We're Not Feeding Our Dogs Right

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Keeping your dog healthy is a struggle under the best of circumstances. Who can resist those pleading eyes when your pup is clearly wasting away, having never been fed before ever, or at least since breakfast? How can we compete with counter-surfing, street treat-scarfing, so-cute-when-they're-plump reality?

We're going to have to, if for no other reason than it's thinning out our wallets. Researchers at the University of Guelph have just released a study into how well we estimate kibble portions for Fido, and the results aren't great. It all comes down to portion sizes, as so many things do: "The study, designed to test dog owners' measuring skills, found owners were often inaccurate, ranging from a 48 percent underestimation to a 152 percent overestimation, depending on the device they used and the amount they tried to portion out."

We do have some simple fixes available, even if your hungry hound gets grumbly about them. The "gold standard" would be to weigh each portion, rather than eyeballing an amount in a measuring cup — much like Great British Bake-Off contestants rely on ingredient weight in their recipes. If that's not in the cards, however, a much simpler solution is to make sure your measuring cup doesn't leave a lot of room for guessing.

"The closer the measuring cup is to the portion you want to measure, the more accurate you'll be," said lead author Jason Coe. If your dog eats one cup per meal, use a one-cup measuring scoop rather than something larger. Maintaining a healthy weight for your pet can stave off future vet bills, not to mention keeping your dog food budget in check.