It’s hard, isn’t it: Resisting that adorable face at dinnertime asking for “just a bite” of your food. When they wake you up at all hours of the night because their food bowl is low or empty. Or when they gobble down their portion of food and look frantically for any additional food they can get. I understand. Keeping that slim and trim waistline on your pet can be difficult.
Saving any medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, keeping and maintaining a healthy weight is a balance between input (food) and output (activity). The more active your pet is, the more calories it will take to maintain an ideal body weight. However, if your pet activity level is low, it will take even less to maintain the weight. I use 3 parameters to determine ideal body weight:
“Saving any medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, keeping and maintaining a healthy weight is a balance between input (food) and output (activity). The more active your pet is, the more calories it will take to maintain an ideal body weight.
1) When I lightly rub across the rib cage, I can feel the individual ribs without seeing them.
2) When I look directly down, there is a curve just between the rib cage and the hips.
3) When I look at the side, there is a tuck to the tummy.
Feeding for Ideal Weight
Pet foods measure energy in kcal. For the mathematically inclined, a basic calculation for determining how much energy an adult dog or cat needs per day to maintain an ideal weight is:
Maintenance (kcal/day) = 140 × (Body Weight in kg)^0.75
For example, if my dog weighs 25 kg, then that means it requires 1565 kcal/day. If I’m feeding a food that’s 500 kcal/cup, then I would feed about 3 cups per day.
For those not mathematically inclined, a simpler way is to just look at what is recommended on the feed guide on the food packaging. Most reputable companies already have an amount calculated for different weight ranges. I would just start at feeding that recommended amount and adjust it every 2 weeks or so until we reach that ideal body weight.
The above 2 methods are just a basic way to start at home. Other things to consider besides their activity level is their overall health status, age, any additional food or treats they’re getting outside of their normal meals, and the type of food you’re feeding. After troubleshooting with your veterinarian, they may recommend a prescription food or specially formulated homemade diet that is easier to monitor and adjust at home.