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Not all pet owners are the same. Which type are you?

05/09/2019 06:00AM | 5384 views

By Joanna Gale

No snacks before dinner. Well, ok then, just a little snack. Fruit, yeah…some fruit. Oh ok, just a little biscuit then. Ok two… but no more than two.

Sound familiar? If you’re a parent, it probably does. Or perhaps not, depending on your parenting style. That’s right, parenting comes in different styles according to some psychologists. But these styles don’t just extend to how you interact with human children, but potentially to pets in the family too – with just a little adaptation.

This idea was discussed last year at the Royal Canin Weight Management Congress. It was proposed that pet owners can fall into different categories, which determines how they interact with, care for and feed their pets. It could even be a factor in whether their pets are in healthy body condition or are overweight.

Which pet owner type are you?

  • Authoritarian – These owners are very consistent. They closely control their pets’ nutrition and they have clear rules regarding what the pet can and cannot do
  • Authoritative – These owners have some rules around feeding. For example, they never feed scraps from the table while they are eating and usually feed their pet at the same time every day
  • Indulgent – These owners apply few or no limits around feeding and love to indulge their pet
  • Uninvolved – These owners sometimes forget to feed their pets and may feed different amounts each day depending on what is available

Feeding children is an emotive topic and it’s thought that being too strict about, for example, eating everything on the plate or labelling certain food types as “good” or “bad” could cause issues around eating later in life. But when it comes to our pets, we can relax on that score. Dogs and cats don’t have emotional hang ups about whether food is “good” or “bad”, “allowed” or “forbidden”. They usually eat what is offered and – especially dogs – would eat more if it was given and everything else available too. And they won’t lose a wink of sleep over it (apart from that generated by an uncomfortable digestive tract). They won’t spend hours wrestling with the decision over whether or not to have a late night biscuit before bed. Given the chance, most dogs would eat the entire packet. So, it’s up to us as pet owners to exercise self-discipline when feeding them, both in the type of food and the amount. Harden your heart to those imploring looks and cute meows and remember the health and wellbeing benefits they’ll get from maintaining a healthy weight. And they won’t hold it against you when you say no more snacks, unlike - perhaps - some of the human members of the family!


This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.

Joanna Gale is Global Scientific Advocacy and Stakeholder Relations Manager at Mars Petcare. 

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