As you may know, I am an expat. I was born on a small island located in the middle of the Indian Ocean (it is called Reunion Island and I do recommend to visit, certainly one of the most beautiful islands there is !!!), lived in mainland France for 13 years and have been in Canada for almost 3 years now. One thing I learnt: each place functions in its own unique way, with its bunch of specific habits.
“Cup” vs “grams”
I knew this would apply to many different aspects of life. Must admit however that I never thought this would also apply to small animal nutrition! And I was really surprised – and confused- the first time I was asked: “How many cups per day should I feed my dog?” In the other countries I have been, the same type of question may be asked, but instead of “cup”, I’ll be asked about “grams”. In Canada – and North America in general – I quickly realised that the “cup” measure prevails when it comes to amount of food to feed an animal.
I looked into this “cup mystery” (at least it was mysterious to me at the beginning!) and that’s how I realised how people could be easily mistaken when focusing too much on “the cup” as a measuring unit.
The “cup”: NOT a standard unit
It is indeed important to realise that, when it comes to pet nutrition, “the cup” is NOT a standard unit. Depending on the diet considered indeed:
– It does NOT reflect a specific quantity of food: in our Maxi Adult diet, 1 cup equals 95 grams; while in our Labrador diet, 1 cup equals 78 grams. Let’s say you want to feed 6 cups/day to a dog: there will be a 100 gram difference/meal depending if you feed the animal the Maxi Adult or the Labrador diet, for the same number of cups.
– It does NOT reflect a specific amount of energy: 1 cup in the Maxi Adultformula contains 357 kcal/cup; in the Labrador formula, 1 cup contains 292 kcal/cup. Same type of example than the previous one: for 6 cups/day, there will be a 390 kcal difference between these two diets.
– As you now understand, it obviously does NOT reflect a specific amount of nutrients
I realised that in the field, many mistakes are made because the “cup” is used as a standard unit… while you now understand that depending on the diet characteristics, the number of cups per day an animal may require will vary. Having a look at the feeding guidelines is something that is always worth doing. Again, a simple detail that can make BIG difference in certain cases !