As pet owners, you’ll always want the best for your furry friends. So you carefully choose their food, toys, and everything in between to ensure they live a healthy and happy life.
Nonetheless, one aspect of pet care that is often overlooked is the type of food you give them.
While dry kibble and canned food are popular choices, feeding your pet live food can have many benefits. In this article, we’ll discuss why you should consider incorporating live food into your pet’s diet by describing nine benefits of live foods.
What Is Live Food?
Live food refers to still alive and fresh food when feeding your pet. You may find various insects such as crickets, mealworms, waxworms, and dubia roaches for sale in pet stores. Also, small animals like mice and rats to feed your pet snakes and other big animals you’ll find available.
While it may sound strange to feed your pet live food, many animals in the wild consume live prey, and domesticated pets can benefit from it too.
Why You Should Feed Your Pet with Live Food
If you’re wondering what benefits live foods can have on your pet’s health, find nine benefits of feeding your pet with live food in the following:
1. Nutritional Value
Live food is an excellent source of nutrition for your pet. It is high in protein and other essential nutrients that your pet needs to thrive. Unlike processed pet food, which can lose some of its nutritional value during the manufacturing, live food is a natural and fresh source of nutrition.
Live food has many benefits for reptiles like a chameleon, geckos, bearded dragons, etc. In fact, feeding your pet live food can help ensure they get all the essential nutrients they need.
2. Mental Stimulation
Feeding your pet live food can also provide mental stimulation. Hunting and catching prey is an instinct for many animals, and feeding them live food can allow them to exercise this instinct.
Watching your pet hunt and catch their food can also be a fun experience for you and your pet.
3. Dental Health
Live food can also benefit your pet’s dental health. Chewing and tearing into live prey can help remove plaque and tartar from your pet’s teeth.
This can reduce the risk of dental problems such as gum disease, which can be painful and expensive to treat.
4. Digestive Health
Feeding your pet live food can also improve their digestive health. Many animals in the wild consume live prey, which can contain beneficial bacteria and enzymes that aid digestion.
Live food can also be easier for your pet to digest, reducing the risk of digestive problems such as constipation and diarrhea.
Feeding your pet live food can also provide variety in their diet. Many pets get bored with the same food daily, and adding live food to their diet can give them a new and exciting experience.
It also helps ensure they get a balanced and varied diet, which is essential for their overall health.
Feeding your pet live food can also be cost-effective in the long run. While the upfront cost of purchasing live food may be higher than canned or dry food, it can be more cost-effective in the long run.
Live food can provide more nutritional value and reduce the risk of health problems, saving you money on veterinary bills in the long run.
7. Improved Immune System
Live food can also improve your pet’s immune system. As mentioned earlier, live food can contain beneficial bacteria and enzymes that can aid in digestion.
These bacteria and enzymes can also help improve your pet’s immune system by promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria. A healthy gut can improve your pet’s overall health and reduce the risk of illness.
8. Environmental Enrichment
Feeding your pet live food can also provide environmental enrichment. Environmental enrichment refers to providing your pet with an environment that stimulates its natural behaviors and instincts. For example, hunting and catching live prey can give your pet a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, improving their overall mood and well-being.
9. Training Tool
Live food can also be used as a training tool. Many animals are highly motivated by food, and feeding them live food can be an excellent way to train them.
For example, if you’re trying to teach your pet a new behavior, you can use live food as a reward for good behavior. This can make training more enjoyable for your pet and lead to better results.
Side Effects of Feeding Your Pet with Live Food
While feeding your pet live food can have many benefits, there are also some potential side effects that pet owners should be aware of. Here are some possible side effects of feeding your pet live food:
- Parasites & Diseases: Live food can carry parasites and diseases that can harm your pet. They can expose them to diseases such as Salmonella, Leptospirosis and parasites such as mites and worms.
- Imbalance of Nutrition: While live food can be a great source of nutrition for your pet, it’s vital to ensure that it’s not the sole source of their diet. Depending on the type of live food, it may not provide a balanced diet, and your pet may miss out on essential vitamins and minerals.
- Choking Hazard: Live food can also pose a choking hazard for your pet, especially if they are not accustomed to hunting and catching prey. Small animals such as mice and rats can struggle and become lodged in your pet’s throat, which can be life-threatening.
- Psychological Effect: Feeding your pet live food can also have psychological effects. Some pets may become overly aggressive or stressed when hunting and killing live prey.
While feeding your pet live food may seem strange initially, it can benefit their health and well-being. However, it is essential to research the specific nutritional needs of your pet before adding live food to their diet and to ensure that the live food is safe and healthy for them to consume.
Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s diet. With proper research and preparation, feeding your pet live food can be a great way to provide them with a nutritious and stimulating diet.