Saturday, December 11, 2010

How Much Should I Feed my Pet? Why You Feed Dogs and Cats Less of a Premium Food

How much to feed your pet can be incredibly confusing! Pets can easily trend toward obesity, even when their well-meaning owners are feeding the amounts directed on pet food labels. These suggested feeding guidelines can vary greatly between different brands of pet foods.


Susan Thixon, of TruthAboutPetFood.com, recently compared multiple pet foods and their recommended feeding levels in her article, “Variety in Feeding Amounts of Pet Food.” Susan’s research found that

recommended levels for the same-sized pet varied greatly among different brands of pet food. http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com/articles/variety-in-feeding-amounts-of-pet-food.html. Susan concludes that “The difference could be quality of ingredients…higher quality does mean less food is required to meet nutritional requirements.”

Nutrient Dense

We, at Nature’s Logic, concur with Susan. We like to describe our pet food formulas as “nutrient dense.” According to Wikipedia.org, nutrient density refers to the ratio of nutrient content to the total energy content. More simply, nutrient dense foods pack more protein, vitamins and minerals into fewer calories. Think of this in terms of human food and it becomes a little clearer. You could eat a meal of lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, or you could consume cookies, chips and a sugary soft drink. Which meal do you think has the most nutrients for the same number of calories?

It’s the same for pet foods: Some have more nutrients than others. You’ll feed less to satisfy your pet’s nutrient requirements if you select a high protein, low carbohydrate food, with high-quality animal proteins and other highly-digestible nutrients, like millet. Millet is more digestible carbohydrate for pets than potato or sweet potato. Also, avoid foods containing common allergens for pets: Corn, wheat, and soy. Pet nutrition expert, Tracie Hotchner, writes on DogTipper.com, “You feed less kibble when it’s made of top shelf ingredients.” She goes on to explain that your pet’s body can utilize more of a natural, chemical-free food high in protein. http://www.dogtipper.com/tip/2010/12/reducing-your-dogs-waste-with-high-quality-food.html.

How Many Calories Does Your Pet Need?

The bottom line in determining how much to feed is that you need to know how many calories a day your pet needs and how many it is eating. This is not easy, either, because there doesn’t appear to be any independent research or unbiased authority to tell us how many calories a dog or cat needs every day. Further, calorie content in not yet ubiquitous on pet food labels, however some companies, like Nature’s Logic, do list this information on their websites.

Comparing various sources did reveal consistency in daily calories required by pets, but how these numbers were derived is a little harder to track down:

Dogs¹
• average adult dog requires about 30 calories per pound of body weight per day, or 1500 calories each day for a 50-pound dog
• larger breeds need only 20 calories per pound of weight, per day
• smaller breeds need about 40 calories per pound of body weight, per day
• a growing puppy needs twice the protein and 50% more calories per pound of body weight, per day

Cats²
• average adult cat requires 30 calories per pound of body weight, per day, or about 300 calories each day for a 10-pound cat

How Much to Feed

Start by using the manufacturer’s recommended feeding chart, just as a guideline, keeping in mind that amounts will vary depending upon your pets age and activity level. Remember, you’ll see lower quantities recommended for premium, nutrient-dense foods. Also be aware of how many calories your pet is consuming, in the form of food, treats and table scraps. Make sure those calories are coming from high-quality, highly-digestible foods that give them the nutrients they need to thrive. Then observe and slowly adjust up or down, until your pet is at his ideal weight and feeling great. For more information on Nature’s Logic all natural premium pet foods, please visit http://www.natureslogic.com/.

1. http://www.dogfacts.org/dog-diet-dog-facts.htm/
2. http://www.petfooddirect.com/blog/2010/12/how-much-should-you-feed-your-cat//

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