In many countries today it’s estimated that up to 50 percent of pet dogs are overweight or obese. Owners are often mistakenly overfeeding their dogs and dogs don’t get enough regular exercise to use the calories. How much to feed a dog has become an important question.
Obesity can shorten your dog’s life and cause some serious health problems such as diabetes, respiratory issues, and other problems. It’s important to know the proper amount to feed your dog so you can keep him happy and healthy.
Start by chatting with your veterinarian. Ask for an honest assessment of your dog’s weight and find out if your dog is at a healthy weight or if s/he needs to lose some weight. You can also check a body condition chart to see if your dog is overweight such as this one: http://vet.osu.edu/vmc/body-condition-scoring-chart
If your dog is at or near a good weight, you can choose a regular dog food. You can use the suggested feeding guidelines on the label as a starting point but keep in mind that these guidelines are often overly generous. You will need to watch your dog’s weight and condition and then adjust the amount you feed accordingly. If your dog is gaining weight, then reduce the amount you are feeding.
If your dog is a little overweight
You will need to reduce his portions. If your dog objects (which usually means he bangs his bowl or gives you “the look” to tell you he’s starving), you can add some canned green beans to his food. Green beans can help a dog feel full without adding many calories. They are a good way to help a dog lose a little weight.
You can also estimate how much you need to feed your dog by checking the calories on the pet food label and figuring how many calories your dog requires per day. There is a calculation to find this amount:
- Dog’s weight in kilogram
- Resting Energy Requirement (RER) = 70 (body weight in kg)0.75
- Maintenance Energy Requirement (MER) = appropriate multiplier x RER
Commonly Used Multipliers:
|typical neutered pet||1.6|
|typical intact pet||1.8|
|growth (less than 4 months old)||3|
|growth (more than 4 months old)||2|
A neutered pet weighing 20.5 kg would look like this:
- 5 kg
- 70 x 20.5 0.75 = 672 kcal/day
- 6 x 672 = 1075 kcal/day
Keep in mind that this is only an estimate. Your dog’s actual caloric needs could be somewhere in a range that is a couple of hundred calories more or less than this figure. That’s why it’s important for you to monitor your dog’s weight and condition so you can adjust his portions.
Pet food companies typically use this calculation when they create the guidelines on their labels so you can follow those guidelines if you prefer to skip the math.