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How Much Homemade Dog Food to Feed Your Dog

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Your dog's nutrition is very important in maintaining its healthy body. So, feeding a dog a homemade diet is a great alternative to commercial kibble if you do it right.

Making homemade dog food might not be hard for you because you can easily find sources on how to do it. But, did you ever wonder how much homemade dog food to feed my dog? 

Well, it's not an easy question to answer. So in this article, we'll try to explain how you can figure out the proper homemade dog food serving size in cups for your dog.

But before that, we should know how important is homemade dog food for your little and large pup.

How Much Homemade Dog Food To Feed My Dog?

Homemade Dog Food

Note: Before you spend time figuring out how much homemade dog food to feed your dog, understand that the only person who can give you an accurate answer to this question is trained in canine nutrition – a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist.

And even then, an expert may not be able to give you an exact answer; together, you will have to find recipes and exact serving sizes to meet individual dogs' specific needs.

Factors That Affect a Dog's Diet

When you decide to start cooking for your dog and delve into a homemade dog food diet, you'll have to do some reading and learning.

You need to fully understand the nutrients that a dog's body requires before you get to figuring out how much food to feed a dog.

Read this article to understand exact nutritional needs, which will help you figure out serving sizes and how much homemade food to feed dog would be more beneficial.

A dog's nutritional requirements can be figured out using calculations from the National Research Council (PDF), and they will be based on several factors:

  • age
  • breed
  • environment
  • activity level
  • medical history
  • current health condition

The type of homemade dog food diet that you choose to feed a dog will also have a huge impact on the answer to this question, “how much homemade dog food to feed my dog?Not all dog food recipes are created equally.

All of them will offer different nutrients. Some will be well-balanced and can be used as a staple in a pet's diet, while others may only be good as an occasional meal.

Homemade Dog Food

Homemade Dog Food Serving Size in Cups

In making your own dog food, you might be wondering how much homemade dog food serving size in cups would be better.

Get yourself a set of measuring cups for homemade dog food. Something like this is what I also use.

For most of my homemade dog food recipes, I typically include serving sizes in the article.

I generally recommend feeding the below amount:

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 a well-balanced homemade dog food meal is much more nutrient-dense than most commercial diets.

When you make homemade dog food, ideally, you're using high-quality, whole-food ingredients rich in protein and moderate fat, carbohydrates, and vitamins.

On the other hand, commercial dog food brands are processed and contain fillers that are only added to the recipe to make your pet feel like they've had enough to eat.

Thankfully, homemade dog food does not include these types of ingredients (which is why you're making the switch in the first place).

This type of feeding is also better for your dog's digestive tract and digestion and will reduce the amount of stool a dog creates.

It's a win for you and the dog.

Homemade Dog Food Serving Size in Cups by Ingredient

You can also figure out how much homemade dog food to feed your dog by looking at the ideal quantities for each type of ingredient.

Use the following as general guidelines.

Note that all of the suggestions are per 20 pounds of your dog’s body weight and are the amount needed per day. 

  • Give your dog 1/4 to 1/3 pounds of meat for every 20 pounds. 
  • Give your dog 1/2 to 3/4 cups yogurt or cottage cheese or 3 to 4 eggs every 20 pounds. 
  • If you use both meat and non-meat protein sources, half each of the above. 
  • Give your dog 1 to 2 cups of potatoes, rice, pasta, or other carbs per 20 pounds. 
  • Give your dog 1/2 cup to a cup of cooked vegetables for every 20 pounds. 
  • Add a tablespoon of canola or olive oil for every 20 pounds. 
  • Add calcium with 1/2 teaspoon of bone meal or ground eggshell per 20 pounds.

Homemade Dog Food

Why You Need to Know the Exact Serving Size of Food

You may be wondering why you even need to figure out the right homemade dog food serving size in cups for your pet. Some pet owners assume that they can watch a dog's weight and make sure they're not gaining or losing.

This doesn't seem right.

The consequences of feeding a dog too much or too little food are obvious. When overfeeding on calories, your dog will become obese, which then could lead to a slew of other health conditions: diabetes, joint problems, certain types of cancer, heart and respiratory issues.

Feeding a dog too much food can also lead to vitamin toxicity. In such cases, too much of a good thing could be very bad.

For example, some of the most common vitamin toxicity cases are related to Vitamin A, which can cause bone spurs, lethargy, constipation, stiffness, and limping in dogs, and Vitamin D, which can lead to vomiting blood, seizures, muscle tremors, and abdominal pain in dogs.

At the same time, if you're not feeding your dogs enough essential nutrients, they'll be at risk of nutrient deficiency and becoming malnourished.

When you haven't figured out the exact serving size of homemade dog food and do not realize a dog isn't getting all of the essential nutrients, it will become weak, and a dog's organs will start failing.

In the end, nutrient deficiency will lead to death if it's not corrected in time.

importance of how much dog food to feed

The Importance of Balanced Homemade Recipes

Not all homemade dog food recipes will provide all of the nutrients that your dog needs, which is exactly what you need to work with an expert to figure out your individual dog's specific 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.

They found that only 9 of them provided all of the essential nutrients in the right concentrations to meet the minimum standards set for dogs by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

Only 5 of the recipes provided the essential nutrients in the right concentrations to meet the National Research Council’s  (NRC) minimum requirements for adult dogs.

This doesn't mean that recipes are bad – most of them can hardly reach those nutritional needs without adding too many calories.

It means that you need to add supplements to your homemade dog food meals to make them balanced.

You will choose some of those specifically for a dog's breed or health condition.

For example, if your pet is predisposed to hip and joint issues, you may need to include a joint supplement.

