Mayfair Animal Hospital offers nutritional counseling to all of our clients. We can help you learn how to understand the many confusing issues surrounding pet foods.
How Much Should I Feed My Pet?
While most pet food products provide feeding guidelines based on the pet's weight, these are just guidelines. A more accurate method involves calculating the daily energy requirements (DER) of the pet based on either the current body weight or the weight goal (gain or loss). Once the DER is established, daily kilocalories (kcals) may then be determined. Each pet food product package (excluding snacks and treats) is requried to provide the kcals per 8-ounce cup or can. The daily feeding amount to then calculated for the individual pet by dividing the DER by the kcals of the product.
Example: A 40-lb dog who is looking to maintain weight at 40 lbs. has a Daily Energy Requirement (DER) of 985 kcals per day. If the dog is fed an adult maintenance dog food that contains 364 kcals per 8 oz measured cup the daily allotment of that food would be 2.7 cups per day divided between meals. Treats and snacks would need to calculated and deducted from the 985 kcals per day and the dog food adjusted down accordingly.
Example: A 15-lb cat who is looking to downsize to 12 lbs would have a Daily Energy Requirement (DER) of 200 kcals per day during the weight loss phase. If the cat is fed a "light" adult cat food consisting of 316 kcals per 8 oz measured cup the daily allotment of that food would be 2/3 cups per day divided between meals. Any treats or snacks should be deducted from the 200 kcals. If the cat is fed a "light" canned adult food consisting of 75 kcals per 3 oz can, the daily allotment for that product would be 2 and 2/3 cans per day divided between meals. Any treats, snacks or dry food would be deducted from the 200 kcals and the quantity of canned food would be adjusted accordingly.