Diet tips for multi-pet households
Managing the weight of a single pet within a household of many can be a challenge. Diet hazards commonly faced in multi-pet households include:
- Free feeding – where a pet’s food is left out to be eaten throughout the day
- Inter-canine dominance and behavioral issues over food
- Dogs sharing or finishing off another dog’s food
- Dogs eating another species food e.g. cat food, chicken food
For dog diet success in multi-pet households apply the following tips:
5 Feeding Tips for Multi-pet Households
1. Keep pets separated at meal times
Separate pet feeding areas according to physical differences. i.e. feed your cat up high where your dog cannot reach. Alternatively, feed your cat in a feeding box or a room that is accessed by a small window/opening that your dog cannot fit through.
Ensure one dog is not allowed to finish off another dog’s food. Ideally feed your dogs in separate rooms or pens. All pets should be able to feed at their own pace without pressure from other household pets.
2. Do not leave food out throughout the day
Avoid ad lib or free-feeding, where pet food is left out to be consumed throughout the day. Instead provide all pets with dedicated meal times. Remove any food that is not consumed at each meal.
Do not be tempted to leave out several bowls of dog food to keep your dogs full and entertained throughout the day.
3. Provide individual portions
No matter how many pets reside in a household, to effectively manage and maintain each pet at a healthy weight, every pet must be fed as an individual.
Ensure all pets are fed properly measured portions- according to pet size and calorie needs.
Differing metabolic rates and calorie requirements between pets will often result in the under feeding or over feeding of individual pets if fed on a group basis.
4. Limit treats for all pets
Be treat wise with all pets in the household – feed healthy and correctly portioned treats. Do not splurge on one pet whilst withholding treats from another.
5. Slow down meal times
If you have one dog who feeds faster than the other, consider prolonging their meal by providing food in a slow-feeder (food puzzle) bowl.