Portion control is a critical element in managing your pet’s weight. I have so many pet owners, especially those with kitties who say they just fill a bowl with food and have no idea how much they are actually feeding. This is the perfect recipe for making your dog or cat overweight. It is the rare animal (humans included) that will correctly ration their daily caloric intake. A friend’s Labrador retriever broke into the food bag one day and fell asleep as he gorged himself consuming the majority of the bag.
If you think cats are immune to this behavior think again. They may be a bit smarter than dogs but will still eat more than they should in one sitting. I personally have to put bags of food out of reach from one of my cats or he will tear into it when he feels like a snack. Furthermore cats were not designed to eat a large meal in one sitting. Their weight is best controlled when they eat several small meals a day. Cats evolved by spending their day hunting, catching a small bird or mouse, eating it, taking a nap and then repeating this cycle throughout the day.
Portion Control Options
The best approach to maintaining your pet at a healthy weight is to measure out each serving of food. Dogs should eat twice a day and ideally cats would be able to snack throughout the day. This can be accomplished by a portion control pet feeder (like RightBite from PetTrax) or by using a toy that dispenses the food. This prevents your pet from inhaling all of their daily calories at once and helps them feel more full throughout the day. It also encourages pets to move around during the day rather than just sleep in one spot while you are away from the house.
Check out the PetTrax RightBite portion control pet feeder and the companion smartphone application PetTrax Mobile. This authorization based solution can really help with the problem of overfed pets by controlling portions whether you are at home or at work and can even handle multi-pet homes.
Ashley Gallagher, DVM