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Thanksgiving is fast approaching and with it comes family, friends, good times and of course all that food.  Our pets are family and we sometimes break the rules to allow them some of these holiday pleasures as well.  You know, just a little!   Unlike us, however, your pet cannot make New Year resolutions about dieting and may not take kindly to an involuntary switch from fat to fiber in an attempt to lose weight.  So, we need to watch the caloric intake of our little furry friends.  Remember that treats and snacks should never exceed ten percent of your pet’s total caloric intake!

First, let’s define our terms.  When you see calories abbreviated in pet foods, you see it written as kcals (or 1000 calories).  When you see calories abbreviated for human foods, capital C stands for kcal!  An average adult man requires 3,000 Calories a day or 3,000 kcal/day.  How much does your dog need?  Here’s an easy way to figure it out:

Multiply the dog’s body weight (lbs.) x 15-20 kcals/lb. needed per day

So a 15 lb. dog then, requires around 225-300 kcals a day.  Let’s see how many calories are found in some holiday treats:

% of daily caloric need for a 15 lb. dog normally consuming 300 kcals/day

A small piece of apple pie          155 kcals                                52%

Gizzards                                    220 kcals                                73%

A glazed doughnut                    252 kcals                                84%

Pound cake (1 slice)                 348 kcals                                116%

Turkey skin (cooked) 3oz.        540 kcals                                180%

If your dog should “inadvertently” get some holiday treats, you should compensate for these extra calories by reducing his regular food intake.

If your pet becomes ill after eating table food, snacks or treats, you should call us for an appointment to have your pet examined and treated appropriately.


Happy Holidays!!

Laura Eirmann, DVM, Diplomate, ACVIM (Nutrition)

Dr. Eirmann graduated from Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine and completed an internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. She then practiced at Cornell University Companion Animal Hospital where she focused on preventative medicine and routine healthcare. She joined the general medicine staff at Oradell Animal Hospital in 1998 and developed a strong interest in veterinary nutrition. She completed a residency in clinical nutrition under the supervision of veterinary nutritionists at University of Pennsylvania, Tufts University, and Angell Memorial Animal Hospital and became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. She is responsible for overseeing the nutritional support of hospitalized patients at Oradell, consults with Oradell clinicians regarding the nutritional needs of their patients, and provides out patient consultation appointments for clients seeking dietary recommendations for their healthy or ill pets. Dr. Eirmann also works for Nestle Purina in addition to her part-time clinical appointments at Oradell Animal Hospital.
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