Anyway... Kamp Coach Jessica's mini challenge this month was to figure out if you're feeding your dog the right amount of food.
The basic idea was to calculate your dog's calories in and calories out and see, based on your dog's current weight (fine? A little pudgy? Too thin?) if you need to make some adjustments.
|"Does this fur make my butt look big, Momma?"|
How many calories does my dog need?
I used the SlimDoggy app on their site (you can use the Calorie Calculator on the right hand side of their home page) and input Rita's weight, age, and activity level to estimate the number of calories she needs. Unfortunately, we haven't been doing our extra walks at night lately like we were during Kamp (cuz the hubs has been working a lot - bummer) so I estimated based on 1 hour per day of light activity (walking/playing). The estimate was just over 1000 calories per day.
|"Don't be shy with the calories, Momma!"|
This part's a little harder as many treats don't have the calories on them, but I was easily able to look up the calories for most of her food and the main treats that she gets. The rest I estimated based on the size/type of treat compared to others that I knew.
Based on my calculations and estimates here and there, I figured Rita is getting about 650 calories from her breakfast/dinner, and another 300 calories from her treats, which would put her at 950, or just a bit under the 1000 per day that the SlimDoggy app estimated.
Since she looks "ideal" to me (or maybe just 1 or 2 pounds over ideal), I think we're probably feeding her the right amount for her level of exercise, so I wasn't surprised that the calories she needs more or less equaled the calories she's getting. When we get back to our 2-walks/day routine, she'll easily lose that 1 or 2 lbs. (Hope I will!)
|Visible waist and ribs with a nice "tummy tuck"|
What did I learn?
I know that we give Rita a lot of treats (she gets 1 when Daddy leaves for work, 1 if I leave her alone, 1 after a walk, a stick or chew in the middle of the afternoon, 2 for "dessert" at night, a few small ones at bedtime) but I didn't realize she was getting 1/3 of her calories from treats!
I was a bit shocked and thought at first, we gotta stop doing that! But then I thought... treats for her aren't like "treats" for me. It's not like she's eating an actual cookie or a bowl of ice cream. She gets good quality stuff, mostly low-grain, full of protein and some of them are very low cal like the Zuke's Mini Naturals that she loves for a bedtime snack. Since she looks good, and since she LOVES her treats, I'm okay with that.
I also learned that a kcal is the same as a regular ol' calorie!
It's an interesting "exercise" that you might want to try for your pup! And be sure to check out You Did What With Your Wiener next Friday for the next mini-challenge!
Thanks to Kamp Coach Jessica for the challenge and to SlimDoggy for hosting the FitDog Friday hop!
Jeffie says Rita's butt looks just fine to him...ReplyDelete
Rita says, "You should smell it, Jeffie!" And then she winked. (slutpuppy)Delete
This is fantastic info! Thanks so much for sharing!ReplyDelete
Gotta keep the pups in shape! Thanks for stopping by!Delete
We buy those little mini treats and we only get proper dental chews and maybe the odd treat once in a while. It is not so easy when you have a bigger and smaller dog to treat them the same. Have a fabulous Friday.ReplyDelete
Best wishes Molly
Oh, yeah, that would be hard. Happy Friday to you too!Delete
Mom is very conscious about calories on package treats. We love Zukes. We shared before in one of our Tasty Treat post on how to count calories on homemade treats, check it out out Treats page. Happy FitDog Friday. Lots of Golden Woofs, SugarReplyDelete
Rita is so fussy, I never make her her own treats. There are so many things she doesn't like (peanut butter, yogurt, most fruits and veggies) that I imagine if I made something for her, she wouldn't eat it. (Unless it involved meat.)Delete
Gizmo was happy to learn that he had a calorie reserve so he's been getting a few extra treats lately...I don't monitor quite as closely as some, but rely more on his "look" and activity level...It is a valuable exercise and I'm glad I did itReplyDelete
Sweet, Gizmo! I'm the same - I always just go by the look and the activity. This was the first time I ever calculated it out.Delete
Rita looks great - I'm glad the analysis worked out and showed that you were spot on. We give jack & Maggie a lot of 'treats' too - for the same reasons - they love their treats - they are Labs after all. And like you, they get good stuff - lots of carrots, but then no grain, low cal type treats. Thanks for joining the Hop! Good stuff.ReplyDelete
Labbies love their treats! So does Rita - she's part beagle after all.Delete
Mom always tells us we exercise to keep our bodies healthy and so we can eat more snacks! Yay for that second part! We only have a couple snacks a day, some are pretty small, and most are pretty healthy. If we are being lazy then we get less treats. It seems to work as we have held our weight within a pound or two for the past 6 yrs since we have been in the US, before that it was in kilos and we were fine too.ReplyDelete
That's why I exercise! So I can eat more!Delete
Ha! First paragraph made me chuckle out loud!ReplyDelete
Heehee! Good. :)Delete
Rita has a fine looking butt. Do you ever give her bones, or just other chews and treats? Bones can be a fun gnawing toy, but aren't so consumable.ReplyDelete
I give her an antler. I haven't given her a bone. I'm worried about them being messy. I guess I should try one with her.Delete
Very interesting! And Rita looks like she's in great shape!ReplyDelete
The calculator says 2752 cals for Moses and 1809 for Alma, which is funny because they get fed the pretty much the same amount (3 lbs raw food daily each).
