Animal Nutrition is a constant balancing act
There are a lot of varying factors to consider when designing an animal’s diet. Proper nutrition requires more than just feeding animals certain kinds of foods. A unique balancing act is necessary to create a nutritious diet for all animals, and here are some important aspects that go into that design.
The Protein predicament
Many pet owners consider protein to be a buzz word. However, not all proteins are created the same. There is a stark difference in the quality of protein, which is actually determined by its levels of amino acids. In simpler terms, some proteins are able to be broken down and used by some animals while other proteins are not. For example, dogs need 22 different kinds of amino acids, although they are limited to synthesizing just twelve of those amino acids. There are also recommended fat percentages in protein for different categories of dogs. When selecting protein, the higher percentages do not always signify the highest quality. That goes for all animals.
An eye for problems
Animal nutritionists need to keep a watchful eye on their animals because diet can be a major factor in the health of their skin. Some animals may develop rashes which can actually be remedied with proper nutrition. This intertwines with a natural and holistic approach to healing minor ailments. This could also be a direct result of a reaction to a food allergy. Animal nutritionists need to be mindful of how animals react to foods as part of their routine monitoring.
The age factor
Animals are similar to humans in regards to dietary changes that come with age. Animal nutritionists frequently cater their meal preparation to the age of the animal. There are certain ailments, such as kidney issues, that can require certain dietary restrictions in animals. Muscle maintenance and healthy digestion in older animals may not come as easy, which places more of an emphasis on diet as it can help those problem areas.
An animal’s health is partly contingent on diet while it also relies a great deal on exercise. This kind of dual role is important when planning out a nutritional diet for animals. An animal nutritionist may want to consult a veterinarian to gain a complete understanding of an animal’s strengths, weaknesses and needs. This kind of collaboration could result in a longer, healthier life for animals.
Animal nutritionists have to be very wary about allergies when planning out meals. Some animals have food allergies to beef, wheat or corn. This may also require some brainstorming in terms of what to substitute. Meanwhile, some foods can induce serious allergic reactions. For example, dogs are extremely allergic to macadamia nuts as they can lead to paralysis in extreme cases. Also, artificial sweeteners within foods can damage a dog’s liver. There are lots of other animals who are susceptible to allergies and remaining unaware of those specifics could be damaging to animals.
It goes without saying that pregnant animals are going to require more nutrition because they are eating for more than just themselves. Some animals give birth to a litter while larger animals berth just one offspring at a time. There needs to be additional nutrition provided during this important stage. The same also applies for offspring as different animals mature at different rates. Animal nutritionists plan out diets in accordance with those various stages of growth.
Animal nutritionists need to be reactionary as the identification of nutrient deficiencies is a telling sign that corrective measures must be taken. One of the most common signs is water deficiency, particularly since more than half of animal bodies are made up of water. That means more water for animals during warmer weather. There are also signs to look for in terms of nutrient deficiencies, such as sunken eyes, decreased saliva, loss of weight, or a reduced appetite. The inability to identify these deficiencies could lead to long-term issues which can become rather debilitating.
The following bachelors and Master’s programs offer career-focused instruction delivered by trained nutritionists with experience in the field. Find out more what each individual course of study offers through the locations below.
Purdue University Global's Bachelor of Science in Nutrition Program is an approved holistic nutrition education program through the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP).
UNC's MPH Nutrition concentration prepares students to provide, evaluate and communicate nutritional and dietary guidance that improves individual and population-wide health outcomes. In addition to developing their knowledge of nutrition science, students will explore behavior change, communication, counseling and the effects of dietary culture on individuals and communities.
Arizona State University's Nutrition Bachelors and Masters level programs online prepare students for careers in Health Education, Community Health, Food Analysis and more.
George Washington University's Online Master's in Integrative Medicine with a Concentration in Nutrition specialize in promoting health and wellness through nutrition.
American University’s online Master of Science in Nutrition Education will prepare you to become an influential leader in nutrition education and advocacy while promoting nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices in your community and beyond.
Spring Hill College’s flexible, convenient online MPH program will prepare you to be a leader in the public health infrastructure of our nation.
Ashworth College's nationally accredited online nutrition course is a self-paced career diploma that can build your confidence in diet, nutrition basics, and more.