Calorie intake per day? Thinking she is under weight

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viper's picture
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Joined: 2014-04-30

Curious how you guys are gauging nutrition?  Just appearance?  Weight?  Calories?  I have a specific amount I have been feeding my 6yo dobie for years.  I feed Diamond Naturals and has worked very well for us.  She loves it and her health seems on point.  However, I am seeing a little of her spine and can see her hip bones at times.  She has always been on the skinny side.  

 

I feed once a day.  I have always been careful not to over feed her, but worried I am on the other side.  She never seems desperate to eat but I want to ensure she is dialed in.  

 

Any other ways to determine a healthy weight?  I have not been tracking her actual weight close enough to make any decisions based on that.  I can tell you she is NOT lacking energy!  She, however, has got a lot of excercise lately being at the farm with me and running constantly.  

She is otherwise about as healthy as one could ask for.  Had an issue with Iams food years ago and went back to Diamond and she is just solid on it, so I don't want to change!  She LOVES the beef variety so we stay with it.  

viper's picture
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Joined: 2014-04-30

OK, so I ran a little math.  It looks like 1800-2100cal would be reasonable for my girl.  My dog food is rated at 329kcal/cup, which makes VERY little sense to me, because that is 329,000cal/cup.  Not sure what that means.  

It is rated at 3518cal/kilo, which is 1600cal/lb and I usually do about a bag of food per month, which is in range of 2000cal/day.  

 

What further shocked me is I just checked my girl and she is 27" at the withers, which I did not expect.  Always thought she was right in spec for the breed, but I always say "she is on stilts".  She has long sexy legs!   I just weighed her at 64lbs.  She has always been lean, highly active, agile, and healthy as a horse.  I know it's all about bragging for some about how heavy their dog is, but I just want her at the healthiest weight possible.  I put a lot of time in with my dogs and want them around as long as possible.  To date, I still have people blown away that my girl is 6 and looks 2.  She loves to play, loves people, and zero health concerns.

I'm not a food expert, but Kcal is the same thing as just saying calories in dog food. Every dog is different in how they metabolize food and of course exercise plays a big part as well. 

I would tell you that if her spine and hip bones are showing, then she is underweight. You should have a visible tuck up underneith, and you should be able to see a slight area of ribs in the last couple of ribs. You should be able to feel the other ribs, but not visibly see them. She sounds like a tall and lanky girl - but should probably weigh 70ish pounds given her height.  I have a 27" girl that is very large boned - not at all lanky and she weighs 79 pounds... but that would most likely be too much for your girl. 

I personally feed twice a day - because I add a lot of fresh food, my dogs kibble intake would not be accurate. I would say that she should probably be eating about 4 cups a day..... but it could be more or less depending on the dog.  I will say, that in his prime, my male ate about 6 cups of high cal kibble (more like 400 cal/cup) Now at almost 12, he only eats less than 3 cups a day.... with fresh food added. 

It would help if you could add a picture of your girl maybe taken standing from the side, and one looking down on her - over her rib cage. 

DobermanGuy's picture
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Joined: 2017-12-11

Curious how you guys are gauging nutrition?  Just appearance?  Weight?  Calories?  I have a specific amount I have been feeding my 6yo dobie for years.  I feed Diamond Naturals and has worked very well for us.  She loves it and her health seems on point.  However, I am seeing a little of her spine and can see her hip bones at times.  She has always been on the skinny side.  

 

I feed once a day.  I have always been careful not to over feed her, but worried I am on the other side.  She never seems desperate to eat but I want to ensure she is dialed in.  

 

Pretty much by appearance. 

Adjust food volume as need for the particular dog according to that and keep in mind that all dogs will be different and have different requirements.

 

My current pair 'used' to get the same exact food everything. Same size portions of the same exact stuff and at the same time every single day. Figured that would work as they were the same height, same age, etc and it did work until about two years of age. About then started noticing the one girl getting a bit big in the behind. Vet noticed it as well and said something.

'Chubby girl' now gets lots of lower calorie fillers added to a smaller portion of kibble. (Carrots, green beans, etc.)

Her visibly slimmer sister does not need any sort of dietary adjustments even though she always tips the scales a good 5 lbs heavier than Chubby does... Muscle weighs more than fat given the same volume of dog.

 

To make things even more confusing consider that just like there are some people that due to their metabolisms just can't eat enough food to gain weight - The same can be said for some dogs... From my previous pair - One girl never could break 60lbs no matter how many 'extras' she got slipped when her sister was not around. Her entire life she got I would guess 25% more in the way of calories / food volume but never tied her sister in weight. She would burn it off as fast as she consumed it.