You might not be feeding it any more kibble than you did when it was younger.
You might be feeding a Light brand of food (those usually don’t work, by the way). Yet, despite your best efforts, Fluffy or Fido are still tubby.
Well, perhaps it’s the treats that you’re feeding! Sometimes those treats add up to more calories than what your pet needs on a daily basis.
How many calories should your pet eat per day?
An animal’s Resting Energy Requirement is: RER in kcal/day = 30(body weight in kilograms) + 70.
Most sedentary pets need to eat 1.6 times their RER on an average day.
So, my dog Ernie, who weighs about 20 lbs or 9 kg, only needs 342 calories. That’s not a lot, is it?
Small milkbones have 20 calories each.
If I give Ernie 5 of them per day, that adds up to 100 calories, or a third of his daily requirements!
Beggin Strips contain about 30 calories each, Sausages are 25 calories per treat! And large Dentabones weigh in with 300 calories. Wow!
What about people food? Well, according to thecaloriecounter.com, 100 grams (3 tbsp) of pork fat contains 900 calories! (I had a client today say she had no idea why her dog was so chubby, then go on to confess she gives him pork fat off of her pork chop as a regular treat).
One ounce of potato chips (about 10 chips) has 150 calories. One baby carrot has 4 calories and one cup of green beans adds up to only 41 calories.
Am I telling you to stop giving your dog or cat treats? No. However, I think it’s good to be aware of what you’re feeding your pets. Find out how many calories per day your pet needs. Measure how much you’re putting in its bowl. And do the math when it comes to treats. It’s best to limit treats so that they add up to no more than 10% of your pet’s daily caloric needs.
Finally, make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise. It will help prevent obesity, and is also important to keep animals from getting bored. And, if you go along for the ride, you’ll benefit too!
This web page shows the amount of calories for common treats we give our pets: