23 Oct How many calories does my dog need?
Making sure your dog gets the right amount of food is important. Too much and they could be at risk of obesity, which itself can lead to joint problems, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and much more. Too little and they could become underweight, which can lead to vitamin deficiencies and malnourishment, a compromised immune system, respiratory and digestive diseases.
Understanding how many calories your dog actually needs can be a minefield. There is loads of variation depending on your dog’s age, weight, breed, activity levels, sex, whether they are neutered and much more.
That’s where PitPat comes in.
PitPat can help you calculate just how many calories your dog has burned over the course of the day, so you can measure just how much food they need (including whether they’ve earned that extra treat!)
It’s really simple to do. If you haven’t already, start off by downloading the PitPat app and entering your dog’s details.
We use the information you tell us about your dog to calculate their resting energy requirements – the calories that they normally burn throughout the course of the day when they are resting.
Next, you’ll need to pop a PitPat on their collar. It’s small, light, and robust, so it can stay on their collar all day without bothering them at all. It’ll track all their activity, including running, walking, playing, and resting.
When you want to check their data, including how many calories they’ve burnt so far, simply go to the app and choose ‘Fetch Data’.
Within seconds you’ll see your dog’s activity data right up to the minute you fetched it. We’ll also tell you just how many calories they’ve burnt so far. This is based on both their resting energy requirements and a calculation of calories burnt during exercise, based on the length and intensity of that exercise.
Adjusting your dog’s diet
Before making any adjustments to your dog’s diet, you should first build up a clear picture of their average daily calorie intake – we recommend at least a week’s worth of data. You should always consult your vet before changing your dog’s diet, especially if they have any illnesses, are a puppy or a senior dog, or are currently over or underweight.
Once you know how many calories your dog burns each day on average, you can dish up their food accordingly. You can find out the calorific value of your dog’s food by checking the container or by asking the manufacturer. Different dog foods will deliver different amounts of calories per 100g, so make sure you do this separately for each food type your dog gets.
Scrumbles, who make natural dog food, have a really handy feeding calculator you can use to check just how much food your dog needs, by answering a few easy questions about your dog.
If your dog is overweight, you may wish to slightly decrease the amount of food they get to create a calorie deficit. Equally, if they are underweight, you may wish to increase their portions until they are back at a healthy weight. If you do decide to do this, it’s crucial you discuss your plans with your vet – after all, your dog still needs to be able to get all the calories and nutrients that they need each day.
Once your dog has started on their new diet, you can keep track of their weight in the PitPat app to ensure they aren’t putting on or losing too muchweight.
Simply enter their current weight or use the weight wizard to calculate their weight easily. For adult dogs, you can set their ideal weight, and you can see how they are doing against their target over time.
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