How to Best Nourish Your Pet | PetFirst Pet Insurance
Pet Care & Health

How to Best Nourish Your Pet

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
4 years ago


The rattle of a bag or the opening of the pantry door and here they come – your pet knows the sound and always comes running in hopes of a nibble no matter what it is.  What’s even worse, your dog or cat probably just ate what you put in their bowl.  So why do they always seen hungry?  Are you feeding your pet enough?

Let’s start with reading the ingredients listed.  Here are two tips to keep in mind:

  • The first ingredient listed should represent the highest valued food in the mix, but that isn’t always the case.  The weight of the food may have been taken prior to being cooked or processed.  For example chicken when raw weights about 80% more than it does when it is cooked.
  • The word “meal” in the ingredient list is something that has been weighted after being processed.  For example “chicken meal” is chicken which is weighed after it has been cooked and the water has already been taken out, giving you more meat and protein per weight volume.

How much food and how often should I feed my pets?  First, we recommend asking your vet for their recommendations.  Your vet knows your pet’s medical history and their breed specific needs.  If you vet leaves the decision up to you, here are a few tips to consider.  Let’s break this down by cats vs dogs:

  • For grown dogs (over the age of one year) guidelines recommend feeding them 2x per day.  And to stick to a specific routine on timing if possible.  As far as how much, it depends on the weight of your dog.  Smaller breeds (25 lbs and under) need one cup or less per meal; medium breeds weighing between 25 – 50 pounds need 1 – 2 cups of food per meal; large breeds weighing 50 – 75 pounds need 2 – 21/2 cups per meal; and the larger breeds such as Great Dane, Malamute, St. Bernard or Mastiff, may need 2 – 4 cups of food per meal.
  • With cats many pet parents opt to leave food out all day allowing the cat to nibble as needed.  Check with your vet on which is best – continuous option to eat or feeding distinct meals?  If you go with feeding distinct meals, how much is the next question.  Again, it varies depending on your cat’s body weight, age and exercise.  Based on weight only, here are the recommended portions to feed your cat:  Cats weighing up to five pounds needs about ¼ cup per meal; five – 10 pound cats need about 3/8 of a cup per meal; and cats weighing up to 15 pounds need about ½ cup of food per meal.

Last, but certainly not least, what about the begging?  Is your dog or cat a beggar while you are enjoying a family meal or when you go to grab a snack?  To tell the truth, you (or those in your home) are most likely to blame.  Begging is a learned behavior.  What started out as innocent sharing has now become an annoying habit, a habit that is much harder to break.  But it can be done!  Start off by only feeding your pet (meals, treats and snacks) in their food bowl.  Train the pet to sit feet away from the bowl while you prepare the food and not to move toward it until you give the command.  Also, never feed your pet while they are begging.  Treats are your idea, not his (or hers).

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