I am trying to figure out how much I should be feeding my dog per day. I know there is the recommendation on the side of the bag, but I am curious whether that recommendation is for neutered or intact dogs. I know that desexed animals generally need 30% less calories per day than their intact counterparts, but I also understand that simply reducing my pets food intake by 30% can lead to nutritional deficiencies if the food is not formulated to be fed as such. I attempted to reach out to the food company to ask them this exact question, but they responded vaguely, saying:
“*Pet food* is approved for all life stages. With the exception of Optimal Weight and Senior Health, these are formulated for adult dogs only. Our formulas meet the nutritional standards established by the National Research Council and AAFCO to ensure a feed has all known required nutrients in proper amount and proportion based on a dog’s life stage. We recommend following the feeding guidelines listed on the label as this can vary depending on the *Pet food* Recipe you are feeding, these measurements are given for their daily intake.”
However, AAFCO recognizes only three life stages: growth, maintenance, and gestation/lactation. My understanding of foods labeled as “all life stages” is that in order to qualify as nutritionally complete for all the recognized life stages, they must be formulated for the one that has the highest calorie requirement, gestation/lactation. I am wondering if I should then be feeding my dog less than it says on the bag. If so, by how much? I am hesitant to consult my current veterinarian about this because in the past they have labeled my animals as either under or overweight seemingly based purely on weight alone without factoring in body condition or activity level. I really just want my pets to be healthy and to do right be them.
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