When it comes to helping your pet live a long and healthy life, nothing is more important than diet and nutrition. Feeding your dog or cat the right type of food ensures the animal receives the vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, carbs, and water needed to thrive. The tricky parts are picking the right pet food and feeding your animal the proper amount.
Fortunately, Village Vet of Urbana is here to help! Use the information below as a general guideline when shopping for pet food and feeding your four-legged friend each day. Then, for more personalized advice, call Village Vet of Urbana at 301-228-0681 and set an appointment for your pet.
Picking the Right Pet Food
As you meander down the pet food aisle, it’s no wonder you feel overwhelmed! Seemingly endless options from various brands all proclaim to be the best for your pet. Use these tips to help narrow down your choices:
- Look for balanced nutrition: Pet food should contain primarily, if not solely, meat products. Avoid food that lists grains among the first few ingredients. Also, look for the “AAFCO statement,” which indicates the food has been approved as a balanced and complete source of nutrition for the species and age it was designed for.
- Avoid chemical ingredients: To prolong shelf life, pet food sometimes contains artificial preservatives. BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquin, in particular, can harm your pet’s health, so avoid food with these ingredients.
- Invest in your pet’s health: We recommend selecting a higher priced food, which is more likely to contain high-quality, natural ingredients. Investing in your pet’s health may help you avoid excessive vet bills and prolong your pet’s life.
Is Wet or Dry Food Best?
The most significant pet food choice you must make is whether to buy wet or dry food. Consider the pros and cons of each:
- Wet pet food: Canned dog or cat food has a higher moisture content, which can help fight off dehydration. Picky eaters are also more likely to enjoy wet food. The greater protein and fat content and lower carbs more accurately imitate the diet of a wild animal. There are also fewer artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors in wet food.
- Dry pet food: The low cost and long shelf life of bagged food are very appealing to many pet owners. This option is also better for your pet’s teeth and leads to firmer, more compact stools.
- Combining wet and dry pet food: To enjoy the benefits of both wet and dry food, many pet owners choose to feed their animals a combination, either by mixing them within the same dish or offering them at different times throughout the day.
How Often & How Much to Feed Your Pet
Cats often prefer to “graze,” eating a dozen small meals throughout the day from a bowl you leave out all the time. However, this may only be an option if you choose dry food.
Dogs tend to require scheduled feeding times, often twice a day with serving sizes based on their weight. Many dogs are voracious eaters, so free feeding would quickly lead to weight gain.
Receive Pet Nutrition & Diet Tips at Village Vet of Urbana
Whether you have a new pet and you want to start off with the right food, or you think your dog or cat could benefit from a dietary change, please contact Village Vet of Urbana. We’ll help ensure your pet’s food matches his nutritional requirements during different stages of life.
For more advice, or to schedule a vet visit for your dog or cat, please contact Village Vet of Urbana today at 301-228-0681.