, containing all of the essential amino acids that your pets need in their diets to remain in tip-top health.
A fish rich diet provides a solid source of omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids contain anti-inflammatory properties, which makes diets rich in these fatty acids a great food option for dogs and cats suffering from inflammatory conditions, such as skin allergies and joint disease. It is also good for brain health and can be included as part of a patient’s cancer treatment. Choose diets with high levels of EPA and DHA to ensure your pet is getting all the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in their diets. These details should be disclosed on the packaging of pet foods, if it’s not, they might not be included in the diet.
Provides for rotational feeding options and variety
Rotational feeding refers to a diet rotation which provides pets with regular dietary changes. Not only does this keep them interested in their meals, by rotational feeding you add diversity to their nutrition. By exposing them to different protein sources you can help decrease the chances of your pets developing food sensitivities, this is particularly effective when rotational feeding is introduced at a young age.
An alternative protein source for dogs with food sensitivities
Dogs with food sensitivities might itch or show gastro-intestinal signs such as diarrhoea and vomiting. In these instances, you might limit the reaction by feeding a limited ingredient diet with a ‘novel’ meat protein, or one your dog hasn’t had exposure to. Look out for credible vet-based brands which offer at least 50% in fish ingredients and ones which don’t contain poultry or grains as these have often been linked to food related allergic reactions in dogs. A brand readily available to the South African pet lover is ACANA. Their Pacifica and Wild Coast options meet this criterion and provide a suitable, sustainably sourced option.