How Much Are Our Dogs Really Eating?

Pet Obesity and It’s Challenges

Part 1

How Much Is (REALLY) In Our Dog’s Food Bowl?

 

How Much Are Our Dogs Really Eating?

How much is “really” in our dog’s food bowl?

How does a puppy, kitten, adult dog or cat go from “normal” weight, to slightly overweight, to chubby, then obese?

The first step when it comes to our pet’s health is to eliminate any and all medical conditions. Have your dog/cat/pet examined by a veterinarian to rule out any underlying conditions. Once our pets are given the all clear, then we need to take a good look at just how much we are putting in to our pet’s food bowl. This applies to all pets, but for this post, I will refer to dogs.

How Much Does Your Dog Eat?

If asked the question, “how much does your dog eat ”, could you honestly and confidently answer the question?

Knowing just how much our dogs eat has many benefits. It not only helps our dogs maintain a proper and healthy weight, but can be an indication of a possible health concern should our dog start eating less, they seem unsatisfied, or begin to demand more food.

“Properly” measuring the amount of food that goes in to our dog’s bowl is the only way of knowing just how much they are receiving. When I say “properly”, I am referring to the way a dog’s food is measured out. And the only true way to know the amount of food we are giving our dogs is to weigh it on a scale.

Without properly measuring out our dog’s meals, the likelihood of them being underfed, I believe, is very slim. In fact, the opposite is more likely and our dogs will be overfeed.

How Do You Measure Your Dog’s Food?

Are you a scooper – scooping out your dog’s food with a measuring cup, mug, or random dish from the cupboard?

Is your dog free fed – filling your dog’s bowl as it becomes empty?

Do you guesstimate the amount of food that goes in your dog’s dish?

Do you weigh out your dogs’ food on a scale?

Benefits To Weighing Our Dog’s Food

How Much Are Our Dog's Really Eating?

Weighing our dog’s food tells us clearly how much they are receiving

In the above photo, 41 grams is the amount of dry kibble my dog Edie gets fed twice daily.

In the photo below, as little as 10 additional pieces of kibble, which really doesn’t look like much at all, could easily be added to my dog’s bowl if it wasn’t weighed out on a scale.

How Much Are Our Dog's Really Eating?

As little as 10 additional pieces of kibble can make a big difference!

One Extra Meal Per Week 

=

52 Extra Meals Per Year!

Those 10 addition pieces of food is equivalent to 6 grams of dog food per day. Doesn’t sound like much does it?

Let’s look at it this way.

An additional 10 kibble, or 6 grams of food is equal a full extra meal per week for my dog.

Still doesn’t sound like much?

How does this sound?

That one extra meal per week is equivalent to 52 extra meals per year!

At that rate, the additional food would show up on another scale – my dog’s weigh-in scales at the vet!

Could You Honestly Answer –

How Much Does Your Dog Eat?

If you were asked, “How Much Does Your Dog Eat”, could you honestly and without hesitation answer?

Test yourself – measure out your dog’s food as you usually would. Then place that food on a scale. You just might have an eye opener and find you are feeding much more than you originally thought, and much more than is recommended for your dog.

How do you measure your dog’s food?

I do not pretend to know all the answers. I do not have a medical background. I’m not a nutritionist, and I am not a vet. I’m a pet owner that had an obese dog. I share my story and journey, what worked, what didn’t work and how it made a difference in my dog’s health. The topic of pet nutrition and the side effects of pet obesity is a topic I thrive to learn more about. I do not suggest what worked for me will work for you or your dog, I am not here to debate ingredients in foods or what type of diet is best for your pet, but if I can encourage, answer questions or possibly be an inspiration to other pet owners, then I’ve achieved my goal.

 

Author: Kelly Harding

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28 Comments

  1. I use a scoop, and watch the amount my dogs eat like a crazy lady! We have active dogs that run agility and work often, so it’s important that they are in slim shape! Especially our giant!

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  2. I use a scoop and I usually eyeball the amount as well. But I’m not the only one feeding my Sadie, so the amount changes depending on the person too. I can definitely see how a scale can be much better at keeping the portions consistent. But how can you find out what the appropriate weight of a serving size should be?

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    • Having more than one person feeding in a household can be tricky! And in many cases can lead to overfeeding and even being fed multiple times because one doesn’t realize the other has already fed the pets. As far as finding the appropriate weight of a serving size – on my pet’s bag of food they have measurement of food by cup and weight. Example, if it says to feed my dog 1/2 cup of kibble, it also gives the equivalent in weight, so 1/2 dry kibble is equal to 41 grams on the scale. If it’s not on your dog’s food bag, maybe you could call the company and ask them the exact measurement in weight, or discuss it with your vet to get the proper weight measurements your dog requires.

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  3. Very interesting article. When I was feeding 100% raw, I used a scale to determine how much meat to feed. Now that I am having to do a bit more kibble with the raw, I don’t. I have to admit I am a scooper. I will have to take your advice though and weigh their kibble next time to see how much they are actually getting.

