ALERT: 
  Our Christmas toys are now in stock, pop in and pick up something for your pet for Xmas

Feeding

It's crucial to give a balanced diet to your pet. This means the diet provides all your pet's nutritional needs - eg carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins/minerals, fibre - in the right amounts.
 
It all seems very complicated! What should I feed my pet?? 
Our message is: Feed a high quality commercial pet food.
High quality foods contain more reliable quantities of better quality ingredients with less waste.  Cheaper foods (eg supermarket own brands) are often a false economy as you often need to feed more, and the ingredients can vary - sometimes the food won't say specifically what it contains. Companies known to produce high quality diets include Hills, Royal Canin and Purina. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association recommends you choose a pet food from a company that provides a contact number for enquiries about its products. This way, you can check the product has been developed with qualified nutritionists using feeding trials.
 
Ok so I've chosen the food I'd like to give my pet, how much shall I give him? 
Use the feed guide on the bag or tin to work out how much to feed your pet in a day, based on target normal body weight for your dog's or cat's breed. Dry food can be highly calorific, so you will only need to feed a small amount to meet your pets' daily calorie needs. Weigh out the amount of food your pet needs on a daily basis - then use a small cup or mug which WHEN FULL contains just the right amount. Don't use a huge mug then 'half fill' it, as it's likely you will give more than half. Use a container you can't overfill. 
 
How long should I keep my dog on puppy food? 
This is a really good question, and will depend on your dog's breed - check the food packaging to see what they recommend. It's often possible to swap to adult food between 6 and 12 months old, depending on the breed.
 
My pet is getting older now, do I carry on feeding him the same thing he's had since he was a puppy?
It's best to consider a 'life stage' diet - many of the pet food manufacturers make different foods targeted at different ages, eg junior, adult, mature adult, senior. This is because our pets have different needs as they get older - notably dogs tend to be less active as they age so need fewer calories; cats can't always cope with high levels of protein in their diet when they are elderly so senior diets limit protein and phosphorus.
 
My pet is getting a bit chunky, if I cut his food down he keeps pestering me for food? 
Consider swapping to a 'low calorie' diet for pets carrying a few extra pounds.Weigh out his food so you know how much you are giving him daily, then make allowances for calories in any treats you give him.
 
My dog is a crossbreed, so I'm not sure how to tell what he should weigh. 
Body condition scoring is a helpful way to tell if your pet is normal weight or under/overweight - a normal weight pet should have a waist line, and you should easily be able to feel its ribs.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Shall I just give dried food, or wet/dried? She gets bored with just dried food. 
You can feed a combined wet and dry diet, but you need to work out how much of each to give to meet your pet's energy needs. Cut the dried down below the full daily amount needed if fed on its own.
 
Can I give treats as well? 
Yes you can give treats, apparently 86% of us do! But be sensible and limit them. Check our separate information page about giving snacks to your pet here.
 
Shall I feed my dog a raw diet?
Raw diets are a major concern for the veterinary profession. We do not recommend feeding these diets. Studies of raw diets have shown they commonly have nutritional deficiencies/excesses that can cause problems, and there is a risk of bacterial contamination such as Salmonella, E coli and Campylobacter to both pets and owners. Feeding raw bones can cause obstructions and intestinal perforations. They are totally unsuitable diets for puppies.
 
I've seen a 'Vitamin Supplement' on sale in a pet shop, shall I get some for my dog?
If you are feeding a balanced, well made commercial diet, there is no need at all for 'vitamin supplements', the diet contains everything your pet needs, and you could be making a 'balanced' diet unbalanced.
 
Some foods are complementary foods eg mixer dried foods, they are designed to be fed with other foods eg with wet food, as they aren't balanced on their own.
 
How come dogs and cats don't get scurvy ie vitamin C deficiency? They don't eat fruit?!
What a great question. Humans can't make vitamin C so need it in the diet.
Animals - other than us, primates and guinea pigs - can all make their own and don't need it in the diet.
 
Can my cat be vegetarian like me? I don't want to handle meat. 
No. Cats are carnivores - they MUST have a meat diet, as they can't make certain amino acids.
 
My cat loves liver, is it ok to give him some every day? 
No... don't give pets large amounts of liver - it contains high levels of vitamin A which can lead to problems with the bones in the spine. This can be a problem in cat fed liver regularly. 
 
My dog only eats chicken, this is ok isn't it, as it's quality food?
You mustn't feed 'just chicken', or any other meat - it's a good protein source but clearly on its own is not a balanced diet.
 
If your pet is a fussy eater, please come and talk to us about how to help feed your pet a balanced diet without having to resort to hand feeding and bribery! Some breeds eg cockerpoos really aren't food motivated, but will eat enough if left to their own devices. Labradors have been proven to have a gene which gives them a good appetite - but obviously this makes them prone to weight gain.
 
I've decided to swap to a better quality pet food, how do I go about it? 
Try not to make sudden changes to your pet's diet - if you want to swap to a different food, do it gradually over several meals. Sudden diet changes can lead to stomach upsets and diarrhoea.
 
How many times a day should I feed my pet? 
Feed dogs at least twice daily - owners often seem to feed dogs once daily, but it's better to feed them more often. Cats are grazers so can be fed multiple times a day, but make sure you weigh out their daily allowance to avoid over-feeding. 
 
I've got 2 cats, one is skinny and only eats a few mouthfuls of food before walking away, my other cat is oveweight, and hovers around to finish off the other cat's food. What do I do?
This is a common problem. Try to feed them separately and stop them eating each other's meals. There are cat feeders available which are microchip operated so only allow one cat to feed from it.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
My dog drinks a lot so I don't let him have water overnight, is this ok? 
Absolutely not. Always allow your pet unlimited access to fresh water, and have several bowls around to choose from. This is especially important with cats. Cats don't like having joined food/water bowls, so give them separate bowls if possible. If your pet is drinking a lot, there might be something wrong - bring them in for a check, and try to bring a morning urine sample along too if you can!
 
What about rabbit and guinea pig feeding? 
Please see our separate sections on these species.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Pet Plan Awards

Pet Plan Awards

Pet Plan Award nominations are now open! Have our vets, nurses or receptionists gone above and beyond to help you or your pet? If so, you can nominate them for a Pet Plan Award. Click on the image above for more details. The closing date is 12th January

Having Trouble with Fleas?

Having Trouble with Fleas?

We are seeing high numbers of pets with fleas, some having been treated with well known flea products. Please click the photo for more information about fleas, and the newer flea control products now available.

Advanced Practitioners

Advanced Practitioners

Our vets have had advanced training in medicine, surgery, cardiology and dermatology meaning less referrals and better all-round care for your pet.

Time for a Treat?

Time for a Treat?

Do you give treats to your pet? 86% of use do - check our handy guide to see which treats to avoid, and which you can give with a clear conscience!