A diet is considered to be “nutritionally balanced” when it provides appropriate levels of known dietary essential nutrients based on current knowledge and information. A nutritionally balanced diet must be provided in a suitable form and correct proportion based on the most appropriate physiological model or models for the species.
Nutritional status, natural feeding ecology, gastrointestinal (GI) morphology, and nutrients contained in the diet of free-ranging individuals, and foods/feeds available to the institution should be taken into consideration when formulating a balanced diet. The “diet” is all foods offered and/or accessible to an animal, regardless of purpose. Foods used for enrichment, training programs, and/or treats need to be included in calculations when balancing the total diet. A nutritionally balanced diet provides the animal with all the known nutrients it requires without gross excesses or deficiencies.