Dog Diet: What to Look for in Your Dog’s Food and How to Determine Their Correct Caloric Intake

When it comes to dog food, dog owners have numerous options. Which is best for your furry friend? Is grain-free dog food better? What is the correct caloric intake for dogs? There are many factors to consider. Use the following guidelines to determine the best diet for your dog.

Grain-free vs. grain

Grain dog food usually contains some combination of wheat, corn, barley, oats, rye, rice and soy. These grains are an excellent source of nutrients and also provide carbohydrates. These ingredients help give your dog energy and improve digestion. Grains also provide linoleic acid and protein, which are both important for dogs.

Dog owners who choose grain-free options often do so for one of two reasons. The first is a concern for allergies. However, the fact is that dogs rarely have any allergic response to grains.

The second common reason is to reduce caloric intake and keep dogs at a healthy weight. The problem with this rationale is that people often assume grain-free foods are also low carb. They are not. Some grain-free foods even contain sources like potatoes and peas as carb alternatives, which can result in more weight gain.

So, is grain-free dog food better, or not? The best option is to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best diet for your dog that takes into consideration any unique factors about your dog and his lifestyle.

Correct caloric intake

To calculate the correct caloric intake for dogs, start by determining your dog’s resting energy requirement (RER). Multiply your dog’s body weight (kg) to the ¾ power by 70. For example, if your dog weighs 10kg (22 lbs), its RER is 400 calories per day. (The equation goes as follows: RER = 70(10kg)3/4)

However, this amount should be adjusted based on your dog’s lifestyle. Use your dog’s RER in the following equations to calculate correct caloric intake for dogs of all shapes, sizes and activity levels:

  • Underweight dogs: For weight gain, use 1.2 x RER for ideal weight (You may need to use up to 1.8 as the multiplier. Consult with your veterinarian for more information.)
  • Overweight dogs: For weight loss, use 1.0 x RER for ideal weight
  • Sedentary dogs: For inactive dogs, use between 1.2 and 1.4 x RER
  • Active dogs: For active or working dogs, use 2.0 to 5.0 x RER
  • Competition/sport dogs: If your dog competes, use 2.0 to 5.0 x RER. Again, consult with your vet for more information, based on your dog’s needs.

For proper caloric intake, you must also consider any other health issues your dog is experiencing, as well as any special considerations based on breed.

We know dog diets

At Canine Country Club, we’ve been providing top care for canines since 2010. We offer special consideration for health and safety, keeping your dog happy and healthy while you are away.  Our team specializes in day and overnight stays, and also provides grooming (bathing, de-shedding, nail trimming, teeth brushing) and obedience training. Give us a call or visit our website for more details. We look forward to meeting your best friend!

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