Conducting indirect calorimetry studies in companion animals

M. A. Gooding, L. L. McKnight, Jon J Ramsey, A. K. Shoveller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


To optimize the health and well-being of companion animals, a robust understanding of energy and macronutrient metabolism in these species is necessary. Calorimetry is considered the gold standard for measuring energy expenditure (Q). This chapter examines the use of indirect calorimetry to quantify Q in companion animals and a summary of the published feline and canine literature is provided. As Q can be affected by a number of factors, especially environment, a discussion of the behavioural idiosyncrasies of cats and dogs are provided. To successfully achieve acclimation, behavioural idiosyncrasies of dogs and cats need to be considered and measures to adequately acclimate them to the equipment and handling associated with indirect calorimetry methodology should be utilized. Reports using calorimetry in cats have for the most part included details on behavioural acclimation, the feeding paradigm, and environmental factors and, in general, are in agreement. As a result, the range in published Q values is 124-250 kJ/kg body weight/d for fasting and post feeding and ad libitum food availability. In contrast, reports using calorimetry in dogs often lack any consideration of behavioural acclimation or understanding of breed differences, age, gender, body weight and condition, lean body mass, ambient and chamber temperature and relative humidity, feeding regime, and seasonal effects. As a result, the range in published Q values is considerable, 278-711 kJ/kg0.75/d for fasted and post-prandial resting Q. Future literature should include descriptions of acclimation, monitoring of stress responses, and consideration of other measurements of energy expenditure in addition to environmental conditions and animal characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIndirect Calorimetry
Subtitle of host publicationTechniques, Computations and Applications
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9789086868094
ISBN (Print)9789086862610
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Acclimation
  • Behaviour
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Energy expenditure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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