Are you worried about feeding your pets during COVID-19? Veterinary professionals from Dragon Lake Veterinary Hospital offer some information for pet owners. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer file photo)

Should you be worried about your pet food supply?

A perspective from veterinary care professionals

It is clear we live in uncertain times right now. Non-essential services are shutting down, people stocking up on essentials in preparation for self-isolation or quarantine.

For now, people are still able to get their supplies from the grocery stores, but what about their pets? Well, according to a Reuters article, it looks like pet stores get to stay open as well, but things are changing every day, and people are worried.

The team of vet care workers at Dragon Lake Veterinary Hospital understand those concerns and want to shed some light on the importance of keeping a consistent and healthy diet for your pet.

“Pet owners put a lot of thought and research into which food to feed their pet; it’s not right if they have to change that if pet stores are forced to close,” says veterinary assistant Victoria Malone.

Some of the population, especially non-pet owners, may not understand the vast differences in pet food quality. Not all pet foods are created equal.

“I admit that I am not a nutritionist, but the veterinary line of pet food we carry in-store does have veterinary nutritionists working for them,” says Malone. “They are there to make sure their ingredients are selected for quality and nutritional value.”

Even a small change in diet between two types of pet food of comparable quality can have consequences for your pet.

“A sudden diet change can cause symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to an unexpected visit to the vet,” says registered veterinary technician Michelle Berlinguette.

No one wants to see their furry friend suffer like that!

Many pets also have dietary restrictions. Just like humans, they can suffer from food allergies, intolerances or what can be equated to the doggie form of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

There are also prescription diets for conditions like diabetes, kidney disease and, yes, obesity. Neutered male cats can be especially prone to urinary blockages if not on the appropriate food to balance their urine PH — and this can be a big vet emergency with a big vet bill associated.

“At the clinic, we see just about every dietary indiscretion in the books, and the consequences when a proper diet is not followed,” says veterinarian Dr. Ginger Langan.

The good news is if you have one of these pets on a specialized diet, you will probably be OK. You are likely already getting your pet food from the vet, and they are not closing any time soon.

However, there have been shortages and delays with suppliers, so leave yourself time and order ahead.

You may reach Dragon Lake Vet by phone at 250-747-1429, by email at dlvet@shaw.ca or through Facebook for more information or to find out about less-contact options such as online ordering, curbside pickup and telemedicine appointments.

— Submitted by Dragon Lake Veterinary Hospital

READ MORE: Canadians urged to include pets in their COVID-19 emergency plans



editor@quesnelobserver.com

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