Are you confused too about what and how much to feed your dog? If yes, then you are definitely at the right place because here, in this article, am going to solve all of your ambiguities related to feeding protocols for dogs of all sizes. Have you ever noticed why there are specifications for feeding your animals? Because just like human beings, nutritional requirements for animals also depend on their height, weight, and level of physical activity, when they are fed without considering their requirements their physical, mental, and even emotional health may be affected adversely.
Now let’s continue with this very important topic How much food should I feed my dog which will provide all possible solutions for the problems you are facing.
Why does the correct amount of food matters?
When you fail to fulfill the nutritional requirements of your fur babies then they may get serious health issues. Nutritional requirements don’t only refer to under nutrition, over-nutrition also can be caused due to irresponsible feeding practices and ultimately it causes obesity which itself is a disease. Malnutrition in dogs may cause:
- Musculoskeletal problems like osteoarthritis, ligament ruptures, and intervertebral disk-related issues
- Congestive heart failure
- Difficulty in breathing
- Cushing’s disease (when the body makes too much of the stress hormone-the cortisol)
- Skin disorders
- Some types of cancer
- Reduced quality and longevity of life
How to find out the correct amount of food?
As I already have discussed the right amount of Food for your dog greatly depends on its size, weight, and physical activity. Along with these factors type of food and the number of meals also matter. You can find out caloric requirements in 2 ways, the first one is by taking a look at a feeding guide present on your dog food’s label and the second one is by calculating the calories with the help of a calorie calculator for dogs by putting its current weight along with physical activity but keep it in your mind that your dog’s nutritional requirements may vary 20-25% more or less than according to the calculator.
|In active or senior activity level||15–30 minutes of exercise each day; or over 7 years old|
|Average activity level||30–60 minutes of exercise each day|
|Active Activity Level||60–120 minutes of exercise each day|
Whatever way you follow, just always keep in touch with your Veterinarian for making the right decisions for your beloved ones.
What Should Be in Your Dog’s Bowl?
To maintain an ideal body weight, your dog needs complete and balanced nutrition to meet the needs associated with his size, age, and lifestyle. For example, a dog having an active lifestyle must get higher calorie and protein levels, while less active dogs may require food that is lower in calories.
How much food should I feed my dog according to its size?
In general, dogs should be fed at least twice a day. Breed, age, size, and energy level all contribute to assessing how often dogs should eat and how much. Dogs with medical issues or specific dietary needs may require modified diet plans and guidelines on what they eat. Therefore, talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s lifestyle and eating patterns to make sure you’re meeting its nutritional needs.
According to me, fresh dog food is always a better option than dry kibble or wet canned food. You should always try to feed them freshly made food at least 2-3 times per week if are unable to feed them daily.
Requirements of dogs to fulfill their appetite according to their sizes are categorized below:
a) How much should I feed my puppy?
Since puppies are in their growing phase, they need more calories than adult dogs. Puppy nutrition is crucial as the quality and longevity of life depend on how that individual was fed when he was a baby and how well or poorly his immune system and body have developed. Puppies must have a specific amount of calcium in their diet, otherwise, they are prone to develop metabolic bone diseases such as arthritis.
Puppies need small, frequent meals. For the first few months, they will need small, frequent meals throughout the day as they transition from their mother’s milk to solid food. But when they grow to four months old, they can begin eating about three times per day, and after that, puppies can instantly graduate to twice-a-day feedings.
Generally, it is recommended to feed them every 6–8 hours which becomes approximately three to four times per day. It makes it easier for them to digest quickly and also to meet their nutritional requirements, otherwise, they can show signs of low blood sugar levels causing fatigue, weakness, muscle tremors, and even sometimes seizures. However, sometimes we care a little not much and feed them more than their requirements which causes obesity, so be careful about that pals!
Toy-breed puppies typically need 4 to 6 meals per day for the first three months. Medium-breed puppies will need three meals per day, and large-breed puppies need 3 to 4 meals per day. Though the breed is an important consideration because metabolism and energy levels can vary up to 30%.
Since puppies need more calories compared to adult dogs due to their activeness but these calories are reduced once they start growing so keep checking their requirements from 3-12 months.
b) How much should I feed my adult dog?
Don’t let your dog trick you into getting more meals per day compared to its requirements by making adorable puppy dog faces. Most dogs only require two meals per day, but if you find your dog barking and demanding more food then occasionally a healthy treat may be offered.
The point to ponder is not to feed your dog more than recommendations. Food labels can be misleading or confusing. Food labels can also over or under-calculate your canine’s requirements so the best way is to first determine its weight and feed accordingly.
|Adult Dog Size (lbs)||Dry Food Feeding Amount (Cups)|
|3-12 lbs||1/3 to 1|
|13-20 lbs||1 to 1-1/3|
|21-35 lbs||1-1/3 to 2|
|26-50 lbs||2 to 2-2/3|
|51-75 lbs||2-2/3 to 3-1/3|
|76-100 lbs||3-1/3 to 4-1/4|
|100 lbs plus||4-1/4 plus 1/4 cup for each 10 lbs of body weight over 100 lbs|
Most large breed dogs will weigh between 50 to 150 pounds, while small breeds weigh under 20 pounds. Knowing the correct weight of your dog helps you to find out the correct amount and also the number of meals it requires per day.
c) How much should I feed my senior dog?
Senior dogs should be fed as often as adult dogs, at least twice a day. However, they are fed comparatively a smaller amount because they are less active and do not burn as many calories. A senior dog-specific formula would be the best option but it’s always better to consult your vet before making any decisions.
d) How much should I feed my giant dog?
Giant breed dogs usually need to get more calories to maintain weight. But that does not mean you need to feed them all day, this can increase the risk of GDV/bloat. For this reason, meals are divided into two-three times per day. Typically, I do not recommend feeding them more than 2.5–3 cups per meal.
What sort of feeding pattern works?
Free-feeding, or making food available to your dog at all times, is often not recommended by veterinarians, free-feeding makes it difficult to keep track of each dog’s intake. Additionally, free feeding can lead to obesity. Sticking to a schedule can help your canine avoid grazing and can encourage good mealtime behavior. You should make a timetable for feeding your dog to keep that balance. Pet obesity has become an epidemic in many countries so be careful about your feeding practices.
If your dog needs to cut back some calories, check out “8 Easy Ways to Help Your Dog Lose Weight“. These are some of the tips that would definitely help you to control the appetite of your “hungry buddy”.
“TAKE HOME MESSAGE”
- Always try to feed your dogs according to their requirements. Consider their size and weight before feeding and always consult your vet before making any decisions.
- Try to fulfill their nutritional requirements by providing them with a balanced and nutritional diets.
- Try to feed them freshly made foods as well at least 2-3 times per week as they are much healthier, you love your fur baby, right? So always try to make the right food choices for them!