Nutritional Needs for Cats and Dogs

Posted on 30 January 2020 by WCF Select


Understanding nutrition is an important factor when choosing a healthy cat or dog food, as they require food which is suited to their specific physiological and physical needs. The composition of a cat and dog’s diet is very similar, but the moisture, protein, fat, fibre and ash level vary significantly. Many homes have both cats and dogs as beloved pets so here we take a look at 3 ways their needs vary.  

Physiology 

· Cats are obligate carnivores, so their diet requires nutrients found only in animal flesh. Which means that they cannot survive without a source of protein within their diet and have a higher requirement for protein, essential amino acids, fatty acids and certain vitamins.

· Dogs are omnivores so can adapt to having both protein and plant sources of energy. They also possess molars for helping to crush plant matter, whereas cats do not so you will find little plant matter within their diet.

· Cats have fewer taste buds than dogs and as they also have a much smaller intestine, they require smaller, more frequent meals. 

Amino Acids 

Cats are unable to cope with high levels of carbohydrates and will not survive without a supply of essential amino acids from the protein within their diet. They also have a dietary need for taurine but have limited ability to make this from amino acids. Without taurine, Cats are at risk of problems such as heart conditions and retinal degeneration. Arginine is also essential for detoxifying harmful ammonia, which results from the breakdown of proteins. Dogs on the other hand are not very sensitive to low levels of Arginine in their diets and are able to make some of the required amino acids themselves. This being said they do still require a nutritious feed rich in amino acids as they are unable to make everything they need. 

Vitamins   

Vitamin A, also called retinol, is an essential vitamin that is required in different ways for cats and dogs. For example, Cats cannot make the active form of vitamin A so must eat preformed Vitamin A, which comes from a high source of protein. Whereas dogs possess the metabolic processes whereby they can break down plant carotenoids and convert pre-vitamin forms into active Vitamin A. 

Vitamins are an important ingredient when it comes to nutritious cat and dog food as they not only support things like, growth, healthy skin, liver function and a strong immune system, but also the conversion of carbohydrates, protein and fats into energy. Both animals require a vitamin rich diet and a good cat or dog food will contain the composition to provide this. 

At WCF Select we pride ourselves on providing nutritious, complete feeds for both cats and dogs. Shop the full range of cat food and premium dog food online today, with delivery direct to your door. For more information and advice on nutrition for your pets click here. 

Nutritional needs for your cats and dogs