Proper Nutrition and Husbandry
Knowing how to properly care for your pet and feeding him or her a balanced diet lays the groundwork for a long and healthy life. At East River Veterinary Hospital, we can help you do both!
What Should I Feed my Pet?
When it comes to pet food, no product is the absolute best. However, you can select the right food based on your pet’s individual needs. Our recommendations take into account age, lifestyle, medical history, and other relevant factors. We also follow the guidelines of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which ensure the proper amounts of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
For birds and small mammals, it’s especially important to know what a balanced diet truly means. Getting the right mix of seeds, vegetables, hay, other foods and supplemental nutrients is important, and our team is here to help. We will review which foods are harmful and which ingredients could upset your pet’s delicate digestive system. At East River Veterinary Hospital, we help owners develop plans that keep pets both healthy and satisfied.
We encourage owners to become knowledgeable about how to read pet food labels. Terms such as “human grade” and “grain-free” can be misleading, and we want you to have accurate information when making decisions for your pet.
Weight Loss and Obesity Prevention
For many animals, being even slightly overweight can put them at risk for developing serious medical conditions. Common weight-related disorders include:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- High blood pressure
- Respiratory Problems
- Reproductive issues
To protect your pet’s health, consider these weight loss and management tips:
- Divide meals into small quantities and place them in different locations around the house to encourage hunting.
- Purchase toys that encourage pets to work for their meals, such as a ball that rolls around and slowly releases food.
- Be sure not to overfeed cold-blooded pets. These animals tend to expend less energy than their warm-blooded counterparts, therefore requiring less food.
- Make a treat bag that contains only the daily-recommended serving of snacks for your pet. When the bag is empty, your pet should not receive any more treats for the day. Be sure to involve the whole family!
- For pets with cages, make sure their space is large enough to move around in and to accommodate proper toys and exercise equipment.
- With cats, use interactive toys that require effort, such as laser pointers.
- Don’t skip your daily dog walks! Even in bad weather, try to find alternative activities to do indoors that get your pet moving.
Improve and Maintain Quality of Life
Providing a habitat and environment that’s conducive to your pet’s happiness is essential. A lot of thought should be given to cage space, location, structure, light, and temperature. Also consider the types of materials used and which toys and equipment your pet can access. Exercise and mental stimulation is as important to your small pet as it is to you. Properly accounting for mental and physical needs is also helpful in curbing unwanted behavior and promoting healthy habits.
There are a number of other factors that go in to proper husbandry, such as handling techniques and cleaning practices. Your pet’s wellness exam is a great time to discuss these topics and more. As always, please contact us with additional questions or concerns that are specific to your pet.
On the Web
Association for Pet Obesity Prevention: