You love your little fur babies like no other, but are you guilty of showering your pets with a little too much grub? Pets need the right balance of nutrients (dogs have 44 required in their diets and cats have 48) or they shift from bouncy, playful pals to wobbly, supine sidekicks.
Overfeeding and feeding the wrong diets can lead to overfat pets—a growing trend in the US. Though humans don’t like to admit it, obesity is a form of malnutrition. It’s your job as a pet own to nourish your pet with a proper diet. They can’t decide for themselves what they should and should not eat.
Though the solution seems as simple as cutting back on Fido’s calories, the same marketing gimmicks that tug us toward human treats are used with pet products as well. So rather than shopping for the lowest priced food shop with your pet’s nutritional needs in mind.
Ask your vet what he recommends for your pet and make sure to stick to the suggested portions. Just because your pooch has a big bowl doesn’t mean he needs it filled to the brim with kibble.
If your pet is a little on the heavy side, here are a few suggestions to help get him lean and mean again:
Turn treats into playtime: Limit your treat rewards and make your pet work for it with a Kong toy. When he has to work for his treats, he is using up those calories for energy. If you don’t have a Kong, play a game with your dog or cat before treating.
Keep your food on the table: Though it’s hard to resist those sad puppy eyes, avoid feeding your pet table scraps. Not only do things like gravy and meat fat add pounds to your pets, but they also put your best friend at risk of pancreatitis.
Slow down the feast: If your dog wolfs down his chow, place an object in his dish like a ball to slow his pace. He has to eat around the ball, adding minutes to his mealtime.
Give praise: Dogs love praise just as much as they love food, so swap out some biscuits with a few “good boys.”
Get your pet moving: Regularly exercise your pet so she burns off calories, fights disease, and feels a little more loved.
Don’t be impressed by the marketing used for pet food packaging. Find foods that have all the essential and nonessential nutrients for your pet’s health and judge the success of the food by your pet’s appearance. When she is chock full of energy, has a shiny coat, and makes smaller bowel movements, you know you’ve found the best food.
The Big Question:
What do you feed your pet? Share in the comments below!
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