Feeding your dog a homemade diet is one of the best things that you can do for your pet's overall health and well-being. When I discuss this topic with pet owners, I always get asked “How much homemade dog food to feed my dog?” It's not an easy question to answer, but I'll explain how best to figure out the proper serving size for your pooch in this article.
You may be wondering why you even need to figure out the right serving size for your dog. I mean, can't you just watch his weight and make sure he's not gaining or losing?
The consequences of feeding your dog too much food are obvious. He'll become obese, which could lead to a slew of other health conditions like diabetes, joint problems, certain types of cancer and heart and respiratory issues.
Did you know that feeding your dog too much food can also lead to nutrient toxicity? That's right. In this case, too much of a good thing could be very bad! For example, Vitamin A toxicity can cause bone spurs, lethargy, constipation, stiffness and limping. Vitamin D toxicity can lead to vomiting blood, seizures, muscle tremors and abdominal pain.
If you're not feeding your dog enough, he can become nutrient deficient quite quickly. If you don't realize your dog isn't getting the proper nutrients, he may become weak and his organs could start to fail. Ultimately, nutrient deficiency can lead to death if it's not corrected.
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How Much Homemade Dog Food to Feed My Dog?
Before you spend too much time researching how much homemade dog food to feed my dog, you need to understand that the only person that can give you an accurate answer to this question is someone that is trained in canine nutrition. In order to give you the correct answer to this question, the expert will need to evaluate your dog and look at his medical history.
And, even with all of their training and knowledge, an expert isn't going to be able to give you an exact answer. They'll be able to steer you in the right direction, and together you can work to find recipes and exact serving sizes to meet your dog's needs.
What factors affect a dog's diet?
You need to fully understand the nutrients that your dog's body will require every day before you can figure out how much food to feed him. Your vet or a canine nutritionist can help you determine how much protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals that should be included in your Fido's diet daily.
These nutritional requirements are based on many factors, including:
- activity level
- health condition
The type of diet that you feed will also have a huge impact on the answer to your question, “how much homemade dog food to feed my dog?” Not all dog food recipes are created equally, and they all offer different nutrients. This is just another why it's important to enlist the help of an expert when trying to figure this out.
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Serving sizes of homemade dog food are smaller
For most homemade dog food recipes, I recommend feeding about 1/2-3/4 of a cup of food for every 25 pounds of body weight. While this doesn't seem like a lot, you need to remember that homemade dog food is much more nutrient-dense than most commercial diets.
When you make homemade dog food, you use high-quality, whole food ingredients. Commercial dog food products use processed foods and fillers that are only added to the recipe to make your pet feel like he's had enough to eat. Thankfully, homemade dog food does not include these types of ingredients.
I know it seems like a small amount. But when answering the questions how much homemade dog food to feed my dog you need to remember that homemade dog food is so much more nutrient-dense.
You don't need to feed as much homemade dog food as you would a commercial Dog food Recipe.
This is better for your dog's digestion and will reduce the amount of stool that he creates. It's a win for you and him!
One more thing…
Homemade dog food may not provide all of the nutrients that your dog needs. As I mention in my video guide above, it's important to work with an expert who can explain your dog's nutritional needs and how best to meet those needs.
In a recent study, researchers tested 200 homemade dog food recipes – many of which were written by veterinarians – and found that only 9 of them provided all of the essential nutrients in the right concentrations to meet the minimum standards set for adult canines by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Sadly, only 5 of the recipes provided the essential nutrients in the right concentrations to meet the National Research Council’s minimum requirements for adult canines.
It's still alright to make homemade dog food. It's just likely that you'll need to add supplement(s) to the food to make it a balanced meal for your pet. The expert that you work with may also recommend adding supplements based on your dog's unique needs. For example, if your dog is a breed that is genetically predisposed to hip and joint issues, they may recommend including a joint supplement.
Although I did give my recommendation for a serving size for most homemade dog food diets in this article, I can't stress enough the importance of working with a veterinarian or canine nutritionist. This is the only way that you can be absolutely sure you're feeding your dog an appropriate diet.