How Veterinary Nursing Can Help Understand Pet Nutrition

There is little that separates pet parents from other parents. They worry constantly about their pets and have a range of responsibilities over which they fret. Even though this may sound simple enough, there is one factor that separates these two sets of parents. Pet parents need to make intelligent guesses to find out what their pets want. This applies to their health, growth, development and nutrition.

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A degree in veterinary nursing teaches the importance of pet nutrition. As an aspiring veterinary nurse, you’ll understand the complex dynamics that go into taking proper care of pets. Pet nutrition is one of the most fundamental ways in which we can learn what to do for our pets.

In short, a degree in veterinary nursing not only offers great opportunities to students, it can also teach pet parents a lot about their pet’s nutrition.

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What is Veterinary Nursing?

A veterinary nurse is a professional who works alongside a veterinarian in order to provide care for pet patients. Broadly speaking, their main responsibility is to provide supportive and rehabilitative care for pets that are being treated.

What exactly does supportive and rehabilitative care entail?

Once a pet is hospitalized, or brought in for the treatment of an injury or illness, there is a lot to be done. After the veterinarian has performed the primary duties, the veterinary nurse steps in and essentially nurses the pet back to health. They are required to provide a high standard of care.

One of the most integral parts of veterinary nursing is educating pet parents about the standards for animal care and welfare. Pet nutrition is one of the central pillars of those standards.

Complete Pet Nutrition

As is the case with humans, proper nutrition plays an exceptionally important role in maintaining the overall health and well-being of our pets. In order for their nutrition to be deemed ‘complete’, your pets need to be eating a complete and balanced diet. This is something all veterinary nurses can expect to learn as part of a veterinary nursing degree or course.

The Components of a Complete and Balanced Diet

So, what exactly must a complete pet diet contain in order for it to be balanced? Here are the essential components:

  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins
  • Fresh water

It is very important to keep in mind that the quality of the individual components makes all the difference. Fresh, natural ingredients contain the most benefit for your pets. By making a commitment to seek out natural and fresh foods for your pets, you’ll be ensuring that they get the requisite benefits from all of the constituent parts of a balanced diet.

The Importance of Each Component

For your pets’ diet to be considered complete and balanced, it must contain high quality ingredients. The quality of the ingredients is determined by their source. Processed and commercially manufactured pet foods don’t have the nutrients that your pet needs for a proper diet. In order to ensure that your pet is receiving the best nutrition possible, the importance of a fresh, natural diet cannot be stressed enough. Veterinary nurses learn about the differences between commercial and natural pet foods and use this knowledge when educating pet parents. Understanding the benefits of a fresh and natural diet is something that all pet parents should familiarize themselves with and veterinary nurses can help with that.


Arguably the most important component of any healthy diet for pets is proteins. In addition, proteins must make up the bulk, by weight, of the food that your pet receives.

Proteins are the building blocks for life and as such are vital for your pets’ growth and development. They are also essential for the proper functioning of the immune system. Of the 22 amino acids that pets require, most of them can only synthesize about 12 of them on their own. The rest they need to receive from an external protein source, such as fresh meats and poultry.

Fresh meats and poultry are filled with nutrients that your pet requires. Commercially processed pet foods on the other hand feature meats of dubious quality. Many of these commercial pet foods also make use of meat meals, which are essentially made up of animal by-products, waste, and a host of other harmful ingredients. They are also typically cooked to the point where they lose all of their nutritional value.


Carbs are an essential element of a balanced diet and are the first source of energy available to the body. When consumed, the body breaks down carbs into simple sugars, which are then converted to glucose that the body uses as an energy source.

Again, the quality of the carbs used in your pets’ diet is very important. Over the last few decades, there has been a spike in food related allergies. One of the most common forms of allergies comes from grain intolerances.

Commercially manufactured pet foods make ample use of poor quality grains that contain gluten, the cause of the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Fresh and natural foods on the other hand only make use of high quality, fiber rich sources of grain such as barley, oats, and brown rice. These sources do not cause allergies, and are safe for pets to consume.


Essential fatty acids from high quality sources are another very important source of energy for pets. In addition, they are essential for heart health, the lubrication of joints, shiny and healthy coats, and even add flavor to the food!

If poor quality fats and oils are used, your pet could gain weight, and as a result suffer from a host of health complications.

Fresh foods make use of natural, healthy sources of essential fatty acids in just the right quantities.


Minerals are a type of nutrient that are crucial for the functioning and development of your pets. They aid in the formation of bone and cartilage, assist with nerve and muscle function, hormone production, the transportation of oxygen in the bloodstream, and the coordination of numerous body functions.


Vitamins are essential for a number of reasons which include: providing energy, maintaining strong bones and teeth, and healthy skin and a shiny coat. Natural sources of vitamins are necessary in order to ensure that your pet is getting the right nutrition.

Fresh Water

Pets, like humans, need water to survive. In addition to having moisture content in their foods, your pet should always have access to clean and fresh water.

How Veterinary Nurses Promote the Importance of Nutrition

When you read about the many benefits of getting the right nutrition, the information applies equally to both humans, and their animal companions. A proper, balanced diet enhances not only your pets’ quality of life, but also their longevity. That’s why the right nutrition is integral to optimal pet care.

Veterinary nurses can be consulted for nutritional assessments. By carrying out a nutritional assessment, a veterinary nurse can provide you with vital information on how to improve your pets’ diet and thereby improve their health and well-being.

Freshpet for Fresh Options

Cooking fresh foods for your pet may not always be the most feasible option. Often times, pet parents work hectic schedules which don’t allow for cooking up fresh batches of home cooked meals for their furry companions.

This is where high quality pet food products such Freshpet can help.

Freshpet makes fresh, natural foods for dogs and cats. Being pet lovers themselves, Freshpet understand one of the core pillars of complete pet care: the right nutrition.

This is why they make a wide range of meals made from fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as domestically reared meats and poultry. The result is a wide selection of different pet meals which can satisfy your pets’ nutritional needs.

Here’s how Freshpet incorporates a fresh philosophy into pet nutrition:

  • All of Freshpet meals are cooked in small batches and at low temperatures to preserve the nutritional value of the ingredients
  • Each meal features one primary source of protein – no meat meals or fully cooked meats are ever used
  • Freshpet offers a range of grain free foods for pets with grain intolerances
  • Freshpet foods are sealed for freshness and are not processed – these meals are pasteurized to retain freshness while their raw meals are made with probiotics which curb the growth of harmful bacteria
  • Each meal features all of the constituent elements a pet needs for a balanced diet
  • Vitamin and mineral rich vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and leafy greens are used
  • Antioxidant rich blueberries and cranberries are used

Veterinary nurses are professionals who have an intricate understanding of health and well-being of pets. One of the most important ways in which a pet parent can improve the health and well-being of their pets is to understand the importance of a fresh diet. Processed and commercially manufactured pet foods don’t provide the right nutrients. Fresh foods contain all of the nutrients that make up a complete diet, and as a result, good nutrition. Freshpet offers a wide range of meals which are freshly made for just this purpose.