There is a kind of animal abuse widespread amongst many different types of pet owners: overfeeding. When you listen to the term “abuse,” you tend to think of underfeeding or beating your animal, but indeed overfeeding your animal can lead to health issues as well. Now, this isn’t to say that partners who give in just a bit too often to their pet’s’ pleas should be stripped of their animal friends and beaten; it’s mostly a crime of innocent unawareness. This article will provide you with information about the hazardous effects of overfeeding and how much you should feed your pets daily.
Perhaps the kings of begging for food and scavenging are dogs. Who can resist those innocent puppy eyes peering up at you from beneath the dinner table every night?! Dogs seem to have an unquenchable appetite, and that’s apparently the exact truth of the matter. However, overfeeding your dog can be considerably hazardous to its health. The most significant risk with overfeeding your dog is obesity. Many health issues can plague an overweight dog, such as muscle and ligament strains, diabetes, arthritis, and joint deterioration. Sadly, your dog can develop extremely high blood pressure or even heart failure from the overexertion to the heart produced by carrying around the excess weight.
The amount of food that a dog need varies with breed. According to a doctor at a shelter home near my home, the following is about what you would want to feed your dog solely based on weight:
- 10 lbs. or less- You should feed no more than 1/3 – 1/2 cup of dry food, or if mixing canned with dry food, you should provide ¼ can and ¾ cup dry food.
- 10-20 lbs.- 1-2.25 cups of dry food or 1/2 can and 1 – 1.5 cups dry food.
- 20-45 lbs. -2 – 3 cups dry food or one can and 1 – 2 ½ cups dry food.
- 45-70 lbs. – 3 – 5 cups dry food or 1.5 cans and 1.5 – 3 cups dry food.
- ver 70 lbs. – 6-9 cups of dry food or 2.5 cans and 3 -5 cups dry food.
It’s not common that you peer into a fish tank and think, ‘My God, what a fat fish!’. As opposed to obesity, the health hazards with overfeeding fish are a bit less noticeable and more difficult to recognize. As a part of their evolution, fish tend to eat whenever the opportunity presents itself. This is a helpful survival tactic in the wild, but this can be a severe problem in your fish tank. Your fish will eat until their body explodes if you provide them with enough food more often than they need it. Overfeeding can create issues with the water quality in your tank, such as producing toxins and algae that are also harmful to your fish. Some infections resulting from overfeeding your fish are fatty liver, fin rot, and abnormal digestion.
Prevent overfeeding by reading the directions on your fish food. For most freshwater fish, these directions will be sufficient in explaining how much you should feed. When in doubt, about a pinch of food is enough to provide at least five fish.
The health risks linked with overfeeding your cat are very similar to those connected with overfeeding a dog. The biggest problem is obesity and the issues caused by it. Some of the typical ailments that an obese cat faces are liver disease (fatty liver), diabetes, skin problems, and arthritis. It is also harder for an overweight cat to be anesthetized for vaccinations at the veterinarian’s office as well because the anesthetic is taken up by fat. This means that overweight cats take longer to come out of anesthesia and can take a longer time to recover.
So how much should you feed your cuddly cat? The typical 10 lb. cat should be fed 4-6 ounces of canned food or 1/2 – 1/3 cup dry food daily. It is also an excellent idea to feed your cat twice daily. This doesn’t mean giving the full prescribed amount of food twice a day; break up the servings. Leaving food out all day can assist your cat’s overeating as sometimes, mostly seen in in-door cats, they eat because they’re bored (sound familiar?). You may also want to observe what type of food you give your cat. Just as you would with your diet, monitor your cat’s carbohydrate and calorie intake in addition to restricting the food amount you give them.
These are only a few tips for feeding your cats, dogs, and fishes. As always, you will want to talk to your vet as the final word on what’s best for your pet.