How to Feed Your Pet Correctly

By Andrea Pennington, D.V.M.

The number one mistake that we pet parents make when it comes to feeding our pets is we feed too much. Obesity by far is one of the most common lifestyle diseases that we veterinarians see on a daily basis and here’s the thing, it’s entirely preventable.  All you have to do is make sure you are giving the correct amount to your pet.  So I’m going to give you my top three tips for making sure that you feed your pet the correct amount.

Tip Number One

Make sure you’re able to control what your pet is eating. Now while it is true that some pets can free feed and maintain a healthy weight, the vast majority can not. Let’s be honest, when was the last time any of us went to an all-you-can-eat buffet and did not overeat?  I know I’m guilty.  Our pets are no different so make sure you’re able to control how much your  pet eats. For some of us this might mean having to change our feeding routine up a little bit but the payoff will be worth it when you’re able to have a long happy healthy life with your pet.

Tip Number Two

Now that you’re able to control how much you’re feeding your kiddo, you have to make sure that you’re measuring it properly. Do me a favor and go look at whatever it is that you use to scoop up your pets food.  Did you come up with something like a Red Solo Cup?  While it made for a really catching country song, it makes for a terrible measuring device.  So sorry solo cup, you got to go.  So what should you be using to measure your pets food?  I personally like to use plastic baking scoops.  You can get them from the dollar store.  They’re super cheap, very accurate and you can just leave them in the pet food bin to have whenever you need them.  Here is a bonus tip. Don’t heap your scoop. Make sure the food you scoop is level at the top of the scoop. If your scoop is heaped over the top of the scoop it will lead to extra calories that are unnecessary. So no cheating.

Tip Number Three

This leads me to my final and by far the most important tip and it’s this tip. Feed the correct number of calories. Okay, let’s get real for a minute there’s some things in life that are true whether you want them to be or not, you have to pay your taxes, you can’t stay on your parents insurance forever and calories count.  They just do. If you eat more calories than you use, you gain weight.  It’s true for us and it’s true for our pets.  So you have to know how many calories are in the food that you’re feeding.  This information can usually be found on the bag or the can, but if all else fails, google it.   Heck, with a little internet digging you can find out the calories in anything.  Also, be sure that you’re counting ALL the calories. This means calories in the food, calories in the treats, also in the table food and in the house mates food that they sneak into when you’re not looking.  It all counts!!   So right now you’re probably thinking but Doctor P how many calories should I feed my pet?  That’s a great question but unfortunately not one that I can answer right now because all pets are different but you know who can answer?  Your local friendly veterinarian.

So, that’s it!  My top three tips to help you avoid the number one mistake in feeding your pets. Control what your pet eats, measure it properly and make sure you’re feeding the correct amount of calories.  Until next time cherish your fur babies and remember your vet loves your pet.


River Oaks Animal Hospital is a veterinarian located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We provide pet wellness services, health care services, diagnostic services, pet dental care, boarding, grooming and emergency services at our veterinarian clinic.

974 International Drive
Myrtle Beach, SC 29579

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