Pet Food –
Complete and Balanced
Did you know?
Nutrients can be generally grouped into four categories: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins, minerals and independent amino acid and that veterinary researchers have identified between 42 and 48 essential nutrients for cats and dogs?
Did you know?
Most pet foods are made with carefully prepared recipes that ensure that each serving is a complete meal and provides total, balanced nutrition?
Compete and balanced! This means when you feed a reputable pet food, you don’t have to worry whether your pet is getting the over 42 essential nutrients he or she needs, in the right quantities.
Want to help your dog or cat enjoy a long and healthy life? Feed them properly – feed them pet food!
Your pet is good to you…be good to your pet!
Want to dig deeper? Visit our sister site at http://www.petfoodinstitute.org/pet-food-matters/nutrition/sound-nutrition/
Cooking for your pet
In these times of increasing suspicion over what goes into commercially prepared food, it’s easy to find recipes on the internet touting the benefits of homemade pet food. Although these sites are well intentioned, numerous scientific studies have shown that homemade pet food just doesn’t provide the over 40 essential nutrients a cat or dog requires to support healthy functioning. 
Health problems that can result from nutrient deficiencies include joint and bone problems (calcium), fat accumulation in the liver (choline), and skin problems (zinc) and weight loss.
Pet food that is complete and balanced comes from carefully crafted recipes and most U.S. pet food products are designed to provide total nutrition for pets These products contain the right balance of protein, fat, fiber and carbohydrates and provide more than 40 required nutrients, including specific vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and amino acids.
So if you are interested in doing the best you can for your pets, be sure to feed them a good quality, complete and balanced pet food!
Your pet is good to you! Be good to your pet!
How much should you feed your pet?
Just like with humans, a healthy weight is important to your dog or cat’s wellbeing and long life. Obesity increases the risk of osteoarthritis, diabetes, kidney disease, certain cancers, heart and respiratory disease, and other health conditions that can impact our pets. 
It is important to follow the feeding directions listed on a product label. Feeding directions are based upon the levels of nutrients and calories recommended for the age and size of your pet.
Do you know what an overweight or underweight dog looks like?
If an animal begins to put on extra weight, consider making a small reduction in amount of food you give daily. Likewise, if a pet is losing weight, then a small increase may be advisable.
Your veterinarian is the best source for information about your pet’s weight management.
What about treats?
Pet treats can be fed along with a complete and balanced diet, however, it’s critical to ensure that treats are not used in place of food to ensure your pet is getting the right nutrition to keep him or her healthy.
Treats can be used in numerous ways to the benefit of pets and people alike.
The simple act of giving a pet a treat can strengthen the bond a person shares with his or her pet. Treats may be given as a snack or as a reward for good behavior.
Furthermore, treats are also a useful motivator and provide behavioral reinforcement during the process of training a pet. Some dog trainers have noted that particularly strong-smelling treats can be especially useful in the training and obedience process and can engage their strong sense of smell. Remember, sometimes a treat that smells delicious to your pet may not smell quite so appetizing to you, but it may help with training!
Suggested guidelines for treat feeding include:
- Feed treats in moderation. It is recommended that no more than 10% of a pet’s caloric intake come from treats, and when feeding treats, it’s important to reduce the amount of pet food accordingly. Refer to the feeding guidelines on the package.
- Use pet treats alongside a complete and balanced pet diet. Pets require a balance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals found in complete and balanced pet foods. While some pet treats are complete and balanced, many are not. Be sure to check the treat package information.
- Avoid feeding table scraps. Many human foods are not recommended for a pet and can throw off a pet’s balanced diet. Some foods people eat can cause digestive upset when fed to pets, and contribute to pet obesity. Some human foods can cause serious health problems in a cat or dog (e.g., chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol). Feeding pets table scraps can also encourage undesirable behaviors, such as begging or jumping up at the table.
- Make sure your pets get plenty of exercise and fresh water. Exercise and play are not only good for your pets’ health and wellbeing, but can also help strengthen the bond you have with your pets. Many pet lovers use treats to help encourage exercise and as a training reward.
The importance of exercise
We hear you. “Wait, isn’t this site all about pet feeding? Why are we talking about exercise?”
Exercise is additional component to in ensuring pet health and wellbeing. Regular exercise also strengthens your bond with your pet. A few examples of ways to keep your pet active and engaged include:
- Basic obedience training;
- Teaching your dog to swim;
- Playing hide and seek to engage the brain;
- Running, walking or biking with your dog; and
- Engaging in dog sports, like chasing a flying disk, tracking and agility challenges.
- Setting up a cat tower with small treats to encourage climbing and playing;
- Keeping plenty of household toys around to encourage play;
- Using a laser pointer or wand-style toy for interactive exercises; and
- Tempting your cat with hidden treats in a toy for batting and knocking practice.
The calories cats and dogs need to consume daily to maintain their weight is far less than what people need. Healthy adult people generally should consume 2,000-2,500 calories per day. In comparison, according to the standard formula used to calculate the daily caloric needs of pets, an average 50-pound, adult neutered dog typically needs just under 1,000 calories daily. An average 10-pound, adult neutered cat needs around 220 calories each day.
Responsible feeding is just one part of keeping your pet healthy and happy. Proper veterinary care, exercise and grooming are additional important steps that will help your dog or cat enjoy a long and healthy life.
Make sure to take your cat or dog to the veterinarian on a regular basis for preventive pet care, and don’t just wait until your pet may be sick. Your veterinarian will help provide recommendations for your pet’s dental health, flea/tick and heartworm treatment, and deworming. Your veterinarian may also help identify if your pet has any special nutritional needs.