Library

Nutrition

  • The preferred basic diet for guinea pigs is unlimited amounts of Timothy or other low-calcium hay, supplemented with smaller amounts of a commercial, high-fiber, Timothy-hay based guinea pig pellets. The diet should be supplemented with a variety of fresh, well-washed, leafy greens or colored vegetables; especially those high in vitamin C. Guinea pigs cannot manufacture their own vitamin C, therefore it is important that guinea pigs receive a vitamin C tablet or liquid vitamin C directly by mouth every day. Provide fresh clean water in a sipper bottle and check the tube for blockages each day.

  • Iguanas are herbivorous, meaning they eat plants. Most of their diet should be dark green leafy vegetables, with less than 20% of the diet as fruits. In general, foods comprised of large amounts of animal-based protein, such as crickets, mealworms, pinky mice, tofu, and hard boiled eggs, are too high in protein for iguanas to eat frequently and should be offered as less than 5% of the adult iguana’s total diet. The amount and type of supplements required by iguanas is controversial and somewhat age-dependent. Most veterinarians recommend lightly sprinkling a growing iguana’s food every other day (4-5 times per week) with calcium powder (calcium carbonate or gluconate), without vitamin D or phosphorus that has been specifically formulated for reptiles. Most veterinarians recommend that young iguanas receive a multivitamin supplement containing vitamin D twice a week. Opinions vary regarding the nutritional needs of captive iguanas, and our knowledge in the subject is continually expanding based on new dietary studies in reptiles. Check with your veterinarian for specific nutritional needs for your pet iguana.

  • Over 50% of cats in North America are either overweight or obese, so paying attention to the balance between activity and calorie intake is important

  • Lories and lorikeets are also known as "brush tongued parrots" due to their unique tongues that are adapted for their highly specialized dietary needs. Lories and lorikeets eat a high moisture-containing diet and have relatively short digestive tracts when compared with other parrots. This combination makes for a very quick transit time of food through the gastrointestinal tract which is why lories and lorikeets eat often and produce frequent and very loose droppings. Lories and lorikeets eat nectar and pollens in the wild. They also consume soft foods like fruits, berries, blossoms, and buds. There are a number of excellent commercially available nectar and pollen substitutes available for feeding lories and lorikeets. Feeding these diets can be complicated, as their high-sugar content makes them susceptible to rapid spoilage once mixed with water. If lories and lorikeets eat spoiled food, they can be prone to developing gastrointestinal tract infections with yeast and bacteria. Lories and lorikeets can also be successfully maintained on several commercially available brands of pelleted diets and tend to have firmer stools when fed pellets. A large variety of diced fruits should be cut up in pieces and offered every day along with nectar substitute or pellets. Lories and lorikeets often use their water dishes to bathe in. Water dishes must be refilled often to keep them clean. Junk food, including chocolate, caffeinated products, alcoholic beverages, and foods high in salt or fat should not be offered. In general, birds eating 75-80% of their diet in the form of nectar, pollen, or pellets do not need supplements.

  • Diet changes need to be considered for senior dogs due to their changing energy requirements and medical conditions. Senior diets vary widely in nutrient profiles as there are no established standards. Recommendations for senior dog diets need to be based on clinical examination and discussion between veterinarian and owner. It is very important to ensure adequate water intake.

  • Mature, senior, and geriatric cats often require different nutrition than adult cats due to their changing ability to digest nutrients and underlying medical conditions. Senior diets vary widely in nutrient profiles as there are yet no established standards. Recommendations for senior cat diets need to be based on clinical examination and discussion between veterinarian and owner. It is very important to ensure adequate water intake for senior cats.

  • Our knowledge of bird nutrition is constantly evolving. This is due both to heightened awareness of the importance of nutrition and to increased research into birds different needs. As with all other animals, birds need a proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals and water. Different species of birds often require different foods.

  • Orphaned kittens will need extra care for survival to compensate for the loss of their mother. Kittens must be kept warm, very clean, and fed frequently using an appropriate amount and type of formula by bottle or less often tube feeding. To ensure nutrition is adequate, daily weight checks should be performed for the first 4 weeks, then weekly thereafter. Kittens must be stimulated to urinate and defecate. Environment, feeding instruments, and the kitten must be kept meticulously clean as they are more susceptible to infection than kittens cared for by their mother.

  • Orphaned puppies will need extra care for survival to compensate for the loss of their mother. Puppies must be kept warm, very clean, and fed frequently using an appropriate amount and type of formula by bottle or less often tube feeding. To ensure nutrition is adequate, daily weight checks should be performed for the first 4 weeks, then weekly thereafter. Puppies must be stimulated to urinate and defecate. Environment, feeding instruments and the puppy must be kept meticulously clean as they are more susceptible to infection than puppies cared for by their mother.

  • As with all other animals, birds need a proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water. Poor nutrition is a common reason for many health problems in birds. Cockatiels are vulnerable to vitamin A deficiency, insufficient dietary calcium, egg-binding, and other nutrition-related problems. Seeds should only be a very small part of a balanced diet. Fruits, vegetables and greens should account for no more than 20-25% of the daily diet. Pellets are the ideal diet for birds and should ideally represent approximately 75-80% of the bird's diet. Converting seed-eating birds onto a formulated diet is not always easy, taking days, weeks, or months. Consult your veterinarian if you encounter any problems with this transition or with the health of your bird. Placing powdered supplements on the outside of seeds is of little value, since birds remove the outer hulls from seeds before ingesting them. Cockatiels do not need gravel or grit because they remove the outer hull of the seed before ingesting the kernel.