Have you ever tried to make it through a long day of school or work without eating a big enough breakfast? What about some physically demanding chores or a long bike ride? If you started to feel weak, unable to concentrate, or irritable it could be because you didn’t properly fuel up for the task at hand.
Now, what about how you are feeding your dog? Is the type and amount of food you give them enough for them to focus on training, get enough exercise or want to play? If we’ve piqued your curiosity, read on to learn more about how to feed your dog’s energy needs.
How to fuel your dog based on their energy needs
The most important thing to do when looking at a dog’s diet is to make sure what they are eating is complete and balanced. On your dog food’s labels, you should see something called a statement of nutritional adequacy.
Make sure it says that the food meets nutrient profiles established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) or that it has passed feeding trials designed to AAFCO standards.
When you sign up for a subscription with Ollie, we ask you to fill out a questionnaire about your pup, where we ask about their breed or breeds, age, size, weight, if they are neutered or spayed and how active they are. This allows us to calculate the right plan for your pup.
While most companies give you a rough approximation of how much you should be feeding your dog that is based on their size, we use a proprietary algorithm that was developed with a veterinary nutritionist to calculate your dog’s caloric needs.
It takes into account the information you shared in their profile, including weight, body composition, breed, and activity level, to ensure that your dog is getting the precise nutrition they need. You can also tell us your dog's 'ideal' weight, and we will portion their food accordingly to help them gain or lose weight in a sustainable way.
Our food is approved by AAFCO to meet the nutritional needs of all life stages. This means our food provides appropriate nutrition for all dogs from puppies to senior citizens! That said, a puppy and an older dog may have different feeding schedules and portion sizes.
With an all life stages product, you can feed a young puppy together with an adult dog at meal time. The food covers the nutrient requirements for puppies as well as adults, however supervision should be in effect so the adult dog is not over-eating their required calories.
With an adult maintenance food, the recipe is developed for the needs on an adult dog (usually above 1 year in age). Adult maintenance food tends to have lower protein content as well as lower calories so the dog does not become obese.
The minimum protein requirement for a dog according to AAFCO’s nutrient profile is 22.5% min crude protein on a dry matter basis. If a protein level is higher than the dog’s body needs, the excess protein will be removed from the body in the form of urine. High protein content converts to nitrogen concentration in the urine can cause brown spots on the grass. If very high levels of proteins are fed over a period of time, the protein energy will sometimes be stored as fat in a dog’s body. A diet with too little protein however will cause the dog to show symptoms of lethargy, weakness, weight loss and dull looking coat.
What’s in Ollie's food?
Our food contains a mixture of human-grade meats for protein and fat, carefully selected fruit and vegetables for carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and superfoods like chia seeds, and cod liver oil to boost health.
We only use the good stuff so there are no cheap fillers like corn, soy, or wheat. While these can be inexpensive sources of energy, they don’t provide much in the way of nutritional value so we leave them out of our food.
We offer four delicious recipes so your pup can even enjoy some variety. Just like you, your pup might need a break from Chicken every once in a while, so we also offer Beef, Turkey, and Lamb recipes.
All recipes are gently cooked at low temperatures to keep them safe while preserving the nutrient content. They are packaged into easy-to-store packs and frozen to preserve freshness. We then ship them straight to your door for your pup to devour.
When to adjust your dog’s food
If your pup is going through some life changes, their diet may need to be adjusted. For example:
If your dog is pregnant or nursing
Like in humans, pregnant and nursing dogs have increased caloric needs to support their pregnancies and feeding. Make sure to chat with your vet about how to best support your dog at this very exciting time. If you are an Ollie customer, let us know so we can increase your portion sizes correctly!
If your dog is recovering from illness, injury, or a surgical procedure
If your dog is healing it may need a little bit more energy to recover fully. After a surgical procedure, we recommend a diet that has higher levels of protein, fat and easily digestible such as Ollie's Lamb recipe. Recovery dogs usually need a higher level of protein to support maintenance of lean body mass, higher level of fat and protein ratio, which means carbohydrate level will be lower as recovering dogs will be insulin resistant and a higher fat diet is often tastier to encourage a recovering dog to eat.
If your dog is participating in athletic events
The canine athlete may have additional caloric needs for intense training or competition day. It’s best to consult your vet and dog’s trainer about how to support them. Even if your dog is not a high-level competitor but participating in a dog sport for fun, it is important to make sure they are appropriately fueled.
If you change your dog’s exercise routine
If you and your pup are making the commitment to get more exercise, you want to make sure you are fueling your pup’s body right so they can get fit with you. Chat with your pup’s vet and your physician before beginning a new routine to make sure it is safe for both of you.
If your dog is on a weight gain or weight loss program
As your dog moves through life stages, its caloric needs may change. If you don’t change your dog’s diet accordingly you could find yourself with a pup who needs to lose or gain a few pounds. Work with your vet to get your dog back on track and to a healthy weight!
A complete and balanced diet is important to your dog’s energy level and overall health. As pup parents ourselves, we know how important is it to feed your pup the very best food, and that is why we are so proud to offer Ollie to all of our customers.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.