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For Healthy Dogs (all breeds)
Balancing for Adult Dogs
PDD was specifically engineered to balance meals and treats for all breeds of healthy dogs. By the time you have finished this tutorial you will be able to make complete and scientifically balanced homemade pet food that is precisely optimized for your adult dog.
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Step 1a - Adding your adult dog to the Pets List

Before you can create meals for your adult dog you must first add your dog to the database.

Click on the Pets button in the ribbon or on the Pets icon in the modules sidebar to launch the PETS module.

In the PETS module, click the ADD button on the ribbon. You should get the ADD PET dialog. Fill out species, call name, gender, and your pet's birthday.

After clicking the ADD button in the dialog, your adult dog now appears in the list.

Step 1b - Adding your adult dog (Editing Pet Data)

Highlight the recently added adult dog in the list and click the Edit button.

We are now in the Edit screen where you enter basic information for your dog as well as your dog's physiology (life stage, weight, etc.). Below the image section is the Pet Info Panel. The information in this panel is extremely important and you will not be able to create recipes for your newly added dog until all the required information is present. Click the physiology tab to enter life stage and weight data. On our next video we will detail how to enter a life stage record.

Step 1c - Adding your adult dog's Life Stage

In this video we will add a life stage record for our adult dog. Dogs have 5 life stages for females and 3 life stages for males. Females potentially have a gestating and lactating life stage. Female dogs may have multiple litters over their lifetime, so you will be able to store a complete history of life stage data. The software uses this life stage data to help determine your dog's nutrient requirements.

Click the Physiology tab in the Edit Pet module and then click the Life Stage tab. You are presented with a list. This allows you to record life stage records over the life of your dog.

Step 1d - Determining your dog's activity level and energy requirements

Your adult dogs' metabolizable energy (ME) requirements are determined by a simple formula (metabolic weight multiplied by some kcal factor):

ME = kcal x BW0.75

where kcal is represented by an activity level factor.

See the Activity Level tab for a list of all the activity level factors. Most household dogs have an activity level factor from 90 to 110.

From the table, we can see that Typical (Adult) has a kcal factor of 110, while Inactive (Adult, neutered) has a kcal factor of 90.

These figures are just estimates and should be used as a starting point. If your dog is losing or gaining weight, then adjust the activity level so that the kcal factor is either greater or lower.

 

 

 

TYPE CATEGORY DURATION INTENSITY FACTOR
Pet Typical (Adult) <3 hr/day Mainly Low 110
Pet Active (Young Adult) <3 hr/day Mainly High 140
Pet Active (Adult) 1-3 hr/day Mainly High 125
Pet Active (Adult, Large yard or farm) 1-3 hr/day Mainly High 130
Pet Highly Active (Adult) 3-6 hr/day Mainly High 175
Pet Inactive (Senior, neutered) <3 hr/day Mainly Low 90
Pet Inactive (Senior, intact) <3 hr/day Mainly Low 95
Pet Typical (Senior) <3 hr/day Mainly Low 100
Pet Inactive (Adult, neutered) <3 hr/day Mainly Low 90
Pet Inactive (Adult, intact) <3 hr/day Mainly Low 95
Working Light (e.g. police, prison, patrol,sniffer, guide dogs) <1 hr/day Mainly Low 130
Working Light (e.g. police, prison, patrol,sniffer, guide dogs) <2 hr/day Mainly Low 140
Working Light (e.g. police, prison, patrol,sniffer, guide dogs) <3 hr/day Mainly Low 150
Working Moderate (e.g. herding dogs, sprint racing huskies, greyhounds) 1 hr/day Mainly High 150
Working Moderate (e.g. herding dogs, sprint racing huskies, greyhounds) <2 hr/day Mainly High 160
Working Moderate (e.g. herding dogs, sprint racing huskies, greyhounds) <3 hr/day Mainly High 175
Working Heavy (e.g. racing huskies, hard-working herding dogs) 3 hr/day Mainly High 175
Working Heavy (e.g. racing huskies, hard-working herding dogs) 4 hr/day Mainly High 200
Working Heavy (e.g. racing huskies, hard-working herding dogs) 5 hr/day Mainly High 225
Working Heavy (e.g. racing huskies, hard-working herding dogs) 6 hr/day Mainly High 250

Step 1e - Adding your adult dog's weight and other data

Next we will enter a weight record for our adult dog. At approx. 3 years of age our dog weighs 6 lb.

Clicking on the Profile tab allows us to enter the remaining required data:

  1. Uncheck the Neutered checkbox,
  2. Select Ideal for Body Condition Score,
  3. Select "Inactive Pet (Adult, neutered, <3 hr/day, mainly low intensity)" for Activity Level,
  4. Select "Yorkshire Terrier" for Breed,
  5. Select "Small" for Breed Size, and finally,
  6. Click the SAVE button on the ribbon.

That's it! You can see that there is no more "REQUIRED" criteria in the PET INFO PANEL. You will now be able to create precisely balanced meals for your puppy.

Step 2a - Creating Recipes

First we click on the Recipes button in the ribbon. We are now in the Recipes module, where you can create, delete, copy, edit, and balance a recipe.

