A healthy and balanced diet is essential for a healthy and happy pet. Not only will it provide your pet with enough energy for his day to day activities, but it is also vital for proper brain function. An adequate diet is also particularly important for animals in the early stages of their development.
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to feeding your pet is to feed them by ‘life-stage’. Different animals, and in particular cats and dogs, require different nutrition at different stages of their life. For example, puppies around 12 weeks of age will require around 3 meals a day and it is not until they reach around 6 months of age that this amount should be reduced. That said, your animal may prefer smaller and more frequent meals. They key to feeding your pet properly is understanding what works best for them.
Methods of Feeding
A popular method of feeding is known as ‘free-feeding’. This is where a bowl of food is left out so that a pet can eat as much or as little and as frequently as they prefer. This works best for dry foods since they do not spoil as quickly as the wet variety. Some studies show that this method results in over-eating and subsequent pet obesity. However it may be the best option for you if you cannot stick to a feeding schedule.
Scheduled portioned feeding requires a strict routine that you need to be able to guarantee to stick to. Your pet will know when meal times are and ensure that they are ready for them, with cats coming indoors specifically at these times. This method limits the amount that your pet eats either by portion size or by time as some pet owners prefer to give their animals a specific time frame in which they must eat. This method also works well if you have pets that require medication to be mixed with their food, or have an animal on a calorie-controlled diet.
If you are unsure which method is right for your pet, consult with your veterinarian who will be more than happy to provide advice.
General Feeding Advice
Do NOT offer home cooked meals. These may not meet the complex nutritional needs of your pet. Instead stick to especially formulated pet foods.