Every Animal is Unique!

Animals are like snowflakes- no two are exactly the same. Every pet is different and will require different dietary habits. When considering the following advice, remember that they are simply guidelines and that you should also consult with your veterinarian about these topics to determine what's best for your pet.

Five factors that vary from animal to animal are:
• Breed
• Age
• Weight
• Activity level
• Gender

Each of these factors will affect both the amount of food and the type of food that you should be feeding your pet to keep them healthy.

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Make it Nutritious

Humans aren't the only ones that need their vitamins- despite the differences between animals, there are certain vitamins and minerals that every dog or cat needs to stay healthy. Vitamins and minerals are essential to maintaining your pet's body processes and getting the nutrients and energy they need.

Your pet's diet should include the essentials such as:
• Vitamins A and E
• Calcium
• Iron
• Potassium
• Vitamins B-12 and C.

The vitamins and minerals your pet needs will also vary depending on your pet's age, so be sure to check the food packaging for a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and to consult your veterinarian to ensure your pet is getting everything he or she needs from their food.

If your pet isn't getting everything they need, be sure to ask your veterinarian if a multivitamin, like Vita-Tabs Vitamins, or food supplements, like BASIX, can help resolve your pet's dietary problems.

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Consider Mixing Wet and Dry Foods

There are many factors to consider when choosing your pet's diet. One ongoing debate in the pet community is whether it is best to feed your pet wet food or dry food. Many maintain that wet food is bad for your pet's teeth because it causes tartar and plaque build-up; however, dry food leaves the same residue as wet food on your pet's teeth and gums and it can hardly be said that one does more dental damage than the other.

In reality, wet food has many advantages over dry food such as a rich taste that will encourage your pet to eat their full portions as they age and their ability to taste and smell has been diminished. Wet foods can help keep your pet hydrated throughout the day. Additionally, one study performed in 2010 by the Waltham Center in the United Kingdom reported that cats that were fed wet food, even kibble mixed with water, had increased activity and a healthier weight.

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Portion Control

One of the most important tips we can offer is to make sure you are consistent when feeding your pets. As stated earlier, every animal is different and will need a different amount of food to make it through the day. When considering the portion size that is appropriate for your animal, it is important to consider their weight and activity level. An active pet will need more food than one that lies around all day and a bigger pet will generally need more food than a smaller pet.

These factors, among others, will determine how much food your pet needs in a given day. Once considering these factors with your veterinarian and settling on a specific portion size, it is important that you make sure your pet sticks to this diet. Remember: consistency is key!

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Use a Schedule

Part of being consistent with your pet's diet entails feeding them on a fixed schedule. In most cases, you should divide your pet's daily portion into two or three servings. These servings should ideally be served at a particular time each day.

Leaving food out all day to be consumed at your pet's leisure can cause your pet to develop obesity problems over time. If your schedule is inconsistent, you can always leave a pre-measured portion out at particular times of the day, which will prevent your pet from overeating. For example, leave half of their daily portion out when you leave for work in the morning and set out the other half when you get home from work. You might also consider purchasing an automatic food dispenser to dispense the proper portions at the proper time. Though it would be best if your pet ate at those times of the day, if they decide to save some for later then at least they won't wind up overeating.

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Prevent Bad Habits

Part of keeping your pet's diet consistent is making sure that they are eating the same type of food. This means that as hard as it can be to resist their puppy dog faces or adorable meows, you have to limit their treats and avoid spoiling them with "people food."

Feeding your pet excessive treats or "people food" can lead to a variety of problems. If your pet is constantly getting the good stuff, they may refuse to eat their own food, which can lead to improper nutrition and malnourishment. Alternately, they may continue to eat both their own food and an excess of treats which can lead to obesity. Remember that, for the most part, treats are like desserts- high in calories and low in nutrition.

If you insist on feeding your pets treats then try to find a healthy snack, like Bonies dog treats, that are both low in calories and contain valuable nutrients to promote health in dogs.

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Diet and Exercise Go Hand in Hand

When working on your pet's diet, remember that food is only one aspect of a healthy regimen. If your pet is overweight, you can try to simply limit its meals- but it won't be nearly as effective if you don't supplement their diet with some exercise.

This interaction works both ways, however, as stated early. If your pet is very active and constantly exercising then you may have to consider increasing his or her portion size.

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The Time's they are A-Changin'

As your pet grows and ages, his dietary restrictions will evolve, just as a human's would. Remember to continue to consult your veterinarian as your pet ages to ensure that you adjust their diet accordingly. A growing puppy or kitten will have different nutritional needs than a full grown adult.

As pets age their metabolism slows causing them to need less food with each passing year. There are also special foods for older animals which contain different vitamins and less fat, to ensure your pet ages gracefully. As stated earlier, check your pet's food for AAFCO guidelines and consider multivitamins for aging pets.

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