Feeding is an essential part of pet ownership. Pet owners spend significant time and money making sure their dogs are well-fed. But with so many dog breeds, foods, brands and advice, it can be challenging to know how much to feed your puppy or dog.
Learn how to determine how much to feed your dog to support its health and well-being.
Why Feeding the Correct Amount Matters
It can be hard to know exactly how much to feed your dog, so many pet owners choose to estimate the amount or allow their dogs to regulate themselves. But this isn’t always the best idea.
Some well-trained dogs may be able to self-regulate their food intake, but most cannot. So as the pet owner, it’s your responsibility to monitor food intake.
Undereating leads to:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Fur loss
- Bad breath
- Skin disorders
Overeating leads to:
- Skin disorders
- Some cancers
- Digestive distress
- Congestive heart failure
- Labored breathing
- Reduced quality of life
How to Find the Right Amount of Dog Food
Many factors go into deciding how much your dog needs to eat daily. Some important considerations to think about include:
What Type of Food to Offer
Wet and dry dog foods are both great options for dogs. A healthy wet dog food offers a higher moisture content to help dogs who can’t or don’t drink enough water and is typically easier to digest than dry food.
While freeze dried raw dog food is great for picky eaters or dogs that need a nutritional boost thanks to its raw freeze-drying techniques locking in nutrients.
Feeding Guides on the Bag
Check the bag’s food label for the brand’s recommended dog food serving size. Most serving sizes for dog foods are for 24 hours, not per meal. It’s important not to mistake the amount for each meal because this could lead to significant overeating.
Number of Meals
Your feeding schedule will be determined by your and your dog’s lifestyle. Adult dogs should eat two meals a day, approximately 10-12 hours apart, while puppies should eat three or more times a day. To know how much to feed your dog at each meal, divide the serving size you’ve calculated from the bag of dog food by the number of meals you offer your dog.
Metabolic Rate and Amount of Activity
The higher the metabolic rate, the more food a dog needs to maintain the same activity level and health. Inactive adult dogs should consume anywhere from 296 to 1540 calories, while active dogs should eat from 404 to 2,100 calories, depending on their weight.
As dogs age, their nutritional needs change. Puppies should eat about 990 calories per day to support their growth. Senior dogs need fewer calories per day to compensate for their slowing metabolism.
Your dog’s weight is another factor in determining food amounts. Small breeds, like a 10-pound chihuahua, do not need the same amount as a 90-pound German shepherd. A dog needs approximately 20 calories per pound of body weight per day. So a 90-pound dog needs 1,800 calories each day if they are moderately active.
If your dog has any health issues, your dog’s vet provides recommendations for your dog’s unique circumstances to help you manage your pet’s dietary needs. Your dog’s body condition should also be a factor.
If your dog is obese and needs to lose weight, you’ll need to change the amount of food you offer. For overweight dogs, decrease their daily energy intake by five calories per pound of bodyweight.
Find the Right Food for Your Dog
At Open Farm, we offer humanely raised and ethically sourced dog foods with high-end human-grade premium ingredients. Our dog foods are specially formulated to support your dog’s health and provide them with the nutrition they need to have the best quality of life.
Whether you’re looking for wet, freeze dried puppy formula or specialty options, with Open Farm, you can ensure that your dog is given the best to live a healthy, active life.