Many of our followers email us regularly asking the question “how much food should I feed my dog?” We thought it would be helpful to provide answers to some of the questions we receive about the quantity of food you should be giving your dog.
How Much Should I Feed My Dog After Giving Birth?
Providing proper nutrition during pregnancy and lactation for the female is essential. Developing puppies depend upon the mother’s diet for essential nutrients, while the female needs to maintain good body condition and be prepared for the stress of lactation.
Fortunately, a feeding program for the reproducing female needs not be complex. Diets containing more than 1600 digestible calories per pound of food and at least 21 percent protein are recommended. The easiest way to ensure proper nutrition is to feed a good quality dog food that is labeled complete and balanced for all life stages such as Purina Dog Chow brand dog food or Purina brand Hi Pro dog meal.
How Much Raw Food Should I Feed My Dog Daily?
So you want to feed a homemade raw diet to your dog but you don’t know what quantity he or she should be getting. The general guideline is to feed 2 to 3% of your pet’s ideal adult body weight. That means if your pet is overweight, you should calculate the food based on their ideal weight, rather than their current weight. The same goes for growing puppies or kittens; they should be fed based on their adult weight, split into 3 to 4 meals throughout the day. Remember that every animal is different, and some will need more or less than others depending on things such as energy level, amount of exercise, metabolism, and even genetics or breed.
How Much Should I Feed My Dog to Lose Weight?
In 2015, an estimated 53.8% of US dogs were overweight or obese.
University of Georgia veterinary surgeon and APOP Board member Dr. Steve Budsberg agrees. “We’re seeing more ‘super-obese’ dogs with devastating knee, hip, and elbow injuries and disease than ever before. Obesity creates tremendous mechanical stresses on bones and joints and that can lead to serious pain and suffering.” The reality is that obesity kills and numerous studies have linked obesity with type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, many forms of cancer, and decreased life expectancy. Our survey validates the notion that obese pets tend to live shorter lives with more medical problems
Is Your Dog Overweight?
To tell if your pet could shed a few pounds, feel around his ribs and spine. You should be able to locate both with only a thin layer of fat separating the skin from the bones. If you can’t find the ribcage, you have an overweight dog.
Ask your veterinarian to evaluate your pooch’s size at every check-up. Once your canine reaches maturity, ask for his optimal weight. As a rule of thumb, 15% above that weight is obese; zero to 15% is overweight.
Overweight Dogs: Blame the Breed
Some breeds are prone to obesity, while others (Greyhounds, German Shepherds, Yorkshire Terriers), are typically slim. Small breeds with a propensity for heftiness include:
- Cairn Terriers
- Scottish Terriers
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
- Cocker Spaniels
- Basset Hounds
- Golden Retrievers
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Saint Bernards
How Should I Begin a Weight Loss Program for My Dog?
“Fewer calories in plus more calories out equals weight loss.”
Theoretically, weight loss seems simple enough: fewer calories in plus more calories out equals weight loss. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. You should never put your dog on a diet without the assistance of your veterinary healthcare team. There may be an underlying medical condition that is causing or contributing to your dog’s excess weight. Some common diseases associated with weight gain include hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease). These diseases, along with others, should be eliminated as possible causes or contributors to your dog’s weight problem prior to beginning a diet. Too many dogs start on a diet and fail to lose weight simply because the diet wasn’t the problem – a disease was. Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination and recommend blood tests to ensure that there are no obstacles to weight loss for your pet.
How Much Should I Feed My Dog to Promote Weight Loss?
In order to answer this question, your veterinarian will need to calculate your dog’s ideal weight based on its breed and size. Based on your dog’s degree of excess weight, your veterinarian may recommend a target weight higher than the ideal weight to start. After the dog loses this weight, a re-evaluation will be made to determine whether further weight loss is needed. A safe weight loss for most dogs is 3-5% body weight loss per month.
There are formulas and charts that can be used to calculate exactly how many calories your dog requires to maintain its body weight, and how many calories it needs to achieve its ideal body weight. A basic formula for weight loss in dogs is:
- [70 x (ideal weight in kg)] ¾ or [70 x (ideal weight in kg)] to the ¾ power
- RER in kcal/day = 30(body weight in kilograms) + 70
To save you making the calculations, the following chart provides calorie requirements based on weight ranges, as follows:
Ideal Weight (kgs) – Calories to Feed Your Dog
Note: This is a general guideline only and is not meant as a substitute from your veterinarian’s specific recommendations.
Related Article: The Ultimate List of Things Dogs Can & Can’t Eat!
How Much Dry Food Should I Feed My Dog
Start by purchasing the right type of high-quality dry food for your dog’s age and size. The amount of dry food your dog requires depends on his activity level and overall health and weight. It also depends on whether your dog receives canned as well as dry food. Your veterinarian can give you advice.
Portion Control Versus Free Choice
Many dog owners divide their pet’s meals into two or three feedings daily, with the same amount of food served at each meal. Others allow dogs to consume dry food freely. While the free choice method works for some dogs — those who don’t tend to overeat — in other dogs it’s an invitation to obesity. Another alternative is placing food down for a certain period, perhaps half an hour, then removing the dish with any unconsumed food. You can repeat this process two or three times a day.
Athlete Versus Couch Potato
An athletic or working canine, who spends much of his day in training or on the job, requires more dry dog food than the “couch potato.” For the latter, getting off the sofa and padding over to the food bowl might provide his major exercise. An athletic dog might require 20 to 40 percent more dry food daily than the average canine of the same size, while the couch potato type can thrive on 10 percent less than average.