The road to excellent pet health requires giving pets a proper diet, among other things. Feeding our dogs regularly, with the right amount of delicious dog food and calories, not only makes them happy but healthy as well. Failing to give our pets enough food might lead to nutritional and caloric deficiencies, which, in turn, may cause other health complications. In the same way, giving them too much food may lead to obesity and other health conditions such as congestive heart failure, Cushing’s disease, various skin disorders, cancer, and musculoskeletal issues.
It might be tricky to determine the right amount of food we should give our dogs. Currently, there is no one-size-fits-all formula in figuring out how much a dog should eat. However, we must keep in mind the importance of providing our dogs the correct amount of calories they need, which are vital in boosting their energy level. The right feeding frequency and meal size hugely depend on the size and breed of your dog, as well as their metabolic rate and daily activity level. Weight and age are also essential in determining the right amount of dog food to give them.
What is my Dog’s Daily Calorie and Energy Requirement
Dogs need lots of energy to stay alert and responsive to stimuli in their environment, especially to their owner’s commands. Calories and energy act as the fuel that prevents our dogs from being lethargic all day long. Depending on their daily activity level and fitness, both the calorie and energy requirement of our pets may vary.
Without crunching in specific numbers, dogs need many calories to keep up with everyday life, and this doesn’t just involve what’s happening in their environment. Dogs need calories for their bodies to be able to perform vital functions that regulate body temperature, digestion, heart function, respiration, brain function, and overall fitness. If your dog is always lazy or has unusually low energy, then he or she might not be receiving as many calories as should be.
Some pet owners might feel worrisome about the term “calories.” Humans tend to associate this word with weight gain or fat. However, many calories in both animal and human diets aren’t the cause of extra weight gain. Calories are significant because they are the source of our body’s daily energy requirement. Same with our dogs, every calorie counts, because it is what’s needed by their bodies to function correctly. Too many calories become problematic when not expended regularly. Unnecessary calorie storage in the body happens when we feed our pet food portions that contain more than what they need without giving them enough activities that maximize their body’s use of calories as energy.
Determining our pet’s calorie intake will depend on factors like breed, weight, physical activity, gestation, and age. It is essential to know all these first before buying them or feeding them dog food. In this case, food plays a very vital role in our dog’s health. As pet owners, we must educate ourselves on ensuring that our pets get the right nutrition they need. It is always necessary to speak to a vet or dog nutritionist to know more about dogs and their diets. Online, there also many credible resources, as well as useful applications that efficiently help measure and monitor our pet’s food intake.
Related Topic: Dog Food Causing Seizures: Understanding (Dog’s Challenges)
Dry Dog Food versus Wet Dog Food
Dry dog food, also known as kibble, is a type of dog food that contains only about 10 percent moisture. These are the usual pellets we give our dog. Wet dog food, on the other hand, contains over 70 percent water. Wet food variety is also usually found in canned pet food. Both wet and dry cat food options are also available for our feline friends.
If you prefer giving your pets kibble or dry food, it is also crucial to provide them with a ready supply of clean water. In contrast, because wet or canned already has a higher moisture content, you won’t have to worry much about keeping your pet hydrated. If your dog doesn’t like drinking much water, you can feed it high quality canned food.
In terms of nutritional value, both wet and dry foods contain just about the same nutrients. They may differ in weight and serving size, but both contain all the vitamins and nutrients that your dogs need daily. One important thing to look out for, though, is the quality of the ingredients used. No matter how many servings you give your dog, low-quality dog foods will not be able to deliver the right amount of calories and nutrients needed by your dog.
How Important are Calories for Dogs
Calories per serving size of wet and dry dog foods, on the other hand, are a different story. A single cup of kibble may contain higher calories than their canned counterparts, mainly because of the former’s low moisture content. Dry dog food contains about 97 calories per every 28 grams, while wet dog food has only 25 calories per 28 grams. It is worth noting that foods with high moisture contain lower calories. For comparison, the New York Animal Medical Center says regular dry cat food contains about 300 calories in a single cup, while wet pet food for cats contains 250 calories in a 170-gram can.
The variations between the calorie content of dry and wet food may also result in differences in serving size. You can easily give your dogs their required number of food calories using small quantities of kibble. In contrast, your dogs must at least consume twice as many servings of wet pet food to get the same amount of food calories per serving. However, you may also mix both wet and dry pet food to give your dog variety.
Should you prefer giving your dogs wet pet food, the number of cans you should provide them in a day depends on the number of calories they need to reach their daily calorie requirements. If you’d like to know how much calories you dogs need regularly, you may refer to the feeding guide below.
