Healthy Food Fuels The Heart: Diets For Your Pet’s Well-being!

A healthy body is a basic need and necessity for all living things! We all try to care for our own health because our physical body is the only thing that’s going to be by our side until our last moments. That’s why a fit body can guarantee a level of mental and physical security! Food is the body’s fuel, so it’s a crucial element in caring for your health. Every meal is an integral part of everyone’s daily routine, and it’s not just us humans that need to care for our health, but our furry friends as well! 

Both cats and dogs have been by our side for a very long time. From when they were still hunting for their own food, humans have stepped in to help care for them. Whether that would be through dry kibble, wet food, or some households cooking for the little critters! Today, let’s take a look at what we can do, as the favorite human, for our furry friends and improve their diet – so they live a long, happy, and healthy life! From portion sizes, frequency, and other restrictions or considerations you should take before feeding them. Want to know what’s cooking? Let’s see! 

What should dogs and cats eat? 

Seems like a simple question, but the answer is much more complicated than that. Every living thing on this planet has different needs. So even if you have two puppies of a similar age, they might have different nutritional needs compared to each other. But if we want a general idea, here are some general guidelines to know! 

  • Dogs are Omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. A canine’s body can digest both vegetables and meat! They might require more protein from meat sources.
  • Cats are Carnivores, which means they only eat meat. Their protein needs might be higher, and they have an essential need for certain amino acids like Taurine for their body to function properly. 

Feeding your pets

Depending on your pet’s age, they will have different nutritional needs at different developmental stages. The breed also plays a role, as bigger friends tend to need more energy compared to smaller animals. Factors such as their age, daily activity and routine, as well as exercise regime, will have an impact on their energy levels and needs. We can feed our pets according to their developmental stages as the following. 

Puppies and Kittens during this stage of their life need a lot of energy compared to other stages of their life. Because their physical body is currently going through rapid development. That’s why puppy and kitten food tends to have more fat content compared to protein and carbohydrates. Other than that, this is the stage where they shouldn’t be eating the Raw Diet, because they haven’t developed their immune system enough yet! They still can’t fight off the bacteria that may be present in raw foods, and making sure all of the macronutrient components they need during this age might be a little tricky to gauge. 

  • Puppies should eat at least more than a full-grown adult! Although this is done through more frequent meal times, so they have enough energy to play all day long (as well as naps in between). 
  • Kittens all have different preferences, some prefer to eat all at once, and some prefer to have smaller portions throughout the day, from 3 up to 6 meals a day! 
  • Parenthood 101: The Basics of Puppy and Kitten Care – MyFriend Edition!

Adolescent, Adult Dogs, and Cats After our friends have grown up, pet parents can slowly introduce them to the grown dog or cat food! But make sure the change is gradual, slowly integrate the new formula into their normal meals so there’s no sudden or abrupt change. The formula will contain less fat, and it will contain more proteins, vitamins, and other essential minerals. 

  • Adult Dogs should eat according to their body weight. From ¼ to 3 cups, depending on their breed, if they are a smaller or bigger breed! They should eat two times a day. 
  • Adult Cats should also eat according to their body weight, from ⅓ to ½ cups per day. Pet parents might separate these meals into 2-3 meals a day, or leave the food out depending on your cat’s eating habits. 

Elderly Dogs and Cats this stage happens when our pets reach the ages of 7 to 8 years old. They might seem less energetic or enthusiastic compared to earlier. Their bodies will also need less energy, but it still depends on their health as well! If your pet has a chronic condition, they might need more energy to maintain a healthy weight. But if you have an elderly friend that is still healthy, they might need more protein to maintain their muscle mass. 

  • Elderly Dogs should eat 2 meals a day, just like adult friends, but reduce the quantity for each meal because they might be less active overall, and that means they’ll need less energy. 
  • Elderly Cats also should eat roughly the equivalent amount of food compared to adult cats, from ⅓ to ½ cups a day, and you might separate their meals into 2 or 3 times a day, or you can leave the bowl out, depending on your cat. 

Both cats and dogs at different points in their lives will need different needs and amounts of food, containing a variety of macronutrients. The recommended amount is a general recommendation, and we would like to remind all pet parents that the best way to know for sure what’s best for your pet is by taking them to the veterinarian for consultation and creating a nutrition plan for your furry friend’s individual needs. Make sure they’re being fed the right amount and don’t forget to keep them hydrated too! 

Pet food in the market 

Pet parents can pick and choose Pet Foods that are on supermarket shelves, in both dry and wet forms. Dry kibble might be more convenient, wet food contains a lot of fluids, so it’s also another way to make sure your pet is well-hydrated. Frozen food also offers a large variety of options as well, and there are many options out there that have been standardized and certified! No matter what type of food you choose to feed your pet, the priority is making sure that their nutritional needs are being met, and that they are fed the right amount – since overfeeding can cause obesity in pets

Other than feeding your pet according to their developmental stage, there are also other special diets that are available for your pet that can tick the boxes you might have! Your pet might have extra special dietary requirements for their body, they might need special food for their medical condition, food formula for weight loss, or even special concoctions for pregnant friends as well. Some of the special formulas might be harder to find in general stores, or you might have to go to a special clinic to purchase them. If your pet has a special condition, you shouldn’t self-diagnose your pet, take them to the pet and let the vet know all the symptoms they’ve been exhibiting so they can successfully come up with a treatment plan! 

Precaution when feeding your pets 

Although cats and dogs are creatures that love eating! Just like us humans. But health issues can arise from unhealthy habits, and these issues can be easily prevented! As the favorite human, we have the duty to make sure they’re eating things that our pets not only love but are healthy. MyFriend is here to help you, and here are some precautions you should take when feeding your furry friends, along with some tips and tricks to help you adjust if you are currently doing these things. 

Feeding them human food, most of us know, but we succumb to the adorable pleading faces our pets make. We might spare a bite or two, thinking that it’s no harm no foul. In reality, human food is full of additives such as sodium and fat, and many more! It’s more than our furry friends need, so we might need a heart of steel to resist our furry friends. You can do this!

  • Tips and Tricks: Think about the negative consequences of feeding your pet human food in the long run! That’ll help you resist the temptation. 

Forbidden foods although you might not be feeding them human food, but don’t forget that some foods, although unprocessed with no additives, are a big NO for your pets. Such as chocolate, grapes, sharp bones, dairy products, alcohol, and drinks that contain caffeine. 

  • How to prevent them from eating these forbidden foods: Other than the mighty will you need to have, you will also have to hide these items, and make sure you always have a quick clean-up session if you ever drop these items! 

Looking out for allergies might be tricky to know exactly what their food allergies are. You might want to buy new treats for them, but be sure to look out for any warning signs such as itchiness around the belly, arm folds, mouth, nose, eyes, paws areas, or even their ears. As well as anything abnormal related to their digestive system like puking or diarrhea. If they are experiencing any of these symptoms, immediately take them to the vet!

  • Tips and Tricks for Allergies: If your pets are prone to allergies, every time they try new foods or treats, make sure to give it to them in small quantities. Don’t give them all of it in one go, and keep a note of all their allergies – so whenever you discover new ones, you can write them down and let your vet know. 

Because food is a crucial part of every living thing, it fuels our body so we can live our lives to the fullest! If the nutritional needs have been met, combined with physical exercises as well as adequate rest, no matter if it’s a pet, human, or any other animal, it will be more than half the journey to a happier and healthier life! 

This article is reviewed by the veterinarian from Small Animal Teaching Hospital, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University (CUVET)

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