Figuring out how much to feed a dog can be a little tricky. That is probably no surprise to newbie dog owners, but even people who have owned dogs for most of their lives may not know how much to feed a dog.
However, there is more to it than that. But how much to feed a dog to keep them both happy and healthy is something every dog owner needs to know.
How Much to Feed a Dog
If your dog is anything like mine, he probably would be happy to have a never-ending dog bowl. But as their pet parents, we need to be vigilant when it comes to practicing portion control to ensure our furry children’s health.
What happens you feed too much
Just like humans, dogs can overeat. When dogs eat too much, they can become overweight. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that in 2018, approximately 56-percent of dogs in the United States was overweight or obese.
Dog obesity can lead to a variety of health problems, including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Overall decreased live expectancy
As you can see, learning how much to feed a dog is one of the most important things you can do as a pet owner.
Figuring It Out
Figuring out how much to feed a dog is an easy process. But like figuring out how much to feed ourselves, it takes a little research to understand what you need to know.
Small and mighty
Just like humans, size matters. The bigger the dog, the more calories they will need from their food to live. A large dog like a 100-pound German Shepherd will require substantially more food than a 5-pound Chihuahua.
Age is a huge factor when figuring out how much to feed a dog. Human teenagers can seem to eat their weight in food while middle-aged adults can barely eat half that without gaining weight. Similarly, younger dogs need more food than older dogs.
Puppies and young dogs need a significant amount of calories and nutrients to support their growth in the first year of life. Adult dogs will need a little less food than puppies as they are not growing anymore.
The exception to this rule is pregnant and nursing females. A pregnant dog needs more calories to help support the growth of her puppies. Likewise, a nursing female will need even more food while she is nursing.
In general, senior dogs will need less food than non-senior adults. However, they may need more food as they get into their later years. That is because their bodies are less able to use food efficiently, and it may take more calories to keep weight on them.
While most dogs love to eat, how much to feed a dog is primarily determined by how active a dog is. Just like athletes need more calories to maintain their physiques, active dogs need more calories.
A working dog like a military dog or a guide dog that walks everywhere with their handler needs the right amount of food to maintain their energy levels. Likewise, a dog that spends most of his day sleeping will need less food.
Type of food
How much to feed a dog also depends on what kind of food you are feeding. Commercially prepared dry and wet food typically comes with charts on the back of the package that can help you determine how much to feed a dog based on age and activity.
In addition to commercial dog foods, home-cooked dog food and raw dog food have become more prevalent in recent years. If you are new to homemade or raw dog food, consult your veterinarian or a canine nutritionist to help determine how much food your dog needs.
Beyond the Bowl
Feeding your dog goes way beyond just how much to feed a dog. There are a few things every dog owner should keep in mind when it comes to feeding time.
Need the perfect dog bowl for your furry friend? Check out our collection here!
Feed on a schedule
Dogs are creatures of habit and do best when they have a predictable routine. Many veterinarians recommend feeding your dog twice a day, splitting their food portions between their morning and evening meals.
A valuable bonus for owners is that feeding on a schedule means that your dog will also poop at predictable times!
Treats calories count
Just like human parents may indulge their children, pet parents love to give their fur babies a nibble of their favorite treat.
If you do, remember that treats are often calorie heavy. Be sure to consider how many treats your pet has had and subtract that from how much food he should be eating.
But those puppy eyes
Every dog owner knows that look on their dog’s face after they finish their bowl that says, “But can’t I have some more?” While we may sneak a little bit more to our pups now and then, don’t let it become a habit.
If your dog is consistently asking for more food, it’s good to figure out why. Your vet will be able to tell you if your dog truly needs more food or if there are other reasons why he may be asking for an extra bowl.
Time for Dinner
When you know how much to feed a dog, you can give yourself a little peace of mind knowing that you are neither over nor underfeeding your dog. Ensuring that your dog always has the right amount of food, along with plenty of walks and exercise, can help keep your dog healthy and happy for years to come.
How much do you feed your dog? What are some tricks that you use to help keep your dog from overeating? Share some of your experience down in the comments below!
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