Two questions that pet owners often have are:
- What is the best diet for my pet?
- How much should I feed my pet?
The answer depends on your pet. Each pet is different. Not just cats vs. dogs different. Each dog is different from the next. So, it really is a good conversation to have with your pet’s veterinarian. However, some basic information can be helpful to get your started.Commercial pet food is a safe and healthy option for all pet owners. They are designed to meet the nutritional needs of pets. It is hard to look at the rows of pet foods available and know which brand is the “best”. There is no right answer. Everyone has their personal preference/opinion. However, The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) helps ensure that a diet is “complete and balanced” for pets. Look for their name on your pet’s commercial pet food. Look for brands that have scientific research to back up their claims. A good company will have no problem talking to a customer about concerns with their product or answering questions about ingredients.
Life stages are important when choosing your pet’s food too. Puppies and kittens have different needs than an adult dog/cat. A pregnant/nursing female dog has different needs than a spayed dog. Commercial pet foods will be labeled for different life stages. Different breeds may also have different dietary needs. A Great Dane is going to have different needs than teacup Poodle. An active Border Collie is going to have different needs than the Bassett Hound that prefers sleeping on the rug.
The health of your pet can also change their dietary needs. Renal disease, diabetes, liver disease, urinary issues, allergies, etc. are all conditions that affect pets. Diets can be beneficial in the treatment of these pets. Prescription diets are on the market to help with these animals. This article has great information about diets for pets with health concerns: http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2016/april/prescription-dog-food-when-it-good-idea-33980 Talk to your veterinarian if you think your pet could benefit from a prescription diet.
The amount to feed your pet is also going to be dependent on your individual pet. All foods come with guidelines, but that doesn’t mean that it is the only amount you can feed your pet. It is just a recommendation. Puppies eat more frequently than adults. An active dog is going to need more than a dog that sits in your lap all day. An obese dog does not need a full bowl of food available all day, every day. Again, if you have questions, talk to your vet.
Hopefully, this small bit of information has helped you get started. If you have questions, please contact your veterinarian or veterinary technician to talk about your pet(s)’ specific needs.