Are you feeding your pet the right way? It may seem like common sense, but a lot of pet owners get it wrong. And getting it wrong can jeopardize the health of any cat or dog, leaving them vulnerable to various diseases and disorders.
Getting it right, on the other hand, can help pets live longer lives. In fact, keeping your dog or cat at an ideal body weight and being selective about what food you give them can help them live 15 percent longer. Just like human beings, it’s unhealthy for pets to be malnourished or overfed.
Here are three ways to prevent that from happening:
- Practice controlled feeding. Especially with dogs, it’s important to not just leave food out. You should ideally give your pet an exact amount of food, based on their weight and nutritional needs. Once you figure out what those are—by asking a veterinarian or reading food labels—then apportion the food accordingly. Many pets will eat food just because they’re bored (like we do), so maintaining a controlled feeding schedule can help rein them in. The clock is your friend.
- Stick to food for pets. Dogs and cats generally shouldn’t be fed human food. First and foremost, not all human foods are safe for pets, and some can even be deadly. But, even when it’s “safe,” feeding pets human can make it difficult to reach a point of nutritional balance. Sticking to pet foods allows you to closely monitor how those foods will nourish your dog or cat, whereas human foods are difficult to monitor in the same way.
- Weigh your pets regularly. Don’t just eyeball it— the “eye test” isn’t enough! When you feel like you’re putting on too much weight, you weigh yourself, right? You can apply the same logic to pets, just to know for sure if they’re eating the right amount of food—or not. If your dog or cat goes from 15 pounds to 20 pounds in a matter of weeks, that’s a big deal! And it will tell you how to adjust their feeding schedules. There’s no need to become obsessive about it, weight is a key indicator of a pet’s overall health.
So there you have it. These are just three ways to “get it right,” but there are many others. The internet is filled with information on feeding methods, schedules, and more. Just stick to the ones based on scientific recommendations, and you’ll be able to give your pets exactly what they need.