Recommended Portions for Dogs

Just the right portion of food will make for a happy, healthy dog.
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Your dog requires sufficient nutrition to meet her daily caloric needs for energy and body maintenance. The portions of food you feed your adult dog should be based on her size and normal energy output. Once you determine an ideal daily maintenance caloric amount, you can adjust her portions.

Resting Energy Requirements

Before setting correct food portions, determine your dog's daily caloric requirements, or resting energy requirements. Here is one formula used by some nutrition experts to arrive at your dog's RER.

Daily calorie needs = 30xW+70, where W=your dog's weight in kilograms. For example, if your dog weighs 15 kg: (30x15+70=520), she needs 520 calories per day.

To get your pet's weight in kilograms, divide the number in pounds by 2.2.

Calorie Count

Check out the calorie content per-ounce serving listed on your choice of dry or canned dog food, and portion the food to match your dog’s specific daily caloric requirement. If you feed your dog twice a day, divide that amount in half. If the calorie information is not clear, contact the dog food company for clarification. And, if you feed your dog home-cooked food, consider the individual ingredients and total the calories as best you can..

Factoring in Activity

Arriving at a resting energy requirement level is a good starting point for portion control, but a normal house dog's activity and energy needs can vary. For instance, an average active dog that is often out and about may need 20 to 40 percent more calories, while an inactive or older lap dog may require portions at 10 percent below her maintenance caloric level. After checking with your veterinarian, adjust the RER level and decrease or increase your dog's daily portions based on her lifestyle.

Making Adjustments

Your dog is unique, with her own often-changing activity levels, weight and health conditions. Her calorie requirements and healthy portion size may need adjustment based on these changes. Always measure your dog's food with an accurate measuring cup, consult your veterinarian on food changes, and weigh her every few weeks to be sure she is at a healthy weight for her breed and age.

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