How To Make The Best Dietary Decisions For Your Pets

Jun 10, 2019by Suzie Cyrenne


We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: nutrition is the foundation of health, and when it comes to our pets, a quality, balanced diet is key to living a long and happy life. Many pet parents ask about the “best” food to feed their dog or cat, but there’s no simple answer. The best plan for pet parents is to learn some basics about pet nutrition, then consult with an animal nutritionist to create a meal plan that caters to their companions’ needs.   

In general, knowing some basic facts will help you make informed decisions about your pet’s nutritional health. The other thing to remember is that your pal’s meal plan needs to work for you, too! With some research, preparation, and of course, help from pet professionals, you can feel confident when it comes to making smart decisions about your companion’s health!


It’s important to choose a diet style that works for your pet ... and for you

Not only is it essential to feed your dog or cat the right diet, the wrong one can lead to diseases or other health conditions. Every animal requires a unique balance of nutrients for their bodies, and too much or too little of an ingredient can cause anything from mild discomfort to long-term repercussions.

The good news is, diet can help alleviate or even support the healing of tons of common conditions, from skin allergies to arthritis, to inflammation associated with cancer. With some simple dietary additions like herbs, oils, and even fresh produce, dogs and cats can get relief from uncomfortable symptoms (or avoid issues down the road).

There are lots of different meal plans out there, including kibble, home cooked meals, and raw diets. While it’s important to do your research about each one (there are pros and cons for all of them), it’s equally important to choose a diet for your dog or cat that you can stick with. For instance, organic, raw meals might seem best, but if you can’t afford the food or don’t have time to prepare it, this plan won’t help anyone. However, you can find ways to supplement your pet’s meals by adding fresh, healthy foods whenever you can.

Every pet parent should consult with an animal nutritionist


Yes, there’s a lot that goes into choosing a quality meal plan for a dog or cat. That’s why it’s important to consult with a professional. Animal nutritionists are experts in knowing how food affects health, and can help you design a plan that specifically addresses (or even prevents) certain issues or conditions.

With that said, it’s equally important to find a professional who’s qualified, objective (meaning they aren’t only pushing certain brands), and aligns with your core values. He or she should also be non-judgemental, and work within your limitations, whether they be time or financial constraints, or any other concerns you may have.

Once you find a pet nutrition professional that you trust, don’t be shy to ask all your questions -- even if you’re a little embarrassed! A true animal lover will respect that you only want what’s best for your dog or cat, plus, there’s a good chance they’ve already heard it all. And after all, it’s up to us to advocate for the health of our beloved companions.

What’s more, it’s normal to have a lot of questions. There’s so much to learn about pet nutrition, and the fact is, new discoveries are being made all the time. Even professionals say that their research is never over. That’s why they continue to read articles and books, listen to their clients’ feedback, and follow their favorite experts on pet nutrition.

Want to know who the pros turn to when they want to learn more? Read on!



The Top Pet Nutrition Experts, According To Our Contributors

When compiling our Ultimate Pet Nutrition Guide, we consulted with dozens of animal nutritionists and pet experts from around the world and added their insights. While this series does not contain all the answers (far from it!), our hope is that it inspires you to continue learning about this important subject.

We asked our contributors about their role models and who they considered to be the leading authorities in the pet nutrition field. You can check out their answers below, and continue your learning journey by following them,



  • Dr. Karen Becker
  •  “She is an integrative vet that uses traditional and integrative solutions to help pets with issues rather than just traditional ‘treat the symptoms’ methods.” -- Mark DiMatteo, The Urban Dog


  • Monica Segal
  •  “By far, she is the most detail-oriented authority on pet nutrition.” -- Christina Ottaviano, Woofs and Whiskers Pet Care


  • Purina Mills
  •  “For horses, they do more published research than anyone. I can confidently show their products work because they can prove it.” -- Heather Thelen, Hawthorne Country Store


  • Juliette de Bairacli Levy
  •  “She is also a role model for me. I happen to be both a canine and feline nutritionist and herbalist, and Juliette's wisdom pushes the boundaries of what we think we know about animals. She uses sense along with knowledge and I feel that both are required when working with animals.” -- Johnna Devereaux, Fetch RI


  • Dr. Pitcairn
  •  “His natural and holistic approach is undoubtedly the most important influence on how I approach animal nutrition.” -- Johnna Devereaux, Fetch RI


