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Overfeeding Your Pet – Accidental Animal Abuse
There is a type of animal abuse that is prevalent among all types of pet owners: overfeeding. When you hear the word “abuse” you often think of beating the animal or not getting enough food, but if your pet is overfed it can also cause health problems. Now, this does not mean that householders who too often yield to the entreaties of their animals should have their furry friends removed and publicly stoned; most are crimes of innocent ignorance. This article should give you knowledge about the negative effects of overfeeding as well as information about how much food you should eat each day.
Perhaps the king of abusers and beggars is a dog. Who can resist the puppy eyes watching you from under the dinner table at night?! Dogs seem to have an insatiable appetite, and that’s probably the truth about it. However, overfeeding your dog can be detrimental to his health. The biggest risk of overeating your dog is obesity. There are many health problems that can harm an overweight dog such as diabetes, muscle and ligament damage, joint damage, and arthritis. Your dog can also develop high blood pressure or congestive heart failure from excessive strain on the heart caused by carrying too much weight.
The amount of food a dog needs varies by breed. According to dogbreedinfo.com, the following is about what you want to feed your dog based on his weight:
• 10 lbs. or less- You should not feed more than 1/3 – 1 cup of dry food or if canned mixed with dry food, you should give ¼ cup and ¾ cup of dry food.
• 10-25 lbs.- 1-2 ¼ cups of dry food or ½ cup and ½ – 1 ½ cups of dry food.
• 25-50 lbs. -2 ¼ – 3 ¾ cups of dry food or 1 cup and 1 – 2 ½ cups of dry food.
• 50-75 lbs. – 3 ¾ – 5 cups or 1 ½ cups of dry food and 1 ¾ – 3 cups of dry food.
• Over 75 lbs. – 5-8 cups or 2 cups of dry food and 2 ½ -5 ¼ cups of dry food.
It’s not very often that you look into a fish tank and think ‘Oh, fat fish!’ Unlike obesity, the health risks of eating too much fish are relatively obvious and difficult to identify. As part of their evolution, they have a tendency to eat whenever they get the chance. In the wild this is a helpful survival tactic, but in your fish tank it can be a serious problem. Your fish will literally eat their guts out if you feed them more often than they need. Overfeeding can cause water quality problems in your tank, such as producing algae and toxins that harm your fish. Some diseases that can result from overfeeding fish include fin rot, fatty liver and poor digestion (petcareeducation.com).
Avoid overfeeding by simply reading your fish feed instructions. For most freshwater fish, these guidelines should be enough to explain how much food you should be feeding. If in doubt, in a pinch the food is enough to feed at least 5 fish.
The health risks associated with overfeeding cats are similar to the risks associated with overfeeding dogs. The biggest problem is obesity and the problems that come with it. Some of the common diseases faced by overweight cats are diabetes, liver disease (fatty liver), arthritis, and skin problems. It is more difficult for overweight cats to remove it from the procedure in the veterinary office due to the fact that the anesthesia is taken in the fat. This means that obese animals take longer to come out of anesthesia and may take longer to recover.
So how much should you feed your cat? According to dogtime.com, a 10 lb. cat. normally should be fed 4-6 canned food or 1/4 – 1/3 cup of dry food per day. It is also good to feed the cat twice a day. This does not mean that the recommended amount of food is given twice a day; cut the food. Leaving food out during the day can encourage your cat to overeat because sometimes, especially with indoor cats, they eat because they are bored (sound familiar?). You can also monitor what kind of food you feed your cat. As with your diet, monitor your cat’s calorie and carbohydrate intake in addition to limiting what you feed him.
These are some tips for feeding your pet. As always, you’ll want to consult with your veterinarian for the final word on what’s best for your pet. Just like people, all animals are different, and the tips shared here may not necessarily apply to your particular breed of animal or the health problems your pet may already have. The first step to responsible pet ownership is keeping yourself informed and aware of your pet’s needs.
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