Are You Feeding Your Pet Too Much?
It’s January and the focus is on fitness. Obesity is becoming an increasing problem for humans and pets alike. Overeating is probably the biggest contributor to weight gain, and seems to be a problem for many pet guardians. Have you looked at how much you’re feeding your pet each day? The December 2014 issue of Whole Dog Journal offered these tips to help determine the right amount to feed your pet:
The recommended feeding amount is a starting point only. These amounts are always an estimate, but don’t take into consideration your pet’s metabolism or activity level. Observe your pet’s activity level and his appearance. If he appears to be gaining weight, reduce the amount of food you’re feeding.
Use a measuring cup or food scale. Often when I visit pet sitting clients, they will use a large cup to distribute food, which is often way more food than the recommended amount. Use an actual measuring cup, or better yet, a food scale, to determine the accurate portion size for your pet. Just a few kibbles, especially with small dogs, can put weight on them quickly.
Look at the extras. Are you feeding significantly less than the recommended amount of food to prevent your pet from gaining weight? If so, consider the extra treats, chew sticks and supplements you may be giving your pet daily. Many treats don’t provide a calorie count on their packaging, but some may have as much as 200 calories per treat! Supplements, and oils you may be feeding your pet may contain up to 40 calories per teaspoon. Be sure to take these calories into account and if possible, reduce the number of treats you give daily. Treats are just that, a treat, comparable to dessert for us. Consider what would happen if we ate one or two desserts every meal.
Add the right kind of people food. There are some “people foods” that are fine to give your dog. Non-starchy vegetables such as green beans or zucchini help fill up your dog without providing a lot of extra calories. A small amount of pumpkin is also a good addition to your pet’s meal and can also help keep his digestion sound.
Pets, as well as humans, feel better at a healthy weight. Truly care for your pet by keeping her lean.