Monday, February 16, 2009
How much dry food should you feed your dog each day? Many responsible pet owners know that it is possible to overfeed a dog, which can lead to weight and health problems. But did you know that even the most loving pet owner can accidentally be underfeeding their dog, causing health problems and weight concerns? As a dog owner and someone who has been around dogs quite a bit, I have heard several rules of thumb for how to decide how much food a dog should be given each day. These “urban myths” for planning your dog’s nutrition are the cause of both overfeeding and underfeeding. Some of these include general statements such as:
• No more than 1 cup of food per dog per day.
• Whenever the dog goes to the bowl there should be food in it.
• Allow 15 minutes in the morning and the evening for the dog to eat, no more.
All of these sound about as foolish to me as an adult saying they plan to only eat 1 cup of one type of food all day, every day. Simply ridiculous!
Every bag of dry dog food in the United States usually has a daily feeding chart indicating how much your dog should eat based upon the type of food within the package and the weight of the dog. However, this is only a suggested serving size guide, and each dog may differ slightly in their nutritional needs.
For example, a Border Collie that lives on a farm and works hard every day running and herding will need more energy providing, healthy food each day than a dog that lounges around the house and is taken for a quick walk twice a day. People and dogs have a lot more in common than you may think. Nutritional needs are based upon many factors in both humans and in dogs. Each dog has both breed traits and their own individual metabolic system that should be figured into planning a doggie diet or figuring a dog’s nutritional needs.
There is a scientific and mathematical formula you can use to determine how much dry food your dog needs to eat each day. Don’t panic – I am not a mathematical whiz and will explain the formula to the best of my ability, and attempt to reduce your confusion at the same time. It is really a very basic formula; I just hope my explanation can do justice to the simplicity.
The first thing you will need to know is the RER or Resting Energy Requirement (basically the daily caloric intake) for your dog to maintain his current weight. To figure out how many Calories (a.k.a. Kcals) your dog should consume daily to maintain his weight you use a simple mathematical equation to determine the RER.
(30 x body weight of the dog in kilograms) + 70 = RER (Kilograms is pounds divided by 2.2).
For Example: A 61 pound dog would break down to 27.73 kg. So: 27.73 x 30= 831.9 + 70= 901.9 RER/Calories (Kcals) per day.
This gives you the total number of Calories (Kcals) needed daily to help your dog maintain a healthy weight. In order to keep your dog on a healthy nutritional diet to maintain weight, you should split the calories into at least a morning and evening feeding. Unless your dog is overweight and on a strict diet, it’s fine to include some healthy and fun treats like CANIDAE Snap-Bits™. Just be sure to factor those calories into the requirement of how much your dog should eat each day.
For example, if you want your dog to maintain the weight shown in the example above, simply check the nutritional guidelines on the food you are using to figure how much food it will take each day to meet your dog’s daily RER, then divide it by 2 for two even meals twice a day. CANIDAE offers several different premium quality formulas, including All Life Stages, Grain Free ALS, Lamb & Rice and Chicken & Rice, all with detailed Calorie (Kcal) and nutritional information on the package.
Figuring out how much to feed your dog may seem complicated and like a lot of work when you know that as long as you put food out each day he will eat it. But part of being a responsible pet owner involves making healthy choices for your dog. Maintaining his nutritional needs in order to control his weight, provide him energy and strength as well as keeping him healthy is not a lot to ask. If you are concerned that your dog is over or underweight, consult a veterinarian before increasing or decreasing your dog’s daily food consumption.
Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie