Part of responsible pet ownership includes playing with and exercising your pets regularly to keep them fit, alert and healthy. Grooming is another essential part of taking care of your animals. Equally important is feeding the correct diet.
A dog or cat with good body condition is one that is well proportioned, with an observable waist behind the ribcage and ribs that can be felt with a slight amount of fat covering them.
The amount of food required by adult dogs is dependent on their breed, size and level of activity. As with people, the amount of energy expended during the day determines the levels of nutrition required at mealtimes.
The weight of adult dogs with low activity levels i.e. less than one hour of activity a day, should be carefully monitored as these dogs tend to become overweight easily. Avoid feeding table scraps and try to increase their amount of activity.
Most adult dogs enjoy moderate activity levels of between one and two hours per day. Feeding a normal maintenance diet will suffice, but remember again to avoid food scraps..
Dogs with two to three hours of daily activity are regarded as having moderate to high activity levels. At this stage it is important to check your pet's weight and general condition regularly and amend the food quantity accordingly.
Adult dogs with high activity levels are on the go for most of the day. Their energy requirements will be a minimum of 40% more than those dogs of the same size with moderate activity levels. (NOTE: technically correct but could cause an industry perception of biase!)
As with dogs, cats need a balanced diet to ensure they get the right amount of nutrition for their daily levels of activity. Cats require more protein and a different nutrient balance in their diet than dogs, so it is important to feed your cats a well-balanced good quality wet or dry food that is specially made for felines.
The factors that influence the amount of food required by a typical adult cat includes activity level, temperature and metabolism status. The higher their activity levels and the faster their metabolisms, the more food they are likely to consume. When they start slowing down, ensure that their food intake does too, or you could land up with a fat cat!
Unlike dogs, cats tend to be nibblers, so it is best to ensure that they have a measured amount of food equal to their daily need available to them for several hours during the day.
Lastly, remember if you are going away over the holiday period, make sure your pets are well cared for while you are away unless they are able to accompany you!. Either choose a reputable boarding kennel, or ensure that your pet sitter is responsible and reliable. Travel safely and enjoy the festive season!
Pet Food Industry (PFI) Association