Making a balanced diet for pets is a bit like putting together a jigsaw puzzle with around 50 pieces, with each piece containing nutrients that are necessary for the animals' well-being.
All of the ingredients must fit together properly, and they bind with each other in the same way that puzzle pieces lock together to create a complete picture.
It is important to have a good understanding of house pets in order to properly care for them: Cats are fully carnivorous, while dogs are more omnivorous (though they do favor meat).
- Dogs have 42 teeth (cats, 30)
- Stomach acid is much stronger than in humans (necessary for digesting bone, and to offset less effective bacteria)
- The small intestine is short, making it impossible to properly digest carbohydrates
- Gut flora is limited compared to humans (who are omnivorous and must be able to digest a wide variety of food)
- Stomach can be very large, adapted to handle large meals.
- No digestive enzymes in saliva to help begin digestion as food is eaten.
- Powerful jaws, with over and under teeth that blend in with each other for biting, not chewing (all of a cat's teeth are very sharp)
- Few taste buds, so they get less taste of the food.
Cats and Dogs
- Swallow food without taking time to taste it.
- Food arrives in their stomach in large bites
- Food passes quickly through their digestive tract, and food that is not suited to a carnivore's diet goes in and then out again without providing much benefit.