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Dr. Punith G, (MVSc, Animal Nutrition)Techno Commercial Manager at Drools, Shares Expert Insights on Pet Nutrition with Petzcareindia Editor - Sunil Dcosta

Sunil Dcosta

27 Feb 2024

From the nutritional needs of pets to addressing health conditions and the importance of quality in pet food, Dr. Punith G shares his expertise with the Editor of Petzcareindia. Read on to discover expert advice on ensuring optimal health and well-being for your beloved pets.

Dr Punith G (MVSc, Animal Nutrition) - Drools Pet Food Pvt Ltd.
Dr Punith G (MVSc, Animal Nutrition) - Drools Pet Food Pvt Ltd.

1. Could you please introduce yourself and provide a brief overview of your experience and qualifications in veterinary medicine?

Dr Punith G: I am a seasoned professional in the field of animal health and nutrition. With a BVSc and AH qualification, as well as an MVSc specializing in Animal Nutrition, My journey began as a veterinary assistant surgeon, where I gained invaluable hands-on experience for two years in a private clinic setting. Subsequently, I transitioned to a role as a Techno Commercial Manager in the Poultry Nutrition segment, where I adeptly handled feed additives, combining my technical know-how with business acumen.

Presently, I am proud to serve as a Product and Techno Commercial Manager at Drools, where I continue to leverage my diverse skill set to deliver innovative solutions in the pet food industry.

2. What are the key differences between the nutritional needs of cats and dogs?

Dr Punith G: Many pet owners don’t know how different cats are from the rest of the domestic animals. There is a sentence that my professor used to tell us during of undergrad days that goes something like this “Cats are not small Dogs”, what I mean to say is, yes there are differences between the nutritional needs of Dogs and Cats. Cats being obligate carnivores require a lot of animal protein in their diet and they especially need supplementation of the amino acid Taurine in their diet which they cannot synthesize themselves, unlike dogs. They also require higher levels of arachidonic acid, an essential fatty acid found in animal tissues. Cats have a limited ability to convert plant-based precursors of certain nutrients into their active forms, such as

vitamin A and niacin hence they require preformed Vit A and Niacin in their diet. On the other hand, dogs are omnivores with more flexibility in their dietary requirements. They can derive nutrients from a wider range of sources, including plant-based ingredients. Dogs have a greater capacity to convert plant-derived precursors into active forms of nutrients, such as vitamin A and niacin.

3. How does a pet's age and life stage influence their nutritional requirements?

Dr Punith G: The nutrition demands are high in dogs and cats, especially in different phases of life like the growth phase, Gestation period (Pregnancy period), and also in lactation period (Milk production phase). Including energy, protein, fat, and other micronutrients the demands are high during the above-mentioned phases. Adult pets need balanced nutrition to maintain optimal health and energy levels. As pets age, their metabolism slows down, and they may require fewer calories but increased levels of certain nutrients demands will be there to support aging organs and maintain muscle mass. Specialized diets tailored to senior pets often include ingredients to support joint health, cognitive function, and overall vitality are also available. Understanding and meeting these evolving nutritional needs are crucial for promoting the health and well-being of pets throughout their lives. We at Drools, cater to different segments of customers based on individual pet demands.

4. Are there specific dietary recommendations for cats and dogs with health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, or kidney disease?

Dr Punith G: Yes, dogs and cats have different dietary requirements when it comes to managing health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, or kidney disease. Many pet owners unknowingly contribute to these conditions by feeding excessive table scraps and treats, leading to obesity and diabetes in their pets. During obesity and diabetes, dogs and cats benefit from a diet that is low in calories and high in fiber. Additionally, certain nutrients like L-carnitine aid in fat mobilization and burning. Ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin can also be beneficialin supporting joint health.

As pets get to become old nowadays they face a lot of renal issues. For pets with renal issues, it's essential to reduce the strain on the kidneys. This involves opting for a diet that is low in protein, sodium, and phosphorus while being high in potassium to help ease renal filtration and improve electrolyte balance. Drools a well-known pet food company in India provides tailored solutions for these conditions where all the above-mentioned mandates are strictly incorporated.

5. What ingredients should pet owners look for when selecting commercial pet foods? Are there any ingredients they should avoid?

Dr Punith G: As a responsible pet owner, it is very important to check the ingredients inside pet food. It's better to avoid fillers like low-quality cereal byproducts instead opt for quality carbohydrate sources like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Ingredients like real meat and fish as protein sources are very important and we also should avoid artificial colors, flavors, preservatives as well as byproducts.

We at Drools use real chicken and egg as our primary protein source and whole grains and vegetable fibers as our major carbohydrate source.

6. How important is it to consider the quality of pet food, including factors like sourcing, processing, and additives?

Dr Punith G: As a veterinarian, it's paramount to emphasize the significance of considering the quality of pet food. The sourcing of ingredients directly impacts the nutritional value and safety of the food, while processing methods can affect nutrient bioavailability.Additives, such as preservatives and artificial flavors, may lead to adverse health effects.

At drools, thorough check happens at every step while sourcing the ingredients and we follow strict measures to ensure the quality. Pet parents should opt for high-quality pet food that ensures a balanced diet, supports overall health, and reduces the risk of dietary-related issues, fostering the well-being and longevity of our beloved animal companions.

7. Can you offer any advice on transitioning pets to new diets or dealing with picky eaters?

Dr Punith G: veterinarians, we consistently advocate for a gradual transition when changing a pet's food to minimize gastrointestinal upset and ensure a smooth adjustment. Implementing a seven-day transition technique is crucial in this process. Beginning with a small portion, typically 10% of the new food mixed with 90% of the old food on the first day, allows the pet's digestive system time to acclimate to the new diet.

Subsequently, the proportion of new food is incrementally increased each day, such as 20%, 30%, and so forth, over a week until the transition is complete. This gradual approach helps prevent digestive disturbances and allows pets to gradually adapt to the new nutritional profile, ensuring their health and well-being throughout

the dietary change.

8. Are there any homemade or alternative diets that provide adequate nutrition for cats and dogs, or is commercial pet food generally the best option?

Dr Punith G: While homemade or alternative diets for pets are an option, they can be challenging to formulate properly to ensure complete and balanced nutrition. Commercial pet foods, on the other hand, undergo rigorous testing to meet nutritional standards set by organizations like the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

These foods are formulated by veterinary nutritionists to provide the essential nutrients to pets for optimal health. While some pet owners may prefer homemade diets for various reasons, it's essential to consult with a veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist to ensure the homemade diet meets all of the pet's nutritional requirements. In many cases, commercial pet food remains the most convenient and reliable option for providing pets with the necessary nutrients for their well-being.

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