Feeding our dogs and cats is anything but an exact science. One of the most frequent questions we get asked is “how much do I feed my pet?” With all the different considerations of things like weight, activity level, age, and environment, that can be a difficult question to answer. Add to that difficulty the fact that many pet parents feed a combination of wet and dry food, and it becomes even more confusing.
Where do you start?
A good place to start figuring out this great mystery is to check your pet’s body condition. This can be done by using a body score chart so you can visibly check and see if they are just right, a little on the pudgy side or a bit skinny. Below are links to cat and dog charts. Determine if your pet needs to gain, lose, or maintain their weight. Next, weigh your pet and record the number so that you can track if their weight changes.
If you feed your pet primarily dry food, check the package for the daily feeding guidelines for his or her weight, age, and activity level. If you wish to feed your loyal companion a combination of dry and wet food, then you will need to take all of those calories into consideration. Remember that wet food is not as calorically dense as kibble simply because of the moisture levels.
The feeding guidelines on the package are listed for your pet’s weight. The feeding guidelines are reported in daily amounts. Once you have found the daily recommended amounts for your pet for each type of food, then it is simple math to determine how much of each to feed.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you have a 30 lb reasonably active adult dog. You want to feed him a combination of GO! SOLUTIONS™ CARNIVORE Chicken, Turkey + Duck Adult dry food and GO! SOLUTIONS™ CARNIVORE Chicken, Turkey + Duck Stew.
If you want to feed 50% kibble, 50% wet, use the feeding guidelines for each, and feed half as much of each daily. In this example, you would feed ¾ cup of dry and 1 ½ to 2 cartons of wet per day.
If you want to feed 75% kibble, 25% wet, use the feeding guidelines for each and calculate how much 75% would be for feeding dry, and 25% of the feeding guidelines for the wet food. In this example, it would result in just over 1 cup of dry and ¾ to 1 of a carton of wet per day.
Adjust these amounts over time to achieve an ideal body weight. In addition, we recommend weighing your pet’s food for better accuracy.
Treats and toppers can add pounds on your pet if you are not careful, so these should never constitute more than 10% of your pet’s daily caloric intake.
Paying attention to the feeding guidelines will give you a good idea of where to start. Once you see how those amounts affect the body condition of your pet, you can adjust up or down from there. In the end, ensuring your pet has the proper amount of nutritional intake each day will be an ongoing balancing act. Just like people, their weight and body condition will fluctuate with activity level, climate, and age so you need to be vigilant and keep a close eye on them to maintain a healthy weight.
By: Val Culpin
Val has been with Petcurean for over 12 years and in the dog game since 1978, when she got her first Golden Retriever. She has been active as a breeder, conformation exhibitor, obedience exhibitor, agility and flyball enthusiast. Val has shared her life with a variety of dogs including Golden Retrievers, a Jack Russell Terrier and Border Collies.