Most common supplements recommended to add to homemade dog food recipes include multivitamin supplements, hip, and joint supplements, omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), Vitamin A & E, calcium, and extra protein supplements.

These will vary depending on your dog's condition. Some general multivitamins and fish oils will be good for all dogs, but you still need to consult your vet about this.

Some good examples include the below:

tips on making homemade food for dogs

Other Tips for Making Homemade Dog Food

In deciding how much homemade food to feed dog and how to make your dog’s food yourself, keep the following advice in mind: 

  • Pay attention to nutritional requirements. Don’t just assume that feeding your dog wholesome foods will meet all of his needs. 
  • You don’t have to ensure every single meal is fully balanced. Just make sure your dog’s diet is balanced over time. 
  • Give your dog more than just a little bit of yogurt to meet calcium requirements. 
  • Your dog’s nutritional needs are very different than those of humans. 
  • Your dog’s nutritional needs vary based on lifestyle, age, and more. 
  • Don’t go overboard with the vegetables. Pay attention to proportions. 
  • Dogs need carbs, and grains aren’t always bad for them. 
  • Raw diets aren’t necessarily good or bad. Always do your research before starting one. 
  • Always change your dog’s diet gradually to prevent digestive discomfort.

All of this shouldn't discourage you from making homemade dog food, but hopefully, it shows you you will need to put in a little more work (at least in the beginning stages) than simply pouring kibble into your pet's bowl.

To wrap this up: although I did give my recommendation for a serving size for most homemade dog food diets in this article and my tips on how much homemade dog food to feed a dog, I cannot stress enough the importance of working with a veterinarian or canine nutritionist.

This is the only way that you can be sure you're feeding your pet an appropriate diet.

How much dog food to feed: kitchen scenario

FAQ About How Much Homemade Dog Food To Feed My Dog

Is Homemade Dog Food Healthy?

Though feeding homemade dog food is easy, there are no scientifically-supported benefits to homemade diets. However, it can be a better diet in long term.

Commercial foods, such as dry foods, have complete nutrition on them. But, your dogs might not be excited seeing and eating it every day. So, feeding them different kinds of food would make sense.

Aside from your dog would surely enjoy your homemade food for them, they could also get many benefits from it.

What are the benefits of homemade dog food?

Foods are beneficial for every living creature, thus, to your beloved pup. So, here are some potential benefits of feeding homemade dog food.

  • Regulation of Pet Food Quality
  • No Filler Ingredients in Homemade Foods
  • Increased Variety in the Diet
  • Homemade Dog Food Diet May Provide Better Nutrition
  • Homemade Dog Foods Are Fresh, Not Preserved
  • No More Waste (Or Less of It)
  • Homemade Dog Food Can Be Cheaper (Sometimes)

You can also check on our website the other pros and cons of feeding homemade food for dogs.

How Much Food Should I Feed My Dog Chart? 

The above chart shows how much food your dog needs to be based on weight. It depends on activity level, age, and size.

For example, an adult active dog that weighs 30 pounds needs about 922 calories of food. 

What do dogs need in homemade food?

Knowing how much homemade dog food to feed your dog depends largely on what you feed him.

Stick to high-quality ingredients, such as high-quality proteins, carbohydrates like vegetables or grains, calcium, essential fatty acids, and fat like meat or oil. 

Is Making Homemade Dog Food Better for Your Dog? 

There is no scientific research to show that it is better or worse for your dog to eat homemade dog food.

The main benefit is that it gives you complete control of your pooch eats, helping you keep him healthy and happy. 

Can I feed my dog only homemade food?

Of course, it's always your choice if you feed them homemade or would you prefer to them process foods over the counter.

The only important thing is that your dog could have balanced and healthy food to maintain its healthy lifestyle.

It always depends on the quality and how much homemade dog food serving size in cups you're making for them.

Can I Feed My Dog Chicken and Rice Every Day?

You can give your dog chicken and rice every day, but it is much healthier to include other ingredients as well.

You need to ensure that your dog gets enough nutrients, including vitamins and minerals.

common mistakes in preparing homemade dog food

Common Mistakes When Cooking For Your Dog

There were many mistakes that you can do when cooking food for your dog. It might be:

Not using trusted sources

You might be trying to find a more affordable food source, but be careful about it, because you might find untrustworthy sources that could harm your dog.

Not preparing a balanced meal

A balanced meal is very important for your dog. So, making mistakes on it could lead to nutrient deficiency.

Relying On Multiple Diets To Create “Balance”

According to Dr. Larsen, in clinical studies, multiple diets could cause the same deficiency.

Using Unsafe/Unhealthy Ingredients

In making homemade food for your dog, you should be more careful in choosing its ingredients.

Not Following Recipes

To make the best homemade dog food, owners should follow the specific recipe guidelines in preparing it.

Understating the Impact of Dietary Changes

Monitoring your pet's health would be a great help when changing their food into homemade recipes.

How Much Homemade Dog Food to Feed your Dog: Final Thoughts

You generally want to feed your dog about 2-3 percent of their body weight, assuming it is an adult. This means that if your dog is 50 pounds, you should feed him about 16 ounces.

Knowing how much homemade dog food to feed your dog not only give them full nutrition but also help them grow healthier. And, it would help if you also looked at the nutritional information of the recipe you use. 

If you are a beginner in adopting dogs, you must know the homemade dog food serving size in cups. However, consulting your vet is also important.

For other homemade dog food recipes, kindly visit our website.

READ NEXT: 21 Best Homemade Dog Food Books


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Detailed Guide on How Much Homemade Dog Food to Feed Your Dog