Every dog owner has thought about the question of – “How much should I feed my dog/s?”.
In reality, most dog owners don’t know exactly how much they should feed their dogs each day. As the amount of food varies depending on the size, breed, health condition, activity level, and current weight.
Considering all of the above, it is not very simple to figure out exactly how much food is needed to maintain your dog’s health.
Generally, it is recommended to reach out to a canine nutritionist or a veterinarian who will be able to help in evaluating your dog, and the correct diet for them.
By getting a professional opinion, you can make sure to avoid overfeeding your friend, who will quickly become overweight. An obese dog is more susceptible to serious health conditions, greatly depleting their longevity and levels of happiness.
Keep reading to get a comprehensive sense of all necessary information to answer the age-old question of “How much should you feed your dog?”.
Food Variety Creates Variety In Feeding Requirement
Like humans, the type of food that your pet will eat determines the quantity of food necessary for maintenance and upkeep. In most cases, there are two categories of dog food: commercial and fresh.
Either comes with pros and cons, but greatly differs in terms of feeding requirement.
Commercial Dog Food
If you support your dog with a commercial diet, it should not be too hard to determine a nutritional guideline for your pet.
Commercial pet food providers are required to label the guidelines on the packaging. In most cases, covering everything you need to know about canine feeding on the labels of your food container.
Upholding to the instructions provided on the packaging is a sure proof way of securing your pet’s health via commercial guidelines. However, the guidelines are usually written in the format of one-size-fits-all.
As overweight dogs need fewer calories, whereas an active dog will need to compensate with more calories.
And depending on your canine’s health condition, he might require specific vitamins and minerals to support their current health or seek out improvements. For example, puppies with hypocalcemia required a calcium-rich feeding program, in order to support their bone depreciation.
When using commercial foods, it is best recommended to consult a veterinarian who will help choose an appropriate diet for your dog.
Fresh Dog Food
Many homeowners are negligent towards fresh dog food. Nonetheless, fresh dog food is practically healthier and more digestible for a dog. As even wet dog food, can’t come to match the nutritional value of fresh dog food.
With fresh dog food, you don’t have to worry about the transition from puppy to adult food – it’s food that matches all dog sizes, you just have to adjust the quantity accordingly.
Moreover, natural foods are rich in DHA, which enhances brain development, helping your dog stay sharp and respond well to any training.
Not to mention, that many commercial foods are far from their labeled standards. Did you know that the FDA allows rotting and diseased meat in pet food?
Dog Feeding Made Simple
Now that we covered the dietary categories, we can move on to cover the actual process of feeding your dog. And by doing so, we can answer the question of “How much should you feed your dog?”
How Much Should A Puppy Eat?
Puppies are notoriously known for rapid growth, and in reality – require more food than an adult dog. The nutrition is critical to the development of your pups, as they require minerals for proper bone and organ growth.
Beyond this, a specific amount of calcium is necessary to upkeep and prevent orthopedic conditions, such as metabolic bone disease and early-onset arthritis.
And toy-breed pups are susceptible to hypoglycemia, so you have to match the diet to the breed of your dog to secure their well being.
A puppy requires a plan that supports frequent small feeds. You have to learn how to provide small meals throughout the day as your puppy transitions from mother’s milk to actual food. At about four months, your puppy can start to feast thrice a day, but will soon switch to the recommended twice a day.
During growth, eating three to four times per day – helps your puppies keep their energy levels up via simple digestion and quick metabolism. However, overfeeding your puppies is a bad idea, as they can develop overweight tendencies growing into adult dogs.
A toy-breed pup will require anywhere from four to six meals per day for the first months of their life. A medium-breed pup needs three meals per day. A large-breed pup will eat three to four times a day.
However, even the breed doesn’t determine the quantity as each dog has a definitive metabolism and energy level that can adjust the quantity up and down by 30%.
In addition to the above, it is important to retain a consistent caloric intake for your pups from four to twelve months of age. They use fewer calories as they grow older, so make sure to keep track of growth.
How Much Should An Adult Dog Eat?
We all know how dogs are good at asking for food. Those manipulative eyes, asking you for that piece of sweet and sour food. Don’t let your dog trick you, as most dogs only require a feed of twice per day.
However, a begging dog is worse than a fulfilled dog. Give it a treat, let your doggy have some fun.
Food labels are often confusing and misleading. And generic feeding charts provide values that are too large or outdated for modern-day dogs.
To determine the quantity of food, you have to estimate your dog’s adult weight. Large breed dogs weight anywhere from 50 to 150 lbs, whereas small breeds usually weight under 20 lbs.
