|As a responsible pet owner, you should keep in mind that part of your obligation is to make sure that your beloved fur friends have everything that they need / Photo by: Jaromír Chalabala via 123RF|
As a responsible pet owner, you should keep in mind that part of your obligation is to make sure that your beloved fur friends have everything that they need. Just like humans, pets also need to have a healthy diet. It doesn’t matter what breed your pet is or if they were originally strays or bought, what is important is how we take care of them, and this includes giving them the right meal suitable for their dietary needs.
Of course, we cannot force our pets to eat whatever we put in front of them. Dogs and cats have different food preferences throughout their lives. Their food choice also changes as they grow older because their body will need more sustenance than they do when they are still puppies or kittens.
Time will come when pet owners will have to change their pets’ diet, but how will they know?
Changing your pet’s food can be quite tricky at first and even a waste of money. But, pet owners should be wary of their pet’s weight because it can indicate a need for different nutrients or they need to lose weight.
According to a report by the Huffington Post, an American news and opinion website and blog, 60 percent of cats and 50 percent of dogs in the US are diagnosed as being overweight or obese. Though we might find overweight pets cute with their wiggly bellies, gaining too many pounds is not healthy.
If your pet is putting on too much weight, you can give them foods that have more fiber content as this can be helpful in making the dog or cat feel fuller with just a small serving and has an appropriate amount of protein and fats. It is also recommended to consult a veterinarian if you want to know what your pet’s ideal weight is. This way, pet owners can have proper guidelines that would indicate the right number of servings.
On the other hand, if your pet is showing unusual weight loss, prepare a diet that will ensure that they will still have the right amount of essential nutrients and vitamins and at the same time also contains a fewer amount of calories.
|Changing your pet’s food can be quite tricky at first and even a waste of money / Photo by: Tatiana Gladskikh via 123RF|
Changes in Their Coats
Giving the right food to your pets can also help keep their skin and fur healthy. PetMD, a global source of pet health information, said in an article that there are several pet foods in the market that are designed for skin and coat improvement. If your pet baby lacks the essential fatty acids in their diets, their coat will lose its shine and they might be prone to shedding.
To avoid excessive shedding, choose foods that contain the right amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These will also reduce the chance of your pet having skin irritation that is usually caused by allergies to food. Pet owners who have allergic pets should consult a veterinarian about which diet would work for their furry little babies, and they might recommend a prescription diet that is low-allergen one or an over-the-counter sensitive skin diet.
“Veterinarians can recommend either a prescription diet or a low-allergen diet that can help determine if food allergies are the culprit,” Jennifer Freeman, D.V.M, Pet Smart resident veterinarian, said in an article on HuffPost. This is one of many reasons why pet owners should refrain from giving their pets table scraps because it might trigger or aggravate their allergy.
Consider Your Pets’ Age
As our pets age, their dietary needs change too. Pets are considered middle-aged to senior around 5 to 7 years, depending on the size of the animal. Once they reach the senior age, they will need low-calorie diets that have more fiber content. It is essential for senior pets to take supplements that are specific to their life stage, and these should have joint support and antioxidants.
If your pet is suffering from one of the diseases linked with aging, like arthritis, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or dental problems, Cummings Veterinary Medical Center, a teaching hospital for veterinary care, recommended on their official website that pet parents should consult a professional to have their pet’s modified depending on their health conditions. This can be helpful in managing any illness that might arise as they age.
|As our pets age, their dietary needs change too. Pets are considered middle-aged to senior around 5 to 7 years, depending on the size of the animal / Photo by: Wirakorn Wanthong via 123RF|
Switching a Pet’s Food
If you decide that it’s the right time to switch your pet’s food and your veterinarian agrees, make sure that you do it gradually. Pet People, an online source to help pets thrive, explained that switching foods too quickly might result in vomiting, diarrhea, or excess gas.
Once you introduce the new food to your pet, you should let their body adjust to it. Their digestive system is not similar to humans, so dogs and cats have to get used to the same diet for months or years.