You probably take your pet to the vet’s office at least once a year, right? You play with your pet at least once a week, right? You brush their fur and possibly their teeth at least once a month, right? And you do all of this to “keep them healthy.” Did you know that there is something you do every day that can play a big part in your pet’s overall health?
Nutrition is an enormous and often grossly neglected part of pet health care yet it is something that affects your pet every single day. We all know that puppies and kittens should be on puppy and kitten food but did you know that your pet’s dietary needs change as they grow? Often when pets are spayed or neutered their caloric needs lessen. They either need to be switched to an adult food, if less than 1 year old, or put on a reduced calorie diet. When pets reach the age of 7 years, they are considered to be senior pets and need to be fed as such. There are many senior diets that help with such problems as arthritis, senility, and adjust the amount of calories based on the needs of senior pets.
There is much to be considered when choosing a diet for your pet. What life stage is he in? Is she over weight? Is he neutered? Does she have a sensitive stomach? These are just a few of the questions your veterinarian may take into consideration when designing a nutrition program for your pet.
Pet food companies are making tremendous strides in the health of pets through nutrition. There are diets available for all stages of life and even for certain diseases such as:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Obesity management
- Brain function
- Dental health
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Food allergies
The veterinary profession has had wonderful success with a number of such diets and has helped increase the quality and length pet’s lives just through diet changes.
Even if your pet does not have a life altering condition, it is still important that they are on a diet appropriate for their particular life stage. Pet foods vary in quality and in their ability to satisfy a pet’s unique nutritional needs.
There are generally guidelines on packages of pet food as to how much your pet should be fed based on their weight but consider this; if your pet is overweight at 60 pounds and a healthy weight would be 50 pounds, you should feed your pet the recommended amount of food for a 50 pound dog. Measuring the amount of food your pet gets in a day is also of tremendous importance in keeping your pet lean and healthy.
Your pet’s diet affects their coat quality, weight, teeth, and internal organs. Their diet even has an affect on how much you have to scoop the litter box or yard! Now there is a reason to get your pet on a good quality diet!
It is imperative that we, as pet parents, monitor our pet’s eating habits and daily intake of food. The type as well as the amount of food your pet eats can have a huge impact on their overall health.