The Merits of a Fish-Based Diet for Pets
Authored by Dr Natanya Smit, ACANA Technical Sales Representative BSc, BVSc.
Everyone enjoys variety in their diet – this also rings true for when it comes to selecting an appropriate diet for your furry companion. Due to its rich nutritional value, cats and dogs can also enjoy fish as a source of meat protein in their diets which also add variety. We’ve jotted down a few ideas to encourage you to consider fish as part of a meat-rich diet for your beloved pet.
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
Fish based diets are a great source of animal-based omega-3 fatty acids, which have important health benefits for cats and dogs. 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.
When making a food purchase for your pet, choose diets with high levels of EPA and DHA to ensure that 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 impactful when rotational feeding is introduced at a young age.
Provides an alternative protein source for dogs with food sensitivities
Dogs with food sensitivities might itch or show gastrointestinal 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.
With these points in mind, now you can make an informed and bold choice in a suitable meaty, fish-based diet for your pet next time you’re filling up your shopping cart.