A Guide to Weighing Pet Food
Weighing pet food isn’t always something pet owners think to do – many prefer to use a cup to measure out their canine or kitty treats by volume, whilst some prefer to do the worst of all; guess! Here, we’re going to explain the importance of pet food scales to measure out feed, keeping your pet healthy and happy for longer.
Should pet food be measured by weight or volume?
Whilst you may think you have your pet food measuring technique down to a fine art, it’s actually extremely common for these estimates to be wrong. Whilst some pet owners use a specific pet food cup to measure their dog and cat food, some choose a mug, glass or even a spoon! Unsurprisingly, this leads to all kinds of inaccuracies in pet food portions.
Even with a specific pet food cup it’s difficult to know the exact measurements just by looking at it – one person’s halfway could be very different to another’s for example. According to research carried out on 100 pet owners by the Ontario Veterinary College at Canada’s University of Guelph, measurements were as much as 50% over and under when using a cup to measure out feed. What’s more is that the inaccuracies were greater for smaller volumes of food, meaning small pets were at the greatest risk of incorrect food measurements.
Even when measuring one full cup of pet food, a process that you would think would be unassailable, owners frequently fall into the trap of ‘heaping’ their measuring cups and giving their pets too much.
For the most accurate of portions, it’s recommended to us a pet food scale This ensures that your pet is getting the exact same amount of food every time, whereas simply estimating your pet food using a cup could lead to inconsistencies as previously stated. Weighing pet food also allows you to easily change your feeding amounts, which is handy for growing pets that may require a different amount of feed as they develop.
Why is portion size important?
A pet’s nutritional requirements are imperative to their overall wellbeing and development. Just as the food content is important, the portion sizes are just as crucial to ensuring that your pet receives the right amount of nutrients in their diet. This will help to give your pet the energy it needs for the day and ensure that their brain and organs are kept working properly. It’s also important to keep your pet from being overweight, which could health issues and joint problems.
For puppies and kittens, the right diet is even more crucial as it supports your pet through a hugely important stage in their early development. The right diet helps to protect from developing common health problems later down the line that can be caused by being either being overweight or simply eating the wrong things.
How do I weigh my pet food?
Weighing pet food is quick and simple and requires some pet food scales, a container and some pet food. Many pet food companies will state the amount kcal per grams or kilograms, so it’s always best to have an idea of the required daily calorie intake for your pet first.
Begin by setting up and turning on your pet food weighing scale, which can usually be a simple compact scale. We would recommend either of the Adam CB Compact Balance or the Adam CBX Compact Balance as both offer simple weighing with durable builds, all for an affordable price. Next, take a bowl or container and place it on the weighing pan and tare of the excess weight so that the display reads zero, then simply pour in or scoop the pet food until the correct display weight is shown.
Some pet owners like to mix tinned food with dog or cat biscuits or other food items, so having pet food scales with a percentage weighing function can be beneficial. This allows users to weigh out ingredients as a percentage off an overall predetermined 100% value, which could be 40% tinned food, 50% dry food and 10% of carrot or broccoli as a treat.
It’s also important to note that treat calories should not account for more than 10% of your pet’s overall calorie intake. This includes treats that you can buy at a pet shop, or any scraps that you give you pet from the kitchen table (we all do it!).
How do you know how much to feed your pet?
Knowing how much to feed you pet can be tricky, but there are a few factors that can be used as a gauge:
Age – All pets require different diets at different times in their lives. Puppies and kittens need high nutrition feeds that help with development, whilst aging dogs and cats need senior mixes to help keep them active and healthy for longer. Portion sizes will also change with age – puppies and kittens to start to eat more as they enter adulthood whilst older pets will start to slow down and require less food.
Weight – This is simple but worth mentioning. If your pet is overweight then you should feed it less. Likewise, if your pet is underweight then you should feed it more! You can tell if your animal is underweight by looking at the shape of the body – for dogs and cats you should be able to see the outline of the ribs and the belly should tuck up and not hang down. If your pet is gaining or losing weight without a change of diet, it’s always best to see a vet to rule out any health related issues.
Exercise amounts – How much food your pet receives should always take into account how much exercise it gets per day. For dogs this is easy as you can measure the frequency and lengths of walks, but for cats it can be a bit tricky. It’s recommended that your cat should have two 15 – 20 minute playtimes per day to keep them at a healthy level, so it could be a good idea to invest in some interactive toys that help to express their natural hunting behaviours.
How much should I feed my dog?
You’ve purchased your dog food weighing scale and you’ve looked up how to weigh dog food correctly, but how much do you weigh? Unfortunately, there is no simply answer for this because all food is different and contains different levels of calories and nutrients. Your dog food packaging should have guidelines printed on the back that will tell you roughly how much dog food is necessary. It’s important to note that this is often a daily amount, so must be divided by however many times you feed your dog per day.
How much should I feed my cat?
Cats are a bit easier to feed since they are all roughly the same size, but there are some considerations to make. Again, there is no easy fix when it comes to cat food amounts as all mixes differ in calory content, especially between dry and wet cat food. It’s best to once again read the label as that should give a good indication of portion sizes when using your cat food scale. Your cats portion size will however depend on whether it is an indoor or outdoor cat, as indoor cats may naturally exercise less and therefore require less daily calories.
As always with pet related queries, it’s always best to check with your vet to help set out the right dietary plan for your animal. Vets will be able to talk in depth about the required nutrients for cats and dogs and set out a plan that is tailored to your pet.
For more information on weighing pet food or our range of pet food scales, feel free to contact us on 01908 972 660 or Get In Touch with us.