Posted by Samuel, On 5 Oct, 2020 | Updated On 4 Dec, 2020 2 Comments »
Nutritional needs of your dogs is based mainly on her daily energy requirement (DER). And DER depends on the life stages, life styles, weights, breeds and environment of your dog.
The main aim of this post is to equip you with the knowledge of evaluating nutrient needs, to get overall rules helpful for practical feeding and nutritional needs of your dog.
Body weights of dogs vary (between 1 and 100 kg), the coats are very long in some breeds and almost in nonexistent in some others, physical activities and characters are highly varying, variation of climate from place to place and weather from time to time and physiological states; all these combine together to form a system required to adequately calculate your dog nutrient requirement.
Here are the real factors that determine your dog nutrients need:
1. Daily Energy Requirement (DER) of Your Dog
Energy need of your dog is calculated in calories. And DER is the basic requirement upon which all other nutritional needs of your dog are calculated. For instance, according to Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), for every 1000 Kcal of your dog daily energy need, protein must be about 50 gram and fat must be around 17 gram.
Calorie is the main real factor that is determined by several other factors. The factors that determine your dog Daily Calorie Requirement are life style, life stage, physiological state, environmental temperature, body weight and breed (in term of body size and hairiness). All these factors must be considered in calculating appropriate daily calorie need of your dog.
2. Your Dog Life Style
Life style of your dog goes a long way in determining her daily energy requirement. Dogs’ life styles are categorized into four:
- Inactive: Dogs in this category of life style are not active, old, neutered (castrated or spayed), quiet and sedentary dogs.
- Normal: Dogs living in kennels or in group are having a normal life style. Generally, average young dogs are also in this class.
- Active: Young dogs with active temperament, dogs running around the house are in this group.
- Very Active: Working dogs (like racing dogs, sled dogs, hunting dog, flock dog, etc), nervous & hyperactive dogs are in this class. Examples of very active dogs are Great Dane living outdoor and Terrier.
Calorie needs of dogs vary and increase from INACTIVE to NORMAL to ACTIVE to VERY ACTIVE life styles in ratio of about 1 to 1.1 to 1.3 to 1.6 respectively.
So let say for instance, an inactive dog requires 2000 calories per day, then a normal lifestyled dog of the same weight will need 2200 calories, active dog 2600 calories and very active dog must take 3200 calories.
3. Body Weight
This is another crucial factor that affects the amount of calorie your dog needs per day. You must always consider your dog weight in calculating the amount of calorie she must consumed.
Most importantly is having the knowledge of the her ideal body weight. There is a range of ideal weight for every breed of dog. And your dog weight is consider healthy if she falls within this range. Giving your dog calorie outside the range her body weight dictates will lead to emaciation or overweight.
Food contains energy. It isn’t all gross energy contained in food is available for metabolism. An undigested fraction is excreted in the feces. The difference between the gross energy consumed and the gross energy in the feces is referred to as apparent digestible energy (DE). Also additional energy losses occur in excreted urine. For practical reasons, only energy in urine is subtracted from DE to determine metabolizable energy (ME).
Your dog Metabolizable Energy Requirement (MER) is a function of her body weight (W) raised to some power (b). b is an exponent calculated from experimental data. b also varies from theory to theory. Brody’s theory (1934) calculated b as 0.73, Kleiber’s theory (1961) as 0.75 and Heusner’s theory (1982) as 0.67.
Heusner’s exponent is the widely acceptable mathematical power (b) in calculating dog’s MER. This is not because is the most recent but it includes the intraspecies of dogs relationship of energy to weight.
Your dog’s MER = K x (W)b
K is a mathematical constant for for ACTIVENESS (lifestyle) of your dog.
4. Life Stage
This factor has to do with your dog age. Puppies need energy for growth. Matured, adult dogs need energy for body maintenance. This factor has more to do with dog’s breed and puppihood.
- Newly weaned puppy at 1 month old to 3 months of age needs double of daily calorie need of adult dog of the same body weight.
- Puppy (of a small breed) between 3 and 6 months needs 1.6 times MER of adult dog of the same body weight and breed.
- Puppy (of a small breed) between 6 and 12 months needs 1.2 times MER of adult dog of the same body weight and breed.
- Puppy (of a large breed) between 3 and 9 months needs 1.6 times MER of adult dog of the same body weight and breed.
- Puppy (of a small breed) between 9 and 24 months needs 1.2 times MER of adult dog of the same body weight and breed.
5. Physiological State
This factor affects female dogs. For bitch of 6 weeks or less old pregnancy, 10% more of calories is needed. Bitch with pregnancy of 7 weeks or more old, 20% more energy is required.
A gestating (nursing) bitch with 3 or more litters needs about 25% more calorie per 1 litter. So a bitch with 4 litters need 100% more of calories than normal for her body weight. A nursing dog with less than 3 litters (i.e 2 or 1 litter) just needs normal amount of daily calories need.
Hairiness is another factor that determine the amount of calories your dog needs per day. This factor is rarely consider by dogs’ parents in feeding their dog. Hairiness of dog varies from breeds to breeds. It is divided into three classes – hairless, Normal Short-Haired and Long-Haired.
Example of hairless breeds are American Hairless Terrier, Peruvian Inc Orchid, Xoloitzcuintli among others. Example of short-haired breeds are Boerboel, bloodhound, American Foxhound, etc. Example of long-haired breed are Afghan Hound, American Eskimo Dog, Briard among others.
Hairiness is combined with another factor (dog living environmental temperature) to determine how much calories your dog should consume daily.
7. Climatic/Weather Temperature
The temperature of the living environment of your dog is another determining factor of her daily energy requirement. It is divided into four classes:
- Hot – Temperature above 25oC (77oF)
- Warm – Temperature between 20oC and 25oC (68oF and 77oF)
- Cold – Temperature between 10oC and 20oC (50oF and 68oF)
- Chilling – Temperature below 10oC (50oF)
As I mentioned earlier, dog’s hairiness and living environment temperature are combined, making a factor to calculate dog daily energy requirement (DER).
For short-haired dog
- in warm weather, the environment is thermo-neutral. This mean your dog requires no extra amount of calories (after every other factors have been considered).
- in hot weather, your dog needs double portion of calories she normally required after considering every other factor.
- in cold weather, your dog needs about 25% more calories than she normally needed after every other factor has been considered.
- in chilling weather, your dog requires 75% more calories than she needed after considering other factor.
This continues with hairless and long-haired dogs in each different weathers.
Is Dog Daily Energy Requirement (DER) So Complex?
You might have been saying in your mind “Sam, what? This is so complex?”.
Put your mind at rest. A tool is under way to help you determine your dog daily calories need. All the above mentioned factors are considered in the algorithm of the tool. The tool also give accurate amounts (in gram and spoon) of each ingredient you need to make healthy homemade food for your dog.
Here is our Dog Daily Calorie Requirement Calculator on our sister site.
This is another vital information you should know before your start giving your dog homemade food.
Do you have question or opinion about this post? Make it in the comment below.
Cook for Your Dog, Care for Your Dog, Subscribe Today!
Previous Post: « Dog Daily Water Requirement – Make Your Dog Drinks Healthily
Next Post: Simple Way to Make Cooking for Your Dog Easy »