While it’s obvious that cats and dogs look very different from one another from the outside, it’s easy to assume that their internal processes would function the same. However, you’d be wrong in that assumption, as the metabolic differences between dogs and cats are quite different. So much so that they each require varying nutrients and amounts in their diets to keep their bodies functioning properly. For the well being of your furry friends, here are four important differences in the nutritional needs of cats and dogs.
Cats are Carnivores
Cats need the nutrients that are found in animal-based products in order to meet their dietary requirements. As cats have evolved and consumed animals over time, their bodies have become unable to properly digest and metabolize some of the essential nutrients that the animals they feed on are able to. Because a cat’s form can’t do it on its own, it’s necessary for their health that they’re fed on animal-based ingredients that are found in muscles and organ meat. Dogs, on the other hand, are semi-carnivores and are able to get away with less meat in their diets.
Cats need more protein in their diets than dogs, proteins that are made up of amino acids. They need taurine as well, but their bodies are unable to make much of it purely from the amino acids within them. Without high levels of taurine in their diet, cats are likely to suffer from dilated cardiomyopathy (a heart condition), reproductive failure, abnormal development at a young age or retinal degeneration.
Fatty acids need to be consumed through food, as a pet’s body can’t make sufficient amounts of it on its own. Some of these essential nutrients, like arachidonic acid, are a fatty acid that a cat can’t produce on its own while a dog can. It’s necessary for producing an inflammatory response that tells the body when to send healing means to a location that’s experiencing blood clotting. It also supports the use of both the reproductive and gastrointestinal systems while also maintaining proper skin growth.
Cats are unable to create active forms of vitamin A as well as the necessary quantities of certain vitamin B complexes to nourish the body. These vitamins are necessary to support the health of your pet’s eyes and skin. They also help in converting proteins, carbohydrates and fats into energy. Dogs, however, are able to convert these pre-vitamin forms into their active forms through their metabolic processes.
At Truscott Animal Hospital, we’re a team of dedicated veterinarians and pet lovers who take the care of your pets very seriously. Located in Mississauga, Ontario, our animal hospital offers services such as pet vaccinations, pet wellness, dental care, dietary counselling, emergency vet treatments and more. We’re a Mississauga vet clinic that will do what we can to keep your cats, dogs and other exotic pets healthy, so book your appointment online or give us a call.