The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) oversees the information you see on your pet food. AAFCO allows pet food manufacturers to generate feeding guides in one of two ways.
One of these ways is to do a feeding trial. The food in question is fed to a kennel full of animals and the average amount required to maintain the animal at optimal weight is calculated. This way is expensive because of the extended care of a lot of animals. Alternatively, many manufacturers choose to simply calculate the calorie content of their food based upon (you guessed it) published feeding trials. Either way, these methods tend to recommend more food than required.
The truth is that no feeding guide can accurately predict the amount of food required by every pet. Metabolic rates and activity levels vary with every individual. The only accurate way is to actually look at your pet. Is its waist the narrowest part of its body when viewed from above? Can ribs be easily felt but not seen? If not, then your pet’s food intake needs to be lowered accordingly.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Hudson Veterinary Hospital at (330) 650-2929.