One of the most rewarding reasons to become a vet tech is to help educate pet parents about the essentials of good nutrition for their dogs. At every stage of their development, dogs need specific vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy. Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs. Senior dogs may have health problems that require food with fewer calories or food that helps with joint and mobility issues.
It’s the vet tech’s responsibility to provide pet parents with as much information as possible to help their pets live a long and happy life. As a vet tech, you can educate pet parents by providing them nutritional data that’s relevant to their pet.
Why Do Owners Take Such Good Care of Their Dogs?
People who love animals want to provide them with everything they need to be happy and healthy. Many pet parents treat their dogs like children. They provide them with nutritious food, medical care, and a lot of interaction. Many dog lovers have toys all over their living room and a bed for their dog next to where they sleep at night.
For most people, their dogs are part of the family. They schedule pet-friendly activities, so their dogs can be part of the fun. They choose vacation accommodations and restaurants that accept pets. They have regular outings at the dog park. A concept that’s gotten popular in the last few years is dog daycare. A lot of pet parents don’t want their dog to be alone all day, so they drop them off at a dog care facility so they can play with other dogs.
Some dog owners go as far as feeding their dogs fresh food. Pet owners are more educated about pet food than ever before. They understand that their dogs need nutritious food, but they want them to eat food that tastes good too. Some pet parents cook meat and vegetables just for their dogs to make sure they’re getting quality food.
Pets May Have Medical Problems That Require Special Diets
Some of the medical conditions that can affect the diet a dog should eat are:
- Compromised Immune System
A dog’s lifestyle can have a significant impact on the kind of food that’s provided. For example, working dogs need a different protein content than a family dog that’s less active. As a vet tech, you can educate pet owners about the percentage of carbohydrates and whether a dog should eat red or white meat. A dog with kidney disease or one that’s diabetic needs a special diet. Dogs that are pregnant or that have recently delivered litters have different nutritional needs. Some dogs will even benefit from fresh pet foods.
What Are Some of The Newest Fresh Pet Foods Available?
There are many ways to prepare fresh pet food, but some companies have started to create ready-made and fresh pet foods.
The Farmer’s Dog
Pet parents create a personalized profile for their dog, including age, breed, size, and food preferences. The food plans are veterinary approved. The owner chooses the ingredients in the dog’s pre-packaged food. Delivery is based on their schedule, and the subscription plan can be adjusted.
Nom Nom works with a certified veterinary technologist to create pre-packaged, fresh food for pets that doesn’t include any artificial ingredients. Owners create a profile for their pet and choose the ingredients they want in their recipes. Nom Nom offers a discount for multi-pet families. Recipes include chicken, beef, pork, or turkey. Nom Nom also provides support for pets with mobility or joint problems.
Spot & Tango
Spot & Tango creates recipes for pets with foods that are hormone and GMO-free and sourced from local suppliers and farms in the U.S. No artificial preservatives or fillers are used in the recipes. All the ingredients are human grade. The recipes use ingredients including apples, beef, barley, kelp, lamb, salmon, and sweet potatoes.
Ollie produces recipes for pets that are veterinary-formulated and highly nutritious. Turkey, chicken, lamb, or beef are used in the recipes, depending on the owner’s preference. Pet parents can purchase a two-week supply of food with each order. Among the additional ingredients in the recipes are root and leafy vegetables, plant-based proteins, and fresh fruit.
Pet Plate creates fresh, packaged meals for pets based on information about their behavior, preferences, and physical condition. Each of the four recipes is created for specific benefits, including meals for fussy eaters or for weight management. The meals arrive frozen and are stored in the refrigerator until they’re ready for the pet. The packages can be frozen for up to 12 months.
Tailored Pet Nutrition
Tailored pet Nutrition offers a shelf-stable variety of kibble that’s created from fresh fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Veterinarians created the nutritious food blends. Pet parents have the option of choosing a one-time trial or purchasing a subscription.
Hungry Bark offers a slow-roasted kibble that’s probiotic-rich and approved by veterinarians. Pet parents fill out a questionnaire about the dog’s age, breed, weight, activity level, and goals for optimum health. Hungry Bark emails a customized meal plan. Owners choose the ingredients they want in their dog’s plan. Chicken, duck, turkey, salmon, or lamb are used in the recipes. Supplements for coat and skin, heart health, joint and mobility issues, and anxiety are included in the meals. To enhance the meals, three mix-ins are available.