Feeding Guide for Dogs
Every dog is different, so are their nutritional requirements. A small dog may need a little number of calories in a day, compared to larger breeds who may need many calories as they expend more energy. Both underfeeding and overfeeding have effects that may weaken your dog’s performance, energy level, and overall health. For you to avoid any feeding mistakes, you can use a dog feeding guide calculator to help determine the right amount of food that will allow your dogs to receive their energy requirements for the day. You can also come up with a feeding plan, based on baseline information with regards to dog size and weight. Dog food calculators can prove useful in computing the most appropriate portion sizes for regular dogs, puppies, and specific breeds.
One essential tool that you will need to measure your dog food is a regular eight-ounce measuring cup. Pet MD recommends daily feeding portions that require a 1/3 cup allowance for every 10 pounds in every 100 pounds of body weight. They also recommend food portions based on the ideal weight within a specific breed. Listed below is a guide that you can use in making a custom dog feeding calculator, which you can configure depending our your dog’s weight or breed. You may also look for other special applications such as a puppy food calculator for younger pets.
Daily Recommended Feeding Guide per Breed
You may use this feeding guide to determine the amount of dog food necessary to fulfill the energy needs of your pet. The cups measured here pertain to the ideal amount of dry food per serving, depending on your pet’s size and weight. You may also create a tailor-made dog food calculator by breed if you own different dog breeds.
Toy breeds usually weigh between three to six pounds. This group includes dogs such as the Chihuahua, Maltese, Japanese Chin, Yorkshire Terrier, Shih Tzu, Pomeranian, Havenese, and Bichon Frise, to name a few. Because of their small size, they may have the least amount of energy needs among the other breed groups.
- 3 pounds = 1/3 cup or 139 calories
- 6 pounds 1/2 cup or 233 calories
Small breeds include Alaskan Klee Kai, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Rat Terrier, Japanese Chin, Yorkipoo, and Pumi, among others.
- 10 pounds = 2/4 cup or 342 calories
- 15 pounds 1 cup or 464 calories
- 20 pounds 1 1/2 cup or 576 calories
Medium breeds include the Basset Hound, Siberian Husky, Bulldog, Collie, Dalmatian, and Australian Shepherd, to name a few.
- 30 pounds = 1 3/4 cups or 781 calories
- 40 pounds = 2 1/4 cups or 969 calories
- 50 pounds = 2 2/3 cups or 1145 calories
Large breeds include the Great Dane, Neapolitan Mastiff, English Mastiff, Saint Bernard, and Pitbull Terrier as examples. Such massive dog breeds often require more food. Therefore, to get the right portion sizes, you may use a dog feeding calculator by weight, especially if their weight goes over 100 pounds.
- 60 pounds = 3 cups or 1313 calories
- 70 pounds = 3 1/2 cups or 1474 calories
- 80 pounds = 3 3/4 cups or 1629 calories
- 90 pounds = 4 1/4 cups or 1779 calories
- 100 pounds = 4 1/2 cups of 1926 calories
These measurements pertain to the dog’s daily food allowance. The portions specified under the different categories are given within 24 hours, and not just in one whole meal. Ideally, adult dogs must eat a least two meals in a day, while puppies require more frequent feedings, with a minimum of three meals per day. Using the guide, you must divide the number of cups specified by the number of meals your dog must consume in a day.
Do take note that the numbers above should not be the sole basis of your dog’s food allowance. You may further adjust dog food measurements depending on your dog’s lifestyle and activeness in a day. Working with your vet or a trusted pet nutritionist may also determine the proper diet for your dog. You may also consult them on the advantages and disadvantages of both wet and dry food.
Body Condition Monitoring System
Create a scale or monitoring system that can help you streamline your dog’s food intake even further. Every two to four weeks, check for changes in your dog’s body and keep a journal or record of your findings. Using such a scoring system will aid in determining if your dog is gaining or losing weight and body fat. Data gathered here will allow you to make the necessary adjustments to your dog’s portion sizes.
In crafting your scoring system, it is a must to remember the physical signs of a dog that’s not underweight or overweight. A dog’s weight is just right when it exhibits the following:
- An hourglass-shaped figure when you view your dog’s body from above. You must see an abdomen that’s smaller or narrower than your dog’s hips and chest.
- A tucked up illusion when viewed from the side. This angle will make your dog’s chest appear closer to the ground than his tummy when he stands.
- Ribs that are not visible but palpable using light pressure.
This scoring system will also help you determine if the dog food you’re currently giving your pet is doing its intended purpose. You will quickly know if your current dog food of choice is beefing up or slimming down your pet.
Calorie counting for our dogs is essential. This simple act will allow us to give them the right diet that will ensure their constant activeness, happiness, and attentiveness. Also, giving them the right food portions will prevent the onset of obesity and other health conditions often associated with too many calories. Additionally, portioning of our pet’s food will prevent food spoilage and wastage, and at the same time, ensure that they are well-fed all the time.