As families find new routines and activities after a year at home, they can also create new habits when sharing food and treats with their pets. The Pet Food Institute (PFI), the national trade association representing U.S. dog and cat food makers, recently launched a new resource with practical feeding and treating tips to help pets sustain a healthy weight. The animated video, titled “Feeding and Treating for a Long and Healthy Life,” includes guidelines and ideas on how families can fight pet obesity and support the best quality of life for their pets.
“Whether a family welcomed home a new dog or cat for the first time, or someone spent more time with their four-legged co-worker at the home office, pets gave us all companionship and friendship during the last year. It’s important for pet lovers to show they care by keeping their dog or cat at a healthy weight to ensure well-being,” said Dana Brooks, president and CEO of PFI. “With this new tool from PFI, pet lovers will be equipped with quick tips to avoid pet obesity and keep their pet’s weight in check.”
Research findings show more than half of dogs (56 percent) and cats (60 percent) in the United States are overweight or obese, which can lead to serious health risks, including diabetes, respiratory disease or kidney disease. The new PFI video illustrates simple adjustments to feeding and treating habits that can help households ensure safe pet care.
“It’s crucial that dogs and cats enjoy a complete and balanced diet, meaning that each serving of pet food provides the more than 40 nutrients pets need, in the proper amounts,” said Brooks. “Alongside finding fun activities with our pets and being mindful of treats, pet owners can work with their veterinarian to help keep their pet healthy.”
Recommended tips include ensuring treats never be a substitute for a complete and balanced meal, and that treats make up no more than 10 percent of a pet’s total daily caloric intake. In addition, families should avoid feeding pets table scraps, as many common human foods are high in calories and fat, and some may be harmful to dogs and cats. A veterinarian can help provide specific recommendations and weight loss strategies, if needed.
In addition to the new digital resource, PFI has also developed additional and comprehensive web content with recommendations for feeding and treating practices. This innovative tool joins a library of science-based information on www.petfoodinstitute.org, which explains the importance of pet food nutrition and safety.