Make sure the food is fresh:
When you purchase Pet food, check for freshness and purchase only the amount necessary for your Pet. Don't buy a forty-pound bag of food for your Chihuahua! Store Pet food in a cool, dry place and keep it tightly closed. Discard uneaten food and always place fresh food in a clean bowl. In general, hard food (or "kibble") is preferred for maintaining the teeth and minimizing tartar build-up. Soft, canned food tends to be more palatable and can be stored longer.
Feed the right amount:
Ask your doctor or check the label for how much to feed according to your Pet's ideal weight. Habits to avoid: feeding Pets as much as they want or feeding a large amount at one time. Doing so can lead to obesity, gastrointestinal upset, or even bloat-a life-threatening condition.
Maintain a daily routine:
A regular schedule will help your Pet keep normal elimination habits--and avoid indoor accidents. Younger Pets need to be fed more frequently, as they are usually more energetic and burn more calories. Small puppies and very active dogs can suffer life-threatening decreases in blood sugar if they're not fed frequently enough. Your veterinarian can help you develop a feeding regimen for your Pet.
Avoid "people" food:
Your Pet's digestive system is simpler than yours and can be easily upset by changes. Feeding table scraps can cause stomach upset or even a life-threatening pancreatitis. It also can lead to frequent begging, a behavior you may tire of quickly.
Life Cycle Feeding:
Pets' nutritional requirements change as they age. Puppies need puppy food because it is higher in energy and protein, but feeding it to an adult dog can lead to obesity. Likewise, older Pets need diets restricted in fat and supplemented with fiber for their optimum health. Ask your veterinarian to help you choose the best food for your Pet's age.
Remember, you are what you eat--and so is your Pet! To keep your Pet as healthy as possible, follow the simple diet guidelines above and see your veterinarian regularly.
Did You Know:
Many cats eat in cycles, a trait passed down from wild ancestors that hunted for food. Don't mistake these peaks and valleys as signs that your cat dislikes its food. Switching Pet food brands frequently in response to your cat's whims can reinforce bad eating habits and create finicky eaters.
It's normal for dogs and cats to eat grass. In fact, dogs in the wild eat grass to supplement their diet with vegetation. You don't have to discourage your Pet from nibbling on grass unless the ground has been treated with herbicides, insecticides, or fertilizers, or unless eating grass causes vomiting.
Obesity in Pets can lead to heart and respiratory problems, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, arthritis, and other joint diseases. Instead of offering your Pet snacks as a reward, spend a few extra minutes playing with him or her. After all, your affection is the sweetest reward.
Obinna Heche: Los Angeles California
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