Diet and Treats

Diet and Treats

Puppies / Dogs

The food you use to feed your puppy during the first year is critical to his adult development, health and growth. We recommend feeding a good quality dry puppy food until your puppy reaches 12 months old when you should gradually swap onto an adult dry food.

Dry food is made up of small pieces called kibbles. It's very convenient to serve and keeps well. It's also cost-effective, as you can buy it in large bags. As long as the food you choose is "complete", it will contain everything your puppy needs for optimum growth and development. There is no need to supplement with any other food.

It is impossible to know exactly how much food your puppy needs to eat per day as it depends on many factors including size, breed & activity level.

Begin with three to four meals a day at set times. Follow the manufacturers guidelines as a rough idea of total quantity to be fed. Food should be left for about 15 minutes, then whatever has not been eaten should be removed. Bring your puppy to the clinic regularly to be weighed to ensure he is growing properly & not becoming over weight.

Many people like to feed their dogs on table scraps. This is OK in moderation but ‘human food’ should not make up more than 10% of your dog's daily food intake.

It is important to remember that some foods can be quite harmful. If you choose to occasionally offer your pet a taste of what you're eating, it is important to avoid the following foods:

Tips when choosing food

Look for quality – check out the ingredients list to find out what’s really in the food

  • Animal protein like chicken or meat as the first ingredient
  • Balanced with wholegrain and fibre in the form of beet pulp
  • Avoid artificial colours, flavours and preservatives

Look for best value – high quality dry foods have detailed feeding instructions based on the size of your dog. From this you can work out number of meals per kilogram and the number of meals in each bag. Be sure to compare the cost per meal basis. A 15kg bag of dry food might seem expensive but may feed your dog for up to 2 months.

Fact – tinned food can contain up to 80% water and has to  be used quickly once opened. High quality dry kibble contains less than 10% water, are highly digestible, convenient and stay fresh for weeks after opening.

Weight control – if your puppy is overfed, he can grow too quickly causing problems with skeletal development, excess weight and excess fat cells – all increase the potential for health issues and reduce longevity. It is therefore important that your puppy grows at an optimal rate.

By feeding your puppy controlled amounts of a balanced food you can achieve a regulated growth rate leading to an adult dog of the appropriate breed size, with a lean body condition. This will reduce stress on the skeleton and positively support long term health prospects

Giving dog treats

When it comes to using treats and dog rewards, does your dog have you well-trained? That can sometimes be the case if your dog will only do something if he knows there's a yummy treat waiting for him at the end. There's also the danger of giving your dog too many food treats, which can lead to his becoming overweight. The key to using treats and rewards with your dogs is that you're always the one who's in control.

Dog rewards are a very important part of the ongoing training process. It provides an opportunity to let your dog know how much you like it when he exhibits good behaviour. Rewards work best when they're unexpected, and immediately follow the desired behaviour or response. And it doesn't always have to be done with a food treat. You can also use a favourite toy, or even just simple verbal or physical praise.

Kittens / Cats

Kittens are different from adult cats, so their nutritional needs vary. We recommend feeding a good quality dry kitten food for the first 12 months of their life such as the Hills pet nutrition Hills feline kitten healthy development food. They should then be gradually swapped to an adult dry food. Complete dry foods are specially formulated to ensure kittens get all the nutrition they need to grow healthy and strong. When you first bring your kitten home it's best to carry on feeding her the food she's been used to. However, not all kitten foods are the same – some have much better quality ingredients than others, which is why you might want to change your kitten's food to a "complete" kitten food.

Offering your kitten a bit of variety is also a good thing. A small amount of wet food or a different flavoured dry food is a good idea from time to time. This means your cat is more likely to adapt to a different food if they need to be swapped onto a special prescription diet as they get older.

Just like people, cats all have unique nutritional needs based on age, health and activity level. It's important to choose your food according to your pet's age and lifestyle because of the biological changes your cat will go through.

To figure out how much to feed your kitten, use the feeding guide on the label of your kitten food as a starting point and adjust the amount to maintain optimum body weight. Amounts may vary depending on age, size, activity level, temperament, environment and health. At every veterinary visit, discuss your kitten's weight and the amount of food you're feeding to ensure your kitten's needs are met.

Believe it or not, kittens don't need milk. And for some cats, cows' milk can actually cause diarrhoea. Fresh water is all your kitten needs.

It is very important to make sure your kitten has a bowl of fresh, clean water at all times. If you suspect your kitten is not drinking enough, it may be that she can taste chemicals in the water, so you may want to try filtered or bottled water. Some cats even prefer to drink from flowing water sources, like fountains or dripping taps, so you can buy water fountains designed especially for cats. And don't forget that if she's eating dry, crunchy food, it's essential you give her plenty of water.

While it is always best to only feed your cat foods which have been specifically formulated to meet their nutritional needs, if you choose to occasionally offer your pet a taste of what you're eating, it is important to realise that some ‘human’ foods can be harmful to cats.

Please be careful to avoid the following foods:

Tips when choosing food

Look for quality – check out the ingredients list to find out what’s really in the food

  • Animal protein like chicken or meat as the first ingredient
  • Balanced with wholegrain and fibre in the form of beet pulp
  • Avoid artificial colours, flavours and preservatives

Look for best value – high quality dry foods have detailed feeding instructions. From this you can work out number of meals per kilogram and the number of meals in each bag. Be sure to compare the cost per meal basis. A 15kg bag of dry food might seem expensive but may feed your dog for up to 2 months.

Fact – tinned food can contain up to 80% water and has to  be used quickly once opened. High quality dry kibble contains less than 10% water, are highly digestible, convenient and stay fresh for weeks after opening.

Weight control – if your kitten is overfed, he can grow too quickly causing problems with skeletal development, excess weight and excess fat cells – all increase the potential for health issues and reduce longevity. It is therefore important that your puppy grows at an optimal rate.

By feeding your kitten controlled amounts of a balanced food you can achieve a regulated growth rate leading to an adult cat of the appropriate breed size, with a lean body condition. This will reduce stress on the skeleton and positively support long term health prospects.