How much you should feed your dog depends on a variety of factors including:
- Activity level
- Type and brand of food
Puppies and young adults burn more calories so as a general rule they need a diet that is high in protein and fat.
Senior or geriatric dogs are more sedative so they require a diet that is low in fat and protein.
Portion Sizes For Different Life Stages
Feed your puppy according to his/her metabolism, size, activity, and environment. Feeding your puppy too much can make them too heavy and can cause bone abnormalities and health issues. As a general rule, check your puppies ribs to make sure he or she is not too heavy or skinny. As long as you can feel their ribs but not see them, they are at a healthy weight.
At eight weeks your puppy should start eating kibble/dry food or wet food. You can also add water to your puppies dry food. Puppies should eat a diet that is high in protein and other nutrients to help support a healthy growth and development. It is also very important to buy a brand of food that is specifically formulated for “puppies”.
Puppies should be fed three times a day, in the morning, noon, and early evening.
Pro Tip: Do not feed or give your puppy water too late or else they can soil their bed.
Once your puppy begins to reach maturity at 5-6 months, you can start feeding him/her twice per day.
A dog reaches maturity at one years old. Your adult dog still meets the same feeding requirements as a puppy. However, you should buy dog food that is specifically formulated for “adult” dogs. They also need a high protein and fat diet. Your dog’s weight should remain stable and his/her body should be well proportioned.
You should be able to see your dog’s waist and you should be able to feel his/her ribs with your fingertips by placing your fingers beneath their rib cage.
Some adult dogs may be more active than others so they should be fed more than an adult dog that is less active.
Very active dogs should not be fed right after a strenuous activity because this can lead to digestive problems.
Discomfort (vomiting or loose stools), gastric bloat, a painful and often life threatening condition caused by a twisting of the stomach. You can feed your very active dog treats and snacks during a strenuous activity to prevent hunger and fatigue.
As your dog ages and reaches this stage their daily intake will change. Your dog becomes less active so they require a diet that is formulated to meet a senior dogs needs. Don’t be alarmed if your dog eats less or begins to lose his/her appetite, this is normal. You should only be alarmed if your dog begins to show symptoms that he or she is ill. Be mindful on how much you should be feeding your senior dog. They can gain weight easily if they are fed too much.
So how much should you really feed your dog?
Well, you should feed your dog a reasonable amount and monitor his/her weight. You should be able to feel your dog’s ribs, if you cannot then your dog is too heavy and you need to give him less food or switch to a high quality brand.
Feeding Frequencies Throughout The Day
- Puppies should be fed at least three to six times a day.
- Once your dog reaches 50% of its body weight then the feeding frequency will change.
- Your adult and senior dog should then be fed two to three times a day.
- Dogs that are more active or burn more calories should be fed more frequently.
- Smaller proportions of food are ideal to keep your dog healthy and maintain a healthy weight.
The best way to manage your dog’s weight is to implement portion-control rather than all-day-access buffet style feeding.
What this means is that you will have total control of when your dog eats instead of letting your dog eat whenever he or she wants. Measuring cups are a great way to know exactly how much your dog is eating. In order for your dog to eat on your command, try putting their bowl of food down in front of them for five minutes, then pick it up and wait another five minutes. They will eventually learn to eat whenever you put their food bowl down in front of them.
This is a great way to feed your dog because you will know whenever your dog is ill. If he or she normally eats when you put the food bowl down, then you will know when he or she is not feeling well whenever your dog does not eat. Feed your dog at the same time everyday to regulate his or her digestive system and to avoid accidents.
Your dog should also have access to fresh, clean water throughout the day.
Treats Treats Treats
Treats are a great way to train your dog’s behavior and a way to bond with them. Make sure to use treats that are formulated for dogs. Choose treats that are low in calories because this will insure that your dog will not gain too much weight. Treats should only be used as a reward and not a replacement from their food. Too many treats can make a dog overweight or obese.
Beware Of Commercial Brands!
Not only do they contain harmful ingredients for your dog, they also need to be fed more since most commercial dog foods do not contain enough protein to satisfy your pup. Your dog may also gain too much weight if being fed commercial dog food, so spending just a bit more on high quality dog food is worth it and Fido will thank you for that.
Do Not Literally Follow The Feeding Guidelines On The Bag
The feeding recommendations on your dog’s food bag are just there to give you an idea of how much you should feed your dog but actual portion sizes should be carefully measured and monitored. If fed improperly, your dog can gain too much weight and end up having health complications.