Tag Archives: Feed

How Much To Feed Your Dog?

Aside from love, one of the best ways to ensure the health and happiness of a dog is to feed him the right amount of quality food. Daily calorie requirement isn’t the same for all dogs and it depends on size, activity, age, and many other factors.

Since there are too many variables, determining how much to feed your dog can be difficult — but it’s not impossible. The best thing to do is to always consult your vet. But all dog food labels also have feeding guidelines that can serve you as the rough estimate of meal sizes. It’s important to consider the individual needs of your dog and tweak the amount of food you are giving him.

How to feed puppies? 

Image credits: Daniel Stockman.

Puppies are usually weaned from the mother’s milk by six weeks of age. At this time a puppy needs to have 4 smaller meals during the day.

Puppies are very active and require a more calorie dense food that will help them grow and stay healthy. On average, a puppy should eat 990 calories equally divided into 4 small meals during the day. The Resting Energy Requirement (RER) is:

RER = 30 x body weight + 70

This may seem like quite a lot but remember: good quality puppy foods contain around 450 kcal/cup, so you will only feed 2 cups per day. Begging should not persuade you! Still, all dog’s are different and you might need to adjust the quantity of food you are giving to your pup. Here’s a chart with a few general examples:

HOW MUCH YOUR DOG SMALL AND MEDIUM BREED DOG NEEDS AT EIGHT TO TWELVE MONTHS
Dog’s Weight Energy Needed Daily
Maintenance Active Dogs
10 Pounds 296 Calories 404 Calories
30 Pounds 674 Calories 922 Calories
50 Pounds 989 Calories 1,353 Calories

Source.

Feeding too much can lead to weight gain, bone abnormalities, and other health problems. If your puppy seems chubby, gradually decrease the amount of food you are feeding. But on the other hand, if your puppy’s ribs are showing you might need to increase calorie intake. The best thing you can do is to monitor your puppy’s growth progress regularly, and consult a vet if you have any questions.

How to feed adult dogs? 

Typically, once a dog reaches one 1 year he is considered adult and at this stage, he needs to be transitioned to adult maintenance food. Since the growth stage, is over a dog requires fewer calories in order to stay healthy.

However, not all adult dogs are the same and have different lifestyles. On average, inactive dogs need 2/3 of Calories more than less active ones in order to stay healthy.

DAILY ENERGY REQUIREMENT OF INACTIVE DOGS
Breed Of Your Dog Weight of your Dog

Suggested Daily Calorie Intake

Small Breed 10 lb 296
Medium Sized Breed 30 lb 674
50 lb 989
Large Breed 70 lb 1,272
Giant Breed 90 lb 1,540

Source.

Generally, normally active adult dogs need 30 calories per pound of body weight. Still, you should monitor your dog’s appearance and add or reduce the amount of food he is eating. During adulthood, it is important to keep a dog on his ideal body weight in order to prevent obesity and variety of other health problems. To learn exactly how much calories your dog needs use Dog Food Adviser’s calculator.

When it comes to adult dogs, the breed is also an important factor you need to consider. Smaller breeds like Chihuahua will obviously need less food that has higher calorie count, large and giant dogs need more food that has fewer calories.

DAILY ENERGY REQUIREMENT OF ACTIVE DOGS
Breed Of Your Dog Weight of your Dog Calories it needs everyday
Small Breed 10 lb 404
Medium Sized Breed 30 lb 922
50 lb 1,353
Large Breed 70 lb 1,740
Giant Breed 90 lb 2,100

How to feed older dogs

 

As a dog ages, his dietary needs change because his energy requirements aren’t the same. The metabolism of seniors slows down and once active dog becomes unmotivated to play. However, some seniors don’t show signs of slowing down so you should adjust your dog’s food accordingly. Since they tend to have lower energy levels most seniors are prone to weight gain and obesity.

Generally, senior dogs can continue to eat adult dog food as long as you feed around 20 calories per a pound of body weight. In cases when a dog is already obese you should transition him to senior formula that has fewer calories. Older dogs that suffer from health conditions like diabetes, digestive problems, or allergies should be fed with a prescription food. If this is too much for your budget talk with your vet since various commercial foods can serve as substitutes.

How much to feed a pregnant dog? 

Pregnancy and nursing are important states in a dog’s life and come with different nutritional requirements. This means that your dog needs more calories that will support its and the health of the puppies.

For pregnant and nursing moms malnutrition can lead to serious health problems and jeopardize the lives of both puppies and mama. You should increase the quantity of food you are feeding and adjust the amount recommended on the packaging. You should also encourage free-feeding, which means that your dog will be able to find food in the bowl at all times of the day. This will help the mom to ingest all the required ingredients and transfer them to her pups.

How much to feed to spayed and neutered dog? 

Once a dog is spayed/neutered his body goes through a hormonal change and some of them become more sedentary. This means that they are more prone to weight gain, which needs to be avoided in order to keep the dog healthy. You should decrease the amount of food your dog is eating by 30% and continuously monitor his body condition score. On the other hand, if your dog continues acting as before there is no need for a change.

Still, weigh your dog at least once a month, and if he is maintaining his weight, continue feeding him the way you do. If he starts to put weight on, feed him fewer calories or consult with your vet.

Conclusion 

The amount of food a dog needs depends on several factors, including, breed, age, activity level, and type of food. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single formula or calorie calculator that can tell you for sure how much to feed your dog.

The best thing you can do it to follow the feeding guidelines and consider the individual needs of your dog. To keep your dog in ideal body condition, weigh him once a month and make dietary adjustments if needed. If you have any worries or concerns you should contact your vet and let him examine your dog.

