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
Healthy cat
Banfield Nutrition Guide

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Banfield Nutrition GuideBanfield 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

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Banfield Nutrition GuideBanfield 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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*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 upto 4 months

Puppies and Kittens Up To 4 Months

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

Puppies upto 4-6 months

4-6 Months

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

Puppies 6 months and older

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.


Treats for pet

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

Ideal food

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.

Ideal food for Cat
Ideal food for Cat Ideal food for Cat
Cat
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Ideal food for small dog
Ideal food for small dog Ideal food for small dog
Toy/Small Dog
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Ideal food for medium dog
Ideal food for medium dog Ideal food for medium dog
Medium Dog
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Ideal food for large  dog
Ideal food for large  dog Ideal food for large  dog
Large Dog
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Ideal food for gaint  dog
Ideal food for gaint  dog Ideal food for gaint  dog
Giant Dog
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Daily calorie intake based on a 0lb pet
Calorie Intake
Test
13%
2oz 2% milk: 30 cal
Calorie Intake
Test
13%
2oz 2% milk: 30 cal
Calorie Intake
Test
13%
2oz 2% milk: 30 cal
Calorie Intake
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!

Body Condition Score for dog Body Condition Score for dog
DOG
CAT
Body Condition Score for cat Body Condition Score for cat
1
2
3
4
5

Very Thinheading

Severely defined ribs and waist.

Very Thin Dog Side view
Side View
Very Thin Dog overhead view
Overhead View

Thin

Easily visible ribs and waist.

Thin Dog Side view
Side View
Thin Dog overhead view
Overhead View

Ideal Weightheading

Ribs easily felt, but not seen.
Obvious waist.

Ideal weight Dog side view
Side View
Ideal weight Dog overhead view
Overhead View

Overweightheading

Ribs not easily seen nor felt.

Overweight Dog overhead view
Side View
Overweight Dog overhead view
Overhead View

Obeseheading

Waist absent.

Obese Dog side view
Side View
Obese Dog overhead 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
    Obese fact for dogs
    Today,
    1 in 3 dogs
    are overweight
    or obese*
  • FACT 2
    Obese fact for cats
    Today,
    1 in 3 cats
    are overweight
    or obese*
  • FACT 3
    Obese fact for dogs
    Across the USA overweight
    and obesity has
    increased 158%
    in dogs since 2007*
  • FACT 4
    Obese fact for cats
    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.


Learn More: Nutrition Articles

Calorie chart for pets

Calorie Chart

This handout with inform you about the calorie content of common "people" foods and how they can impact a pet's daily caloric intake and potentially increase the chances that your dog or cat could become obese.

Nutrition articles
Exercise for pets

Your Dog or Cat Needs Exercise to Successfully Manage Weight

Overweight and obesity in pets has ballooned in the United States, affecting approximately 1 in 4 dogs and 1 in 3 cats in 2014.

Nutrition articles
Weiht Management for pets

A Weight Management Treatment Plan for Your Pet

Obesity is, unfortunately, a common disorder of companion animals.

Nutrition articles
View All Articles

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, opens in a new tab
Feeding guidelines from the FDA, opens in a new tab


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.