To the Rescue: Counting Calories for Dogs

Just like people, pups that take in too many calories per day tend to gain weight! FitSugar tipped me onto a handy chart that lists the calories in over 125 common dog food brands. If your pooch could stand to lose a few, in addition to increasing her exercise, reconsider the nutritional value of the food she eats. Make sure that when switching brands, you read the back of the new packaging for portion suggestions based on weight. If a pet is overweight (or a breed prone to obesity like cocker spaniels, basset hounds, or dachshunds), ask your vet to recommend a nutrition plan and consult this recommended calories for weight loss chart. Both can tell you how to safely decrease portions while still providing enough calories and nutrition for your pet.

When switching food, do so gradually (by quarters) over a week's time to let dogs adjust to a new meal. For example, on...

  • Days 1-3: Feed 25 percent new food and 75 percent old food.
  • Days 4-5: Feed 50 percent new food and 50 percent old food.
  • Days 6-7: Feed 75 percent new food and 25 percent old food.
  • Day 8: Feed 100 percent new food.

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