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What Should I Be Feeding My Pet?

Let’s start off by saying your dog is an omnivore and your cat is an obligate carnivore (true carnivore). What does this mean? An omnivore obtains nutrients from a combination of meats and plants. An obligate carnivore requires certain nutrients that are only found in animal tissue.

Regarding our omnivore friend, the dog: dogs’ tooth structure and intestinal structure have adapted to that of a diet able to meet nutritional needs by eating a combination of plants and animal foods. A dog’s diet would be unbalanced if it only ate meat. The six primary nutrients are water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins.

Dogs can get the required energy from carbohydrates as well as proteins and fat (these are their primary energy source). Complex carbohydrates are more digestible when they are cooked.

Our carnivore companions, the cat, must have animal tissue in their diet as they are unable to use certain nutrients that are found in plant tissue. Cats also require high levels of dietary protein, which is their primary source of daily calories.

Another important evolutionary factor is that cats are of desert origin meaning they can conserve water more efficiently than other mammals. Cats can be “finicky” eaters meaning texture, odour, temperature, and flavour is strong influences. They can develop a preference for specific texture.

Both adult dogs and cats should have their diet measured out to ensure a safe and healthy balance every day. Our pet’s food is measured in minimum and maximums which can become very confusing to understand the labels. For instance, with fresh meat, which contains a lot of water, most of this is lost in processing. If a food’s ingredients list mentions corn first this could mean that this dry diet is nutritionally superior to a dry diet that lists meat first.

If you have any questions regarding pet food, your best bet is to contact your local veterinary clinic. At North Town Veterinary Hospital we offer a complimentary Nutritional Consult with one of our knowledgeable team members. Please call NTVH at any time to schedule an appointment.

Written by Aimee Gillis, CSR


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North Town Veterinary Hospital is committed to doing everything possible to combat the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

As part of this commitment, effective immediately, North Town Veterinary Hospital will be instituting the following precautionary protocol to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

For the safety of yourself, our staff, and the community, clients will not be allowed to enter the building. We have initiated a Closed-Door Policy, we have locked our front doors. Please call 905-451-2000 when you arrive for your appointment. We will meet you outside to get your pet. The exam will take place in our hospital and our Doctor will communicate the results of the examination via telephone. You can also place an order for pet food through our Online Store by visiting our website.


- If possible, please call us at 905-451-2000 to let us know you are on the way so that we can be prepared to meet you upon your arrival at the hospital.

- When you arrive, please stay in your vehicle in our parking lot and call 905-451-2000, and we'll come to you.

- If you do not have a phone or your pet's emergency is immediately life-threatening, please come to the front door and ring the bell.

Online consultations are now available!

- If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

Thank you in advance for your understanding.