Next, we click the Add button in the ribbon. The Add Recipe dialog will appear. Give a name to the recipe and attach a pet. We will call this recipe, "Raw Lean Ground Beef," and attach our adult dog.

After you click the Add button in the Add Recipe dialog, a new record will appear in the recipes list. Highlight the new record and click the Recipe Balancer button in the ribbon. This launches the Recipe Balancer module, where you add ingredients and adjust amounts to achieve balance.

Step 2b - Safe Upper Limits

When formulating a diet for adult dogs it is important to make sure that there are no excesses for some nutrients. Safe upper limits will be integrated into our Pet Diet 365 line of products. The table to the right lists the safe upper limit of key nutrients for adult dogs based on the NRC recommended allowance.

We will pay particular attention to Total Fat, Linoleic Acid, and Vitamin D.

KEY NUTRIENTS FOR ADULT DOGS SAFE UPPER LIMIT (SUL)
Total Fat 597 %
Linoleic Acid 582 %
EPA + DHA 2545 %
Vitamin A 4221 %
Vitamin D 588 %

Step 2c - Continuing to Balance our Recipe

In "Step 2a - Creating Recipes", we started to balance a raw, ground beef recipe for our adult dog. In this video, we will continue balancing our recipe while discussing tips and tricks to follow to make the process easier. We will also discuss Safe Upper Limits (SULs).

We want to pay particular attention to Lysine, Calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D, as we continue to design our diet.

Step 3a - Editing your Recipe

You can edit your recipe and add additional criteria, such as recipe directions, recipe summary, notes, pointers and suggestions, complexity, prep time, and recipe categories.

This video shows how to edit your recipe as well as how to filter recipes by category and by other criteria. We show how to print a recipe and how to sort ingredients. Before we print, we show how to perform an Integrity Check, to ensure integrity of reports.

Step 3b - Making a Recipe Batch for 7 days

We are going to make a 7-day batch. We will take the gram weight of our recipe and multiply this amount by seven. Click the button Show Gram Weight in the ribbon. The footer of the ingredient list will give you the total gram weight. Click the calculator button in the ribbon and multiply this amount by 7. Copy this number to the clipboard and go to the Report Viewer module.

Click the Batch Food Report and start entering the parameters...

Step 3c - Assess your adult dog's body condition score (BCS)

An easy way to determine whether a dog is underweight or overweight is Body Condition Score (BCS).

You should evaluate your dog's BCS periodically.

Your goal is to keep your dog's BCS at either 4 or 5 on a 9-point scale.

If your dog has a BCS below 4 then you have to make adjustments to the diet. Likewise, if your dog's BCS is 6 or higher, then you need to make adjustments.

We have developed an easy way to modify your dog's diet based on BCS (see tables below).

As an example, we will consider what to do if your dog has a 3 score (thin) or a 6 score (slightly overweight). You wll use the same procedure to adjust up or down depending on your dog's score.

 

Case 1: your dog has a BCS of 3 (thin).

The strategy here is to move your dog to the next BCS category, until we have a score of 4 or 5. Look at the chart below.

Our dog has a BCS of 3. Find the multiplier beside the score of 3. You should have 1.25. Take the current weight of your dog and multiple by 1.25. This will give you the expected weight of your puppy with an ideal BCS of 5.

Next, enter this weight as the current weight for our dog in the PETS module.

Finally, open your recipe in the RECIPE BALANCER module and re-balance the recipe. Keep doing this every week until you have a BCS of 4 or 5.

 Score   Multiplier 
1 1.67
2 1.43
3 1.25
4 1.11

Adapted from de Montbrun, R. et al 2019.
PDD Body Condition Score Guidelines August 2019

 

Case 2: your dog has a BCS of 6 (slightly overweight).

The strategy here is to get your dog to an ideal BCS of 5. Look at the chart below.

Our dog has a BCS of 6. Find the multiplier beside the score of 6. You should have 0.9091. Take the current weight of your dog and multiple by 0.9091. This will give you the expected weight of your dog with an ideal BCS of 5.

Next, enter this weight as the current weight for our dog in the PETS module.

Finally, open your recipe in the RECIPE BALANCER module and re-balance the recipe. Keep doing this every week until you have a BCS of 5.

 Score   Multiplier 
6 0.9091
7 0.8334
8 0.7693
9 0.6897

Adapted from de Montbrun, R. et al 2019.
PDD Body Condition Score Guidelines August 2019

Score

Location Feature

Estimated
body fat (%)

% BW below or above BCS 5

1.
Emaciated

Ribs & other bony prominences Visible from a distance & easily palpable with no overlaying fat.
Abdomen Severe abdominal tuck when viewed from the side, exaggerated hourglass shape when viewed from above.
Tail base Prominent, raised bone structures with no tissue between the skin and bone. Obvious loss of muscle mass and no discernible body fat.

<4%

- ≥40%

2.
Very Thin

Ribs & other bony prominences Visible & easily palpable with no fat layer under the skin.
Abdomen Strong abdominal tuck when viewed from the side, accentuated hourglass shape when viewed from above.
Tail base Prominent, raised bone structures with no tissue between the skin and bone. Minimal loss of muscle mass.

