Proper nutrition is one of the major reasons a pet will live a healthier, happier, longer life. While pet food companies make their foods seem tantalizing to us, they may not be so good for your pets. In fact, obesity in pets is a serious problem (almost 40% of the dogs and cats we see are overweight). Here are the four keys to healthy pet nutrition:
- The Right Food
- The Right Amount
- Sensible Treats
- Plenty of fresh, clean Drinking Water
When you follow these four suggestions your pet will have less health problems. Here are some other benefits of following these suggestions:
- Generally, when you feed a high quality food you will need to feed your pet less than the “cheap” brand because of a better ingredient mix.
- Many times since you are feeding your pet less per serving, it actually costs less to feed your pet
- Less stool (less food wasted and less to cleanup)
- Improved skin and coat – less shedding
- Less allergy problems
During your pet’s exam our team will ask you what you’re feeding your pet and how much. Based on your pet’s health we may make recommendations on possible changes to your pet’s diet.
- The Right Food – here are some of the factors we consider when making food recommendations:
- Species – Each species has specific requirements, for example your cat’s diet should be at least 50% protein, but if a dog consistently ate that much protein they would have kidney problems. Each pocket pet has specific dietary requirements.
- Age/Life Stage – Just like us, pets have different dietary needs based on age – juvenile (puppies/kittens), adult, and seniors.
- Size/Breed – The adult size of your pet, especially for dogs, will influence what kind of food they should be receiving. Also there are some excellent foods that are tailored for a specific breed.
- Medical Conditions – Does your pet have a medical condition that warrants a special diet? (Fagin is allergic to beef and corn and gets horrible ear infections if he gets the wrong food.) We’ll tell you if your pet needs a specific prescription diet or if certain ingredients should not be in the food.
- Special Needs – Is your cat pregnant? Is your pup a working dog? Pets will special needs also have special dietary requirements.
- The Right Amount – Feeding your pet the right amount is extremely important. In general, the pet food manufacturers are over estimating how much food your pet should be receiving. Our veterinarians will assess your pet to determine the amount of food your pet should be receiving based on these factors:
- Body Condition/Ideal Weight – We use the Purina 9 point scale for determining ideal body condition with 5 being perfect.
+ Click here to see the Purina Canine Body Condition Score Chart
+ Click here to see the Purina Feline Body Condition Score Chart
- Age – Senior pets especially will need less calories per day
- Activity – How active is your pet?
Based on these factors and the specific food your pet is eating, our veterinary team will make a recommendation on how much your pet should be fed. Measure Take in to consideration, treats and table scraps (not recommended).
- Sensible Treats – We all love to baby our 4-legged family members by giving them treats, but the wrong treats or too many treats can harm your pet. When you visit we can provide a list of treats appropriate for your pet. Don’t forget, if you give your pet a treat to also reduce the amount of food.
- Drinking Water – water is the most vital nutrient your pet (and you) needs, without water they can get sick or even die. Make sure your pet has plenty of fresh, clean water always available. You can add some ice chips on hot days to the water bowl, but don’t give ice cubes as a treat to your dog as they can cause dental problems. Cats are notoriously finicky “drinkers”, we can provide suggestions to ensure your feline friend gets enough water to drink.
Have questions about what your pet should be eating and how much? Give us a call, 440-234-5831, and we can schedule a nutritional consult.