What happens when you allow your pet access to its favorite food 24 hours a day? You probably don’t want to try it to find out. Your pet, like most animals, will overeat until it becomes extremely overweight and inactive. It’s not natural for animals to have complete and consistent access to highly palatable food.
Animals are designed to have to work for their food, but we have changed that for our pets. We purchase processed pet food for our beloved little buddies. Our pets gobble up the tasty food we place in front of them. They will also gladly eat any scraps from our plates if we offer them as well as the commercially prepared treats we buy for them.
What does that tell us?
It tells us that we have created an unnatural environment for our pets. It’s not natural for them to get their food without work – no hunting, no foraging. The food we feed them isn’t natural. It is processed and comes in bags and cans. Too much of this food threatens the health and even the animal’s life expectancy.
Our pets don’t have the ability to manage their food. If given the chance they would overeat. To keep them healthy we offer the right amount of food at regular intervals. We kept the pet food out of their reach in between meals, because if they had free access, they’d eat too much. If we feed them treats, we’re careful not offer too many treats to ensure our pets don’t gain too much weight.
If we took the same precautions when it comes to feeding ourselves that we take when feeding our pets, we would enjoy the same benefits of a healthy and balanced diet. We would maintain a healthy weight and no, I’m not suggesting we eat pet food.
I’m suggesting that we do these things:
- Choose food that’s good for us – nutritionally balanced – with the same care we use to select our pet’s food.
- Feed ourselves portions that are appropriate to avoid overfeeding.
- Eat meals and snacks according to a consistent time table
- Store highly palatable foods out of reach (hidden or in hard-to-reach cabinets, or don’t bring it into the house at all)
- Eat treats sparingly
- Drink plenty of water
- Get daily exercise