How Much Food Should I Feed My Dog Per Day:dog feeding chart
How much food should I feed my dog per day? This is the question so many new dog owners ask, and for good reason.
Humans are easy enough to understand. So long as you give them three meals a day, they will be perfectly fine.
But how do dogs work? Do they need breakfast, or lunch, or supper?
And how much breakfast, lunch and supper should you give them? These are the questions new pet owners need answering.
Dog Fedding Chart
Daily Calorie Requirement
Why I should find the Right Amount of Food for My Dog?
Does the amount of food you feed your dog matter? Isn’t it enough that you bothered to feed the animal in the first place?
Here’s what you need to understand. If you give your dog too much food, it will become overweight.
And overweight dogs suffer from a variety of diseases, this including arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.
But if you don’t give your dog enough food, then the resulting nutritional deficiency will cause health problems like Cushing’s disease and Congestive Heart Failure.
So, yes, the amount of food you give your dog matters.
How to Determine the Right Amount of Food for My Dog
If you understand the importance of giving your dog the right amount of food, you might be wondering how you can arrive at the most accurate figure when determining your pet’s dietary proportions.
Some people will tell you to follow the directions on your dog food packages but those can’t be trusted.
Dog food manufacturers use a lot of guesswork to arrive at the figures you find on their packages.
Your best bet is to consult an animal nutrition expert.
If no such professional is on hand, then you can always rely on one of several Dog Food Calculators on the internet.
The right dog food calculator will take your dog’s weight and activity levels into account before determining the right amount of food for their diet.
Body Condition Scoring system
A body condition scoring system is every pet owner’s best friend and the one tool that will help you plan your dog’s diet.
A Body Condition Score is the dog equivalent of Body Mass Index. This system is used to determine whether your dog is overweight or underweight.
The mechanism takes four things into account namely:
A). How easily the dog’s ribs are felt
B). How obvious the abdominal tuck is
C). How much excess fat the dog has under its skin
D). How Much muscle mass is present
A Body Condition Scoring system will use these four attributes to generate a score that will tell you how healthy your dog happens to be, at least in terms of weight.
It is possible to carry out the Body Condition Score tests from home.
You can ask a vet to give you the required scoring system, though you can just as easily acquire the necessary score charts from the internet.
You cannot begin planning your dog’s diet until you have its body condition score.
Knowing whether your pet is overweight or underweight will affect the types of food you buy and the amounts you feed your dog.
To be clear, even though you can carry out your own body condition measurements from home, you are still encouraged to visit a vet before making any significant nutritional plans.
How I Determine Feeding Time
Is there a way to figure out the best time to feed your dog?
Well, you won’t find any definitive answers but one of the following options is bound to work:
A). Free Choice Feeding Method
This is where most people start. Leave food out in your house all day and let your dog decide when it wants to eat.
The free choice feeding method is best deployed in situations where one’s dog is healthy.
Dogs that are very active will also appreciate this method because it allows them to refuel with ease whenever they stop playing.
Of course, whenever you leave food out all day, insects and pests will eventually come running.
Additionally, if you have more than one dog, they are more likely to fight over the food that you leave out.
B). Watch Clock Method
If your dog eats too much whenever you leave food out, consider using the watch clock method.
This is where you give your pet a specific amount of time to eat the food you have left out.
Once the time elapses, you throw the food out regardless of how much the dog has eaten.
People prefer this approach because it is less likely to attract insects.
Also, once you pour the dog food out, the next time you offer your dog its meal (which should be eight or so hours later), you can trust that it will be hungry enough to eat.
Of course, if your dog is sick and uninterested in food, this method will give it a good excuse to avoid eating and that won’t be good for its health.
C). Controlled Method
This is where you determine the weight of your dog and then you feed it the exact amount of food you think it should be eating.
This will require you to visit your vet. He or she will help you figure out the portions your dog should take depending on its weight.
This method requires you to feed your dog once every eight to twelve hours.
The dog doesn’t get a choice when it comes to its diet here. The method is appealing because it gives you more accurate control over your dog’s nutrition.
But it will take a lot of trial and error on your part to determine what your dog should or shouldn’t be eating.
Even with a vet by your side, different dogs will react differently to the different types and portions of meals.
Feeding Schedule Based on Activity
Your dog’s activity levels will have a bigger impact on its feeding habits than most other factors.
For that reason, you should always take the activity aspect into account whenever you sit down to schedule your pet’s meals.
Barring any specific challenges, though, most feeding schedules based on activity tend to look like this:
The Typical dog eats twice a day: in the morning and in the evening.
You should always leave a fresh bowl of water out every morning and every evening.
In fact, some vets will tell you to keep a bowl of water out at all times.
If like most dogs, you walk your pet for at least half an hour in the morning and in the evening, then breakfast and dinner are enough, preferably served after each walk.
You can also walk your dog in the middle of the day. You can then offer it treats afterward but it does not necessarily have to eat a full meal.
Do not forget to leave water out in the morning, at noon and in the evening.
Inactive dogs do not follow the same feeding schedules as their active counterparts.
If a dog is inactive because it is old or merely as a result of the attributes of its breed, then it will sleep more which means it won’t burn that many calories.
Such dogs only need to eat once a day. You can either feed it in the morning or at night or whenever the dog wants.
Some pet owners will continue to feed their sedentary dogs twice a day.
However, they will prioritize lean food items such as white meats.
You can give your inactive dog snacks whenever you see fit or according to the schedule set by your vet.
But if your dog is sedentary because it’s overweight, cut out the treats and snacks.
You should also cut the calorie-rich foods out of its diet whilst also increasing the amount of playtime.
