Friday, August 27, 2021

How Much Should You Feed Your Pet?


Most pets love to eat and we love to reward them with more food.  But too much food can cause obesity which is on the rise in both cats and dogs.  Obesity isn't just a cosmetic issue.  It can increase the risk of arthritis, diabetes, cancer and other health conditions, especially as pets age.

Many times, pets are overweight because of overfeeding due to improper measurement.  It could be that the scooper to measure food is 1 cup not 1/2 cup or the directions state 1 can 2x a day when for your pet's needs, it should only be 1/2 can 2x a day.  So, how do you know how much to feed your dog or cat? 

Pet food companies are required to print feeding guidelines on their packages.  The directions must state, at a minimum, “Feed (unit) of product per (weight) of the dog (or cat).” This is very misleading. Active pets will require more calories than inactive ones. Old dogs or cats need far less calories than puppies or kittens. The feeding guidelines should be considered a starting point only.

If your pet is overweight,  feed the amount based on the weight your pet SHOULD BE.  Many pet food manufacturers have online calculators that can be  very helpful.  Try to be as accurate as possible in terms of the amount of exercise your pet really gets.  An active dog is not the same as a dog that goes on one 15 -20 minute walk per day.   

Adjust the feeding amounts based on your pet’s activity level and age. When you place your hands around your dog or cat, you should be able to feel their ribs and you should be able to see a definitive waist. If neither of these applies, your pet is probably overweight and needs to eat less. Adding green vegetables to meals can add vitamins, minerals, fiber and bulk – to help your pet feel more satisfied. Keeping your pet active can help them to maintain muscle mass and stay at a healthy weight.

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