Overfeeding! Or as I like to call it, killing your pet with kindness.
That may sound harsh but it couldn’t be more true.
A lot of owners are over-feeding their pets, and this is leading to high numbers of obese pets across the globe.
Are you overfeeding your pet? See my tips on how to prevent it.
Are you feeding your pet too much? See my tips on how to prevent it.
As a vet nurse, this is a battle we face on a daily basis.
The hours spent educating what a healthy pet should look like, and then trying to convince, or motivate owners to help their pet lose weight.
It can be a very sensitive subject for owners, and needs a gentle approach.
All of which can be time-consuming.
How do we fall into an overfeeding trap?
Owners love spoiling their pets with the latest chewy toys, and delicious treats.
However, they also fall into the trap of over humanising their fur babies and feeding them foods they like to eat themselves. We do this without thinking about how many calories we are allowing our pets to consume.
Of course, most pets are more than willing to gobble up whatever you offer them and they are adorably unaware of the consequences of overeating.
In-fact they will do everything possible to convince you otherwise.
This is how we fall into “killing with kindness”. We feel kind for feeding them what they want, however, the overeating is slowly killing them.
What are the consequences of overfeeding my pet?
An obese animal is more susceptible to so many health issues.
For example diabetes, Heart issues and arthritis are just some of the many conditions that can be caused by or made worse by excess fat on an animal.
How will I know if I’m overfeeding my pet?
We feel good for treating our pets with the various food items that we enjoy. However, our pets don’t need these foods and the consequences of these treats is much higher for our beloved best friends.
If you’re wanting more detail on the calorie needs for your dog or cat.
I have provided links for a dog calories per day calculator. These give you an idea of how many calories your dog or cat should be having per day. https://wsava.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Calorie-Needs-for-Healthy-Adult-Dogs.pdf
Please also be aware most vet recommended diets will have a how much food should I feed my dog chart on the back of the bag. This is also the same for cat and other pet foods too.
For example, if an average-sized dog is fed a small biscuit, that is equal to a human eating a whole cheeseburger! So you can see how easy it is to overfeed.
There are so many great vet recommended dog foods on the market.
Veterinary clinic staff are your best dog food advisor, not only can they point you in the direction of great diets, they can teach you which dog food brands to avoid and of course all other household pets too.
Veterinary recommended science-based pet food is designed to give your pet everything they need, in the right amounts, and its the healthiest way to feed your dog or pet.
Please talk to your vet about diets available for your fur child = )
How can I prevent overfeeding?
Instead of giving your pet that crust off your toast in the morning or the sausage off the BBQ, here are some tips to avoid overfeeding.
- Instead of using higher-calorie foods like meat, sausage and cheese. Try Using, diet biscuits, and small amounts of boiled pumpkin for training.
- Save some of their daily food allowance in a bag. Every time you feel they need a treat and you can’t bear not giving them something, you now have a stash of, perfectly proportioned, suitable food there and waiting.
- Tell friends and family not to feed your pet at gatherings like BBQs.
It’s very easy for someone to slip your pet a cheeky piece from the grill.
In reality, its just encouraging begging and overfeeding. In my house, it’s a big no-no and I make it clear when my friends and family are around not to feed my fur babies.
- Lastly, if you really feel your pet needs something else in their day that’s different from their Am + PM meals. You can make your own healthy treats from their regular dry food.
These are all great ways to avoid overfeeding and giving your pet unhealthy foods.
While we are on this subject.
It can be hard for owners to notice or determine if their pet even has a weight issue let alone if they’re overfeeding.
Here are some links to body condition score videos to help you determine what body score your pet is.
Dogs – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7lHRRbmpBQ
Cats – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14hfMgyDl44
Frequently asked questions answered
- What time of day should I feed my dog
Its recommended to feed your pet twice daily Once in the morning and once in the evening. Generally spacing the meals out 10-12 hours is good.
- What is the best food to feed my dog
This is something you need to discuss with your Vet! Every pets needs are different, and depending on their life stage or even breed different diets can be required. Please talk to your Vet clinic staff about which diet they recommend for your pet.
- How to measure dog food portions
Most bagged food will come with a measuring cup and have a ‘how much should I feed my dog chart’ on the back. However, if you are struggling the Vet clinic staff will be able to show you how to measure dog food portions, Just ask them = )
- Home cooked dog food
Now most of us in the Veterinary industry don’t recommend this. No, it is not because were money-hungry salespeople trying to sell you expensive dog food.
The reason is 9/10 home-made food just isn’t balanced nutritionally and we see the consequences of this on a daily basis in the clinic. The reason we recommend science-based food is because it truly is balanced for your pets nutritional needs.
- Can I feed my dog 3 times a day
Adult dogs generally only need to be feed twice daily. Puppy however often require more meals as they are growing.
If you are wanting to feed your pet more than the recommended twice daily, please make sure you are splitting their daily allowance by 3 and not adding in an extra meal of its own.
As always, Thanks for reading = )