Vet warns against feeding your pets alternative diets

Vet warns against feeding your pets alternative diets

DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - When it comes to feeding your four-legged friends, what’s good for you may not be good for them.

More Americans are embracing alternative or plant-based diets for themselves and their pets. And too many pet owners assume that what works for them will also work for their pets.

There seems to be a new nutrition trend every week. And while some people are willing to change what they eat in the name of health, Dr. Steve Osborne, a veterinarian in Decatur, warns that it’s not a good idea when it comes to your pet.

“Pets have different requirements than people. I don’t think trends such as vegan, gluten-free or grain-free necessarily are good for your pets," Osborne said.

Alternative pet diets have vastly different nutritional needs than humans.

“Eating what we eat isn’t necessarily the best thing," said Osborne.

And just because you don’t eat meat doesn’t mean your pet should adopt the vegetarian or vegan way of life. Osborne says they need the right proportions of meat and carbs.

Take Yocelin Chavez for example. She isn’t playing around with her dog’s diet. She makes sure the kibble she pours in her dog’s bowl is based on science not on fads.

“Humans are not animals so they require different things, so cats don’t have the same things as dogs," she said.

What about those raw diets? Pet owners concerned about the ingredients in pet foods may be tempted to make their own or buy the type in the refrigerated section at the super market.

Osborne says both can cause severe health issues.

“You want to follow scientific principles. You want to follow sound advice. Your veterinarian is the best place to get that information,” he said.

A veterinarian takes things like your pet’s breed, body weight, body composition and medical conditions into account to determine the best diet for them.

Osborne says reject the hype and consider your pet’s needs over your own.

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