How Much to Feed a Dog: The Proper Amount to Keep Your Pet Happy and Healthy
There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” when determining how much to feed a dog. Each dog, like every person, has individual needs that are based on their lifestyle. You must take each into consideration when deciding how much to feed each individual dog. Several attributes that factor into your decision include your dog’s weight, age, activity level, and type of food.
Feeding your dog too little can lead to malnourishment, but feeding them too much can lead to obesity. Each come with their own medical problems. If you can visibly see your dog’s ribs, odds are you need to feed them more. If your dog is overweight, they can develop congestive heart failure, skin disorders, musculoskeletal problems, Cushing’s disease, and cancer. Consult a veterinarian so they can help you work out the best plan for your dog’s health.
Weight is important to consider when determining how much to feed a dog. Depending on how close they are to their ideal weight, you may need to feed them more or less than the recommended amount. Never starve your dog to make them lose weight. This can lead to additional health problems. We want our dogs to be healthy and happy.
How to Know Your Dog Is at a Healthy Weight
There are a few key indicators to help you know at a glance if your dog is at a healthy weight.
- They have an hourglass shape when viewed from above. This means their shoulders and hips should be wider than their waist.
- When viewed from the side, their stomachs are tucked up. Their chest should be closer to the ground than their stomach.
- Their ribs should not be visible, but they can be felt with light pressure.
If you would like to see the indicators for malnourishment and obesity in dogs, check out the chart here.
Because of their young age, puppies will need more frequent feedings than adult dogs. To know how much to feed a dog with multiple meals, you will need to take the amount they need per day and split it up for each meal. Adult dogs are normally just fine with two meals a day, but puppies need about three or four a day.
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Taking activity level into account for how much to feed a dog is very similar to people. There is a general calorie range each person needs every day, but it varies from person to person. Have you looked at how much professional athletes eat? They need more because their bodies are burning calories at a faster rate.
It is the same with dogs. If your dog is very active, they will need more food. If your dog is inactive, they will not need as much. Activity levels help determine a dog’s metabolic rate, and more exercise means a faster metabolism.
Type of Food
The kind of food you give to your dog has a major impact on your dog’s health. Dogs need food with a lot of protein and nutrients. In fact, the first ingredient on your dog’s food label should be the protein. If that is not listed first, you need to find a different food. Grains, such as wheat or corn, are mostly fillers and do not give dogs the nutrients they need. If a dog is eating more filler, their body will use less of it, which means they will defecate more. The less grain you feed your dog, the more their body will use. This means smaller poop. In this situation, everyone wins.
Typically, the kinds of dog food that are packed with fillers are the cheap ones at the grocery store. For a more balanced diet, a more expensive food will most likely be better. Better yet, you can make your own dog food to ensure your furry friends get everything they need. Poor diets can also lead do a duller coat, more shedding, and body odor. Before switching to a better quality dog food, make sure you ease it into your dog’s diet. A quick change will upset their bowels and lead to diarrhea.
Different Feeding Charts for How Much to Feed a Dog
There are a few different feeding charts that you will find helpful as you figure out how much to feed your dog. Because there are several factors to take into consideration, these charts go by weight, age, and breed. The feeding chart by age will help if you have a puppy, whereas the charts by weight and breed will help you more with how much to feed adult dogs.
A Feeding Chart By Weight
It is important that this chart should use your dog’s ideal weight. This means that an overweight dog that should be 20 pounds but is 35 pounds, should be eating for their ideal weight and not their current weight. If you continue to feed them too much, you will contribute to their obesity. Be sure to consult a veterinarian before making major changes to your dog’s diet.
Generally, this is how much to feed a dog based on their weight. These amounts are for a 24 hour period, not a single feeding. If you do two feedings a day, split the amount of food listed below in two.
- 5 pounds: 1/2 cup to 5/8 cup
- 10 pounds: 3/4 cup to 1 cup
- 20 pounds: 1 1/4 cups to 1 3/4 cups
- 40 pounds: 2 1/4 cups to 3 cups
- 60 pounds: 3 cups to 4 cups
- 80 pounds: 3 2/3 cups to 5 cups
- 100 pounds: 4 1/4 to 6 cups
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A Feeding Chart By Age
With a new puppy, it can be difficult to know how much to feed a dog. They are constantly growing and going through changes. A good rule of thumb is to follow the above chart and adjust as your puppy continues to grow.
- The first 8 weeks: Puppies should not be separated from their mothers before eight weeks so they can still have their mother’s milk. At three or four weeks, you can start introducing solid foods, but do not immediately switch over. Puppies are ready to be separated when they prefer human company over their mother and siblings.
- 6 to 8 weeks: Feed your puppy three or four times a day, making sure they have a balanced diet.
- After 8 weeks: Start feeding your puppy twice a day.
- 3 to 6 months: At this point, your puppy will be teething. They may experience a loss of appetite as their new teeth come in, but do not be discouraged. Continue to feed them twice a day.
- 6 months to 1 year: Continue to make sure you are giving your puppy a balanced, nutritious diet. They may look grown up, but their body is still growing and developing. They need all the nutrients they can get!
- 1 year and above: Continue to feed twice a day. Adjust to the needs of your dog.
A Feeding Chart By Breed
This chart has weight on it, but it also lists breeds so you can get a better idea of how much to feed a dog. Sometimes, a good visual helps others to piece together ideas. Keep in mind that this only takes dry food into consideration.
- Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, Toy Poodle (up to 10 pounds): 1/4 cup to 3/4 cup
- Miniature Poodle, Scottish Terrier (10 to 25 pounds): 3/4 cup to 1 cup
- Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, Springer Spaniel (25 to 50 pounds): 1 cup to 2 cups
- Boxer, Labrador, Golden Retriever (50 t0 75 pounds): 2 cups to 2 1/2 cups
- Great Dane, St. Bernard, Mastiff (over 75 pounds): 2 cups to 4 cups
You may have noticed that this chart does not exactly match up to the other feeding chart by weight. This is where you need to look at your dog’s individual circumstances, like their age, activity level, and the kind of food they eat. This way, you will know how much to feed them.
Great Organic Dog Food
It takes a combination of factors to know how much to feed a dog. They are all different, whether it be their breed, age, weight, level of activity, and more. They will also have different preferences and sensitivities. If you are unsure of what kind of food to feed your dog, take a look at this list of our best organic dog foods. It can help you pick a well-balanced and nutritious diet for your furry friend.
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Related Article: Best Organic Dog Food: Choose the Right One for Your Furry Friend