Before we begin to explore various possible foods to feed your pet following a healthy diet, please remember that every pet is different and any changes to their diet should be discussed with their vet. Something that might be enjoyed by a friend’s dog might not be appropriate or cause an adverse reaction in your dog.
Have you hard the saying ‘you are what you eat’? Well, the same applies to our animals too! You must ensure that your dog is eating a nutritious and balanced diet that is suitable for whichever stage of life it is in.
Typically, dogs must be fed at least once a day with the right amount of food, which is dependent on their diet, health status, and lifestyle – unless your vet advises differently.
You may want to introduce a variety of food into your pet’s diet, instead of only regular dog food. A healthy diet contains helpful nutrients and antioxidants for your pet, but what fruits can dogs eat? Healthy and nutritious food for humans isn’t always healthy for animals.
Healthy food for pets
According to Blue Cross, by the time a puppy is 8 weeks old, they should be weaned from their mum and be eating solid food. If you’re buying a puppy, when you take it home, you should ideally start with the same puppy food and slowly transition to a different type or brand of food, if you wish to, over a period of a week to 10 days. Add a small amount of the new puppies food to their current food, then slowly introduce a smaller amount of the current food and more of the new food over the 10 day period. If the transition to the new puppy food isn’t gradual, it could result in an upset tummy and diarrhoea.
If you plan to change from wet food to dry puppy food, then please ensure they have access to fresh water at all times as they are likely to drink more.
It can be overwhelming trying to choose the right healthy eating plan for your puppy. There are plenty of dog food choices available in supermarkets and pet shops. Healthy eating for dogs can include dry food, wet food, grain free dog food and raw food for dogs. It can take a lot of time and cause great deals of confusion to compare dog foods. Did you know that any commercial puppy food which is described as ‘complete’ will be nutritionally balanced and so won’t need to be mixed with any additional foods, if you choose that tailored for the age and size of your dog?
Here are some initial tips for choosing the right diet for your pet:
- Ignore the marketing hype and read the label
- Introduce fresh whole foods that are rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties
- Do not overfeed, limit those treats!
- Consider teeth & gum health
- Ensure plenty of fresh, clean water is available to them
How much to feed a puppy
As a puppy, your pet will need their food spread throughout the day with additional mealtimes, compared to when they’re an adult. Between 2-4 months, you should feed them four times per day. Between 4-6 months, reduce this to 3 meals per day. After 6 months, and for the rest of their lives, this should be reduced to 2 meals.
The meals should be spread evenly throughout the day, whilst avoiding vigorous exercise immediately afterward as this may lead to vomiting and bloating.
So, what should you feed your dog?
Dogs will happily eat a pure kibble diet. However, it might be best to mix it up with some cooked or raw meat (no cooked bones!), fish, vegetables, and rice. Head to our Paws in the City blog to see which foods you should avoid giving to your dog.
If you do choose to feed your dog raw meat, be sure to use human-grade meat to ensure there are no harmful preservatives or ingredients that could affect your dog’s health. If you wouldn’t eat it yourself, don’t give it to your dog.
Ensure you take food hygiene very seriously as when dealing with raw meat, you and your dog can pick up bacterial infections such as salmonella. Make sure you wash your hands before and after preparing the meat and wash your dog’s bowl thoroughly after each meal.
What should you feed your cat?
We recommend giving your cat both dry and tinned wet food. The combination of dry and wet food helps to ensure your cat is getting all the nourishment that they need, whilst the harder, dried kibble is a great teeth cleaning tool.
Cats should be fed wet food twice a day, with some dried food being left down for them throughout the day so that they can eat when they wish, unless you are advised otherwise by your vet. You should also keep a bowl filled with fresh, clean water to keep them hydrated and minimise the risk of urinary tract problems. Make sure these food bowls are cleaned daily and placed well away from any litter trays.
If your cat seems disinterested in food, try and make feeding time more exciting for them. You can purchase enrichment or activity toys, which allow you to hide portions of their food. These activities help to stimulate your cat and make meals seem more thrilling.
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has provided a list of foods that your cat should not consume here, so please consult this information if you’re unsure of what your cat is able to eat.
Remember, always speak to your vet before making any changes to your pets’ diet as some foods suggested may not be appropriate for your individual pet.
If your pet has eaten something that they shouldn’t, please act immediately and take your dog to the vet, as this can be fatal. Your vet may need to administer medication to make your pet vomit and expel any dangerous foods from their stomach.