How Important Is Nutrition for Pets?
Nutrition is as vital for pets as it is for the humans they live with. A nutritious diet helps dogs live longer and be healthier. When pet foods are made with high-quality ingredients, pets have a better quality of life.
Dogs that eat higher quality pet foods are less likely to develop irritations of the skin and may scratch less. Their coats tend to be softer and shinier, and they’re less prone to having ear infections. Nutritious dog food provides other benefits, including stronger bones and muscles, and dogs that eat fresh foods are less likely to develop conditions like inflammatory bowel disorders. When dogs eat a nutritious diet, they’re more energetic, have a more agreeable temperament, feel better and are much happier.
A diet of fresh, nutritious food also benefits dogs for the long-term. Pet food that contains a lot of artificial colors, chemicals, and preservatives are stressful on a dog’s internal organs, especially the liver and kidneys. Dogs that consume a diet of preservatives and by-products feel full but may not be in optimum physical condition.
What Makes A Quality Pet Food?
The first ingredient in a portion of high-quality pet food should be some type of meat or meat meal. Premium foods usually contain a source of carbohydrates but a minimal amount of grain. Some of the premium foods for dogs are grain-free. Many companies that produce premium foods for dogs are creating fresh, human-grade recipes for pets. These products are all-natural and contain Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids.
What Are Some Foods That Dogs Shouldn’t Eat Even If It Is Fresh?
Avocados are fine for people but not for dogs. They can cause diarrhea or vomiting.
Garlic and onions kill red blood cells and cause anemia in dogs. The onion powder that’s in some baby foods can be harmful to pets. Breathing problems, vomiting, and weakness are some symptoms to look for.
Caffeine in coffee, cola, cocoa, and energy drinks are all harmful to dogs. Coffee and cocoa beans are also fatal to pets. Caffeine is an ingredient in some cold and allergy medicines and should be kept in a safe place away from pets. If your dog consumes any of these, contact your vet as soon as possible.
Raisins and grapes are very dangerous to dogs, even in small amounts.
Dairy and milk-based foods can cause severe allergies and diarrhea in dogs. Allergic reactions may include scratching and skin irritations. If you want to give your dog a treat on a hot day, dog ice cream products are available, or you can find recipes online.
Why Are These Foods Toxic to Dogs?
Diet foods that are xylitol-sweetened, including bakery foods, candy, toothpaste, or gum, can cause a dog to have liver failure. The dog may become lethargic, have problems with coordination, vomit, or have seizures. Avocado seeds that get lodged in the stomach or intestines can be fatal. Alcohol, which pets don’t need anyway, can cause problems with breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, coma, or death. Any foods that are toxic can be fatal because they cause digestive or breathing problems, gastrointestinal upsets, red blood cell loss and have the same effect as poison.
What Should You Do If You Feed Your Dog A Toxic Food?
The first step should always be to call the ASPCA Pet Poison Line at 888-426-4435. The ASPCA operates a 24-hour poison control hotline, 365 days a year. If your pet has ingested a toxic food or poisonous substance, or if you think they may have ingested anything harmful, call the ASPCA immediately for assistance.
The Poison Control Center at the ASPCA has a team of experts that provide pet parents with valuable sources of information about how to recognize symptoms of poisoning and the immediate steps to take. The ASPCA team provides information about foods, plants, and medications that are toxic and potentially fatal to pets.
The ASPCA provides information on their website related to toxic or poisonous substances, food, and even household products that must be kept away from pets. The ASPCA is the most reputable source to learn about foods that are safe and those that are dangerous for our pets.
Now that you know more about fresh pet foods, interested in becoming a vet tech? As a vet tech, you can help pets be healthy and happy. By educating pet parents you help the pets to stay healthy and live a longer life. Becoming a vet tech is a rewarding career and the education can be completed in less than two years. Start a new career and help pets at the same time.
Now that you know there is a high demand for vet techs, are you ready to learn more? With an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology, you’ll gain the knowledge, qualities and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.