What not to feed your pet

Should you be going easy on the treats?

2 minute read

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Dogs and cats with a healthy, balanced diet live longer, happier lives.

  • A healthy diet can help keep your pet fit and healthy
  • A lot of us would probably confess to giving our pets treats
  • Obesity in pets is on the rise

Go easy on the treats to curb pet obesity.

Healthy eating is something we all strive for, but don't forget: the same applies to your pets. 

Dogs and cats need a healthy, balanced diet as much as we do. Not sure what's best to be feeding your pet, and what you should definitely be avoiding? We gathered some advice from the experts to help you keep your canine or feline friends in tip top shape. 

Dogs

The general advice from the RSPCA is to complete these checks if you're concerned about obesity:

  • You should be able to see and feel the outline of your dog's ribs without excess fat covering.  
  • You should be able to see and feel your dog's waist and it should be clearly visible when viewed from above.
  • Your dog's belly should be tucked up when viewed from the side.

The PDSA recommend that we provide our dogs with a complete, commercially sound, age appropriate type of dog food - this will ensure your pooch gets all his essential nutrients.

It's important not to feed dogs food for humans – they'll receive little to no nutritional benefits, and, depending on what they eat, could get sick (chocolate, for example, is toxic for dogs).

You should feed an adult dog twice a day. As for treats, the experts recommend holding back, unless you're using them as a training incentive or you're confident the extra calories will be burnt off.

As for liquids, dogs need constant access to clean drinking water. 

 

Cats

The general advice from the RSPCA is to complete these checks if you're concerned about obesity:

  • You should be able to see and feel your cats ribs, spine and hip bones.  
  • Your cat's waist should be clearly visible when viewed from above.  
  • Your cat's belly shouldn't be sagging underneath, there should only be a small amount of belly fat.

The PDSA recommend giving our cats complete, commercially approved, age appropriate cat food. This will guarantee they benefit from a nutritionally balanced diet.

Human food for cats is never advised. Their digestive systems are not built to contend with the food we eat, and there's plenty they're allergic to, like onions, which are poisonous. 

Ideally, you should feed your cat throughout the day. Cats prefer to eat small, regular portions, rather than one big meal.

Cats don't require treats. They're able to get all the vitamins and minerals they need from cat food and, if free to explore outside, from whatever they scavenge in the wild.

Cats also need constant access to clean water.

 

Pet obesity is on the rise 

In 2020, The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) released the findings from a study which showed pet obesity remains one of the top concerns by veterinary professionals.
98% of vets said there should be more focus placed on preventing obesity rather than treating it. Obesity can cause serious health conditions if ignored, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Respiratory distress
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancers
It is one of the biggest welfare concerns facing the nation’s pets, it’s effectively a silent killer leading to long term health issues for pets that can cut their lifespan by up to two years.
Elaine PendleburySenior Veterinary Surgeon at the PDSA

Owners should always avoid giving their pets leftover food, cut down – or cut out – treats and, if they notice their dog or cat is obese, speak to your vet about getting your pet back into shape. 

Finally, it's important to stick to a routine and feed your pets at regular times. This will ensure they know when feeding time is, and allow you to keep track of how much they're eating. 

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