Good nutrition is just as important for your pets as it is for the rest of your family. Nutritional requirements for your pet depending on their age, breed, size and health and will change over time. To keep your pets as happy and healthy as possible, follow our guidelines below.
Commercial vs Home Made Foods
Commercial foods are designed to meet all of your pet’s needs. Most include a mixture of meat, grains, vegetables and vitamins. If you prefer to feed your pet raw food then that’s fine too – just make sure it provides the right combination of energy, proteins, healthy fats and other necessary nutrients for your pet’s stage of life. Dry foods are good for the teeth while wet foods provide additional moisture to prevent dehydration.
Speak to your vet about the best feeding option, but in general, the choice of food is down to the personal preferences of you and your pet.
Does My Pet Need to Diet?
In Australia, one in three cats and dogs is overweight. Pets in this situation live shorter and less active lives than their fitter counterparts. Heavy pets tend to be less playful and energetic and will physically interact with their families less, spending more time lying around. Carrying extra weight also puts extra pressure on their limbs, joints and the heart.
If you suspect your pet is overweight then it’s important to do something about it now. Carrying just a few extra kilos can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and joint problems, among other complications. You can do a basic check for obesity at home by seeing how easily you can feel your pet’s ribs – if they are difficult to feel then it’s time for a visit to the vet.
How Do I Put My Pet On a Diet?
Weight loss for your pet shouldn’t be too tricky. The keys to success include the right advice from your veterinary healthcare team and a commitment from you and your family.
The ideal weight for your cat or dog will be calculated based on its size, age and breed. Just like for humans, it’s important not to cause any extreme weight loss – a safe amount would be around 3-5% body weight loss per month. Once you know what you’re aiming for, you can start to feed your pet smaller portions of its normal food or use special lower-calorie pet food. You should also increase the amount of exercise your furry friend is getting every day. Sign up for the free weight loss clinic at Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital for help every step of the way.
Dogs and cats love treats just as much as we do! There’s no reason that treats can’t be part of a healthy diet for your pet. Just make sure you pay attention to what they’re eating and make sure treats don’t make up more than 10% of their daily calorie intake. Instead of buying snacks at the supermarket, try treating your pet to fresh vegetables or fruit snacks such as green beans or banana slices, or bigger snacks like baby carrots, watermelon or apples for dogs. Just make sure you avoid anything that’s high in fat or sugar and skip anything that could damage your pet’s teeth.
If you’re interested in discussing a diet plan for your pet, call Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.