We all want our pets to be healthy and happy, but what is the best way to ensure their wellbeing? As well as plenty of exercise and affection, one of the most important aspects of your pet’s life is their diet. Just like people, your pet is what they eat and it’s essential that your cat or dog is getting all their vital nutrients in their food.
With hundreds of different pet foods on the market, the choice can be overwhelming, especially as your pet can’t ask you for their favourite. With specific foods for kittens, puppies, senior dogs and cats, plus foods with added vitamins and finer cuts of meat, it’s no wonder people get confused.
- Dog food should be made up of around 50% meat and 50% vegetables and the meat product should be listed first in the ingredient list. Avoid foods which have a high percentage of grain or wheat as, although filling, they do not provide the correct nutrition for your dog.
- If you don’t fancy it, don’t give it to your dog. Dogs should not be given meat that you wouldn’t eat just because they’re less fussy. You should also avoid giving your dog chocolate, raisins, grapes and onions as these can cause digestion problems or even lead to death.
- Raw food can be beneficial for your dog, so supplement their diet with raw vegetables such as tomatoes and occasionally give them meaty bones.
- Don’t feed your dog from your own plate too often as this can encourage bad behaviour and begging. It can also disturb their routine and diet or affect their digestion if they accidentally ingest something toxic.
- Always go for the highest quality dog food your budget will allow. Cheaper dog food does not contain decent cuts of meat and can be lacking in vital nutrients.
- Cats will not thrive on a vegetarian diet as they are hunters by nature. Cats need more protein than dogs - dry weight protein in their food should be almost 30% for an average adult cat and even more for kittens - so it’s essential that meat is listed first on cat food ingredients.
- If your cat eats mainly dry food, make sure that they are getting enough water. Cats don’t get as thirsty as some animals so it’s important that fresh water is available when they need it. Too much dry food and a lack of water can lead to kidney stones or bladder problems.
- Choose a reputable manufacturer of cat food and don’t choose the lowest priced, value brands. These tend to have more additives and filler ingredients, with less protein and nutritional value. Warming cat food can make it more appealing as it is of a similar temperature to a recent kill.
- If you decide to change your cat’s food, do it gradually to avoid digestion problems. Introduce small amounts of the new food with their old food and increase it each couple of days until they are weaned off the old brand.
- Keep cat bowls clean and remove any uneaten wet food after 15 minutes. Bacteria will grow quickly on moist food and this could make your cat ill. Monitor any unusual eating habits (such as suddenly leaving food) as your cat may need to go to the vet.
John Lewis Pet Insurance
As well as providing your cat or dog with a healthy, balanced diet, it’s important that they are covered by a high quality pet policy that will protect them in the event of accident or illness.
If your pet does become ill, John Lewis Pet Insurance will assist you financially, offering up to £12,000 of medical costs each year, as long as your policy is renewed and your premiums are paid. You can also arrange for your vet to be paid directly, if they are set up to receive our payments, giving you more time to focus on your pet’s health and avoid costly vet bills.
Terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and eligibility criteria apply.
John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. Registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5NN. Registered in England (No.233462). John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. John Lewis Pet Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc (No. 93792). Registered in England and Wales at St. Mark's Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XL. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Calls may be recorded and monitored.