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Choosing the right dog food for your dog can be a challenge with all of the different options available. Whereas most cat breeds are generally about the same size and vary only moderately in activity level, dogs run the gamut from teeny tiny pocket puppies to huge Irish Wolfhounds. Since there is no “one size fits all” for dogs, how does one go about choosing the right food option?

Photo credit: mrbigben.com
The first thing to consider is the size of the kibble or chunks. A big dog will have no trouble gulping down kibble or meat chunks, but a smaller toy dog needs a food that reflects his small stature. Many top manufacturers are now offering food that is easier to chew, swallow and digest for small dogs. For very small breeds like Chihuahuas or Miniature Pinschers, a general “adult dog” kibble is going to be far too large for them to eat comfortably. For these small dogs, specialty dog foods for especially for small dogs are the best dog food, and of course come in many delicious flavors to tempt even the pickiest pooches.

Another thing to consider when selecting the right food for your dog is the breed’s energy requirements. Larger dogs require more carbohydrates to stay active than smaller dogs. Again, most general dog foods are catered to medium-to-large breeds and therefore contain more carbohydrates. Foods tailored specifically to smaller breeds contain less carbs and are more nutritionally suited to the needs of small dogs. Every dog food will have feeding directions on the bag, but it’s never a bad idea to do the math and figure out exactly how many calories your dog needs. Here’s the formula to determine exactly how many calories your dog requires:

Body weight (kg) x 30 + 70 = Daily Calories Needed

This formula can be used as a basic guideline for your dog’s caloric requirements. However, energy levels should also be taken into account. A dog who runs 5 miles a day will need more calories than a dog who never leaves the couch! Always monitor your pet’s weight carefully and adjust the amount of food being offered to reflect any weight changes or gains. Nutrition for dogs, just as it is for human, is a complicated subject; talk to your vet for help with determining the best diet for your dog’s needs. 

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