With pet obesity on the rise, do you know how much you should really be feeding your pet?
Ness Bird is a Nutrition Adviser for Arden Grange, here she discusses important factors affecting how much your pet should eat, and how to get it right.
Some key things to consider when feeding your pet:
What type of ‘feeder’ are you?
Are you a meticulous measurer, carefully weighing out each or your pet’s meals or do you scoop out a bowl-full of kibble with whichever mug is to hand? You may prefer ‘free’ feeding? This method is popular and can work for some cats who can be incredibly efficient at ‘self-regulating’ and consuming only what they need. However, many dogs (and some cats too) will over-eat if there is not a daily limit!
Regardless of your feeding style, is your current method really working for you or, more importantly, for your pet? There are more factors that influence how much your pet needs to eat than you may think…
Your pet’s age
Kittens and puppies need more calories than fully grown adult dogs and cats. Older animals who are slowing down with age have a lower requirement for energy than a normally active adult.
The size of your pet and their weight
Over or underweight animals will need less or more food respectively. Your vet will provide a free weight check for you to identify if your pet is at a healthy weight.
An outdoor cat who enjoys hunting will need more fuel than sedentary cats, as will a sporting/working dog versus a normally active adult dog.
Stressed or anxious animals tend to burn more fuel than those who are generally very relaxed!
Just like people, some animals have a naturally quicker metabolism than others. Small dogs have a faster metabolism than large and giant breeds. They can still be prone to unwanted weight gain though!
The calorie content of the chosen diet
Yes, calories are counted in pet nutrition just as they are for us humans. Some products within the Arden Grange range are lower or higher calorie than others and we have combined our knowledge of calories together with age, size and life-style factors, to create recommended feeding quantities for each of our products.
Follow the feeding guides
Pet food manufacturers carefully craft their feeding guides, taking into account as many of the factors listed above as possible, although they can still only estimate the quantity of food required due to considerable variation between individual pets. It does however provide you with a great starting point.
Also consider the treats and extras you give your pet…these have calories too! Reduce the main diet to accommodate treats so your pet can enjoy their rewards without piling on the pounds.
If you are still unsure about how much to feed your pet, you can visit ardengrange.com for further support and advice.
Ness Bird is a registered veterinary nurse, and holder of the Certificate in Canine and Feline veterinary Health Nutrition. After 15 years practical experience as a veterinary practice nurse, NVQ assessor and technical writer, and over 13 years’ experience at Arden Grange, Ness has an in-depth knowledge of the practical aspects of feeding dogs and cats. She and the team are always happy to help provide guidance should you have any queries.