Tenafly Veterinary Center & Overpeck Creek Animal Hospital

Pet Nutrition Guide

As pet owners, we want to ensure that our furry friends are getting the best nutrition possible. Pets need a balanced and nutritious diet to maintain their health and well-being. In this guide, we will discuss the basics of pet nutrition and provide some tips to take your pet's nutrition to the next level.

Research Your Pet's Food!

The best places to start: 

General Guidelines

  1. All diets should be complete and balanced and meet AAFCO requirements.
  2. The words "vet approved" is meaningless unless it is by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist.
  3. Puppies should stay on puppy food till one year of age and then switch to adult dog food.
  4. Caloric restrictions, usually 20-30% less food, should begin right after the pet's spay/neuter at 6 months of age as the pet tends to gain weight very quickly after that.
  5. Use a measuring cup at all times. Do not eyeball it as even very little food above the pet's caloric requirements can add up to obesity.
  6. Large breed puppy dogs MUST be careful with overfeeding or too much calories as it may lead to bone disease and hip dysplasia in predisposed breeds (most large breeds). For large breeds: use a measuring cup and follow the feeding guidelines strictly. Do not overfeed! To avoid hip dysplasia in large breeds: feed Purina JM or JD diet between 12-24 weeks of age or until puppy's weight plateaus.
  7. Do not overfeed your pets, and start watching their weight early (right after their spay or neuter is a great time to start as obesity is present in 85% of all pets by age 3).
  8. Use only complete and balanced diets. It should state so on the food packaging.
  9. Add fresh food, if it's healthy for you, it's healthy for your pet. Make sure you are not giving a toxic vegetables or fruit. (see suggestions below)

Diet Recommendatons

Generally speaking, the big 3 (Purina, Hills, Royal Canin) have fewer problems with their diets compared to other companies due to stricter supervision, and their diets are well-researched. However, they are not perfect.

Feeding Suggestions By Dr. Barnea

Unprocessed food 20-30% (or more) of total diet:

Complete and balanced raw diets from : Nature's Variety, Stella & Chewy's, Primal, Steve’s Real Food.

Less processed food 20-30% (or more):

Fresh pet, Farmer's dog etc.

Complete and balanced homemade diet or healthy table food (not fried , fatty or spicy)

Remember, feeding just chicken and rice or just steaks is malnutrition!

Incorporating RX Diets:

I like to incorporate Rx diet with my own dogs and my patients who deal with different medical issues.

The rationale is to use food as medicine - prevent or slow down disease:

  • HPM/Virbac to be introduced at 6 months of age after spay / neuter to prevent obesity.
  • Dental issues - Purina DH diet
  • Skin issues - Purina DRM or Hills D/ D diet
  • GI issues - Purina EN or Hills I/D diets
  • Weight issues - Purina OM or Hills W/D diets
  • Mobility, joints - Purina JM / JD diets


The more the better! (with few exceptions such as grapes, raisins, etc)

Great Treats

  • Ice cubes in the summer
  • Baby carrots
  • Green beans
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberry
  • Cucumber
  • Watermelon
  • Celery
  • Chickpeas

Obesity in Pets

  • 85% of all pets in the USA are obese by age 3 or 4.
  • We have no vaccine for obesity. Your pet relies on YOU!
  • Being chubby or obese is not cute. it shortens your pet's life, invites diseases such as diabetes, arthritis at a younger age, liver disease - especially in cats, respiratory problems (cats, brachiocephalic breeds), and more.
  • Pets with good weight live on average 2 years longer and lead healthier lives, which means less money spent at the vet on medical issues.


Aim for 1 mile in AM and 1 mile in PM every day, the more the better!

* Be careful on very hot summer days. Walk in the early mornings or late evenings when the days are cooler, bring water, and check the ground to make sure it is not too hot for puppy paws.

Hours of Operation

Phone: 201-292-4949

  • Monday: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Saturday: 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Accepting day-time emergencies. Hablamos Español!

Overpeck Creek location icon

Bogota, NJ

101 E. Main Street

Bogota, NJ 07603


Tenafly Veterinary location icon

Tenafly, NJ

38 Piermont Road

Tenafly, NJ 07670


Hours of Operation

Phone: 201-567-7878

  • Monday: 7:30 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 7:30 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Thursday: 7:30 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 7:30 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed