Feeding recommendations are usually included on prepared pet food packaging and these provide owners with a good guide to get started, although it should be recognised that recommendations are intended as a guide only to provide an approximate estimate of a pet’s nutritional needs.

As dogs and cats vary significantly in their size, activity level, life stage and the environment in which they are kept, over time the owner needs to keep an eye on the body condition score (often referred to as BCS) of their pet and decide whether to feed more or less and what kind of food is best suited to their requirements. Pets are adaptable and there are many different and equally successful ways to feed pets well. If in doubt, your veterinarian can provide further advice.

The nutritional requirements of a pet change throughout its life and are influenced by factors such as: age, whether the pet is active or sedentary, reproduction status, the state of the pet’s health and environmental conditions. In meeting the needs of an individual animal, the owner must provide the required amount and correct balance of energy and essential nutrients in a quantity of food the pet will consume.

There is a wide range of quality, prepared commercial pet foods now available through supermarkets and mass merchandise outlets, specialist pet supply retailers, veterinary clinics, rural supply outlets and on-line retailers, providing today’s pet owner with many choices and product types. These pet foods provide a great basis for your pet’s diet, delivering balanced nutrition, variety, palatability, sustainability, consistency and safety, making for a satisfied pet and owner.

Veterinarians also stock and prescribe a wide range of veterinary therapeutic diets designed to provide for a pet’s specific needs and to assist in the management of a range of medical conditions (e.g. arthritis & skin disease). Your veterinarian can provide professional advice regarding feeding and care for your pet.

Tips for feeding our feline friends

Cats are obligate carnivores and thrive on a diet rich in animal protein and low in carbohydrates. Look for an AAFCO statement on the pack verifying the diet is complete and balanced for your cat’s life stage.

Tips for our canine companions

While the quality and type of ingredients listed certainly matters for dogs, it’s the nutrients contained within these ingredients that your dog will use to fuel their bodies. Choose a diet from a reputable pet food company with a history of producing quality diets.

For both, always make sure there is easy access to clean, fresh water and monitor your pet’s condition and weight as they age. If you have any specific concerns around your pet’s diet, be sure to call your local vet clinic and speak with one of the qualified vets or nurses for extra advice.

* This information is provided as general information only. For advice and information concerning feeding and caring for your individual pet, we recommend that you seek the advice of your veterinarian. For information about what your pet insurance covers, refer to the applicable Product Disclosure Statement.