Food for Thought in Animal Shelters: How Optimal Nutrition Can Help You Make A Difference

MONDAY, APRIL 10, 1:45-2:30PM

SPEAKER: Emmanuel Fontaine, PRO Technical Services Veterinarian, Royal Canin Canada

As quoted in the Shelter Medicine for Veterinarian and Staff textbook: “Good nutrition is a basic, critical component of any shelter’s wellness plan: it is essential for the maintenance of good health and an important treatment tool whose value is often overlooked.” Contrary to what is often believed, in this area there is no one-fits-all solution. In animal shelters, it is all about managing a population: this clearly varies from one structure to the next, and specificities need to be taken into account when defining the best feeding plan.

Very often also, the focus will be put on the diets: while this is definitely important, it is also essential to remember that nutrition in animal shelters should always be considered as a whole. It’s about the diets, but it is also about how to properly use these diets. Concepts such as food transition, quantities to be fed and food storage must be mastered. Proper food introduction will limit the impact of gastro-intestinal upsets. Monitoring the quantities fed will help prevent risks of obesity, which is more of a threat as length of stay increases. Optimal storage conditions will optimize palatability of the diet, something essential for animals to thrive on the nutritional benefits food brings. Altogether, these measures will limit food waste and veterinary bills. Optimizing the way nutrition is used inside the shelter will make a difference for the animals and will also ultimately have a positive impact on the shelter’s budget.

Three Key Learnings:
1. How to prioritize the nutritional needs of dogs and cats in shelters
2. Define what is best for the shelter’s specific animal population
3. Best practices in terms of food transition, storage and quantities to be fed

Emmanuel Fontaine graduated from the Toulouse Veterinary School in 2004 and continued his studies at the Alfort Veterinary School (Paris) in the department of small animal reproduction. He continued working there from 2005 to 2011. Emmanuel Fontaine is also qualified at the European College for Animal Reproduction and did his PhD on the use of GnRH agonist implants in small carnivores. He joined Royal Canin Canada ‘s PRO team in Sept 2011.