Older dogs should get more exercise as well, but preferably three or four short walks a day rather than rough play.
This is on top of giving them plenty of water.
D). Highly Active
Highly active dogs, and in particular puppies, have bursts of energy and then crash from exhaustion.
They require consistency. Under ideal conditions, you should feed such dogs in the morning, at midday and in the evening.
In between and especially after meals, they should have scheduled playing time outside.
You can still get away with two meals a day. The goal is to ensure that your active dog is eating at least three percent of its body weight.
Focus on fatty foods such as red meats. Highly active dogs have very high metabolisms.
Feeding Schedule Based on Calories
You must first determine the weight and health of your dog before figuring out the calories it should consume daily.
But for the most part, most vets will agree with these figures:
Dogs that spend a lot of time playing should consume at least three percent of their body weight every single day.
They need to be fed fatty meals with plenty of calories because they have high metabolisms.
Inactive dogs do not require as much food because they don’t burn quite as many calories.
As such, they should be fed roughly 2.2 percent of their body weight each day.
A vet would encourage chicken, fish, turkey and the like. Avoid fatty meals.
Puppies need a lot of food to grow. The average puppy normally starts out eating ten percent of its weight every day.
When it reaches six months, the meals can be reduced to five percent of its weight, with the figure finally settling on 2% once it reaches a year.
In other words, the younger the dog, the more it should eat.
Determining your pet’s calorie intake so accurately is bound to require some sort of dog food calculator. So go get one.
Feeding Schedule Based on Food Types
Dry dog food is quite popular, primarily because it is so cheap and much easier to handle.
Dry food is also more nutritiously dense, so you know it’s good for most dogs. However, it also has up to four times more calories than wet food.
That means it is more filling but it also encourages weight gain.
If you have a choice in the matter, you will probably prioritize dry food for active dogs that need the fuel.
But dry food diets must be accompanied by plenty of water.
If your dog is still a puppy, then it should start with wet food, though dry food that has been moistened will also do.
You can introduce wet foods at three weeks and dry food at six weeks. The actual schedule doesn’t change, though.
You can continue to feed your dog once, twice, or thrice a day regardless of the type of food.
The key is to watch the calorie intake. Remember that dry foods have more calories than wet foods.
Feeding Schedule Based on Weight Level
Talk to a vet. They will use a Body Condition Scoring system to determine your dog’s ideal weight and the number of calories it needs to consume every day to achieve that weight.
Once you have the calorie figure you need to hit daily, beak it down into either two meals or four meals scattered throughout the day.
You can feed your dog in the morning, at noon, in the late afternoon and at night. Remove all treats and snacks from the diet.
Also add more exercise, a few longer walks, and even more playtime.
Add fatty meat to your dog’s diet. You should focus on kibble which has more calories instead of wet food.
You can still feed your dog twice a day. Just add an extra cup to its meals.
The goal is for the animal to consume 30% protein and 20% fat from their kibble. You can encourage treats and snacks throughout the day.
Some vets will tell you to rely on supplemental canned food with high calories for the best results.
C). Normal Weight
If your pet weighs the right amount, then feed it like any other dog.
Give it one or two or three meals a day depending on its activity levels. Most dogs can get by on two cups of food a day, one in the morning and one in the evening.
How Should I Determine What To Feed My Dog?
Dogs, like humans, have distinct tastes. So what might work for one dog’s diet might not work for another.
Most dogs are carnivorous but you can’t simply throw meat at them. The goal is to keep their meals balanced.
That means throwing some raw or cooked meat into the mix along with rice and vegetables.
To be fair, your dog can survive on just kibble. Whatever you choose, make sure that you only buy high-quality food.
Otherwise, your dog will suffer from digestive problems.
Take the weight and the activity levels into account. They will determine the calorie intake which will, in turn, affect your choice of food.
If you have absolutely no idea what to feed your dog, talk to a vet.
What Foods Should I Avoid Feeding My Dog?
You need to keep the following items out of your dog’s diet:
A). Chocolate will raise your dog’s heart rate and possibly even kill it.
B). Dairy Products have lactose which dogs cannot digest, so avoid it.
C). Grapes and Raisins are bad for canines. In the right quantities, they can cause renal failure.
D). Garlic and Onions have been known to cause dermatitis and asthma. They can also elicit anemia
Some dogs might also react negatively to fruits that are acidic and high in sugar.
How Should I Go About Introducing Different Foods to My Dog’s Diet?
If you want your pet to acclimate to a new food item, you need to introduce it gradually.
The goal is to give the animal’s digestive system time to adapt to the change.
If the transition is too jarring, your pet might fail to digest the new food. People do not realize just how sensitive dogs are until they get to this area.
If your dog already has a favorite meal, prepare it and then add small quantities of the new food to it.
Your dog won’t notice the difference, not at first. Over time, steadily increase the portions of the new food.
If you do this right, after a week or so, you will feed your dog only the new food and it won’t complain.
On the other hand, if your pet resists, do not remove the new item from its meal all at once.
Rather, gradually reduce the portions until its completely gone, or until you find a combination that works.
You will know that your dog’s system doesn’t appreciate the new food when it begins to vomit or if its stool takes on an unusual texture.
Avoid making abrupt changes to your dog’s diet. This includes altering its meal times and adding or removing food items.
Do not disturb your dog while it is eating. You are especially discouraged from taking its bowl away because that will attract aggression.
If you realize that your dog never eats all its food in one go then the portions you are serving it are too large. Cut back.
Avoiding adding supplements to your dog’s food unless your vet tells you otherwise.
In fact, you are encouraged to stick to one variety of dog food.