Nutrition Counselling

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Every pet owner wants their pet healthy and happy. And we all know that diet plays a large factor in this goal. Nothing gives us more pleasure than listening to passionate pet owners talking about pet food, whether it is home-cooked and organic, commercially prepared or a supplementary treat. If you’ve got this down pat and your pet is thriving, then we salute you! It is not easy at all navigating marketing claims, confusing ingredient lists and buzzwords like “ancient grains”, “holistic” and “grass-fed”, to know what is right for your pet. New pet owners will often spend an extraordinary amount of time and effort researching all of this to ensure they do right by their pet.

Nutrition Counselling Appointment

If you have questions, then we are here to help! Just drop us an email, or call to reserve a complimentary nutrition counselling appointment with a veterinary technician. We don’t pass judgement or force you to select certain brands. Instead, you will receive sound information commensurate with our professional knowledge, training and experience. It will allow you to make informed and educated choices about what to feed your pet. In fact, we can go over some of these points when you bring your pet in for their vaccinations or wellness checkups.

General Points on Pet Nutrition

While each pet and breed comes with different nutritional needs, the following guidelines can help both dog and cat owners.

Raw Meat:

Cats and dogs can handle bacteria from raw meat. However, we recommend you avoid it to keep them from becoming pathogen carriers. They can easily transmit e. Coli, salmonella, or campylobacter spp by carrying it on their coats and infecting you and other members of your household.

Home-Made Versus Commercial:

Home-made recipes, even when found on a veterinarian’s website, are rarely nutritionally balanced for the long-term needs of your pet. Reputable commercial pet food brands assess the nutritional status of their products after processing and cooking. When they discover imbalances, they add vitamins to ensure optimal quality. We always recommend commercial pet food for this reason. You might consider a home-cooked meal once in a while when your pet is ill and convalescing, for example. But do not make this a part of their daily diet.

Age, Breed & Size:

Feed your pet a diet that is suitable for their age, breed and size. We can help you narrow down the choices available. Do not reach for “All Life Stages” dog food, for example, just because it is cost-effective. Some large dogs remain susceptible to growth disorders. While the causes are genetic, their diet can go a long way in keeping them healthy.


Marketing messages can confound pet owners to no end. “Grain-free” and “corn-free” are the ones we find most offensive because we wonder why not? Neither cats nor dogs have grain sensitivities like human beings. And grains contain good sources of vitamins, fibre and omega fatty acids which benefit your pet’s cardiac health.

If you thumb your nose at “chicken by-products”, then you are justified in avoiding feathers and beaks (yuk!) that are simply not healthy for your pet. However, organ meats like heart, liver and kidney are also meat by-products, and denser nutritionally than muscle meats.

Pet owner should rightfully question marketing claims and buzzwords. The important thing is to focus on the nutrition the food provides, not the ingredients listed on the back.

Pet Store Recommendations:

Maintain a healthy bias when taking recommendations from pet store attendants. They could be telling you the truth or promoting an item for its profit margin. Private label brands often fall in this category, so ask questions and then get a second opinion from professionals you can trust, like the veterinarian who knows your pet and best understands their needs.

We can recommend brands from your local pet store and even offer veterinarian brands exclusively available to our clients at the clinic and online. We often carry small-sized packages that your pet can sample for free.

Ultimately, ask questions, expect answers and then ask more questions if you are unsure.

About Wellington Veterinary Hospital

Wellington Veterinary Hospital is operated by Dr. Cliff Redford, a veterinarian with over two decades of experience. Our caring and passionate team of professionals provides a full range of services for your canine and feline companions. We are always delighted to meet new pets, answer your questions and offer preventative health care tips during free assessments with our veterinary technicians. Our location in Markham, Ontario offers plenty of free parking, convenient operating hours and a 24-hour emergency call line

Dr. Redford is incredibly skilled, compassionate, and cares deeply about animals. We were so lucky to have him come to our animal rescue facility, Farmhouse Garden Animal Home, where he helped us treat our cows. We know the animals are in good hands whenever he is caring for them!

Edith Barabash

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