Have you recently adopted a new pet? Is your cat or dog having trouble eating? Do you have an aging furry friend who has changing nutritional needs? Every dog and cat needs proper nutrition and good eating habits in their daily routine.
The right foods and habits are essential to maintaining your pet’s overall health, behavior, and happiness. Keep reading for our top 5 pet nutrition tips to make sure your dog or cat stays healthy and nourished!
As tempting as it is to give in to your pet’s cute attempts to soften your heart, try to avoid giving them pieces of your food.
We all want our little ones to feel like part of the family, so it makes sense to want to let them have a taste of what their people are eating.
Unfortunately, giving your pet “people food” leads to bad behavioral, social, and physical health outcomes. It reinforces begging behavior, disincentivizes them from eating their own food, and makes them feel confused when they don’tget to eat your food. Table-feeding also introduces a wide variety of new ingredients, increasing the risk that your pet could eat something toxic to their digestive system. It also increases their daily caloric intake, which can lead to obesity.
That’s why, when it comes to pet nutrition, sticking to food and treats specially made for a cat or dog diet is the safest choice.
The best food and treats for your pet are the ones that meet all of their nutritional needs. While all pet food is highly regulated and has undergone rigorous testing before it reaches stores, not all food is created equal.
There are different requirements for food labeled “Chicken Dog Food” (which requires that 95% of the product must be chicken) than for food labeled “Chicken Dinner for Dogs” (which requires that 25% of the product is the named ingredient). Products labeled things like “Dog Food with Chicken” are only required to include 3% of the named ingredient. Generally, the more explicit the language, the better.
One way to quickly and easily check for important pet nutrition information is to look at the ingredients list. AAFCO regulations require that ingredients must be listed individually, in descending order by weight. Look for top ingredients that include protein, fat, fiber, and water.
Most food products are required to state the type of pet and the stage of life the product is meant for, so look for that information too, especially if you have a puppy, kitten, or aging pet.
Most brands of dog and cat food include portion information on the packaging. In most cases, following these instructions (which are usually based on your pet’s age, size, and/or weight) is a good way to make sure you’re not over- or underfeeding your little one. Keep in mind that these feeding charts typically tell you how much food your pet should eat per day (not per meal).
That being said, it’s always a good idea to check with your vet to make sure you’re giving your pet the right amount (and type) of food to meet his or her dietary needs.
Like humans, animals’ caloric requirements differ according to their age, size, metabolism, and activity level. You’ll also want to factor in the calories from the treats you give your pet. A general rule of thumb is that treats should not exceed 10% of your dog or cat’s diet.
Pets are happiest and healthiest with consistency and routines. This is true for eating, sleeping, training, and exercising. Most experts and vets agree that adult cats and dogs should be fed twice daily (ideally about 12 hours apart).
For most people, giving their adult pet one meal in the morning and one meal in the evening is most convenient. Keep in mind that your little one needs a few hours to digest their dinner before bed.
Finding the most nutritious food, carefully measuring portions, and sticking to a strict schedule only really works if your pet will actually eat the food you give them. That’s why, just like for humans, taste matters!
Some cats and dogs are pickier than others. If your little one is having a tough time eating, keep trying new flavors and ingredients until you find the one they just can’t resist. King Duke’s has tons of different food flavors specially made for your cat or dog to suit their unique size, age, and nutritional needs, but also their taste preferences!
If your pet is particularly picky, try adding some warm water to their dry food to make it more appetizing and easier to swallow. You can also try mixing in a few especially tasty treats (like the Caru Duck Treats for Dogs or the PureVita Freeze Dried Minnows Cat Treats) to encourage them. Just make sure you mix the treats in thoroughly, so they don’t just pick out the yummy bits.
At King Duke’s, we know how important your pet’s health and happiness are, and we’ll treat your little ones like family because that’s exactly what they are to you! We can’t wait to help you find the perfect food, treats, and other products for your pet.
Stop by King Duke’s in Beaverton, OR (and bring your furry pal along) or shop online!
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