Initially determining how much food your dog needs can feel like a challenging math problem. Start with X, add or subtract based on their activity level, and don’t forget to take treats and table scraps into consideration. Because all dogs are different, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how much your dog should be eating, but we’ll review guidelines and feeding tips to keep your pup healthy.
The main factors that will determine how much you should feed your dog are her age, size, and activity level. Puppies need extra food to fuel their growing bodies and dogs that prefer snoozing on the couch don’t need to eat as much as those that go for daily jogs.
Basic feeding guidelines
As a starting point for how much your dog should eat in a day, you can either:
Calculate the amount to feed overweight dogs based on their ideal weight rather than their current weight. Active dogs may need to be fed on the higher end of the recommendation. Take treats into consideration as well: whether you’re training with food rewards or simply like to give your dog a daily treat, you may need to slightly reduce the size of their meals.
If you are concerned whether your dog is eating the right amount, you can weigh her weekly. Note whether her weight is maintaining, increasing, or decreasing, then adjust her feeding accordingly. Going forward, an annual vet visit will help verify that your dog is maintaining a healthy weight.
Rather than feeding all of a dog’s daily calories in one sitting, your dog will benefit from eating multiple smaller meals. For most dogs, twice a day is ideal, but puppies should eat 3-4 times per day.
Benefits of feeding your dog multiple times per day:
To check if your dog is overweight, have a look at her body. At a healthy weight, this is what you’ll find:
A dog is overweight if you can’t feel her ribs and she has more of a “sausage” shape. Carrying extra weight puts your dog at a higher risk for certain health conditions such as:
For optimal health, consider these simple tips when feeding your dog:
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