Additional References

Linder D E. 2017. Diets for Each Life Stages. Clinicians Brief

Beitz D C et al.  Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs: A Science-Based Guide For Pet Owners. National Research Council. National Academies Press

Nutrition for Cats and Dogs. Pet Health Council

AAHA. 2014. Weight Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats

 

Guillemot chicks leap from their nest, risking life and limb, before they can even fly — and know we know why

The seemingly death-inviting behavior of young guillemots (also known as murres, Uria aalge) — who leap from their nests hundreds of meters above the sea guided by their fathers — has been shown to be an efficient survival strategy for the birds, explaining the bizzare behavior.

Image credits Dick Daniels / Wikimedia.

Before their wings grow long enough to offer sufficient lift for them, young guillemots jump from the nest into the sea, relying on their fathers to steer them away from the rocks below. Naturally, scientists have long wondered what drives these hatchlings to take the risky leap — there must be an advantage to the species, else the instinct would have been purged by selective evolution.

One of the leading theories was that the hatchlings have to leave the nest when they reach about one-quarter of their adult size because at that age they’re strong enough to defend themselves from predators but too big for the parents to keep feeding them. But chicks who didn’t want to brave the dangerous high seas would simply hop out of the nest and remain close to the colony. In a way, this leap is a leap of faith — the chicks risk a deadly jump hoping to feed (although food resources near the colony aren’t very plentiful) while still benefiting from the colony’s protection.

That theory, however, ran into a lot of problems when scientists from McGill and Memorial Universities in Canada and Aarhus and Lund Universities in Denmark and Sweden, tracked the behavior of guillemot fathers and their chicks for six weeks in colonies off the coast of Newfoundland and in Nunavut, Greenland.

World’s #1 Dad(s)

The murres’ rearing behavior is pretty uncommon among animals: where most species delegate the responsibility to the mother, in the guillemots’ case the chick is raised by both parents for about three weeks, after which the father takes over. He will spend the next 5 to 7 weeks at sea feeding and caring for the chick by himself. The mom spends this time at the colony copulating with other males in search for a suitor to replace her male if he dies at sea and doesn’t return the next year — another bit of promiscuity in the animal world.

 

“The Arctic summer is short”, says Kyle Elliott, who teaches in McGill University’s Department of Natural Resource Sciences. “The mother must produce an egg quickly. Murres have the highest flight costs of any animal, and the female works hard at the front end flying back-and-forth to the colony, leaving her exhausted by mid-summer.”

“Nonetheless, we were astonished to see how hard the father worked through late summer, spending virtually every daylight hour diving to feed the chick.”

The team noted that mortality rates among guillemot chicks at sea and those in the colony were very similar. Secondly, the chicks at sea grew almost two times faster than those still near the colony, as their fathers had to fly shorter distances to feed them.

“Once you know that there are both higher growth rates for the chicks at sea, and similar survival rates compared with life in the colony, it then makes sense to see this seemingly death-defying leap as a win-win strategy when it comes to survival,” says Elliott.

“We would never have been able to discover this without using the kind of state-of-the-art recorders that are now available and provide a glimpse into the life of murres on the high seas.”

They’re such committed dads, aren’t they?

The full paper “Variation in Growth Drives the Duration of Parental Care: A Test of Ydenberg’s Model” has been published in the journal The American Naturalist.

 

US cattle farmers have been feeding cows candy for years, spilled Skittles reveal

A trucking accident on the Dodge County highway revealed the US livestock industry’s sweetest secret — farmers have been feeding cows defective Skittles on the down low to avoid paying for corn.

Image credits Dodge County Sheriff’s Office / Facebook.

Wisconsin cattle farmers are in a sticky situation with customers after a truck spilled thousands of Skittles on County Highway S intended as animal feed. The candy, all colored in pink and carrying the brand’s distinctive white ‘S’, didn’t meet quality standards and was actually cheaper than corn.

The Sheriff’s department reported that the Skittles were boxed up in the back of a flatbed truck. Due to rain, the crates got wet and slipped onto the road and broke apart, spewing candy everywhere. Highway maintenance teams were deployed to dispose of the sweets.

In wake of the finding, public voices raised concern that this practice would negatively impact the quality of meat. Experts, however say that there’s no cause for alarm — as the practice has been going on for a few years now. The candy is not only cheaper than traditional feed (especially the defective ones) but they may actually provide a host of other benefits.

“Cows need carbohydrates, as well. They need sugar. It provides energy and calories for them,” said Liz Binversie, Brown County UW-Extension Agriculture Educator. “Your body doesn’t really distinguish candy vs syrup vs corn vs whatever,” she added.

“It actually has a higher ratio of fat (than) actually feeding them straight corn,” said Joseph Watson, owner of United Livestock Commodities, who swapped for candy during the 2012 drought when corn prices skyrocketed.

And some argue that the practice may also be more environmentally friendly than using traditional feed and throwing these candies out. John Waller, a professor of animal nutrition at the University of Tennessee, said for NBC:

“I think it’s a viable (diet).”

“It keeps fat material from going out in the landfill, and it’s a good way to get nutrients in these cattle. The alternative would be to put (the candy) in a landfill somewhere.”

I do see his argument — waste is nobody’s friend. But how can Skittles be ‘defective’? It’s candy. It’s supposed to be sweet, and that’s all it has to be. If you look at the big enough picture, producing a pound of the stuff has a higher impact than producing a pound of corn. It makes sense to feed it to cows rather than dumping them, sure, but I’d rather not have to make the choice in the first place.

Still, with corn prices at an all time high, it’s unlikely that the farmers will wean off candy any time soon.  At the end of the day the cows get to chow on some sweets and I guess that’s nice.

Another upside to the whole story is that the Dodge County Sheriff’s posts about the incident are pure gold:

They later said that the crash actually helped, since the roads had been icy for days and the candy provided “extra traction”.

Never change, Dodge County department.