5 Dog and Cat Food Diet Tips From Veterinarians

Health problems in an obese cat or dog can be easily avoided with healthy food and regular exercise. If you want to give your dog or cat a long and healthy life, follow these nutrition and exercise tips for your pet.

Control Portion Amounts

By limiting calorie intake and controlling the amount your pet eats, dogs and cats will gain more energy and lose weight. Here are some tips:

  • Measure out food amounts before feedings
  • Don't leave your pet's bowl out during the day
  • Feed your pet 2 to 4 small meals a day
  • Create a feeding schedule to boost your pet's metabolism
  • If switching foods, mix the new and old cat or dog food gradually to avoid digestive problems
  • Showing love and affection to reward your animal for good behavior rather than only offering treats
  • Use treats that are low in calories and fat content such as carrots or skinless chicken
  • Avoid table scraps, which can lead to poor eating habits, an unbalanced diet, obesity and problems with begging

Keep Your Pet Active

  • Get your pet off the couch and moving to help him lose weight and stay healthy.
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Take a walk or run
  • Go swimming
  • Play fetch
  • Provide cat toys, climbing trees or catnip for indoor cats
  • Don't over exercise overweight or older pets
  • Wait 30 minutes between feedings and exercise
  • Leave fresh water out to keep your pet hydrated

Choose the Best Quality Food

There are a number of calorie-restricted and weight loss cat and dog food options in stores today, but owners should not settle on whatever product is on sale. There is a reason that cheap food is so inexpensive-it is often filled with fillers and unhealthy ingredients. Once pets are eating healthier food they will be getting most of the nutrients they need, and won't need large portions.

Ingredients to avoid:

  • Cheap fillers like corn cellulose, corn and wheat gluten, brewers rice and corn bran
  • Meat and poultry by-products
  • Meat and bone meals with unspecified sources
  • Preservatives and sweeteners
  • Colorings and animal digests
  • Preservatives like BHT, BHA, ethoxyquin, and sodium metabisulphite
  • Fat and oils with unknown sources, like vegetable oil or animal fat

Ingredients to have:

  • Named meat sources like chicken, beef, lamb or fish that are listed as the main ingredients
  • Meals that identify which animal it came from, like chicken meal or beef meal
  • Named fats and oils like chicken fat, sunflower oil or flax oil
  • Whole grains like oats, barley, rice or sweet potatoes (but never as the first, predominant ingredient)
  • Flavoring from chicken or beef broth