  • Stephanie Hill and Dr. Steve McCauley from Hill's pet nutrition
  •  “They both love nutrition and are willing to help discover the best diet for the pet every time. They are extremely knowledgeable about diets and work for a company that strives for excellent standards. They also strive to educate the staff, as well as the doctors, to create a healthcare team of nutritionists.” -- Michele Tanner, DVM, All Cypress Veterinary Hospital


  • Dr. Sara Kessler
  •  “She has always been my main reference and role model. Her knowledge and skills are unsurpassed. Her devotion and love of animals has always been something I've admired the most about her. She listens and truly cares about her clients and their pets’ needs.” -- Becky Mobley, Wild Kingdom Pet Supplies


  • The American College of Veterinary Nutrition
  •  “I look to the American College of Veterinary Nutrition for the latest news regarding nutrition for pets.” -- Angela Ardolino, CBD Dog Health


  • Dr. Diane Delbridge
  •  “She is a vet I worked under nearly 15 years ago. She showed me true passion and turning away pet foods that were full of crud, like Science Diet.” -- Lisa Bliss, Fluffy Mustaches Pet Grooming


  • Nutrition classes at Auburn University
  •  “[I always reference] what I learned in my nutrition classes at Auburn University because they were unbiased. They taught me about ingredients and what they do for the pet. I can look at a label and explain that knowledge to the consumer.” -- Melissa Whitton, Most Valuable Pets

  • Dr. Jason Crean and Dr. Karen Becker
  •  “They are both international speakers with scientific facts to base their findings of. And they do not work for food corporations, meaning that their findings are unbiased.” -- Concetta Ferragamo, King's Cages International, LLC


  • George Macleod and CJ Puotinen
  •  “I appreciate how they [teach] that nutrition gets to the root cause of chronic issues and disease. Many remedies use human ingredients or plant-based substances with minimal side effects -- much safer and healthier for the pet.” -- Janel Young, Nava Pets


  • Rodney Habib
  •  His data is scientifically-based, not opinionated.” -- George Craft, GGC Healthy Paws


  • Dana Scott, DNM University, Dr. Karen Becker, and Susan Thixton
  •  “They are dedicated to educating the public about what goes into pet food and how to change what we feed our pets.” -- Donna Anderson, Petite Pet Inn & Spa



    We Hope You’re Inspired To Continue Learning! In Conclusion …

    We hope our Ultimate Pet Nutrition Guide, along with the insights from dozens of pet professionals, helps you on your journey to being the best pet parent possible. Our goal was to cover a range of topics to consider when learning about pet nutrition, including:

  • The Biggest Feeding Mistakes Pet Owners Make
  • Health Issues Caused By Feeding Your Dog Or Cat The Wrong Diet
  • The Best Foods & Supplements For These 10 Common Pet Health Issues
  • Raw, Cooked, Or Kibble … What’s The Best Food For My Pet?
  • 5 Reasons Why Every Pet Should See An Animal Nutritionist
  • How To Find The Right Animal Nutritionist For You & Your Pet
  • The 10 Funniest Questions Pet Nutritionists Have Been Asked
  • 7 Healthy Dog & Cat Homemade Treats Recommended By Vets And Pet Nutritionists
  • How To Make The Best Dietary Decisions For Your Pets

  • Most importantly, we hope you feel more confident when it comes to making informed nutrition decisions on behalf of your pet.

    We want to give a special thanks to our contributors, who took the time to share their professional advice for this series. We couldn’t have done it without you!

    If you have any additional questions regarding pet nutrition, you can learn more about these experts and their companies by visiting their websites. Feel free to send them a message ... even if it’s just to say “thanks”!


    Until next time, everyone!


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    About the author

    Suzie Cyrenne
    Suzie Cyrenne


    Suzie Cyrenne has dedicated more than 20 years of her life in making and improving natural animal health solutions in the global setting.

    Being the co-founder of Zumalka, Suzie is a forerunner in enhancing the lives of pets through natural and homeopathic options using the knowledge she has gained from the Classical Homeopathy School in Quebec.

    Through the guidance of her mother-in-law and fellow natural health expert, Denyse Lessard, Suzie constantly devotes herself to create premium pet products that are aimed at dealing with the root causes of wellness problems and not just their symptoms.

    Besides immersing herself in books, personal development and visiting new places, Suzie also enjoys keeping herself in tiptop shape by snowboarding and taking daily hikes with her husband and Zumalka co-founder, Matt Lessard, and their Golden-Doodle, Westin.

    Find out more about Suzie when you click HERE.

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