Dieting guide for pet owners

What’s the best diet for your cat or dog? If your pet’s been piling on the pounds, here’s how to get them back down to their ideal weight – and keep them there.

James Martin Content writer
5
minute read
posted

What’s the best diet for cats?

If your cat’s gained too much weight you’ll need to overhaul its diet, to get it back on track to good health. Here are a few pointers on re-evaluating your cat’s diet:

  • Cat nutrition requirements - Feed your cat high-quality commercial food, geared towards your pet’s particular stage in life (kitten, senior, indoor cat, etc). Your cat needs to eat a meat-based diet – vegetarian diets aren’t feline-friendly.
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  • Wet or dried food? - Whether you feed your cat wet or dried food is up to you. Dried food is better for their teeth and may save you money on dentistry bills, but you might find your cat prefers wet food. Either way, cats should eat little and often – ideally three or four times a day.

    You can also give your cat the odd raw, meaty bone. This will help keep their teeth and gums healthy. Chicken wings and drumsticks are good, as are lamb shanks. Just make sure the meat is fresh and don’t give them too much of it.

Wet or dried food?

Whether you feed your cat wet or dried food is up to you. Dried food is better for their teeth and may save you money on dentistry bills, but you might find your cat prefers wet food. Either way, cats should eat little and often – ideally three or four times a day.

You can also give your cat the odd raw, meaty bone. This will help keep their teeth and gums healthy. Chicken wings and drumsticks are good, as are lamb shanks. Just make sure the meat is fresh and don’t give them too much of it. 

What’s the best dog diet?

It’s usually quite easy to tell if your dog’s become overweight, just by looking at them – unless they’re a particularly long-haired breed. If you’re unsure, your vet can help.

There are lots of suggested diets for dogs, which makes it tricky to know what’s best for your pet. Should your dog be on dried or wet food? Or even a raw-food diet? The answer to that depends on your dog.  

If your dog’s showing signs of constipation or any other digestive issue, it’s worth thinking about a change in diet. But if you do change your dog’s food, be sure to do it gradually over a period of a week or so. And give the new diet at least 10 days before you switch again.

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How much should I feed my dog? 

This depends very much on your dog’s size, breed, age and general health. It also depends on the type of food you’re using. Check with the manufacturers and, if in doubt, consult your vet.

What’s the best diet for puppies?

Puppies will need a diet specially formulated with them in mind. If you’re getting a puppy from a breeder or dog’s home, they should be able to advise you. A puppy will need feeding four times a day until it reaches four months, then it can drop down to three times a day. From six months onwards, you can start feeding your dog twice a day. 

Dog and cat feeding guide

Here are a few tips for maintaining a healthy feeding routine for your dog or cat: 

  • If you find it hard to judge portions, use a scoop or weigh your pet’s food.  
  • If your cat or dog has gained weight, try a food specifically designed for overweight pets. Often, this is small pellets of dried food. It takes them longer to eat, which means they end up eating less overall.  
  • If you’re giving your pet lots of treats, either cut down on those or on its portions at mealtimes.
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  • Never starve your dog or cat. Weight loss should be slow and steady. 
  • Never feed your dog or cat cooked bones as these can splinter and choke it. 
  • Some human foods, like onions and chocolate, are poisonous to cats and dogs. And even a saucer of cows’ milk can give your cat a nasty stomach upset.
  • Always read the ingredients when choosing pet food. The main ingredient should be meat. Watch out for anything labelled ‘meal’ or ‘derivative’, as this generally means it’s poor quality.

Where can I find pet insurance for my dog or cat?

Feeding your four-legged friend the best possible diet can help keep them fit and healthy for years to come. Having proper pet insurance in place, however, can give you peace of mind that if anything does go wrong, they’ll be covered.

Compare pet insurance quotes to find the right policy for you – and your pet.

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