Many of us see our pets as members of the family and treat them in much the same way as our human counterparts. However, when it comes to a pet's diet a clear distinction must be made between the two.
Unfortunately, this is increasingly becoming the norm and on top of their regular food, dogs and cats are not only being given excessive amounts of pet treats, but human indulgences as well. As well as leading to a rise in pet obesity, these habits are heightening pet's risk of heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.
According to a recent survey by Canagan, three in five dogs will have been treated to a roast dinner over the festive season, whilst one in four will have been given a slice of Christmas cake or a share of the chocolate box. A significant percentage of pets as a consequence will have spent Christmas at the vet after developing stomach problems from treats only appropriate for human consumption.
Excessive and toxic food consumption is not the only issue ailing pets. To add insult to injury, so many of us are failing to exercise our pets adequately during the darker winter months. The combination of excessive food and less activity means that, like many owners, pets are entering the new year lethargic and in need of positive lifestyle changes.
Yet rather than inflicting an unsustainable, quick-fix January detox and making a dogs dinner of your pet's health, owners must ensure that they provide a diet that melts away the puppy fat and keeps those tails wagging all year round.
Rule 1: Keep your food to yourself
No matter how much they drool over what is on your plate, you should never give food directly to your dog or cat unless you are training them or it is their regular meal time. Whilst you may think this will do no harm, it could give them stomach probems and it encourages a begging culture. Any food you do give them should be made of high quality natural and pronounceable ingredients with a high meat content.
Rule 2: Lay down the law with house guests
If people entering your house have given your pets treats or tit bits from their plate before, inform them about your pet feeding policy and help them understand your reasons for implementing this. Try to do this in advance to avoid the possibility of your pets being given treats without your knowing. It's your pet and ultimately you that pays the vet bills, so its your rules!
Rule 3: Never 'give a dog a bone'
There are also some foods that should be completely avoided by pets: cooked bones, raisins (due to their high sugar content), avocado (which can affect blood pressure), tea, chocolate and coffee and of course anything with alcohol included.
For those of you with a greedy four-legged companion, it may be worth making sure that these foods are kept out of reach from tempted paws. Avoid leaving chocolates out where they could be consumed by pets around the home and keep an eye on alcoholic drinks that could be knocked over and 'cleaned up' by 'helpful' furry friends.
Rule 4: Grain free for tea?
Some foods may not necessarily cause sickness great enough to send your pet to the vet immediately but when consumed regularly, it may open the door to more long-term illnesses. This is evident by the significant rise in numbers of dogs and cats suffering from obesity, joint pain, digestive episodes, ear infections, skin allergies and early aging in recent years.
The likelihood of your pet contracting such diseases can be lowered significantly purely by keeping their weight in check and switching their diet to one that is grain free.
Historically, grains have never been a part of a cat or dogs natural diet and their digestive systems are not equipped to deal with the high percentage of grain found in most pet food. In contrast, pet foods like Canagan made from high-quality meats and low glycemic carbohydrates, such as sweet potato will ensure that the food they are consuming provides them with a diet enabling them to live in the best of health.
Whilst it is never too early nor too late to make sustainable changes to help your pet live life to the fullest and pro-long their time with you, 2017 provides a good opportunity to put this into action and help man's best friend detox for life.
Part of the Symply Group, which includes brands such as Symply, Piccolo and Cheshire Cat's Garden, Canagan caters to pet owners who want to provide their pets with the best nutrition and finest grain-free ingredients available. All Canagan products contain at least 60% meat, providing pets with the high-quality protein they require. All meats used in the range originate from animals approved to human consumption standards.