One of the most common concerns of dog owners is the food they feed their pets. Owners entirely have the power to choose what kind of food and how much to give their dogs.
This article aims to inform the readers of different ways to know how much your dogs should eat so they can remain as healthy as possible.
The responsibility that comes with raising a pet is very heavy. Hopefully, at the end of this article, the readers can be fully informed and confident in giving food for their loved dogs.
Table of Contents
Calorie: The basis of all diets
When we are talking about a dog’s healthy diet, the most common measurement used that serves as a guideline is called calories.
Calorie (cal) is basically a unit of measure for energy. In food language, the term kilocalorie (kcal) is often used to measure the ‘energy’ present in the food.
Since kilocalories are good for your dog, typically, the more kilocalories you can give your pet, the better it is – as long as it’s not excessive. Obviously, there are limitations.
Excess energy in the dog’s body is stored as fats. If there is too much stored fat relative to your dog’s energy consumption, the dog will simply continue storing the fat until it becomes unhealthy. Excessive amounts of stored fats can hinder the dog’s bodily functions.
This is the reason why it is necessary to control your dog’s calorie intake as much as possible. Having too little lowers the dog’s energy supply which weakens them. Having too much will interfere with the dog’s body unhealthily.
Finding the balance is the key. As an owner, it is your responsibility to inform yourself further to improve your dog’s diet.
Read more: How Much Should My Dog Weigh
Ways to determine the right calorie amount
How many calories should my dog eat? To answer that question, there are many ways you can go about it. Here we list a few.
1. Using a calorie calculator
There exist many standardized calorie calculator websites and applications out on the internet. As long as you know the details of your dog’s condition such as weight, age, and breed, you can easily get some guidelines on the necessary calorie intake without a problem.
Unfortunately, these calorie calculators are not without disadvantages. For starters, they are quite inflexible. The quality of information you can get is only relative to the number of things that the calculator takes into account in forming your dog’s diet.
Calculators are generalized. It is impossible to take into consideration everything. And it cannot formulate an ideal diet based specifically on your pet.
2. Go to a veterinarian
The default and safest option you can do is to simply find a professional and ask for advice.
The only downside to doing this is the costs. Furthermore, if your companion is still a puppy and is still constantly growing, it is hard for even a vet to formulate a diet and foresee everything that will happen with just one visit. This means that multiple visits may be required.
If you go to a vet, you may need to commit to doing it multiple times. However, at the end of the day, if you have the capacity to do so, it is all worth it for the sake of your beloved pets.
3. Manual deduction
Sometimes, you don’t really need to be too particular about things. If your dog is growing well without any signs of either obesity or malnourishment, continuing to give them the same amount of food is all well and good.
Read more: How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight
Even changing their diet a bit is okay as long as you’re careful with the changes and they’re not too drastic. For instance, if you think that your dog can use a little more weight, you can slowly add some more to their food portion.
Read more: How to Get a Dog to Gain Weight
Even though it is easy to simply get some assistance from outside sources in forming a diet for your dog, your judgment, as an owner, should still not be underestimated. You are the one alongside your dog the most, and for the most part, you know what is best for them.
Factors to consider in determining the right calorie amount (H2)
If you want to do further analysis as to the right calorie amount your dog needs, there are some factors that you may want to consider in formulating it.
4. Your dog’s current condition
For starters, your dog’s current state should be your basis. Is your dog thin? Fat? Do you think your dog is not getting enough nutrition? Or is it excessive instead?
You can change your dog’s diet accordingly. But you should be very careful in doing so. It can’t be stressed enough. Do not blindly and carelessly change your dog’s diet. Your dog’s health will only suffer even further.
5. Breed and body types
Okay, so you may want to assess your dog’s current condition. However, you may find it hard to determine whether your dog has a good body figure. The first step into identifying whether or not they’re healthy is to check the breed and the body type of your dog.
There is a standardized average weight chart based on the dog’s breed. If you know your dog’s breed, you can look it up and see if your dog is doing well being healthy.
6. Food Quality
In some cases, the number of calories that your dog is taking may be ideal for their body only for them to still be starved of nutrition. In which case, the problem may have come from the food’s potentially low quality.
In fact, cases may appear wherein the dog food's quality may be decent but some ingredients may not be suitable for your dog.
Either way, it may be necessary to search for and try a different brand of dog food. Changing the amount of food will be negligible. You should consider maintaining the dog’s food portion to its current size when changing to a different brand.
Dogs’ needs vary from one another. There may be some rough guides on how many calories your dog should have, but at the end of the day, you are still its owner and you know best. As long as you are well-informed, you can give your dogs the best mealtimes possible.