Step 4 Instructions
How to Select a Diet Food for your Dog
For most dog owners, the easiest and most economical option is to feed a commercial diet dog food.
But with hundreds of dog foods available, where do you start?
This short video will help you select a suitable diet food by outlining key information on dog food labels.
Let’s summarise these 4 steps to help make the best food choice for your four-pawed friend!
4 Steps to Select a Diet Food for your Dog
1. Be label wary!
Grocery store and pet retail outlets sell a wide variety of diet pet foods. The quality and nutritional content of this food varies greatly, so research is a must.
Purchase decisions based on food labels containing terms such as “weight control”, “optimal weight”, “reduced calories” and “reduced fat” do not necessarily guarantee suitability of the product for your dog.
Ensure you read the nutrition analysis (or guaranteed analysis) label first and let the numbers do the talking. Alternatively visit your local veterinary clinic for quality veterinary diet food.
2. Ensure food contains a reduced calorie content.
Calorie content is listed as metabolizable energy or ME. Aim for less than 3250 kcal/kg (or 325 kcal/100g ME.)
By selecting a calorie reduced food, your dog will be able to consume large enough portions to satisfy their hunger.
High calorie foods make dieting very difficult because portion sizes in accordance with dieting calorie allowance, will be very small. Not only are dogs left feeling unsatisfied, owners often feel mean.
Aim for dry foods with less than 3250 kcal/kg.
N.B Canned and wet dog foods automatically meet this lowered calorie concentration due to their high moisture content.
3. Ensure food contains a suitable protein content.
Foods containing protein levels suitable for your dog are displayed in the WAGSTA diet food database.
Protein content is important for several reasons. The main benefit being improved taste and providing your dog with a sense of satiety or fullness. By reducing your dog’s hunger level you are more likely to achieve successful weight loss.
Increased protein also helps to maintain muscle mass whilst dieting and helps to increase fat loss. Protein also provides a source of essential amino acids.
Your dog’s protein requirement is determined by their target weight. Check out recommended protein levels below:
Recommended Minimum Protein Levels According to Target Weight
|Healthy Target Weight||Minimum Pr.|
|2.5 kg||5lb 8oz||45 g|
|5 kg||11lb||53 g|
|10 kg||22lb||63 g|
|15 kg||33lb 1oz||70 g|
|20 kg||44lb 1oz||75 g|
|25 kg||55lb 2oz||80 g|
|30 kg||66lb 2oz||85 g|
|35 kg||77lb 2oz||86 g|
|40 kg||88lb 3oz||89 g|
|45 kg||99lb 3oz||92 g|
|50 kg||110lb 2oz||95 g|
E.g. a dog with a target weight of 5 kg (11 lb.) should be fed a food containing at least 53 grams of protein per 1000 kcal.
N.B If your dog’s target weight sits inbetween weight ranges aim for a protein content equal or greater than the preceding weight bracket e.g a dog with a target weight of 70 lbs. should be fed food with at least 85 g protein; a dog with a target weight of 19 kg should be fed food with at least 70 g protein.
4. Ignore feeding guidelines.
Ignore packet feeding guidelines. Instead use WAGSTA’s calculators to portion food according to your dog’s individual dieting calorie intake. Portion any treats your dog may receive by using the treat calculator.
Once you have decided on a diet food, continue feeding this food for your dog’s entire weight loss period.
No two foods contain the same calorie content, so mixing and matching foods will require you to constantly alter your dog’s portion size to ensure the correct calorie intake. Reduce portioning errors by feeding a single food source.