Providing fresh, homemade food for your dog is one of the best things that you can do for his health and well-being. Whenever pet owners broach this subject with me, they often bring up how difficult it can be. Yes, creating recipes to meet your dog’s nutritional needs can be a challenge. But, this homemade dog food recipe calculator will make the process a little easier.
Many pet owners believe that they can feed their dog the same quantity of homemade food as recommended by their old commercial kibble brand. That could not be more wrong! Homemade dog food is more nutritionally dense than most commercial foods. This means that your dog won’t need to as much to get the same nutritional benefits.
I’ve also heard pet owners share misinformation about watching a dog’s weight and adjusting the serving sizes accordingly. If the dog is gaining weight, lessen the serving size. If he’s losing weight, increase the serving size.
The consequences of feeding your dog too much food are obvious. He’ll become obese, which could lead to a slew of other health conditions like diabetes, joint problems, certain types of cancer and heart and respiratory issues.
Did you know that feeding your dog too much food can also lead to nutrient toxicity? In the case of nutrition, too much of a good thing could be very bad! For example, Vitamin A toxicity can cause bone spurs, lethargy, constipation, stiffness and limping.
On the other hand, if you’re not feeding your dog enough, he could become nutrient deficient quite quickly. If you don’t realize your dog isn’t getting the proper nutrients, he may become weak and his organs could start to fail. Ultimately, nutrient deficiency can lead to death if it’s not corrected.
In short, it’s crucial that you discuss a switch in your dog’s nutrition with your veterinarian. It’s also important to use this homemade dog food recipe calculator as a guideline for figuring out how much food to feed Fido at each serving.
Homemade Dog Food Recipe Calculator
The first thing you’ll need to do when following a homemade dog food recipe calculator is to figure out your pet’s Daily Energy Requirements (DER). This is the amount of energy (also called calories) that your dog’s body burns in a typical day.
Before you can find the DER, you’ll need to find Fido’s Resting Energy Requirement (RER). RER is the energy that your pooch needs to perform essential bodily functions like heart functions, brain functions, digestion and respiration.
To find your dog’s RER, you’ll need to multiply his body weight in kilograms raised to the 3/4 power by 70. In equation form this looks like:
70(bodyweight in kg. ^.75)
Let’s take a look at an example. If your dog weighs 53 pounds, that converts to 24 kg. Now, raise 24 to the .75 power and you get 11.2 (rounded to the nearest tenth). The last step is multiple 70 x 11.2, which equals 784. A 53-pound dog’s RER is 784.
Once you figure out the RER, you can move on to the DER. This gets a little trickier. To find the DER, you’ll need to multiple the RER by a certain factor that meets Fido’s description.
According to The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center, these are the factors that you can choose from:
|Neutered adult||=1.6 x RER|
|Intact adult||=1.8 x RER|
|Inactive/obese prone||=1.2-1.4 x RER|
|Weight loss||=1.0 x RER for ideal weight|
|Weight gain||=1.2-1.8 x RER for ideal weight|
|Active, working dogs||=2.0-5.0 x RER|
|Puppy 0-4 months||=3.0 x RER|
|Puppy 4 months to adult||= 2.0 x RER|
Remember, these are just estimates. They can vary by as much as 50%, so you have to understand that these numbers are just a general starting point. The best thing that you can do is discuss your homemade dog food diet with your veterinarian or a canine nutritionist who can help you understand your dog’s caloric needs better.
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