The idea of measuring your pet's food seems pretty straightforward, right? Just scoop it out and serve! In general, that idea is right, but if you're not careful it can lead to variation in the amount of food your pet gets at each meal and unintentionally result in weight gain and other problems.
Measuring your pet’s food accurately is the first step in keeping mealtime consistent for your pet. After all, being a rock star pet parent includes keeping things predictable and steady for your four-legged family member. Here are a few ways to approach building their bowl with confidence each day.1. Pick the right cup.
Designate a specific measuring cup just for your pet's food. Ideally, the cup you use for kibble should be one meant for measuring dry foods. If you choose another type of cup, it should have a line indicating the correct amount of food. Most pet food labels give the recommended feeding amount in cups making it easy to use a standard measuring cup from your kitchen that you would otherwise use for cooking or baking. While many of us pet parents are comfortable sharing with our pets, having a separate cup for your pet's food helps keep things clean and avoids unintentionally mixing ingredients
If you have a smaller pet, you may consider using a smaller cup. For example, if your cat needs ½ cup of food each day, using a ¼ cup measuring cup will make serving breakfast and dinner simple!2. Customize your cup.
Are standard measuring cups just not quite working for your pet? Another option is to create a special cup where the top is set to hold the exact amount of food your pet needs at each meal. For example, you might take a clear plastic cup and cut it down to your desired level.3. Watch those scoops!
When scooping your pet's food, be sure to keep the food level on each and every scoop. A correctly measured scoop should be filled to the proper mark and then leveled off to remove any excess food. A few extra pieces of kibble may not seem like a lot, but they really add up over time.
4. Weigh it out.
Some pet parents find it easier to weigh their pet’s food. If you have a kitchen scale, you can use it to weigh out the food. You will need to tare, or clear out, the weight of the bowl so you are just measuring the weight of the food. This method can be helpful if there are several textures of food, such as dry and wet, going into the bowl.5. Winning with wet food.
Measuring wet food can be tricky. Luckily, many pet food companies know this, so the recommended amount will be in cans, such as a full can or a half can. If you need to use a different amount, weighing the food can be very helpful. If you have leftover food, it can usually be covered and stored in the refrigerator until your pet's next meal. Try warming it up in the microwave to make these leftovers extra tasty.
6. Portion it out.
Pre-measured servings can make mealtime a snap. We all know preparing meals ahead of time makes life easier, so why not do the same for your pets? This method is particularly smart for when they go to camp or to grandma's house. It's also helpful if you have several household members responsible for feeding your pets. We do not recommend transferring kibble from its original packaging for long-term storage, but it's a great solution for a short trip where there will likely be some extra treats.
You may still be asking yourself, why is it important to be so precise? There are two main reasons for all this measuring. First, closely monitoring the amount your pet eats will allow you to easily know if there is a big change to their eating pattern. A sudden change in eating habits can signal your pet may need a quick checkup from their vet. It is easier to tell exactly when your pet became more or less interested in eating if their food is measured carefully. Second, measuring your pet's food allows you to adjust the amount they eat each day to accommodate their unique caloric needs. Some pets may need to gain or lose weight and knowing their baseline food intake will help you tweak their diet to meet their specific goals.
Pro pet parent tip: Keeping track of treats is really tricky. Try keeping a food log for your pet over a couple of days. Anything (yes, anything) that goes in their mouth should be written down even if it's a toy or something to keep them busy. This tracking will give you a good idea if hidden calories are sneaking into their diet. This is very helpful for pets who could stand to be a bit trimmer and more sensitive pets.
Still have questions?
Still wondering if the amount of food your pet gets is right for them? Or are you curious about how treating impacts your pet's feeding plan? Our pet nutrition team is here for you. Send us an email, give us a call, or connect with us through LiveChat. We'd love to talk through your pet's unique nutritional needs!