It’s estimated that more than 50% of dogs and cats in the United Sates are either overweight or obese. While a few extra pounds may not seem like a big deal, being overweight can lead to a variety of other health conditions like arthritis and heart disease. Below are four mistakes you may be making regarding your pet’s food:
1. You’re free feeding: Many, many pet parents are guilty of this. You put out food for your pet to eat whenever he or she wants. Then, whenever it’s empty, you fill it right back up. You may think this is okay because your pet isn’t gobbling up the whole bowl right away, but automatic refilling is an easy way to overfeed your pet without even noticing.
2. You offer too many treats: It may be hard not to reward those sweet puppy dog eyes with an extra treat or two, but those additional calories can quickly add up. Opt for healthier treat options and stick to a daily limit. Also, try spoiling with your pet with extra play time or walks instead of food rewards.
3. You’re not measuring: Do you actually know how much food your pet is supposed to eat each day or are you just guessing and scooping? Speak with a vet about the correct amount of food for your pet and measure it out at mealtime.
4. You’re not paying attention to life stage and lifestyle: A pet’s nutritional needs change with age and no two animals are the same. Puppies and kittens typically need a higher calorie food to support growth, while seniors may benefit from decreased calories and additional fiber. Be sure the pet food formula you choose fits your companion’s individual needs.