“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will involve the patient in the proper use of food, fresh air, and exercise.” Thomas Edison
The proper use of food, fresh air and exercise, when you think about those three components aiding in a healthy lifestyle, it makes perfect sense. Exercise relieves boredom and stress. Fresh air is a miracle; we could all be breathing smog. The proper use of food, well that’s the big topic. Way back when Thomas Edison said this processed foods didn’t exist for people or animals.
Food and feeding guides are always a hot topic for discussion in and out of the veterinary clinic. Our pets are members of our families, and we like to share everything we can with them. Unlike us, the pets cannot make the decision to balance their carbs, proteins and fats to have a healthy day; they have to trust us to do that for them. As owners, we have to take into consideration everything that we put down for our pets to eat. Pet foods produced by the major companies go through rigorous testing and analysis to make sure that they are safely balanced in macro and micronutrients. They are created uniformly and with consistent ingredient lists. Every pet food company has its pros and cons, and every person that feeds their pet will tell you their favourite food and why they love it. The main issue, though, no matter what the food, is whether or not it is being fed properly.
Feeding guides are made for a reason, but they are still just guides. As an owner, you need to monitor body condition and weight of your pet, measure the amount of food that goes in the bowl daily and be aware that calories in and calories out need to balance. Dogs and cats love to play, run and get exercise, but if they’re overweight, they can’t have as much fun. Being overweight is hard on the body and the mind, it’s exhausting and wears you down. Snacks and treats are fun and rewarding but should always be factored into the day’s calorie intake. If you give three treats, you give less kibble. Small meals more often throughout the day, help to increase metabolism and balance body weight and organ function. Dogs and cats that graze on their food bowl through the day should still only be allowed a certain amount of food daily to stay within daily caloric requirements. A dog that plays in the yard, has a daily park visit and/or leash walk should consume a very different amount of calories that a dog of the same size that runs 25km with its owner or works on a farm all day. Cats that live strictly inside need to consume fewer calories than a cat that travels around outside and hunts. There are foods specifically designed for calorie control, increasing metabolism and weight loss/management in pets. They are wonderful tools to aid in the management of pets that need fewer calories in their day.
Maintaining an ideal weight while still enjoying life with food and treats can sometimes be a challenge. If you maintain a general awareness of the balance of calories in and calories burned, your pet will lead a healthier and more enjoyable life!
If you have any questions, please give us a call at 403.527.2829.
Written by: Crossroads Animal Hospital