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WHICH FACTORS DETERMINE THE ENERGY NEEDS OF A DOG?

01/10/2019
WHICH FACTORS DETERMINE THE ENERGY NEEDS OF A DOG?

Energy requirements are determined by several factors: 

1. Body weight or size of the dog 
It is evident that large dogs require more energy than small dogs. The body weight of the dog is, of course, the most important factor. It is important to know that energy requirements do not increase linearly. Small dogs have a higher metabolism and a relatively larger body surface (factor determining energy loss). Therefore, small dogs need relatively more energy as expressed per kg of body weight. The energy requirements for maintenance can be calculated with following for­mula: 
ME = 132kcal X BW0.75 
Where: 
ME = metabolic energy requirement 
BW = body weight in kg 
(BW)0.75 = metabolic weight 
                
2. Activity 
Additional energy is required for physical exercise. Dogs doing a lot of physical exercise have higher energy requirements. 
The amount of energy necessary for exercise is dependent on the intensity and length of the activity. Greyhound racing is mostly a short time exercise and increa­ses energy requirements with only 10 to 20%, while sledge hound racing is a long term exercise increasing the requirements with a factor 2 to 4. 
 
Supplement for activity
Energy – protein
Minerals – vitamins
Requirements for maintenance
 
3. Physiological status 
During breeding, additional requirements exist for new body tissue production and/or milk production: 
• Gestation: nutritional requirements increase only in the second half of gestation (+/- 10% more energy/week). 
• Lactation: during the lactation period, the requirements are enormously increased. At the top of lactation, the requirements are 3 to 4 times higher. 
• Growth: During growth, supplementary energy is required for production of new body tissues. Young pups at the beginning of growth need about twice as much energy as adult dogs of the same size. Once 40% of the adult body weight is reached, growing dogs still need 60% more energy than adults. When 80% of the adult weight is reached, energy requirements are 20% higher than adults.
 
4. Environment 
The environment of the dog plays an important role. It is evident that dogs living in a small, heated apartment will require less energy than dogs housed in large outdoor kennels. Also temperature and season are determinants. During winter months, out­side housed dogs often eat double what they eat during the summer months. 

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