The weight of your dog’s same-sex parent is a good place to start, as they will inherit a large base of their weight genetics.
From there, you can estimate the calories required for their weight using this calculator.
Does My Dog Need A Feeding Schedule?
Leaving your dog to eat whenever it wants is not recommended. This is called free-feeding, and can quickly develop a poor attitude in your doggy.
For multiple-dog households, free-feeding makes it difficult to track your dog’s intakes. Additionally, a free-fed dog is more susceptible to being overweight.
This overweight dog guide can help establish if your dog is obese.
Anyhow, a feeding schedule will help your dog not graze, and feel like part of the family by following mealtime behavior. You can consult with a vet to create a meal plan for your dog.
Once again, there is no simple way to determine how much your dog should be eating. The correct size of the food, how many times per day, your dog’s size, their metabolic rate, and their activity levels are still left to be determined.
An Attempt At Determining Dog Feed Quantity
By using the information below, we can try to approximate the feed quantity for your dog over a 24 hour period. An adult dog should eat about twice per day, a puppy anywhere from 3 upwards.
Using dog data, you can try out this simple formula.
Use this dog food calculator to determine quantity by inputting this data:
- Enter ideal dog weight or current weight
- Select dog age and activity levels
- Insert “calories per serving” of your dog food
Acquire a numeric value for the quantity. Use a measuring cup and feed your dog appropriately.
Of course, these values are approximate, and each dog requires special treatment. Remember that this calculator is for adult dogs only, and bases the info off of ideal weight.
So make sure to keep track of your dog’s weight, and adjust accordingly.
Using the information above, you can estimate that if you have an inactive 30 lbs terrier who gains weight easily, you might want to start off with 2 cups of food per day. But if you have an active 40 lb shetland sheepdog – you might want to feed it more.
Now, you can use a scale or body condition scoring to make your feeds more accurate. Check on your dog bi-weekly or monthly and track results. If your dog is gaining or losing weight, adjust the food portions to compensate.
In general, dogs who:
- Have an hourglass body structure when seen from above are at a healthy weight. With the stomach area should be narrower than hips and chest.
- Have a tucked stomach from the side are not obese. The chest is closer to the ground than the belly when standing.
- Have ribs that are not visible but can be felt with slight pressure.
Nonetheless, every time you change the food you feed your dog, you will have to repeat this process all over again.
So talk to your canine nutritionist and veterinarian and develop a custom diet plan for your pet. They will help you determine the exact amount based on the specifics of the situation.
This is all fine and any but only covers commercial food. So let’s cover fresh foods as well. A homemade dog food recipe usually comes with serving size guidelines.
You will still have to consider activity levels, weight, and dog age into consideration. Overweight dogs need fewer calories, active dogs need more calories.
If a recipe doesn’t have guidelines, a safe way to establish a feed plan is to feed your dog half a cup of food for every 20-25 pounds of their body weight. And if your dog is gaining or losing weight using this approximation, you have to adjust the quantity once again.
Beyond this, the nutritional structure of fresh food will affect the quantity of food required for your dog. Each dog has a nutrient deficiency or oversaturation, so consulting an expert is always a good thing to do.
If your dog’s diet cannot compensate with vitamins and minerals, the body will become deficient. Whereas, overcompensating will lead to nutrient toxicity and lead to illness.
How Much Should You Feed Your Dog Is Circumstantial
Now that we have covered everything you need to know about the question of “How much should you feed your dog?”. It can be assumed that you have come to realize that it varies case by case.
Each dog requires a certain plan, however – you can still feed your dog without a plan by closely tracking their well being and weight.
Anyway, the bottom line stands by consulting a canine nutritionist or veterinarian who will help you with a meal plan, no matter if you choose commercial foods or fresh foods.
And to be honest, you will have to speak to an expert more than once. As your dog grows, it’s nutritional needs change and has to be accommodated, as he develops and grows.
Make sure to get in touch with the vet on an annual check-up to make sure that his health is maintained and improving over time, and not worsening.
In simple words, a grown dog should be fed twice a day. The activity level, size, age, and breed affect the quantity and frequency of the wedding. Fresh food is always preferred over commercial food, as it is better for digestion and nutritional value.
Now speaking of fresh and commercial foods, we (Jemelli) provide the best of both worlds. Fresh homemade human-grade superfoods, full of antioxidants – made to support your dog and help it develop to its fullest potential. Check out our shop, filtered by breed.