When choosing a food for your pet you need to consider factors such as your pet’s age, species, activity level, environment and physiological conditions. Just like humans, pets require a nutritionally balanced diet. Below are some general guidelines but your vet should be able to provide you with advice specific to your pet.
- The correct quantity and balance of vitamins and mineral is crucial for the health and well-being of both cats and dogs. Many commercial foods contain these vitamins. Read the information on the label for details of the ingredients.
- Whereas dogs can eat food of both animal and vegetable origin, cats are strict carnivores and require nutrients of animal origin.
- Choose prepared pet foods from reputable pet food manufacturers as they come with a guarantee of nutritional adequacy, quality and safety, and many contain the correct vitamins and minerals as mentioned above.
- Prepared foods are either complete or complementary. A complete food provides a balanced diet when fed alone, whereas a complementary food is designed to be fed in combination with an additional specified food source, for example, canned meat or a biscuit mixer for dogs. This is usually stated on the label, alongside information regarding the vitamins and minerals supplementing the food and information concerning the ingredients.
- Prepared dog foods are usually available in three main forms – dry, wet, and semi-moist. The most convenient and economical to use are dry foods which have had most of the moisture removed. You can serve the food as it is or add water to it before feeding.
- Water is a vital part of the diet of both cats and dogs so always make sure fresh water is readily available.
- Giving your pet treats and snacks is important and can help to develop a special relationship between you both. Certain snacks can also be beneficial for your pet’s health, for example, chewing specially designed dental chews can help exercise your dog’s jaw and help to keep teeth clean. It is, however, important to remember that snacks and treats do not exceed 10% of your pet’s daily calorie intake.
- Avoid feeding bones as these can splinter and result in the animal choking.