We don't have any exact science behind their diet volumes, but we use a different method to determine if they're at a healthy weight (http://ahimsadogtraining.com/blog/2008/03/06/fat-dogs/), especially noting it's easier on the joints of giant breeds if they are ever-so-slightly under weight.
I've also used this free app to help calculate the right volume of a raw food diet: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/tail-blazers/id530356916?mt=8
My vet said there was a study that claimed that all dogs live longer if they are slightly underweight, so I guess it's good all around, not just for the joints of the big dogs. Rita however is not slightly underweight.... Once we get back to the beach and more walking hopefully she'll be fine.Delete
Thanks for completing the challenge. I am learning a lot from reading how everyone did and their takeaways from the exercise. I can still see Rita's waist a bit (I am sure fur obscures it a little too) so I don't think 1 - 2 lbs is that terrible for her. I hope it does some off when you start you two-a-day walks again though. Like people, it can be hard to get back off sometimes.ReplyDelete
Too bad the pounds don't come off as easily as they go on!Delete
No Rita, your butt doesn't look big :)ReplyDelete
I think she looks great! And even if she is 1-2 lbs over, it shouldn't be too big of a deal for her. She gets quite a bit of exercise anyway.
In the body condition chart that you linked... a lot of people these days say that dogs should look like the first dog. I don't know. I know a reasonable amount about human nutrition (though I don't apply it, lol) - but I'm not a dog nutrition expert. I don't know if it's truly healthier for them to look like the first or second dog.
One of mine is overweight. I've calculated the calories and she's not getting too much. That means we're lacking for exercise... and we are. It's too hot for proper walks outside right now and the only time it isn't too hot - it's raining. Wish I could get her on the treadmill, but she's scared of it. I hate to decrease her food, but I may have to for now.
great post. I think Rita looks perfect!ReplyDelete
Wilson and Jimmy had just about the same calorie requirement as Rita. I don't worry about "official" treats too much as I buy super high quality stuff. It's the other stuff they get when they beg from us that worries me. My dogs eat much better than we do, so I am sure our food isn't the best for them. Esp. w/ Jimmy, I strive to keep him extra slim since his body takes a pounding doing agility.ReplyDelete
LOL! Go to an agility trial some time and you will actually see the ribs on a Lab. That's a rare sight indeed!
I think she looks great, and I agree on the treats. I too give an all meat, no crap added treat to my dogs, or sometimes just little hunks of fresh meat. Now, if you were giving milk bones for a third of her calories that would be bad.ReplyDelete
I think anyone who is as active with their dog as you are with Rita is a health conscious person anyway (we have ups and downs in our routines too). So I'm not surprised at how good Rita looks, and I think your judgment can be trusted to keep her at the right weight! And even just the fact that we're willing to go through the exercise shows that we are at least trying to stay on top of our pets' health. Now, why am I not surprised that you "went there" on the whole weiner/Weiner thing? :)ReplyDelete