We are happy to be participating in the K9 Kamp mini challenge for this month. K9 Kamp was started as a fitness challenge to help fight canine obesity, with Kamp being in session twice per year, started by Kol’s Notes and Peggy’s Pet Place. Now Jessica at You Did What With Your Weiner is posting monthly mini-challenges for anyone to participate in. I think a mini challenge is right up our alley these days!
July’s challenge is to see if we are feeding our dogs the right amount of food. This is perfect timing for us, since we just switched foods about a month ago, and that seems like a good time to be sure we are feeding the right amounts.
Step 1: Figure out how many calories our dogs should be eating every day. Two calculators are provided: one from SlimDoggy (which you can also see on my right sidebar on my home page) and one from Dog Food Advisor. It is suggested both be used as they each ask for a little bit different information. Here are our results:
- Kobi – SlimDoggy – 700 calories, DFA – 702 calories
- Cricket – SlimDoggy – 662 calories – DFA – 750 calories
- Sheba – SlimDoggy – 1268 calories – DFA – 1426 calories
There are certainly some variations there, other than on Kobi, but I tried to keep the information entered consistent. One thing I like better about SlimDoggy’s app is that it takes the dog’s age into consideration, and I think that could be important.
Step 2: Figure out how many calories your dog is eating per day. SlimDoggy’s app includes a Food Rating tab which gives information on a lot of different foods , and that information includes calorie content. I wasn’t sure if I had the exact right formula for our food, so I also went to the manufacturer’s website and found the information there. SlimDoggy’s app told me 386 calories/cup for what I thought was the closest food and the website said 402. Pretty close! So I’m rounding off to 400.
My husband serves almost all of the dogs’ meals, I usually only feed them their meals when he is not home, or is very busy. So I had him show me exactly what he’s feeding them and we dumped it into a measuring cup to measure.
- Kobi – 2 cups/day – 800 calories
- Cricket – 1.35 cups/day – 540 calories
- Sheba – 2 2/3 cups/day – 1068 calories
Step 3: Look at how many calories your dog is eating compared to what they should be eating.
- Kobi: 800 compared to 700. Overeating by 100 calories.
- Cricket: 540 compared to 662. Undereating by 122 calories.
- Sheba: 1068 compared to 1268. Undereating by 228 calories.
Now, here is how they all look, and you can compare to the body condition chart I included in a post I wrote back in May about Cricket: FitDog Friday, Fit or Fat?
Two other factors I like to consider also are treats and activity level. I had to look up the calories in the treats we most often get the dogs, and both the Pampered Pet and the Drs. Foster & Smith treats have about 20 calories each. Each dog gets around 5-6 of these small treats per day, and I most often break Cricket’s in half so she gets half as much. I’ve also started making homemade treats and I will have to figure out the calories in those when I make them next. So for Kobi and Sheba, that adds about 100 calories per day, and for Cricket 50.
Kobi: Kobi used to be far more active than he is now, and I think that’s why we’ve had him at a higher calorie level. Also, I believe that the new food is a bit higher in calories than what we previously fed. Just recently he’s had issues with his back legs (which I wrote about on This N That Thursday not long ago). Now his walks are shorter, so it seems we will need to reduce his food accordingly. I think he looks good now, and we can easily feel his ribs, so now we just have to be sure he stays that way.
Cricket: Cricket has been on a diet and we have tried to increase her activity level also. Since we started trying to adjust both diet and exercise back in May she has only lost 1 pound. Does she look any better now, than she did back then?
Maybe a little? I still would like her to lose another pound though, and I can’t see increasing her calories at all until she at least loses that pound.
Sheba: Wow, she looks good, doesn’t she? She is not even as active as Cricket, though we have been running more lately. But our fitness program is hit or miss at best these days, between the crazy weather (either rain or high humidity), and other things going on. So I think she will be happy to hear that she can have some more calories, especially on the days when we do a run. I guess I will start giving her MORE treats than Kobi (but don’t tell him).
This was a great exercise and we learned a lot! One thing for sure is that this is an ongoing process. I need to pay attention to our activity levels and adjust accordingly to that also. Here’s a photo of the girls playing and burning some of those calories!
We are also joining in on the FitDog Friday blog hop hosted by SlimDoggy, Peggy’s Pet Place, and To Dog With Love. We haven’t been on this hop for a few weeks now and have missed it! We’re glad to be back. Please visit their sites and others through the links below to learn more about health and fitness for your pets!
Great post. We had a good time seeing how we stacked up using that app too!
Thank you, Emma. I think your numbers came out better than ours though, with no adjustments required! 🙂
Boy, you really did your homework! Thanks for participating in Keeping up With K9 Kamp. It’s a great learning experience for me to see this excercise done with larger dogs than mine….which is not hard since they are 10 lbs ))
It was a lot more work with three dogs, all of different sizes and different exercise levels! But it was fun!
Jackie Bouchard says
Great post! I’m planning to blog about this next week!
Thank you, Jackie, can’t wait to hear how it goes for you and Rita!
Really excellent post. I am learning a lot from reading about this mini challenge. Hope you guys are keeping cool!
Thank you, Finn. We are trying to keep cool here, but without much success! We are hoping for a break from the heat and humidity tomorrow (paws crossed).
Great work on your part to go through this with such detail!
FYI- the main difference between the SlimDoggy calculator and the DFA calculator is that the SlimDoggy version takes into account time AND the activity type which yields a more precise estimation. To my knowledge, no one else does it this precisely! Why did we do this? Because we know that the calling your dog “Active” dog is not enough information to determine their activity induced calorie burns. Think about the difference between and “active” dog walking 15 minutes a day vs. and “active” dog that runs 40 minutes a day. Two very different situations that should be treated as such.
Our App is even better because it estimates calories based on specific activities (e.g. walking, running, swimming). Again, to my knowledge, no one else does this.
Our food database is extensive (the most extensive available) but we have more to add as the foods change and new products are brought to market. Let us know if you find a food that you think we are missing and we will get it into both our App and Widget.
Thanks again for a great post.
Thank you! That’s right, that was the other thing I like about your app, being able to put the amount of time in makes the activity part for more specific and accurate.
I will let you know on the specific food we use, because I think it’s just a bit different than the Fromm’s you have listed. It could be they have changed something.