Good nutrition is an important part of life – so what should we be feeding our pets and why does it matter?
Good nutrition is a cornerstone to a balanced and healthy lifestyle for your pet, as well as being a key ingredient in preventative healthcare. A nutritious diet not only benefits your pet’s physical body but also their mental state of mind.
The aspects of your pet’s life can be influenced by nutritional choices. Examples include, using healthy treats as rewards or giving them a great food option to settle them at night to make them feel safe. A diet that supports the level of exercise your animal does, and managing portion sizes are easy preventative measures you can take to ensure your pet has a long and healthy life.
Nutritional choices can be applied to other aspects of their life as well, such as, getting enough exercise, eating healthier treats, portion control, and stabilising their environment so they feel safe. These choices provide easy, preventative measures you can take to ensure your pet has a long and healthy life.
Treats are a great way to praise your pet for a new trick, obedience training, or a celebratory occasion but, as pet parents we need to be careful what treats we are feeding our pets. Some human food is toxic to cats and dogs such as, chocolate, macadamia nuts, grapes, etc. and we need to be aware of the dangers that sharing our food with our pets can bring. You also need to be mindful of how often you treat your pet. Many pet parents can end up over indulging their pets with too many treats because they want to show their love. While the goodies make our begging pals happy for a few seconds, no pet can live their happiest, healthiest life when their weight becomes unhealthy. For the best advice on what treats to share with your pet, speak to your local vet.
Feeding strategically and portion sizing
Do you regulate how much you feed your pet? A healthy diet consists not only of good nutrition but also a balanced intake of food. This can be determined by a number of factors, such as their age, gender, and any health problems they might have. As a starting point, feeding guides are located on the back of your pet’s food bag, but to make sure your pet is eating a healthy amount, it’s always best to discuss with your vet the correct amount of food they should receive according to their individual needs. As your pet matures, their nutrition needs will change and this will need to be adapted in their diet. Some key tips to remember when selecting your pet’s food:
- Focus on the nutrition panel/ingredients – look for high percentages of specific protein sources such as, “beef,” “poultry,” “lamb,” “fish,” etc.
- Know what your pet needs – speak to your vet about what their individual needs are and what they should be receiving from a diet.
Transitioning their food
Once you have selected the correct diet for your pet, the best practice is to transition the new food into your pet’s current diet gradually. You should do this over one week to avoid gut upsets, such as diarrhoea. Feed 25% of the total diet as the new feed for two days, then half and half for two days, then 75% new food for two days, before fully feeding the new diet.