Depending on the research between 30% and 50% of our pets are overweight. Insufficient physical exercise combined with overfeeding is often the culprit.

A dog must generally be walked at least twice a day. Dogs need that exercise to unleash their energy and to avoid boredom. Depending on the breed, age and condition a dog could need to exercise more often or for longer.

With regard to overfeeding, there are two factors involved. On the other hand owners often follow the instructions on the packaging of their food based on the current weight of their dog instead of the target weight. In addition, giving snacks, how innocent in intention as can be, also often plays a negative role.

Target weight

All pets have a target weight depending on race, gender and age (see the guidelines for dogs per race and gender according to Ugent).  Depending on exercise and metabolism this target weight can be translated into the daily amount of food that your pet needs. Large pets need more, inactive pets less, fast eaters more, etc. .. Just like for us so to speak.

The concept of target weight is often misunderstood by many owners. The goal weight is the weight you dog or cat ideally should have, when it is not overweight. You should feed your pet according to that weight. However, most owners often start with the current, actual weight of their pet, which in up to 50% of the cases is higher than the target weight. Excess weight is thus encouraged, even if you give "light" food. 


In addition, many owners do not take the snacks that they give to their beloved four-legged friends into account. Hills published the informative diagram below in 2011. 


Dog of 10 kg
Average person
Cat of 5 kg
Average person

25g cheese

2 large muffins

25g cheese

3,5 hamburger

1 cookie

1 chocolate bar

1 crisp

0,5 chocolate bar

2 slices salami

1,5 hamburger


In itself there is nothing wrong with giving such snacks, as long as it is occasionally, AND that you realise that these snacks already meet a large part of your pet's energy needs. This means: that day have your dog or cat will no longer need his daily portion of food.

Do you want to know how you can give your pet the right food, taking into account the target weight and the snacks that you now and then give, check out our food simulator for dogs or cats.