Energy levels in dogs and cats

Energy in dogs and cats is needed by the body to perform metabolic work, which includes maintaining and synthesizing body tissues, engaging in physical work, and regulating normal body temperature. Because of its critical importance, energy is always the first requirement met by an animal’s diet. Although all companion animals have the ability to self-regulate their energy intake, some do not always do so, and obesity is the result. Free-choice feeding of highly palatable foods and lack of appropriate exercise are frequently to blame. Portion-controlled feeding and appropriate levels of exercise are the best methods for controlling a pet’s energy balance, growth rate and weight.

Energy density (the number of calories provided by a food in a given weight or volume) is the most important factor in determining the quantity of food that a pet should eat each day. Energy density directly affects the amount of all other essential nutrients that an animal ingests. Expressing nutrient content on an energy density basis is the most accurate method. It puts the nutrients in a meaningful format.

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