To Help Keep Them Healthy, Control Quantities

What, when, how much and how often? Feeding your pet can be confusing, so it’s important to make informed decisions. Get the facts about healthy foods and pet obesity – and how you can help maintain your pet’s healthy weight.

Are You Feeding Too Often?
What About Treats?
Why People Food Isn't Always Ideal For Pets
Body Condition Score

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Banfield Nutrition Guide

Select the categories that fit your pet, and our handy e-tool will provide nutrition information to help you make good decisions for your dog or cat. Be sure to discuss these factors with your Banfield veterinarian: together you can finalize a nutrition plan for your unique pet.

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Life Stage Tips for

Calories Per Day

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Banfield Nutrition Guide

Select the categories that fit your pet, and our handy e-tool will provide nutrition information to help you make good decisions for your dog or cat. Be sure to discuss these factors with your Banfield veterinarian: together you can finalize a nutrition plan for your unique pet.

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Not Applicable

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*You can add up to 3 pets


How Often Should You Feed?

Your pet's daily calorie intake can be broken into several meals throughout the day, depending on life stage. Your veterinarian can work with you on a feeding schedule that works for your pet, and your lifestyle. As a guideline:

Puppies and Kittens Up To 4 Months

Feed 4 times a day several hours apart, starting in the early morning.

4-6 Months

Shift to 3 meals a day, as they are now able to maintain their nutrient levels longer.

6 Months
and Older

Split up your pet's daily calories into 1-2 meals, or more depending on you and your pet's preferences.


What About Treats?

Used judiciously, treats can be a part of your pet's healthy diet. It's just a matter of accounting for the calories and making sure they don't contribute to more than 10% of your pet's daily intake.


Treat Them Right: Top Tips

  1. 1
    Use treats as a positive reward or create a game that challenges pets to work for treats
  2. 2
    Select treats that are low in calories (many are less than 5 calories) or consider saving part of your pet's kibble to use as treats
  3. 3
    Limit treats to no more than 10% of your pet's daily calories
  4. 4
    Instead of a food treat every time, mix in tummy rubs or new toys occasionally for a non-food reward

Why People Food Isn't Always Ideal For Pets

Some human foods – even in small treat-sized amounts – can take up too many of your pet's daily calories, and quickly add up to extra pounds.

Cat
Toy/Small Dog
Medium Dog
Large Dog
Giant Dog
999
Daily calorie intake based on a 0lb pet

Test
13%
2oz 2% milk: 30 cal

Test
13%
2oz 2% milk: 30 cal

Test
13%
2oz 2% milk: 30 cal

Test
13%
2oz 2% milk: 30 cal

Body Condition Score

How do veterinarians size up your pet's weight? By using body condition scores from 1 to 5; 1 is very thin and 5 is obese; 3 is just right!

DOG
CAT
1
2
3
4
5

Very Thin

Severely defined ribs and waist.

Side View
Overhead View

Thin

Easily visible ribs and waist.

Side View
Overhead View

Ideal Weight

Ribs easily felt, but not seen.
Obvious waist.

Side View
Overhead View

Overweight

Ribs not easily seen nor felt.

Side View
Overhead View

Obese

Waist absent.

Side View
Overhead View
State of Pet Health Report

It's no joke. Overweight and obese pets are all too common in the USA. As pet owners, we owe it to our pets to help them be as healthy as they can.

  • FACT 1
    Today,
    1 in 3 dogs
    are overweight
    or obese*
  • FACT 2
    Today,
    1 in 3 cats
    are overweight
    or obese*
  • FACT 3
    Across the USA overweight
    and obesity has
    increased 158%
    in dogs since 2007*
  • FACT 4
    Since 2007, overweight
    and obesity has
    increased 169%
    in cats across the USA*

* All statistics are calculated by the Banfield Applied Research and Knowledge (BARK) Team, based on the 2.5 million dogs and 505,000 cats seen at Banfield Hospitals in 2016.



Other Resources

Below you’ll find links to other important organizations involved in the study and governance of pet food and nutrition standards for dogs and cats.

Pet feeding directions from the FDA
Feeding guidelines from the FDA


The nutrition content and tools provided on this site are for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as or substituted for veterinary medical advice. For nutrition information specific to your pet, please visit your Banfield veterinarian.