Monday, April 29, 2013

How Much Should I Be Feeding My Pet?

If pets could talk, would they tell you when they’re full? They’re certainly good at letting you know when they’re hungry, despite the lack of a spoken language that we can translate. Sometimes it seems that if they could, our pets would just keep on eating – and you certainly don’t want that.

There is advice on how much to feed your pet almost anywhere you look. From the side of the bag of food, to running an online search, everyone has an opinion. The reality is, none of those answers are likely the right one for you and your pet, mostly because your pet is an individual, and any firm instructions you follow for the well-being of your pet should be provided by a professional veterinarian.

However, there are some tips, many of which can bring up the right questions to ask your vet:

· You’ve likely seen the effects of an all junk food diet, and many of the inexpensive pet food options are just that, junk food. Look for “nutritionally balanced” options that are void of fillers and byproducts. Ask your vet for the brands that they find to be the best. Should you give your pets treats for obedience or a job well done? Consider the ingredients of those treats, and the frequency at which they’re given, just as you would their food.

· Measure portions, and be consistent with those measurements. A pet will generally adjust to how much food it is given.

· Always provide a means for your pet to access fresh water (no, an open toilet bowl doesn’t count). Fresh water means that nothing is mixed into it, and that it is placed in a clean container.

· Staying fit requires two main ingredients, a healthy, balanced diet, and plenty of daily exercise. Those very same requirements go for your pets as well. If you don’t have time to provide the proper amount of recommended exercise, consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter.

· Have your pet weighed during your regular vet check-ups, and keep track of that weight. Discuss fluctuations with your vet, and be prepared to increase or decrease the amount of food you give your pet accordingly.

· Your pet is unique, just like us, what it takes to maintain their health will change over time. Always be sure to ask your vet how to adjust your pet’s diet where your pet’s age is concerned.