Just like we do, our beloved four-legged friends need to eat to live. To stay healthy, active, and happy, they need to get sufficient amounts of certain nutrients from their daily diets. As a responsible pet owner, you might already know that feeding your pet leftovers or low-quality food is as inhumane as it sounds.
However, there’s also the fact that different types of pets have different nutritional requirements. These may also be affected by several other factors, including weight, size, breed, age, and level of activity. In other words, no pet food is suitable for all pets, and understanding your pet’s nutritional needs is key to becoming the best pet parent you can be. Some foods can even be toxic to your pet and according to DogEmbassy.com, Mike Powel asserts that if you own a dog, the best way to understand his nutritional needs is to, first of all, understand what he can’t and shouldn’t eat. For instance, feeding your dog fruits like avocados, apple seeds, coconut or fruit pits can have various negative effects on his health. The same case applies to veggies like ginger, hot peppers, onions, and garlic, as well as drinks like alcohol and caffeine.
Once you understand what you shouldn’t feed your dog or other pet, it becomes easier to create a nutritional plan that works best for him or her.
Without further ado, here are some pointers that can serve as a guide for your pet’s nutritional needs.
The Actual Nutrients
Just like humans, cats and dogs need a balanced diet, which is made up of several nutrients. For dogs, these nutrients include proteins, vitamins, fats, carbohydrates, water, and minerals. Proteins, carbs, and fats are the three most important nutrients in pets. While protein is essential in muscle growth and repair, carbohydrates and fats are needed to provide energy. However, vitamins also help your dog stay healthier as they contain essential biochemical compounds important in fighting disease. Water and minerals are also needed to keep your pooch energetic and healthy overall. This means that when buying food for your dog, it’s important to check the label for a list of nutrients contained in the food and the number of calories they contain. Basically, protein should be highest in percentage, followed by carbs and fats.
Watch The Calories
As earlier mentioned, different pets have different nutritional needs, and these may vary with their weight too. If your cat weighs 10 pounds, for instance, 200 calories could be all they need every day. If your dog weighs 50 pounds, on the other hand, they would need 700-900 calories a day, with larger dogs requiring up to 1350 calories. Once you provide them with the daily calorie requirements, you’ll want to avoid feeding them with table scraps or leftovers no matter how tempting the round gentle eyes are. This will only create an overweight or fat pet, which can pose a huge risk to your furry buddy’s health. To calculate how many calories your dog needs each day, you can use this formula:
(30 X lean weight in lbs⁄2.2) + 70 = Daily calories needed. However, the best way to find out is to consult with your vet to determine how many calories your dog or cat needs each day.
How Many Meals a Day?
Yes, pets like dogs, have digestive systems that can allow them to go for a day or two without food after taking a large meal. But this is the last thing you want for your pet. So how many times should you feed your pet? Instead of one heavy meal a day, pets should be fed at least a couple of times a day with small portions. This helps to keep their weight in control while warding off certain digestive problems and nutrition-related ailments. If your pet needs, say, 900 calories a day, divide this into 3 or at least two meal portions and have a consistent feeding schedule for them. To keep their guts in good health, ensure they get their daily dose of exercise at least one or two hours after a heavy meal.
Water was mentioned as one of the important nutritional requirements earlier on. To ensure your pooch remains healthy, you’ll need to give them access to fresh water at all times. Consider placing a water bowl in a clean, strategic location where they can easily access whenever they need to quench their thirst.
They say that owning a pet is a full-time job that can be quite demanding. While this statement is true, proper feeding is the most important part of responsible pet parenting. Fortunately, the above few pointers can guide you in ensuring proper nutrition for your pet.