What to feed your fur family

Make sure your furry friend stays in top shape with these expert tips

Are you confused about what to feed your pet? How do you know if your furry friend is getting the right amount of nutrition in their diet? We asked chief veterinarian at the Animal Welfare League NSW, Dr Simone Maher, for advice.

Scrap the scraps

Those puppy-dog eyes may be hard to resist, but according to Dr Maher we need to start flexing our control muscles and stop overfeeding our pets with treats and food scraps. “The numbers of overweight and obese pets we see are in line with increasing trends in human health”, explains Dr Maher. “It’s amazing just how the kilojoules from those scraps and treats add up.” Just like humans, every animal’s metabolic rate is different and will vary with breed, age and activity. Ask your vet for tips on how much your pet should be eating.

Weight watching

Is your cat or dog looking a little tubby? Dr Maher says the best way for them to shift the weight is just like us: fewer kilojoules and more exercise. “Finding other ways to bond with your pet such as play sessions, grooming or walks can be really helpful,” she suggests.


Tricky treats

Are you training your puppy and worried you’re overfeeding it with treats? Dr Maher suggests using small portions of a high-quality treat, teamed with intermittent rewards and verbal praise. “A tiny crumb your pet can swallow in one go is adequate; if they have to concentrate on chewing and swallowing they lose focus on the task at hand,” Dr Maher explains.


Balancing act

Providing a balanced diet for our pets can be tricky, so it’s important to read the labels when choosing food. Look for products that use the word ‘complete’ on the label. Products that are ‘intended for occasional or supplemental feeding’ should be used as treats. Dr Maher suggests choosing a high-quality product from a trusted company. “A reputable company, such as Purina, has done all the hard work of selecting natural ingredients to meet all of your pet’s nutritional requirements,” she says.

Did you know?

The biggest no-no’s for cats and dogs are chocolate and onions. Also, watch out for macadamia nuts and grapes – they are toxic for dogs!

Related stories