4-10%

-30-40%

3.
Thin

Ribs & other bony prominences Discernible & easily palpable with minimal fat cover.
Abdomen Pronounced abdominal tuck when viewed from the side, marked hourglass shape when viewed from above.
Tail base Raised bony structures with little tissue between skin and bone.

5-15%

-20-30%

4.
Slightly
underweight

Ribs & other bony prominences Easily palpable with minimal fat cover.
Abdomen Abdominal tuck when viewed from the side, slightly marked hourglass shape when viewed from above.
Tail base Raised bony structures with little subcutaneous tissue.

10-20%

-10-15%

5.
Ideal

Ribs & other bony prominences Ribs not visible, but easily palpable, with thin layer of fat. Other bony prominences are palpable with slight amount of overlaying fat.
Abdomen Abdominal tuck when viewed from the side and well proportioned lumbar waist (hourglass shape) when viewed from above.
Tail base Smooth contour or some thickening, bony structures palpable under a thin layer of subcutaneous fat.

15-25%

0%

6.
Slightly
overweight

Ribs & other bony prominences Palpable with moderate fat cover.
Abdomen Less obvious abdominal tuck when viewed from the side, hourglass shape less pronounced when viewed from above.
Tail base Smooth contour or some thickening, bony structures remain palpable under moderate layer of subcutaneous fat.

20-30%

+10-15%

7.
Overweight

Ribs & other bony prominences Difficult to palpate, thick fat cover.
Abdomen Little abdominal tuck when viewed from the side or waist, and back slightly broadened when viewed from above.
Tail base Smooth contour or some thickening, bony structures remain palpable under subcutaneous fat.

25-35%

+20-30%

8.
Obese

Ribs & other bony prominences Ribs are very difficult to palpate, with thick layer of fat. Other bony prominences are distended with extensive fat deposit.
Tail base Appears thickened, difficult to palpate bony structures.
General Ventral bulge under abdomen, no waist, and back markedly broadened when viewed from above. Fat deposits over lumbar area and neck.

30-40%

+30-45%

9.
Grossly
Obese

Ribs & other bony prominences Ribs are very difficult to palpate, with massive layer of fat; other bony prominences are distended with extensive fat deposit between bone and skin.
Tail base Appears thickened, bony structures almost impossible to palpate.
General Pendulous ventral bulge under abdomen, no waist, back markedly broadened when viewed from above. Fat deposits over lumbar area, neck, face, limbs and in the groin. A dip may
form on the back when lumbar and thoracic fat bulges dorsally.

>40%

>45%

Adapted from Laflamme D 1997b, Laflamme DP 1993, Laflamme DP 2006, Laflamme DP et al. 1994, Mawby DI et al. 2004.
FEDIAF Nutritional Guidelines August 2018

Step 3d - Key points to remember when feeding your adult dog

The goals when feeding your adult dog are to maximize longevity and prevent disease. The food you feed your dog should provide the recommended allowances of all known required nutrients. Key ratios include calcium : phosphorus, linoleic acid : alpha-linolenic acid, and EPA : DHA.

Balance amino acids first and choose palatable ingredients

A simple method to follow when balancing for your adult dog:

  1. balance amino acids,
  2. balance fatty acids,
  3. balance minerals and vitamins
  4. remaining calorie target is as close to zero as possible (-30 to +30 kcal)

Don't forget to choose ingredients that are palatable to your dog. Remember that meat grinds (ground food) are good for mixing supplement powders, pureed veggies, etc.

Assess Body Condition Score (BCS) periodically.
Don't feed toxic foods and ingredients for dogs.
Don't use raw pig liver for copper
Safety Tips for handling raw pet food

Getting Started

View these tutorials to get a good overview of the capabilities of PDD for Windows.

How to balance a puppy

Everything you need to know to perfectly balance meals for your growing puppy.

How to balance an adult dog

All the ins and outs to choose energy requirements and balance for your adult dog.

How to balance a gestating bitch

How to ensure perfectly balanced recipes for your pregnant dog.

How to balance a lactating bitch

Find out how to create perfectly balanced meals for lactating dogs.

How to balance a kitten

Everything you need to know to perfectly balance meals for your growing kitten.

How to balance an adult cat

All the ins and outs to choose energy requirements and balance for your adult cat.

How to balance a gestating queen

How to ensure perfectly balanced recipes for your pregnant cat.

How to balance a lactating queen

Find out how to create perfectly balanced meals for lactating cats.

Taking the Next Step

Take your pet formulation skills to the next level. Choose one of the video tutorials below.

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Balance your pet's diet

We offer scientific, evidence-based DIY diet formulation to the world of homemade pet food. Take your pet diet formulation skills to the next level with the world's best pet nutrition software. Our software complies with the guidelines set by the 2006 NRC publication, "Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats". This publication is the gold standard for dog and cat nutrition worldwide. Download PDD today and get started designing dog and cat recipes with confidence using our advanced Pet Diet Formulator™. Designing diets is finally fun!

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