A Handy Guide to Calorie Calculation for Dogs Based on Science
The Veterinary Medical Center at Ohio State University offers medical care to over 18,500 pets every single year. With plenty of experience in the field, researchers at the VM have developed various nutritional information that will help pet owners take better care of their pets.
One particular result of the research by the university’s vet center is the dog food calculator. This specific calculator that was developed by Hachi is designed to help dog owners determine the amount of dry dog food their furry pets should eat. All they need to do is input their pet’s age, body condition, and activity level. The calculator will then analyze all those information against various dog food brands on the market. The amount of information makes it a good dog food calculator by breed too.
Through the calculator, dog owners will be able to see their dogs’ resting energy requirements. Aside from that, they can also gain insight as to how many cups of food are recommended daily based on certain dog brands.
As of now, the calculator has a database that contains more than 3,000 common dog food products. It can also show live pricing for each brand on a daily, monthly, and even yearly basis.
How to Use the Calculator
Now you have an idea as to how the tool works. Let’s now talk about how you can use that tool to calculate calories in dog food calculator on a daily basis.
Let’s say you own a male dog named Max, a healthy German Shepherd
The calculator will automatically show the kilogram counterpart of your dog’s weight. This is to make it easier for dog owners from other countries that use the metric system.
In the next section, you will be asked to input your dog’s details. You simply have to input your dog’s name and answer a series of Yes or No questions. These questions are designed to help the calculator make a better analysis for your dog.
These questions including the following:
- Whether your dog has been neutered or not
- If he is suffering from obesity or prolonged periods of inactivity
- Is he actively trying to lose or gain weight
- If he’s an active working dog or not
Once you’re done with this part, the next step is to input the specific dog brand you’ve been feeding your dog. As mentioned earlier, the calculator’s database holds more than 3,000 well-known dog food products from various brands. This way, it will become a lot easier for you to find your preferred brand.
Simply input the specific brand you use, choose which particular dog food product you have, then choose its bag size. In this case, we’re going to use the 3.5lbs bag of Zero Grain natural beef dry dog food from Rachael Ray Nutrish.
The calculator will then proceed to calculate how much of that dog food you should be giving your pet on a daily basis. Aside from that, it will also provide you with the following useful information.
- Where to buy the product for an affordable price (the app will recommend Chewy.com)
- The number of cups recommended for your dog per day (in this case, the app recommends 4.4 cups of the product for Max)
- The average calorie content in a cup of dry dog food (set at 389 calories)
- Your dog’s daily calorie intake (1,498 for Max)
- The average cost of the product on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis (results have shown $2.65 daily, $79.80 monthly, and $968.50 yearly)
The most important factor to determine how much calories your dog needs to take on a daily basis is his weight. Of course, other factors like his age, activity level, and whether he’s been neutered or not will also affect his daily recommended calorie consumption.
You will see a breakdown of all factors that can determine your dog’s daily calorie intake as well as the formula used to arrive at that computation. Aside from that, you’re also given information on how much protein your dog should consume, stating that adult dogs will need at least 1 gram of protein per pound of weight. Meanwhile, for younger and older pups, the protein requirement can be higher based on their health condition. As your pup grows the figures also change thus it also works a practical dog food transition calculator.
Most active working dogs will also need a higher daily calorie consumption compared to a non-working dog.
Hence helping the owner in the form of dog food portion calculator as long as the puppy lives.
Dogs who belong to the active working category are service dogs, police dogs, guide dogs, herding dogs, and those who help humans in their day-to-day lives.
The calculator also has an extensive chart detailing the average weights of dogs based on their breed. You can check more of it in this link.
Why It’s Important to Monitor Your Dog’s Daily Calorie Intake
There are several risks, both short-term and long-term, for giving your dog more food than his daily recommended calorie intake suggests. The 2017 State of Pet Health report from the Banfield Pet Hospital revealed that overfeeding a dog can mean having to deal with increasing medical bills.
The report stated that dog owners who have an overweight dog ends up spending 17% more in medical bills compared to dog owners whose dogs have a healthy weight. Aside from that, said dog owners also spend around 25% more on medications.
However, that’s not the only alarming thing. What’s even worse is the fact that your dog will be suffering from various health conditions if he gets obese due to overfeeding. These conditions include breathing problems and arthritis, among others, which has become more prevalent as more and more dogs become obese.
The reduction in mobility due to being overweight also makes it even harder for dogs to heal from injuries and even simple wounds. Lastly, since obese dogs are more prone to living sedentary lives, this will make it even harder for them to exercise and will only increase their risk of heart disease.
Therefore, if you really love your dog, then you should make sure to monitor his daily calorie intake to prevent him from getting ill.
How to Know if You’re Overfeeding Your Dog
In some cases, you might not know that you’re already overfeeding our dog until it’s already too late. That’s when your dog is already showing visible signs of obesity. To help you with that, here are signs that will help you spot the overfeeding problem before it gets worse:
1. Your dog looks overweight
Though quite obvious, the simplest way you can tell if your dog has been overfed or not is by checking his waist. While body weight is one of the common indicators, that alone won’t tell you a lot whether your dog is overweight or not. It also helps to look at his overall body shape.
Ideally, his waist should be visible from above (think of an hourglass figure). Moreover, you should easily feel his ribs and spine. On the other hand, if you have to press the part where your dog’s ribs are located just to feel them, then it’s likely that he’s overweight due to the layer of fat covering his body.
2. Your dog experiences constant itching
Another indicator that your dog is overfed is if he’s scratching his body almost constantly. It can also be due to allergic reaction and poor diet, but if you’ve been giving your dog proper nutrition but still notice this sign, then it’s most likely because he’s overfed and is becoming overweight.
On the other hand, if you’re feeding your dog the right amount but the itching still persists, then it might be due to sensitivity to a specific type of diet. In this case, you want to consult your vet for advice.
3. Your dog has bowel issues
It’s easy to think that you’re not overfeeding your dog just because he doesn’t look anywhere near overweight at all. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. There are certain situations wherein overfeeding your dog can lead to certain health problems other than just being overweight. These include bowel issues as well as abdominal discomfort.
Overfeeding can make your dog’s digestive system less efficient, thus resulting in upset digestion. One common indicator that you’ve overfeeding your dog is when his bowel movement during the morning is normal but gets soft at night.
4. Your dog experiences flatulence
Overfeeding can also lead to issues with flatulence. Though some breeds have a degree of resistance to this issue, dogs who suffer from flatulence are most likely feed with too much food, even if those foods are designed to give them proper nutrition.
As you can see, overfeeding your dog by giving him food that exceeds his daily recommended calorie intake can lead to a slew of health conditions. Fortunately, you can prevent that issue from happening in the first place by making sure that you limit your dog’s food intake based on the recommendation from the dog food calculator.