There are many reasons why feeding your fur baby a high-quality diet is preferable… not just when it comes to what comes out the back end! Whilst we acknowledge the obvious price discrepancy, the cost of the higher quality food over the life of the pet will be offset by lower veterinarian bills with a reduced risk of health issues that are a result of improper nutrition.

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And it’s not just about maintaining a healthy weight — a balanced diet provides your pet with the right combination of nutrients. Protein, carbs, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water all play an important part in keeping your pet happy and healthy…

Protein: Your pet relies on the essential and non-essential amino acids found in protein as they help maintain muscles, repair cells and produce hormones and antibodies.

Fat: Fat provides much energy for your pet — more than twice the amount found in proteins and carbs! Fat also keeps skin and hair healthy, insulates the body and is necessary for absorbing some vitamins.

Carbohydrates: Carbs can get a bad rap from humans but they’re essential for healthy nutrition in your pets. These nutrients fuel your pet’s cells and provide energy. Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that is particularly helpful in promoting good digestion.

Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins A, D, E, and K and minerals like calcium and potassium help maintain the nervous system, boost immunity, strengthen teeth and bones, and maintain muscle health. A well-balanced diet should contain all of these.

Water: Up to 70% of an adult pet’s body weight is made up of water so it’s important your pet stays hydrated. Water plays an important role in digestion, eliminating waste, and regulating body temperature. Make sure your pet always has access to fresh, clean water.

DOGS

Tips on feeding your dog

  • Dogs need a complete and balanced diet
  • Freshwater should be available to your pets at all times, inside and out
  • Adult pets can be fed one or two meals a day
  • Puppies often need three or four small meals a day
  • Any food that is left out for long periods can grow bad bacteria, so it is recommended uneaten food be thrown away after one hour

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Home-cooked diets

There can be advantages to home-cooked meals, but they do not outweigh the disadvantages unless the diet has been put together specifically for your pet by a qualified veterinary nutritionist.

Advantages:

  • Increased palatability
  • High digestibility
  • Ability to control ingredients

Disadvantages:

  • Expensive
  • Poorly balanced i.e. lack the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins & minerals
  • Bacterial contamination of raw ingredients can affect both pets and humans
  • Bones can cause gastrointestinal obstructions, break teeth and tear the intestines

Unless you have specific recipes that have been formulated by a veterinary nutritionist, commercial diets should be considered.

Treats

Treats are a great way to help with positive reinforcement for good behaviour, but it is important to choose the right treats and to give them in moderation as each treat adds towards daily calories for your dog. Treats should not represent more than 10% of your pets’ total diet and don’t forget that affection is just as effective and appreciated as an alternative to food treats!

Good treats:

  • Dried liver treats
  • Dog-approved biscuits for dogs
  • Dog dry food
  • Natural popped popcorn
  • Puffed rice

Overweight pooches can still enjoy the occasional treat:

  • Green beans are low calorie and high in fibre
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Chickpeas
  • Carrot

CATS

Tips on feeding your cat

  • Cats need a complete and balanced diet
  • Freshwater should be available to your pets at all times, inside and out
  • Adult pets can be fed one or two meals a day
  • Kittens often need three or four small meals a day
  • Any food that is left out for long periods can grow bad bacteria, so it is recommended uneaten food be thrown away after one hour

Feeding tips to help reduce boredom and maintain a healthy weight:

  • Feed smaller meals throughout the day
  • Maintain a feeding schedule
  • Hide dry food around the house
  • Use food contraptions
  • Encourage the cat to chase after dry food

Tips to help feed a picky eater:

  • Picky eaters can develop if a cat is fed a single food item over a long period of time with little variety. To avoid this, it is important to expose a cat to a variety of flavours, textures and sizes of food.
  • When modifying a diet, always make a gradual change and if your cat refuses to eat for over 24 hours, seek veterinary attention.
  • Cats only have around 400 taste buds – compared to dogs at 1,700 and people at 9,000. Because of this, cats rely on their sense of smell to determine the taste of food. If the cat’s diet lacks smell or if the cat has the flu, try warming the meal to enhance the smell.

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Treats

It is important to choose the right treats and to give them in moderation as each treat adds toward daily calories for your cat. Treats should not represent more than 10% of your pets’ total diet and don’t forget that affection is just as effective and appreciated as an alternative to food treats!

Good Treats:

  • Dried liver treats
  • Cat-approved biscuits
  • Cat dry food
  • Natural popped popcorn
  • Puffed rice
  • Chickpeas
  • Feeding bones

Raw meaty bones such as chicken necks and wings can help in keeping teeth and gums healthy however it is important to make sure the bone is long enough so it cannot be accidentally swallowed whole. Ingestion of raw bones can lead to constipation so always discard the bone after a time and never feed cooked bones as they can splinter and cause intestinal obstruction.

Tinned sardines, tuna, or salmon can be offered as an occasional treat but should not be given as a regular food source and always removing any bones.

If you need further support around this issue, book an appointment to speak with a Your PetPA veterinarian or nurse via our website or App. Personalised nutrition advice is especially recommended if your dog or cat has a health condition or special dietary needs.

Shop at Your PetPA online store for pet food and treats. Thriving Pets+ members receive 10% discount on all purchases.