Keys To Feeding Your Pet A Balanced Diet
PetSmart Brent Carroll, DVM / Banfield, the Pet Hospital®
How do you make sure your Pet's diet is healthy? Banfield, The Pet Hospital® strongly recommends that you:
- Feed premium Pet foods. Premium foods, like those produced by Royal Canin, are usually sold only at Pet stores like PetSmart. These foods offer high-quality ingredients, are made by companies known for nutrition research, and show a solid track record of quality and palatability. Feeding generic Pet foods may lead to obesity, irregular bowel movements, or excess intestinal gas.
- Make sure the food is fresh. When you purchase Pet food, check for freshness and purchase only the amount necessary for your Pet. Don't buy a forty-pound bag of food for your Chihuahua! Store Pet food in a cool, dry place and keep it tightly closed. Discard uneaten food and always place fresh food in a clean bowl. In general, hard food (or "kibble") is preferred for maintaining the teeth and minimizing tartar build-up. Soft, canned food tends to be more palatable and can be stored longer.
- Feed the right amount. Ask your doctor or check the label for how much to feed according to your Pet's ideal weight. Habits to avoid: feeding Pets as much as they want or feeding a large amount at one time. Doing so can lead to obesity, gastrointestinal upset, or even bloat--a life-threatening condition.
- Maintain a daily routine. A regular schedule will help your Pet keep normal elimination habits--and avoid indoor accidents. Younger Pets need to be fed more frequently, as they are usually more energetic and burn more calories. Small puppies and very active dogs can suffer life-threatening decreases in blood sugar if they're not fed frequently enough. Your veterinarian can help you develop a feeding regimen for your Pet.
- Avoid "people" food. Your Pet's digestive system is simpler than yours and can be easily upset by changes. Feeding table scraps can cause stomach upset or even a life-threatening pancreatitis. It also can lead to frequent begging, a behavior you may tire of quickly.
Life Cycle Feeding
Pets' nutritional requirements change as they age. Puppies need puppy food because it is higher in energy and protein, but feeding it to an adult dog can lead to obesity. Likewise, older Pets need diets restricted in fat and supplemented with fiber for their optimum health. Ask your veterinarian to help you choose the best food for your Pet's age.
Remember, you are what you eat--and so is your Pet! To keep your Pet as healthy as possible, follow the simple diet guidelines above and see your veterinarian regularly.