It's a common question – how much to feed a dog? Many dog owners don't know exactly how much food their dog should be eating each day. The amount food to feed your dog each day varies depending on his size, breed, weight, health condition and activity level.
It's not always easy to figure out how much to feed a dog. I always recommend that pet owners reach out to their veterinarian or a canine nutritionist for help answering this question. The expert you choose will be able to evaluate your dog and the diet that you're feeding to help you decipher the correct amount of food he should be eating per serving.
It's important that you don't overfeed your pet, as he will be come overweight. Being overweight or obese will lead to other, more serious health conditions, and studies show that it could even reduce your dog's lifespan.
How Much to Feed a Dog
If you feed your dog a commercial diet, it should be quite easy to figure out the feeding guidelines. Pet food companies are required to put the feeding guidelines right on the packaging. In fact, you can learn a lot about the food that you're feeding your canine companion by reading the label properly.
Following the feeding instructions on the packaging is the best way to feed a commercial pet food product. However, these instructions are usually of the “one-size-fits-all” variety. Keep in mind that overweight dogs will need fewer calories, more active dogs will need more calories, and dogs with a sedentary lifestyle will need less calories.
Depending on your dog's health condition, he may need more or less vitamins and minerals than the average dog. For example, dogs with a condition known as hypocalcemia will need to eat a calcium-rich diet.
For this reason, it's always best to consult your veterinarian or a trained canine nutritionist before selecting a commercial or homemade diet for your dog.
Homemade Dog Food
But, what about homemade dog food? How do you know how much to feed a dog if you prepare the food yourself? I've previously made a guide with a video specifically on how much homemade dog food to feed, but here are the basics you need to keep in mind.
Most higher quality homemade dog food recipes will include serving size instructions. You still need to take your dog's size, weight and activity level into consideration. Again, overweight dogs will need fewer calories, more active dogs will need more calories, and dogs with a sedentary lifestyle will need less calories.
If the recipe does not include serving size guidelines, a safe go-to is to begin by feeding 1/2 cup for every 20-25 pounds of body weight. You'll need to consider your dog's size, weight and activity level with this method too.
It's also important that you monitor your dog closely in the coming weeks. If he's gaining or losing weight, you will need to adjust the serving size accordingly.
It is important to remember that the nutritional content of the dog food recipe will also effect how much to feed a dog. Every dog's nutritional needs (PDF) are different, and it's important that you consult an expert to figure out the exact nutrients that your pup should be eating every day.
If Fido's diet doesn't provide enough of the vitamins and minerals that he needs, his body will become nutrient deficient. If his diet provides too many vitamins and minerals, he could suffer from nutrient toxicity.
The bottom line is that you MUST consult with a trained canine nutrition expert before selecting the right diet for your dog. And, this isn't something that you'll need to do just once. Your pup's nutritional needs will change as he grows and develops. You should touch base with your veterinarian at your dog's yearly check-ups to make sure that his diet is still meeting his needs.