Get the Dish on Proper Nutrition for New Pets
(Family Features) As families continue to cope with changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, many are taking advantage of more time at home by welcoming a new puppy or kitten to their households.
One possible reason for animal lovers looking to expand their households is the mental and physical health benefits from the human-animal bond. A library of studies shared by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute found pet ownership can provide a variety of benefits, including lowering blood pressure, reducing feelings of loneliness or stress and helping manage depression.
However, before welcoming a new pet, even seasoned pet owners may benefit from a refresher on proper care, especially when it comes to feeding and nutrition. Dogs and cats have unique nutritional requirements, which means their pet food recipes must be carefully formulated. Puppies and kittens need more of certain important nutrients such as protein, fat and key minerals to grow into healthy, strong adult animals.
If you’ve welcomed a new pet to the family, or plan to soon, learn how you can care for his or her special nutritional needs with this advice from the Pet Food Institute.
Identifying Life Stages
Your veterinarian can help determine an appropriate time to transition your pet to adult food; usually when it is nearly full-grown. For kittens, that may be around 10-12 months. For puppies, the timing can vary depending on size with larger breeds taking up to two years to fully mature.
Understanding Food Labels
Keeping Pets at a Healthy Weight
Treats can be useful tools to help reinforce good behavior, keep pets occupied, aid in training or show love. However, they should be fed in moderation, accounting for no more than 10% of a pet’s caloric intake. Pet food is formulated to provide dozens of essential nutrients that dogs and cats need in their diets, so avoid using treats in place of regular meals. Also know that sharing table scraps adds calories and many common human foods can be dangerous for animals.
Providing your pet with the right nutrition early in life can help ensure proper growth and long-term well-being. Find more advice to ensure your four-legged family member is getting the necessary nutrition at petfoodinstitute.org.
Photos courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Pet Food Institute
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