How Much Food Should My Dog Be Eating?

Nutrition and Feeding Tips for Dogs

One of the most common questions pet parents have about taking care of their dog is how much they should be feeding them. And with the growing pet obesity epidemic (more than half of US pets are now considered overweight or obese), it’s a question that demands answers now more than ever.

At the same time, there are few blanket statements we can safely make about the amount you should be feeding your dog. Breed, activity levels, health status, medical history, age, food brand etc. all play a role in determining what the “right” amount is.

So if you’re concerned about your dog’s weight (or just need confirmation that you’re doing the right thing), please consult your vet as soon as possible. Only they can make an informed recommendation that takes into account all relevant factors.

With that said, here are 10 helpful tips to keep in mind when thinking about portion control for your dog:

Tips to Feed Your Dog the Right Amount of Food

1. Puppies should be with their mother until at least the first eight weeks of their lives, only she can provide the necessary nutrition to ensure they grow up healthy.

2. Puppies should be fed three to four times a day. It’s highly recommended that you feed them specialty puppy food to satisfy their unique needs.

3. As a general rule, adult dogs should be fed twice a day.

4. Very active dogs (especially when it’s very hot/cold) need to consume more than the recommended amount.

5. You should be able to feel your dog’s ribs with your fingertips under a thin layer of fat. If not, your dog may be overweight.

6. All quality dog food brands should include a feeding guide somewhere on the bag. Bring it with you to the vet so he or she can make a more informed decision regarding your dog’s diet.

7. Because high-quality dog food is more nutritious, you may not need to feed your dog as much as if you used lower quality food.

8. Avoid foods that contain “fillers” like wheat, corn and soy; they lack nutritional value and are usually only used to add volume to the food.

9. Dogs who are recovering from surgery or prolonged illness may require extra food to help recuperate more quickly.

10. Although it’s convenient to give your dog table scraps, we recommend against it. People food – although it tastes delicious to many canines – is rarely healthy for them.

Get The Best For Your Dog!

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Comments 2

  1. Nouble

    I’ll give this post a pass for its stance on people food. The myth has been perpetuated for several decades so kibble would be the only food fed. (I’m not going to touch on it’s biological inappropriateness.) Though, I have to admit not all people food’s good for your dogs. Foods such as onions, garlic, chocolate, etc. can kill in a few minutes. However, some actually have benefits. You just shouldn’t feed your dog a meal out of those. That’d just create more problems than needed. (That’d also give vets more anecdotal evidence to claim kibble’s the only healthy option.)

    The obesity epidemic’s essentially a marketing ploy for humans, why should be legitimate for pets? Considering the range of acceptable weights can be kind of large (about 20%), how you determine what’s considered overweight?

    Despite my two points of criticism, I’ll admit that this post gives great tips.

  2. James Bergman

    I have always had a hard time figuring out how much dog food my dog needs. I try to follow the guidelines on the package, but sometimes it doesn’t seem to be enough. It is probably because he is kind of active. I like the idea of talking to my vet about the how much to feed my dog. Thanks for the tip!

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