Key Ad­vice On…

Animal Scene - - THE 411 -

…how to choose pet food: Al­ways seek ex­pert care. As part of re­spon­si­ble pet own­er­ship, choos­ing the right kind of pet food should be guided by a vet­eri­nar­ian. Through timely check-ups, the vet should be able to as­sess and eval­u­ate the pet’s health to de­cide what pet food prod­ucts in the mar­ket are best to feed the pet with, the sug­gested feed­ing pro­por­tions, and the sched­ule of meal­time.

Of course, when se­lect­ing pet food, the pack­age should clearly in­di­cate the nu­tri­tional guide­lines and should have the AAFCO (Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Feed Con­trol Of­fi­cials) ap­proval seal to cer­tify that the prod­uct fol­lows the nu­tri­tional reg­u­la­tion stan­dards.

Palata­bil­ity is also a wor­thy con­sid­er­a­tion. Some pets pre­fer spe­cific taste, tex­ture and con­sis­tency for them to ea­gerly en­joy the pet food. Meal time should be a pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence for the pet, and when pet food is left un­con­sumed, the pet won’t be able to ob­tain the nour­ish­ment it needs.

…how and when to feed your pet: Most ex­perts rec­om­mend feed­ing twice a day—once in the morn­ing and once at night. How­ever, pup­pies (and kit­tens) may re­quire more fre­quency. Best prac­tices in pet feed­ing will de­pend largely on the breed of your pet and its age. It is best to seek a vet’s ad­vice to de­ter­mine the ideal ap­proach to feed­ing. In gen­eral, hav­ing reg­u­larly sched­uled feed­ing times help estab­lish a rou­tine, and it also al­lows pet own­ers to gauge pets’ ap­petite and health.

Not ev­ery­one will be able to stay at home all day with their pet. Pet own­ers who go to work and leave their pets at home may choose free-feed­ing and al­low pets to eat at their own pace. How­ever, pets who are more prob­lem­atic eaters may need to be coaxed and mon­i­tored more closely.

Clean­li­ness con­trib­utes to the well­be­ing of the pet. Food bowls should be kept clean and dry, and sep­a­rate bowls should be used for food and wa­ter. Pet own­ers should avoid cross con­tam­i­na­tion be­tween pet food and hu­man food, just as they should avoid cross con­tam­i­na­tion be­tween the foods they eat them­selves.

…how much is too much: Feed­ing in­struc­tions are usu­ally in­di­cated in the pack­ag­ing. US pet food prod­ucts are re­quired to list the rec­om­mended feed­ing quan­ti­ties to pre­vent a pet dog or cat from con­sum­ing too much food. Over-eat­ing, like in peo­ple, can make a pet overweight and lead to health prob­lems. The im­por­tant thing to re­mem­ber is to fol­low the feed­ing in­struc­tions on the la­bel.

Gen­er­ally the rec­om­mended feed­ing amount is in a range based upon the size of the pet. It is im­por­tant to know the ideal body con­di­tion for your pet. If the pet is gain­ing weight, then the amount fed should be re­duced. If the pet is be­com­ing too skinny, then feed­ing more food gen­er­ally is ap­pro­pri­ate.

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