I made my dog fat

Posted by Gail Michel on

I love Bandit so much I made him chunky and not on purpose. When we adopted Bandit he was 31.5 pounds. At his last visit to his allergist, he weighed in at 35 pounds.  She consulted that this was the wrong direction and we need to keep his weight in check.

I was figuring out what to feed him as I was transitioning him to a kibble I preferred. The foster mom said she was feeding him somewhere around 3/4 cup to a cup twice a day. I was following that lead and had added a few supplements and a topper in the mix as well. In addition to that he was getting treats after walks and such to encourage positive behavior. And on top of that the mailman Fred brings treats daily. (Fred is a rockstar to all the dogs in the neighborhood). Add all that up he was eating over 800 calories a day. 800 Calories!!!!

As part of his post appointment instructions, I was reminded an average adult dog should have 20 kcal per pound of weight.  At 31 pounds, Bandit should eat 620 kcal a day. This is agnostic of any specific feeding diet. 

I honestly didn’t think with younger dogs I had to worry about this. With Otto it was much different, I counted every calorie as well as his macronutrients due to his health issues. I had even moved to home cooking to have the most control of his diet. With Smokey and Bandit being 2 years old, I thought I just needed to ensure their food was quality.  

So here I am making sure I walk the walk of the talk I give people. As in the past, the challenge I face is I am the only one on board.  My boyfriend and father still want to feed as they want. To enable Bandit to still have snacks and “lunch with Poppie”, I adjusted the calories at mealtime. 

Calorie count per pound is one thing in nutrition all veterinarians will agree on. After that discussions and debates begin on the source of the nutrition. There are many studies out there supporting each one of the views. As a pet parent you have the dizzying decision between kibble, canned (pate vs. other forms), fresh, dehydrated,home cooked or raw (bought or home made).  This decision has kept me up a night for my own dogs especially if a special diet is thrown into the mix.  Here are the super basics for your average dog:

20 kcal a day per pound the dog should weigh 

1 gram of protein per pound (dog’s weight)

When Someone I know asks what the “best” food/diet is, I tend to answer their question with multiple questions.

1. What price point per meal are you comfortable paying?
2. How much time do you have to commit to this feeding?
3. How good are you at remembering to defrost dinner for yourself?

The reason for my questions is in my humble opinion and reading of research, there are balanced foods in all forms and price points. For the most part there isn’t a wrong answer to any of these questions. If he food meets all of AFFCO’s nutritional requirements, your dog can live a healthy life.  I ask the questions above to help me guide a pet parent to a decision based upon their lifestyle.  Not everyone has the time or talent to home cook, others live a vegan lifestyle, others travel and need a food that travels well.  Lastly whether we want to admit it or not your financial situation also greatly influences your decision  

Pet Food advisor has been a great source ratings and reviews of kibble and canned dog foods. The site will call out ingredients that are just filler ingredients or are considered controversial. Also pet parents have access to veterinary nutritionists to help guide a parent through the process if a special diet is needed.

 Last week I attended a virtual version of Pet expo and attended a few seminars about pet nutrition.  At the end of the two days I had learned a lot more about nutrition.  One of the more useful skills I learned was how to properly read the ingredients. I will share that information in a different post as it is pretty extensive. 

sources: the Ohio State University veterinary medical center

 


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