Eating well and maintaining a healthy weight are essential parts of every health care plan. But what food is best? How can I regulate my pet’s weight? We will cover all of the basics you need to know to keep your four-legged friend fit and healthy.
Maintaining A Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is imperative for your pet to achieve its best health and longest life. In fact, the results of the landmark, 14-year long Purina Life Span Study documented an increased median life span of 1.8 years in lean dogs versus their moderately overweight counterparts.
To maintain a healthy weight, the first step is to ask your Westlake Animal Hospital veterinarian for a recommended number of calories to feed per day. 75-80% of weight loss comes from calorie reduction. Use a dry measuring cup to measure out a specific amount of food for each meal. Also, you will need to limit other sources of calories such as other pet’s food, human food, and treats. Then, check your pet’s weight every two weeks to monitor progress- you should see 1-2% weight loss per week.
Choosing a Healthy Diet, Proper Nutrition
With so many pet foods out there, choosing the best food for your pet can be a daunting task. Let’s break it down into a few simple steps.
First, find a pet food brand you trust. It is difficult to evaluate a company just based on the pet food label, so it is recommended to call the company to ask questions. Check out the World Small Animal Veterinary Association nutrition guidelines for some specific questions to ask.
After finding a brand you trust, it’s time to choose a specific formula. It is recommended to choose a formula based on your pet’s life stage- puppy, adult, or senior- and on any specific medical conditions your pet may have. In addition, consider your pet’s activity level and current body weight. A high-protein and calorie-rich diet might be great for an active, fit Labrador but would set up other less active dogs or cats to become overweight.
The most appropriate diet for your pet is one that:
- Maintains appropriate body weight
- Maintains a healthy, shiny coat
- Helps to manage any pre-existing health conditions
Summing It Up
Choose a brand you can trust and a formula that matches your pet’s life stage, activity level, and underlying health conditions. And remember, any diet can be unhealthy if it is fed to excess! Please do not hesitate to contact the team at Westlake Animal Hospital in Austin, Texas if you have any questions regarding your pet’s nutritional plan.