Continuing on Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s theme of New Years’ resolutions, many people vow to eat healthier or go on a diet starting in January. Healthy eating can extend to our pets, too! There’s a lot of information available on animal nutrition, so it can be challenging to know fact from fiction. Here, KAH will provide our Top 5 Tips on Healthy Pet Nutrition.
Most scientists agree that dogs are omnivores, and cats are carnivores. This means that “wild” dogs will eat plants, grains, and meat, while cats will eat almost exclusively (greater than 95%) meat. Be sure pets are getting appropriate levels of protein—too much can be as harmful as too little!
Be sure to use a measuring cup or scoop to accurately measure how much each pet is eating. Make sure each cup is level (like the small scoop) not rounded at the top (like the bigger cup)!
The type of protein is just as important as the amount. Unlike people, our pets don’t really need “variety” in their diets. To avoid food allergies and picky eaters, feed just one protein (such as chicken or lamb) and stick with it!
Choose a reputable brand of pet food made by a company that staffs certified nutritionists
KAH technician Julie’s kitty Calvin poses with his food. Science Diet is one of the brands KAH recommends for good pet nutrition!
and has solid quality control procedures in place. It’s even better if they have a good customer support department that can answer any questions owners may have. Kingsbrook Animal Hospital recommends Royal Canin, Hill’s Science Diet, and Purina ProPlan as excellent choices for any pet’s diet.
Pet food bags usually overestimate the amount an animal should be eating. For example, most cats don’t need more than ½ a cup of dry food in a day. For exact recommendations for a specific pet, consult a veterinarian at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital.
Meal feeding is always a better idea than free feeding. It’s much easier to monitor how much and how well a pet is eating if measured amounts are put down 2-3 times a day. Also, just like for humans, several small meals tend to keep metabolism higher than just one big meal every day.
*Nutrition Feeding a good quality food that is appropriately formulated for your pets life stage and size is a very important consideration to keeping your cat or dog healthy and living comfortably. Nutrition in our pets has all the same benefits that eating mindfully have for us. Lean meats, fruits and vegetables, grains and lowfat dairy products are all components of a healthy diet for humans. We have faith in the pet food manufacturers that invest in nutritional research that provides our pets with nutritionally viable and complete diets for youth, adult and senior maintenance as well as addressing the specific nutritional needs of patients who suffer from a variety of diseases.
*Healthy weight Feeding your dog or cat the right portion of food daily to maintain a healthy body condition where ribs are easily felt but not seen, and where a waist line is appreciated. Overweight or obese animals suffer all the same ailments that we as people suffer when we are heavier than we should be. Common ailments are diabetes, joint disease, heart and lung disease and problems with gastrointestinal function. All of the discomfort and expense related to these problems can be avoided by feeding an appropriate portion of food and if you notice your pets weight increasing talk to a veterinary health professional about how to reduce calorie intake to promote weight loss and then maintenance.
*Preventative care Taking your pet to see a veterinarian on an annual or semi-annual basis and keeping your pet current on preventative care such as vaccinations, deworming, heartworm prevention, proper grooming, skin and ear care, fecal and bloodwork exams and dental care is a great way to facilitate your pets good health and most importantly maximize their comfort and quality of life.
If you have questions about how to provide these three basic concepts to your pet, we welcome your interest in your pets health and would be glad to answer questions or help you come up with a plan that meets your pets needs as well as your own.