ABSTRACT

The guidelines discuss the components of a systematic approach to nutritional management of dogs and cats. A nutritional assessment, including a body condition score and muscle condition score, is a screening evaluation that should ideally be performed at every examination. Individualized nutritional recommendations, based on the nutritional assessment, should be designed to achieve and maintain an appropriate body weight and meet nutritional requirements. Communicating nutritional recommendations to clients is a challenging aspect of nutritional management because pet owners may interpret the practice team’s guidance as advocacy for a particular pet food brand or a judgment of the client’s ability to properly care for the pet or of the owner’s own nutritional status. The guidelines discuss approaches for effective, nonjudgmental communication of dietary recommendations to clients and strategies to increase acceptance of and adherence to veterinary nutrition recommendations. Other pet nutrition topics of current interest include recommendations for particular pet life stages, breeds, and disease conditions; risk factors for nutritional deficiencies and obesity; and considerations for home-prepared diets.

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