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.
When kitties Winter and Twilight Gronsky were brought in to Kingsbrook Animal Hospital by their owners for a routine examination back in 2014, Dr. Cardella noticed a pattern of weight gain. In January of 2014, Winter weighed 14.9 lbs. Twilight, also a domestic shorthair cat, weighed 14.44 lbs in February, 2014. The cat’s owners were feeding them a good quality food and measuring out their portions, but they were still too heavy.
Both Dr. Cardella and the cat’s parents were concerned that the gain in weight would start to affect the kitty’s health negatively. Studies have shown that there is an association between oral health issues and other health issues such as with the heart, kidneys and metabolic systems. Dr. Cardella suggested switching the cat’s diet to a prescription food and Winter and Twilight’s parents readily agreed. The prescription diet chosen was Hill’s Prescription Diet Feline T/d. T/d (Tooth diet) has very large-sized kibble that pet’s can’t swallow whole. They must chew the kibble to break them up small enough to swallow. Chewing the kibble allows it to scrape plaque and tartar off the teeth. So why did Dr. Cardella choose to prescribe a dental diet when these cats needed to lose weight? T/d has the additional benefit of being low in calories!
Dr. Cardella recommended feeding each cat ¼ cup of T/d twice daily. With their owner’s hard work and dedication, we are happy to report that both cats have lost weight! Way to go! In February, 2015 Winter weighed in at 10.85 lbs, and in March, 2015 Twilight weighed 10.98 lbs. Both cats are now at their ideal body weight! Their owners have done an amazing job with their weight loss challenge and report that both cats are much more active and happy now that they’ve lost weight. Now that both kitties are at their ideal weight, their fed portion size may be adjusted to help them to maintain their perfect physique. It’s not an easy task to help pets lose weight, but it leads to a happier, healthier pet. Winter and Twilight are so lucky to have such amazing pet parents.
After: 10.85 lbs
Total weight lost: 4.05 lbs!
After: 10.98 lbs
Total weight lost: 3.46 lbs!
Here is Winter now! He is looking svelte as he explores one of our exam rooms.
If you have questions about your pet’s weight, please call Kingsbrook Animal Hospital at: 301-631-6900