SPCA New Zealand

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Animal Advocacy

Position Statements

Companion Animal Nutrition

SPCA advocates that animals are provided with appropriate diet in a manner which provides a Good Life where they experience positive welfare and their physical, health and behavioural needs are met.

Animals must be provided with appropriate diet and exercise to maintain a healthy weight. SPCA is concerned about the current levels of obesity in companion animals. Obesity is a common health problem in companion animals and, if not addressed, can impair quality of life and lead to other serious health complications such as heart failure, diabetes and reduced lifespan. Being overweight causes health issues that need to be taken as seriously as underweight animals. SPCA recommends people to discuss their companion animal’s weight and diet with their veterinarian.

SPCA supports the use of puzzle feeders and other food enrichment to promote positive welfare and the human-animal bond.

SPCA supports feeding complete and balanced species and life stage appropriate diets which have been found to meet the relevant Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) food nutrient profile.

SPCA encourages people considering not feeding alternative diets (e.g. non-AAFCO approved diets) to their companion animals to do so in consultation with their veterinarian.

SPCA advocates that pet food companies should be transparent about their ingredients (including their country of origin), manufacturing processes and import requirements.

We recommend that pet owners contact pet food suppliers or manufacturers directly if they have any questions about their products.

SPCA is concerned about potential health impacts related to feeding irradiated imported pet food products.

There is evidence that irradiation of cat food can cause health issues due to resulting nutrient deficiencies. While current evidence is limited to impacts on cats, in multi-species households, cats may also consume dog food (which could be irradiated) so the risk is not limited to irradiation of cat food alone. It is recommended that owners seek information from the manufacturer to check if their cat and dog food is irradiated as it is not currently a requirement to label pet food that is irradiated.

SPCA is concerned about potential health impacts related to feeding dried imported jerky pet treats products.

International reports of health issues related to consumption of jerky treats. The cause has not yet been determined but SPCA cautions against feeding these treats.

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