Nutrition and Weight Management

Dogs CatsGood nutrition is vital to your pet’s health. It improves their longevity and quality of life!

Your pet’s nutritional requirements can be surprising but it’s easy to learn the best diet for your cat, dog, puppy or kitten’s optimal wellbeing.

Your pet’s nutritional health – did you know?

  • Pets need different types and amounts of foods at different stages of their lives for good health
  • Around 41% of Australian dogs suffer from obesity, which leads to poor health and a shorter lifespan.
  • Studies have found that 50% of cats aged 15-25 years old are underweight. This could be due to their reduced sense of smell and taste, decreased intestinal absorption, bad teeth or a side effect of a chronic disease like arthritis, diabetes, digestive issues or heart disease.
  • Some popular, trusted dog food brands are purposely formulated to just meet the minimum nutritional requirements of your dog and cat.
  • Foods safe for you are not necessarily safe for your dog – for example apple and pear seeds contain arsenic, which can be fatal to dogs.
  • Chocolate can also be very harmful to dogs and can lead to vomiting and high blood pressure. On the bright side, that means more for you!

What else do you need to be aware of to best care for your pet? Visit your nearest Just for Pets Pet Health Centre – your local independent pet store to find out!

Guess what the most important nutritional requirement is for your pet? water!

Water is the most essential nutritional requirement for your pet and should be made available to your pet at all times. Dogs and cats have slightly different hydration needs.

Hydration for dogs

How can you tell if your dog is dehydrated? If it is lethargic, has a fast heart rate, panting or breathing rapidly, has inelastic skin, sunken eyes and dry gums.

Dehydration can lead to shock, organ failure or even death. How much water your dog should drink depends on its size, age and the type of food it eats.

Hydration for cats

Compared to other species, cats do not have a strong thirst. They obtain most of their water from their food. Dehydration in cats can result in kidney and bladder diseases, which are excruciatingly painful, costly to treat and sometimes fatal.

What about your pet’s diet?

Depending on your pet’s size, breed, age, activity, stress level and medical history, the amount of its food and nutritional requirements will vary. It’s important to find out what the right diet is for your puppy, kitten, cat or dog during that stage of life for healthy pet weight management.

Protein, fats and carbohydrates give your pet energy. Vitamins and minerals promote health and help cells and organs to do their jobs.

It’s important to know the appropriate amount to feed both puppies and adult dogs to ensure they do not become obese but still get enough nutrition to be healthy. Ask the Pet Health Centre for recommendations.


Treats reward your pet and help in behaviour modification. However, choose treats carefully. They can do a good job of supplementing your pet’s diet, providing additional nutrition and benefits that they may not be able to get from their regular food. But they can be over-used.

Obesity and pets

Humans are getting heavier and so are our four-legged friends but obesity is a very serious concern for your pet’s health and longevity.

Obesity in dogs

Studies show that when dogs maintain an ideal body weight, they have less disease and live almost two years longer than their overweight siblings. An overweight dog is more likely to suffer from:

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disorders
  • High blood pressure
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Cancerous tumours

Diet food for dogs and special formulations for older dogs can help get your dog’s weight under control.

Obesity in cats

Obesity in cats is an extremely serious condition that leads to health disorders, including a potentially fatal condition called fatty liver disease, diabetes and non-allergic skin conditions.

Exercise for pets

Just like humans, dogs and cats need exercise. Critical to maintaining good health, exercise tones muscles, releases endorphins that make your pet feel happy and relaxed, boosts circulation, strengthens bones and helps to prevent obesity.

Physical exercise for dogs

Most dog breeds were originally created to perform a specific job such as tracking, hunting, retrieving, herding, guarding and rescuing. The type and amount of exercise you choose for your dog – running, fetch, walking, swimming etc – will depend on its size, weight and genetic makeup.

Physical exercise for cats

Cats need exercise just like dogs do. Cats get their exercise from day-to-day routines like walking to their food bowl and litter box, jumping onto their favourite perch, and playing.

Discover how to take the best care of your pet’s nutrition and weight. Visit your nearest participating Just For Pets store for your free 6 point pet health check today.