Essential information for your pet's diet
 

An unhealthy lifestyle can be detrimental to your pet’s health.
We worked in conjunction with PitPat to find that, of the 12 most common pet insurance claims reported in 2018, 50% can be attributed to obesity. Diet is a key factor when it comes to keeping your pet healthy, so we’ve summarised our vets’ advice on dog and cat nutrition, into one handy guide. 

 

Overall, MORE THAN received 9,203 claims and paid out over £8m for the top six obesity-influenced conditions in 2018; this accounted for roughly 13% of all claims.

Understandably, we love our pets and occasionally we do allow them to enjoy a little indulgence, but it’s important to take care of their health too.  Regular exercise that is suitable for your dog or cat is really important. For dogs it can be as simple as just making your daily walk a bit more interesting and there are lots of games you can play with cat’s at home that encourage them to be more active. 

However, diet is also key and these days cats and dogs have almost as many snack choices as humans, so we’ve teamed up with our team of in-house vets  to give you the low down on how to tickle your pet’s taste buds all the while making sure they get all the nutrients they need to stay healthy.

What can my dog eat? 

It’s been a while since the only option was a tin of smelly dog food for our cuddly canines. Owners can now decide between tinned or pouched wet food, dry kibble, as well as so-called ‘complete’ diets. How to choose one? The best dog food is the one that your dog likes the most and which you can be sure strikes the right nutritional balance.

Dry food - is easily managed and doesn’t smell as pungent as wet food; that said, one brand of dry food may differ considerably from another. 

Complete food - is indeed often labelled 'complete', which means it should fulfil your pet’s needs - you can also check to see if it is made of a fixed formula (indeed, you can do this with tinned food, too). This means that every time you buy a bag, it will contain exactly the same food sources and composition and is an indication of a good quality - balanced food. 
Generally complete foods will be more expensive than kibble and overall, price tends to be a good indicator of quality level.

Kibble - is not nutritionally complete and needs to be served alongside a portion of wet food - it is mainly used to introduce more texture to meals. See it as a side dish, almost.

Portion size - whatever you choose to feed your dog, you need to make sure you stick to the right portion sizes and keep an eye on your pet’s weight. The guidance on the pack can often be very general.  It’s best to weigh your dog to check they are at the right weight and consider their exercise levels too, before deciding if the recommended portion is correct.  If you need help, speak to your vet for advice and use your PitPat to help you to understand the correct activity levels for your dog. 

Moreover, bear in mind that a great deal of human food is harmful to our canine friends – even in small amounts. Food including raisins, onions, garlic, grapes, chocolate and milk should all be off the menu. Anything caffeinated is a no-go too. 
Some dog treats are formulated to help with tooth decay, digestion and other medical issues; however, do be aware of their calorific content and always follow the serving suggestions. If you’re new to dog ownership and want to know exactly how best to feed your best friend, and exactly what not to feed him, don't be afraid to seek advice from your vet. 

For more information, look at our handy what can my dog eat infographic. 

What can my cat eat? 

Cats seem to have a reputation for being fussy eaters, which is rather hard to believe when they deliver a bedraggled rodent to your feet on occasions. 

Milk - one common misconception is that giving a cat a saucer of cream is a nice treat. Quite the contrary: cats are often unable to digest cow’s milk. If you really want to give your cat a milky treat, buy specially formulated milk for cats at the supermarket or pet shop.

When it comes to cat food, the options are very similar to our doggy friends. Wet food of varying sophistication is available in tins or pouches while dry varieties range from the inexpensive kibble meal accompaniments to premium ‘complete’ type diets.

Portion size - cats are often less likely to overeat than dogs, but they can still put on weight quite easily. To keep kitty nice and lean, stick to the suggested portion sizes and don’t offer too many treats, even if they’re a handy cajoling tool. 

Lots of human food is not appropriate for cats and some, such as chocolate, is outright poisonous. Do not offer your cat any leftovers from your plate, regardless of how often they may beg! 

For more information on what’s the correct thing to feed your cat, check out our handy what can my cat eat infographic

As always, if you’re ever unsure about what to feed your pet, check with your vet. They will be happy to give free advice on the best food for your dog or cat.  

Find out more about pet insurance from MORE THAN.

 

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