Feeding your dog or cat

When advising clients about feeding my approach depends on the body condition, age, breed of the pet, as well as clients’ preferences.

Whatever diet you choose, make sure it is appropriate for YOUR pet, don’t choose it because it is popular or suits someone else’s. And feed the correct amount.

Raw feeding has become popular and has polarised opinions, especially because of the more extreme claims, which definitively fall into the ‘Elisir’ category, that it can fix everything, from itch to cancer. There is also concern that these diet represent a risk to the health not only of the pet but of the humans handling it, because of bacterial contamination. We don’t eat raw meat normally (yes, I know about steak tartare, I love it too!) because of this.

If you decide to feed their pet on raw food then, whether I agree with it or not, it is my job to ensure that you do so safely. This is particularly important in households with small children, elderly people, sick or immunosuppressed people. So my advice is:
Defrost only what you need for the day, in a sealed container, in the fridge or at room temperature, preferably in a separate area from where you prepare your own food, e.g. the utility room.
What is not eaten should be thrown away, not stored for the next day or re-frozen.
Use separate utensils, bowls, storage containers and make sure they are thoroughly washed after every use with hot water and soap or dunked in Milton solution, where there are vulnerable people. Home prepared raw food are often not balanced and can cause problems when fed long term, so if you are going to feed raw food, a prepared, balanced product is a better bet.

If you choose to feed wet food, whether tin, pouch or foil, it should not be left around all day, especially in the summer, when it will go off and flies may lay eggs in it. Dishes should be washed thoroughly after every meal with soap and hot water.
Wet food is more likely to stick to your pet’s teeth, so cleaning them becomes even more important.

If you feed kibble, the greatest risk is that you feed too much and beloved Fido or Fluffy ends up a bit porky. It’s easy to just top up the bowl, especially for cats. Kibble should always be weighed accurately and fed preferably in an interesting way, to avoid the ‘gone in 5 seconds’ eating method.

The website of International Cat Care (www.icatcare.org), the go to place for all things cats, has a

wealth of information regarding feeding your cat and make it interesting.

For dogs there are special feeding bowls designed to slow down eating, but scattering dry food on the lawn can work just as well.

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