Proper nutrition is the key to prevention. Many diseases, illnesses, obesity and age are affected by nutrition. Let our staff help you choose what food to give your pets that can help impact the longevity and quality of life for your pet.
Our staff are happy to discuss nutritional requirements according to your pet’s age, weight, activity level and the best diet suited to your pet’s lifestyle. We recommend special diets to prevent or minimize clinical symptoms and promote the comfort and well-being of your pets.
Feed a high quality diet designed for puppies. A wide variety of diets and formulations are available and your veterinarian should be your primary source of information as to the best choice for your puppy. The amount fed will vary with the type of food and the individual dog, but in general, should only be as much as the puppy can consume in 5 to 10 minutes at a given meal. Puppies are usually fed 3 times daily when between 6 and 12 weeks old, 2 times daily when 12 weeks to 6 months old, and may be fed 1 or 2 times daily when older than 6 months. For certain large breeds of dogs, your veterinarian may recommend that several smaller meals be fed rather than 1 large meal (even when your dog becomes an adult) because an association has been suggested between the consumption of large meals and a serious medical condition called gastric dilatation/volvulus or "bloat."
Feed a high quality diet designed for kittens. Your veterinarian is your best source for information regarding an appropriate diet for your kitten. Dry foods are usually most economical and have the advantage of providing a rough surface that will help reduce plaque and tartar buildup on your kitten's teeth, but canned foods can be fed/supplemented if desired. Amount fed will depend on the diet, as well as the age, size, and activity level of your kitten. Kittens can be fed free-choice or at set mealtimes; however, many veterinarians recommend feeding all pets at set mealtimes because intake can be more easily monitored. Canned foods should always be fed at set times, because if left unrefrigerated, they can spoil. I recommend use of stainless steel bowls because plastic and ceramic bowls can scratch, leaving crevices for bacteria to hide. The latter types of bowls (and resultant resident bacteria) have been associated with feline "acne" and skin irritation.
Dry foods are usually most economical and have the advantage of providing a rough surface that will help reduce plaque and tartar buildup on your kitten's teeth.
Without realizing it, many owners contribute to pet obesity through good intentions. Excess weight is a common yet serious health problem for dogs and cats. The two main causes of obesity are too much food and too little exercise. Other contributing factors can be due to hormonal influences, certain genetic factors, and diseases.
If you pet is carrying extra weight, it can:
- Increase the risk of heart disease by forcing the heart to work harder.
- Increase the risk of arthritis as extra weight can stress the joints, cause joint pain, and make it harder for your pet to move around comfortably.
- Obesity can cause breathing problems, skin and hair coat problems.
- Especially in cats, obesity frequently leads to diabetes.
All of these problems can make your pet uncomfortable and limit the way they interact with you and other family members.
Treatment is to first rule out and treat any medical causes, such as hypothyroidism. Reducing caloric intake and increasing exercise can help your pet successfully lose weight. Lifestyle changes and a weight loss program are essential. Our staff and veterinarians can help you determine if your pet is too heavy and provide guidelines for achieving their ideal weight.
Next, devise a diet plan with us for safely reducing the number of calories being fed while also increasing the calories being burned through activity. Finally, make exercise a priority. Two or more brisk walks each day for our pudgy pooches and thirty minutes of playtime with your flabby tabby can help them lose that excess weight. With your love and commitment, your pet can lose that excess poundage which, in turn, could add years to your pet's life.
Tips to help your pet lose weight:
- Pets who are fed controlled portions of food live about two years longer than those who have unlimited access to the food bowl.
- Start your pet's diet with a trip to the veterinarian. A thorough physical exam and blood tests can help rule out diseases that can cause weight gain.
- Next, throw away the self-feeders and designate one person in the family to feed the pets. Feed a few small meals instead of one large meal.
- Replace high calorie treats with healthy alternatives.
- Increase your pet's activity level. Two brisk walks daily for your dog can help both of you shed the excess weight.
- Try to spend about thirty minutes each day playing with your cat. Kitty Teasers and laser pointers can really help them lose pounds.
- Follow up with your veterinarian and adjust your pet's diet and exercise routine as needed