10 Simple Rules to Know About Feeding Your Pet

Joined: 12:23 PM - Apr 20, 2010

11:48 PM - Jul 18, 2013 #1

10 Simple Rules to Know About Feeding Your Pet

By vetstreet.com



If you're like most pet people, this post should strike a chord because, at some point in your life, you'll live with a pet whose weight or appetite is problematic.

"How much should I feed my dog?" That's one of the top questions clients ask me during well-puppy visits. It also happens to be a top Google search term, right after "How much should I weigh?"



Although Google can be a great resource for some things, it's not likely to help you much in this case. The answer, you see, is different for every pet. Sure, there are rules of thumb, but that's exactly how pet owners get into trouble. Case in point: If you assume the directions on the side of a bag of kibble are gospel, chances are you'll have a fat dog in no time.

The good news is that the right answer for how much to feed most pets can be boiled down to 10 simple rules.

1. Invest in a Nutritionally Balanced Diet
Whether it's a veterinary nutritionist's recipe or an off-the-shelf commercial formula recommended by your vet, stick to something that's nutritionally balanced. (It will usually say so on the side of the bag or can.)

2. Add Moisture to Feline Food
This is currently a highly controversial topic in veterinary medicine, but one 2010 study conducted at the Waltham Center in the U.K. found that cats who were fed moistened diets - even if it was just kibble mixed with water - were more active and weighed less at the end of the study.

3. Measure, Measure, Measure
This is fundamental when you're trying to figure out how much to feed, so use a proper measuring tool - a mug isn't going to cut it if you want to get your pet's portion just right.

4. Be Consistent
It may go without saying, but you need to make sure the food you give your pet is prepared more or less the same way every time, so, if you home cook, that means being careful about preparing consistent portions. You should also be vigilant about feeding your pet the same formula and brand of food, as well as keeping tabs on the calorie counts of different formulas and brands.

5. Assess if You're Feeding Too Much or Too Little
Here's where you need to ask your vet to point blank tell you just how fat your pet really is through a body condition score. A high body condition score (BCS) means your pet needs to lose weight.
6. Learn to To Rate
The right amount of food is almost always determined through trial and error. In other words, you may have to increase and decrease food amounts over time until you hit on the right daily portion. For example, you may start with one can of food a day, but your vet says your cat is too fat. So you reduce the food by 1/4 can a day, prompting her to lose weight. After about a month, you and your vet both think she's getting a tad skinny, so you add back in a tablespoon a day.

7. Don't Forget That Treats Count
Treats are food, too, and they're usually more calorically dense.

8. Factor in Exercise
Most of the above takes into account a regular amount of exercise (or lack thereof). If your pup is jogging along with you each morning as you train for a marathon, for example, you may want to increase the amount of food that tumbles into the food bowl - temporarily, anyway.

9. Expect Age-Related Changes
As he gets older, a pet's metabolism (like our own) slows down - and that means a little less food every year. Or try switching to senior dog food, which contains less fat.

10. Keep in Mind That Every Animal Is Different
I have three dogs. The smallest one is half the size of the other two yet he eats twice as much. The moral of the story: Don't let volume sway you; each organism has a distinct metabolism that runs at its own pace.
Quote
Like
Share

Cindy marie
Heaven Bound
Heaven Bound
Cindy marie
Heaven Bound
Heaven Bound
Joined: 12:44 PM - Sep 01, 2010

12:44 PM - Jul 20, 2013 #2

I guess I am a bad doggy mommy. Foo has a bowl of water and a bowl of her favorite kibble at all times. However, what she usually eats is what I eat. Probably 90% of what she eats is hand fed to her by me. She sits patiently next to me while I am eating and when I have a bit for her I reach out, she opens her mouth like a little bird and I drop it in. All of her food is cut up in bite size pieces. She gets boneless skinless chicken breast, lean beef, strawberries, bananas, watermelon, tomatoes, red bell peppers, about the only thing she won't eat is lettuce and she does not like sour things. Our chickens will not eat lettuce either which makes me wonder how good it is for us anyway. I couldn't afford to feed a big dog this way but she only eats a couple spoonfuls. By the time I trim the dry edge off my steak she is full and happy ;).
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: 12:51 PM - Jul 15, 2013

2:27 PM - Jul 20, 2013 #3

She is not obese is she? Foo is fine because she is your only live in baby. I don't share with mine because DH non-stop feeds them. What do you think, Cindy? I am Mommy and Mommies know what is best.
Quote
Like
Share

Cindy marie
Heaven Bound
Heaven Bound
Cindy marie
Heaven Bound
Heaven Bound
Joined: 12:44 PM - Sep 01, 2010

3:05 PM - Jul 20, 2013 #4

She has always had good vet checks though he doesn't know what I feed her! We shall see as she has an appointment this week for her boosters and a heart worm test. We started out buying Little Caesar's moist dog food. It cost between 75 cents to a dollar a can. She would only pick at it and a lot was wasted. I have even bought those fancy dog meals with chunks of meat and carrots in them-and heated it for her. She wouldn't eat it.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: 12:51 PM - Jul 15, 2013

3:42 PM - Jul 20, 2013 #5

My oldest DD started that just like you did with her tiny breeds. She collected 3 with huge health problems. I told her after I got Buddy I agree with what the Vet says that they are all fat and overweight. She just puts out in a feeder now with dry food which they spill, but she still buys them treats which I call cookies and she calls treaties. Just for the small Milkbone biscuits it is 3 calories each which I would break in half and they were not that thrilled but I'd say, LOOK what GRANDMA brought you!
Anyway, they are still over but better now. I can't wait until I see them again. BTW, I am hearing nothing from my family, and I just sent an URGENT: I am having an episode email to her. Then I said, Ha! I am watching my first episode of Catfish which she insisted I watched about scammers. Too bad you don't have a TV Cindy because I know this will minister to my trio and it would to you too. God bless. I only collect boy dogs myself.
Quote
Like
Share

Cindy marie
Heaven Bound
Heaven Bound
Cindy marie
Heaven Bound
Heaven Bound
Joined: 12:44 PM - Sep 01, 2010

8:22 PM - Jul 20, 2013 #6

Foo doesn't seem to have any health problems. She has attitude problems. I plan to talk to the vet about not being able to find a groomer that will take her. I think if I could be there to hold her and make her behave they could groom her. If he has no more suggestions I will give Pet Smart a try. They said they will attempt it. She will be muzzled, restrained and shaved. I am sure it will be traumatic for Foo. Probably for the person attempting it too.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: 12:51 PM - Jul 15, 2013

8:28 PM - Jul 20, 2013 #7

Yeah, but a good one will meet with you first to give each other a feel for it. I think the store is a great idea. :real:
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: 12:51 PM - Jul 15, 2013

5:10 PM - Jul 21, 2013 #8

Love FOOFOOMOMMY (ya' know what I mean.) Just can't get co-ordinated. Do have in 4 1/2 miles, food, a shower and playtime with the boys. Will catch up. Cranking up now in temp and hot head will be home soon. LOL :aw:
Quote
Like
Share