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    • I would love to know the results when you weigh the food as opposed to scooping it!

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  4. When my cockers were overweight, my vet recommended using a measuring cup instead of eye balling it. The measuring cup really helped!

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    • I’m so happy that measuring the food instead of “eyeballing” it has made a difference in your dogs weight. It truly is an eye opener when we watch exactly how much they eat.

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  5. When we adopted Theo he was a hefty 38 pounds! After 3 years of living with us, he’s down to a healthy 25 pounds. I measure his food (he gets 1/2 cup twice a day) and if he gets into something he shouldn’t (and I know about it), I give him a little less for his next meal. I’m not super scientific about it, but I do my best.

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    • Apparently you are doing very well! Congrats to you for getting Theo down 13 pounds!! That is a major milestone and I bet he feels so much better for it.

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  6. I don’t weigh food, but I measure it precisely in a cup for each meal. I’m lucky that I quickly found an amount that has kept my corgis lean and trim for all their 7.5 years. Watching the treats helps, too, although, they do get treats every day, and sometimes, even BACON! Now, if I could just figure out how to keep all 5 cats lean and trim.

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    • I don’t think giving treats is a problem if the amount is taken into consideration when giving our pets their “normal” meal and then adjusting. Now if my husband hears that you give bacon for treats, he may just want to move in with you! I have 2 cats and one of them fought the kitty bulge 😉 one of the best things I did was to get a timed feeder where I had control over the amounts fed. My cat stopped begging me for food, trimmed down and the feeder became his new best friend 😉

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  7. I admit that I don’t measure the kibble for the girls. The free-feed through the day and eat little bits at a time. They are at the ideal weight for their breed. It’s almost impossible to determine how much each eats because they eat from each other’s bowl and at different times.

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    • Yes, I imagine that having two cats, or dogs, eating from the same dish can be tricky as far as knowing just how much each of them is eating. Food in a dish doesn’t last long enough for sharing in this pet household 😉
      I’m happy to hear that both your girls are ideal weight 🙂

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  8. Mr. N’s current food comes in nugget form so I count those out. If he’s eating patties, I eyeball and the the boyfriend weighs it on a scale.

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    • Well there’s another way to measure! Counting each nugget! But for me to measure each of Edie’s kibble would take longer than weighing it and Edie would have a fit waiting to get fed lol!

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  9. I think they would need to find a different method to measure that is easy, catchy and usable by lazy dog owners.

    The cup has lasted because dog owners just scoop, they don’t need to think at all. That sadly is what the Dr is up against. Personally, I wish our cats would eat more raw as this might be safer than all the suspected ‘junk’. BUT they refuse to eat anything BUT their Orijens and some Royal Canin. * sigh *

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    • You are right that scooping is a very quick and convenient way to feed our pets, I to have been known to skip the scale and use my measuring cup. These days people have so much on the go that taking an extra minute to put the food on a scale just gets past over for the “scoop” method. I do not raw feed my pets,and I do not debate what works, or is better for each pet, however, I believe that there are high quality products that are scientifically based and proven to have all the proper nutrition and ingredients that need to keep my pets healthy.

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  10. Portion control is very important. I did use a measuring cup when using kibble. With home-cooked or raw I do use a “point of reference” for the portions – such as “half patty” etc.

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  11. I measure my dog’s food. It is fairly easy because they normally eat a freeze dried where it is a specific amount of bricks or a fresh delivered that is pre-measured. When I used to feed kibble, I had no clue how much I was giving!

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    • I am curious about the pre-measured food. Is it based on your individual pets needs as far as amount required? Or do they come in standard pre-measurements?

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  12. I have definitely been guilty of overfeeding. I often find the labels on packaging confusing. The scale is definitely a good idea. The new food Ruby is on comes pre-portioned, which makes life super easy.

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    • Packaging can be confusing! I think this is where our vet’s can help us out to determine the proper portion for our pets to either maintain,loose or in the rare case, loose weight.

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  13. Very detailed and logical post for portion control in pets. We give ours two-three scoops a day of semi raw food mixed with salmon oil and he is fine.

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  14. It’s definitely important to pay attention to what and how much we are feeding our pets. Our dogs are raw fed, so there’s more to it for us to get the proper muscle/bone/organ ration, but it’s all worth it to know they’re getting what they need.

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  15. I wish I was more mindful about what I personally eat as well. Just a little here or there can make such a huge difference in all our lives!!!

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    • The struggle is real! I wish I could be as firm with myself as I am with my pets.

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  16. Thanks for posting! My aunt had a tremendously overweight lab that she swore she only fed 2 cups a day. Well I went to look at her cup and it was a 32 oz BIG GULP!!!!!! Yikes!

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    • Oh my goodness! I have heard other stories similar to this. I guess everyone’s idea of a “cup” is different.

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