Answers to Common Dog and Cat Food Questions

 

Date: September 2nd, 2016

                   

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How Do I Decide Which Food To Feed?


With hundreds of pet food brands available, it can seem like a daunting task to pick the perfect food for your pet. When picking a food, there are 3 main factors to take into account: life stage, lifestyle, and overall condition. Life stage refers to whether your pet is a puppy or kitten, adult, or senior. Lifestyle refers to how active or inactive your pet is normally. Condition refers to the pet's overall health and body weight.

Always prioritize the nutritional needs of your pet and seek the advice of a professional if you are unsure. Dogfoodadvisor.com is a great tool for dog owners - it features hundreds of unbiased reviews with customer comments, nutritional rankings and more.


How Often Should I Feed My Pet?


A practical guideline is that puppies and kittens should be fed three times a day from weaning (3-6 weeks) to 4 months of age. After 4 months, they should be fed twice a day. Most dogs and cats should continue to be fed twice a day throughout their life, although some pets do well with one feeding.


How Much Should I Give My Pet To Eat?


The amount to feed depends on the age, size, and activity level of the dog or cat. Feeding guidelines, which list the daily recommended portion, are included on almost all commercial pet food packages. Start feeding with this amount and adjust according to your pet's needs. Remember to divide the portion accordingly if you feed more than once a day.


What Is The Best Way To Introduce A New Diet To My Pet?

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It's important when changing a pet's diet to slowly introduce new food. Start by offering the pet's daily portion in a ratio of 25% new food to 75% old food. During the next 2-3 days, gradually increase the amount of new food and decrease the amount of old. For more information, please click here.


Is It Necessary To Feed Both Wet and Dry Food?

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Wet food is an excellent source of nutrition that can be fed by itself or mixed with dry food. Although most wet dog and wet cat foods are nutritionally complete and balanced, it is not necessary to offer wet food at every feeding. Use a dry food that is formulated with high-quality protein sources such as chicken, lamb, or fish and contain all of the essential nutrients pets need. The crunchy texture of dry food also promotes healthy teeth and gums and provides overall good oral hygiene. In addition, some dry dog foods contain a dental enhancement to help block tartar buildup on teeth during and after meals.

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Will My Pet Be Bored Eating The Same Food All The Time?

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No. Boredom with food is a human trait. Dogs and cats are creatures of habit and usually are happy with just one food. Dogs and cats generally eat to meet their energy or nutritional needs. They have very short digestive systems, and, if their diet is abruptly changed, digestive disturbances can occur. Also, constant changes can make a pet eat finicky. 

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Is It All Right To Moisten Dry Food?

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Adding water will not change the nutritional value of a dry pet food. However, once moisture is added the food should be eaten relatively soon, and any uneaten portion discarded to avoid spoilage. Dry feeding pet foods is usually encouraged because of the benefit to the pet's dental health.

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Will It Hurt My Cat Or Dog If They Eat Each Other's Food?

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Cats and dogs have different nutritional requirements and really should not eat each other's food. For example, cats require a much higher level of taurine in their diet. An occasional venture into each other's bowls will not be harmful but is not recommended on a regular basis.

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How Many Biscuits Can I Feed My Dog Each Day?

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Feed approximately 2-4 small biscuits per cup of food. Keep in mind that when biscuits are added to the daily diet, calories are added so you may need to reduce the amount of food you feed. Check the calorie content of the biscuit, since there is a variance due to the size and formulation of the biscuit.

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How Many Treats Can I Feed My Cat Each Day?

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Feed your cat treats according to life stages, and follow product label suggested servings. Treats are useful in training and behavior modification, but use them wisely!

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Can I Supplement Pet Foods With Vitamins, Minerals, Oils, Etc.?

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Sure - but it isn't necessary because most pet foods are nutritionally complete and balanced. Adding vitamins, minerals, or oils can offset the balance the food provides*. One of the benefits of feeding a high-quality product is that it has been carefully balanced in proper ratios to provide optimal nutrition - nothing needs to be added.

*Check with your vet about what supplements may be beneficial for your pet.

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How Do I Encourage My Dog Or Cat To Eat Dry Food After Eating Scraps From The Table?

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Dogs and cats are creatures of habit and can resist change when trying to switch their diets. It's important to completely stop feeding from the table. This is best accomplished by removing the pet from the kitchen during mealtimes. Be persistent when offering dry food. The pet may refuse to eat for several meals before deciding to give the food a try. Heating food in the microwave increases the aroma of the food and will often entice a pet to eat. Another alternative is to try a topper – mixing some wet food with the dry food, or topping it with a sauce or gravy specifically formulated for pets. Be assured that the pet eats to meet an energy need and will eventually begin to eat unless there is an underlying medical issue. For more information on feeding pet's your table scraps, click here.

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What Should I Do If My Pet Is Constipated or Has Loose Stool?

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A pet's stool should be small and firm. Most cases of constipation are temporary and due to dietary interruptions. Loose stools also are often temporary and can be due to dietary interruptions, as well as many other things, including an abrupt change in diet, overeating, parasites, medication, eating table scraps, viral or bacterial infections, and stress. If constipation or diarrhea persists, however, it is important to consult a veterinarian.

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Additional Sources: http://www.iams.com/pet-health/dog-life-stages/common-questions-about-feeding-your-dog, http://www.iams.com/pet-health/cat-special-concerns/feeding-guidelines-for-your-cat



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