If you want your dog or cat to live a long and healthy life, you need to provide them with optimum nutrition. The key is knowing what optimum nutrition means for your pet. Let’s talk about the factors that have a profound effect on pet nutrition, including what and how much you should feed them.
To feed your pet an ideal diet you need to consider factors like their breed, age, gender, physiological state, body weight, composition, activity level, and even stress. Breeds of similar size and weight can differ greatly in energy needs. The big commercial pet food companies take an overly simplistic approach to energy needs. They only use bodyweight to determine the quantity of food to feed. Not all breeds mature at the same rate – you need to know how fast your breed ages. Is your pet male or female? Males usually have a greater amount of muscle mass than their female counterparts. This means they expend more energy per pound of body weight and have a lesser tendency to become overweight or obese.
What life stage is your pet in? Outside of growing or healthy adult cats and dogs, most commercial products do not provide for the special nutrient needs of our pets – reproduction and senior life are a good example of this. Bodyweight is the primary factor used in determining the base level of energy required by any animal. It should be noted that base energy levels must constantly be adjusted based on all of the other factors. When we fail to adjust food levels, our pets can become overweight or obese. Next to weight, activity is the second most important factor in determining dietary needs for a healthy pet. Some of our human and canine athletes require up to 10 times the normal calorie intake for their weight. It is impossible to comprehend how an animal could eat 10 times the normal amount of food
and still perform at peak levels.
High-activity dogs need specialized nutritional support. It is sometimes hard for us to consider that a well-groomed dog sleeping on a couch is really under any level of increased stress, however many of our pets are experiencing levels of stress that can greatly affect their overall health. Optimum health can only be achieved when you understand what actually drives nutritional needs, and what food and supplements your pet really needs.