Pets Need Proper Nutrition and Here's How to Ensure it
Our pets are our beloved companions, and some of us will go to any lengths to ensure their well being. But with new pet owners, the pressure is high to do it right. From their proper eating and sleeping habits to regular exercise, we need to safeguard the best routine possible for them. Nutrition is imperative for a healthy body, and you must be thorough about pet nutrition to be certain your pet will not be sick or allergic to any food. Also, ensuring the amount of food and calories that are consumed by your cat or dog is important for maintaining healthy body weight.
Cats and dogs are mostly carnivores, and so you need to make sure to add certain nutrients if you are preparing homemade food (which are almost always nutritionally unbalanced), or be aware of the ideal nutritional value while buying pet food. This can be a difficult task for new pet owners.
To completely ensure your pets’ nutrition, here are a few things you need to carefully consider.
Water is primary
Needless to say, your pet needs to consume enough water throughout the day, especially when they are quite active. Your pet's body is made of almost 60% water and around 80% when it is a baby. If your pet’s body loses 10% or more of water, then it could lead to illness or other problems. Also, the water needs to be clean and refilled fresh frequently. The ideal measurement of water for your pets is 2.5 times the food consumed. If your pet is more active or it is summer, it will consume more water than usual. Make sure that your pets have access to water all the time as they prefer to not stay parched.
A balanced diet is necessary
A balanced diet with an appropriate amount of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals is necessary for your pet to maintain its health and overall body.
As we mentioned above, all cats and almost all dogs are carnivores, which dictates they consume a lot of meat and crude protein. Protein is necessary for your pet’s body because it helps in growth, cell repair, the health of muscles, and the maintenance of the overall physique. Cats require a higher amount of protein content compared to dogs, and so you might have heard that dogs can eat cat food but not the opposite. Also, an important protein known as taurine is only synthesized by dogs and not cats, and thus cats require it through food. Taurine helps in reproduction, proper vision, and a healthy heart in pets.
As one of the main sources of energy, carbohydrates are necessary for proper digestion and a healthy stool. You might notice that a lot of pet food contains more than 50% carbohydrates because it is cheaper and easily accessible to produce. But if your pet does not exercise regularly and continues feeding on excess carbohydrates frequently, it can gain weight easily. Make sure to keep carbohydrates in moderation.
The fats in your pet’s food are necessary. However, make sure they’re given in modest amounts because, like carbohydrates, an excess can make your pets fat and inactive. But if given in recommended quantities, fats make your pet’s fur and coat healthy and shiny, help in absorption of vitamins, and production of certain hormones.
Vitamins and minerals
If you are already giving your pet a balanced diet with recommended quantities of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, they will gain all necessary vitamins and minerals from it — such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, potassium, copper, iodine, chlorine, phosphorus, iron, manganese and selenium. Unless the vet advises you to supplement vitamins and minerals in case of deficiencies, you should not as it might lead to illness.
Measure the food
Measuring food for an appropriate feeding portion is important for both humans and animals. Eating more than the recommended amount of food per meal can result in weight gain. The optimal calorie intake needs to be determined before starting to feed them. You can search for the feeding guidelines on the pet food packets, which are also, at times, labeled according to the age of the animal. But as every pet has a different body, it is advisable to take it slow and start from the lowest given measurement. You can steadily increase the amount of food to be served to your pet by observing their eating patterns and estimating how often they get hungry during the day.
The daily calorie count should also include the occasional treats that you feed your pets, often several times a day. The numbers add up inadvertently, and you would often not notice that the total count that you fed them has gone beyond the advised number. Other factors to be considered for your cat or dog are whether or not it is neutered, overweight, or hyperactive. A neutered pet should be fed almost 20 to 30% fewer calories per day. An overweight pet should also be fed on similar lines. However, a hyperactive pet would take up a few more calories than the average given the amount of energy expended throughout the day.
Seek professional help
Every pet is different and has a different body type. Even if you find one suitable brand for the completely balanced pet food, it might not work out for your pet. It might not be suitable due to an allergy or a reaction to a particular ingredient used in the food. If you sense that your pet is not well or getting sick often, or not desiring to eat some particular recommended food at all, you should take it to the vet. At times, seeking professional help can diagnose a problem which you would have never even thought about, and should help solve it. Having said that, you need to take your pet to the vet for regular checkups and to ensure if they are eating well and are healthy.
Your pets are kind of like your children. They need constant care and should be treated with the respect given to any living creature. This comes in the form of love, care, and, obviously, a well-balanced diet with everything their bodies need. Apart from proper nutrition, make sure that your pets exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body and mind.