Do you know how many calories you should be be feeding your dog each day? Most owners overfeed their dogs, resulting in fat dogs and fat pet food bills.
Understand that each food is different with regards to its caloric content and caloric density. As a result, the brand of food you are feeding plays a big role in the amount you'll ultimately be offering your dog. Don't always go by what the label recommends to feed. Dog food manufacturers tend to aim high with their recommendations; after all, the more food your dog eats, the more money they make. Instead, focus on the calories per serving. Armed with that information:
Step 1: Determine your dog's RER (Resting Energy Requirement). Here's the calculation: RER in kcal/day = (30 x body weight in kilograms) + 70 So for example, the RER of a 20 pound (9 kg) dog would be (30x9) + 70 or 340 RER
Step 2: Using the RER, determine your dog's daily caloric needs based on the following calculations:
For instance, if that 20 lb dog in the previous example is a spayed female with a normal activity level, her daily caloric requirement will be approx. 1.6 X 340 RER or 544 calories per day. If you want her to lose weight, you'll want to feed 1 x 340 RER or 340 calories per day (minimum).
Obviously, these are general guidelines, as caloric requirements will fluctuate some based on a number of other factors, including breed, size, coat length, health status, and environmental temperature. For example, assuming a base environmental temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, caloric requirements rise 7.5% for every 10 degree drop in temperature and fall 7.5% for every 10 degree rise in temperature.
Confused yet? Don't be. You don't need to get hung up on details like these. Instead, by knowing what your dog's ideal weight should be (this info is readily available over the Internet, including at www.akc.org), you can use the RER based guidelines above and simply tweak the daily caloric intake offered up or down in order to obtain and maintain that ideal weight. Obviously, if your dog is mixed-breed, determining this ideal weight could be tricky, so have your vet help you with the guesswork.