Nutritional guidelines for pets: Must-follow dietary tips for your furry friends - Hindustan Times

Nutritional guidelines for pet parents: Must-follow dietary tips for your furry friend's well-being

By, New Delhi
Feb 23, 2024 03:01 PM IST

Pet nutritionist Anjali Kalachand highlights the significance of personalised diets for pets based on their unique needs. Read on to know more.

The health of your pet can't be based on guesswork. Feeding the right food can make a big difference to your pet's longevity and overall health, as each pet has different nutritional needs. Feeding your dog and cat the same food is just as bad as feeding dogs of different breeds the same food. To keep your beloved pets healthy and active, a balanced diet should be provided, taking into account each pet's individual needs. However with the plethora of different options present nowadays it can get overwhelming for pet parents when deciding what to feed their pets. With thorough research and consultation with veterinary experts such diets can be tailored for your furry companion.

Nutritional guidelines for feeding your beloved pets(Freepik)
Nutritional guidelines for feeding your beloved pets(Freepik)

"It's important to first understand the basics- dogs are omnivores but with short digestive tracts not meant for processing large amounts of vegetable matter and cats are obligate carnivores, with even shorter digestive tracts – they need mainly meat with a small amount of fibre," says Anjali Kalachand, Nutritionist and Co-Founder of A Petter Life. (Also read: National Walk Your Dog Day: Wonderful benefits of walking your dog every day )

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Nutritional guidelines for pets

Anjali further shared with HT Digital some nutritional guidelines that pet parents must keep in mind.

- If getting a puppy from the breeder, follow through with what the breeder was feeding for a week before making any changes

- When choosing a puppy food if your puppy is younger than 3 months old, start with a starter food

- If the puppy is older than 3 months old, pick one appropriate for his or her size

- If transitioning to a new brand/variant, transition gradually over a period of 10 days to avoid digestive upset

- Add some fresh additions to your pet’s diet even if you are choosing to feed processed food, this enhances the nutritional quotient of their meal (some things to add are veggies, meat, and fish)

- Other essential additions, healthy fats like cold pressed coconut oil, hempseed oil and even fish oil for example

- For kittens, you need kitten food until the cat is 12 months old. Cats grow fast, by the time they are 6 months, you need to ensure you taper down the quantity fed in accordance with their weight.

"If choosing to fresh feed puppies or kittens, it is important to work with a nutritionist or a professional in the field, who can guide you regarding the various ingredients which will help create a balanced diet for your pet at this crucial phase of growth," says Anjali.

She added, "The general rule of thumb that is followed for adult dogs is 2-3% of body weight in food and for cats is to feed 1.5%-3% of body weight, depending on activity levels and whether they have been neutered or not. However, this is just a starting point – every pet is an individual, and to get the components and ingredients right, it is important to work with a qualified nutritionist to help and guide you through this."

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