How Much a Dog Should Be Fed – Yardstick for Feeding Dogs

Pet parenting is a great experience. For many of us, we intend that having canine companions will turn out a lifetime affair. The value, sense of belonging, loyalty, and aid they offer is second to none.

Haven established this, we have duties to perform as pet owners. This is so that our furry pals remain in the best state of mind and health. Bearing this in mind, as pet parents, we have a call to top-notch responsibility and commitment at large.

Dog care is very important. Furthermore, pet owners are key stakeholders in making sure their canine companions are adequately taken care of. This role goes beyond providing food, shelter, and clothing.

Pet owners are also charged with the duty of making sure they are fed, sheltered, and clothed appropriately.

Taking this into consideration, let us unravel one of the frequent puzzles among dog parents. In plain terms, let us proffer answers to the question of how much a dog should be fed, as well as how often. 

Dog feeding should be influenced by a couple of factors. Some of the determinants of food size for a dog will be shared in this article.

How Much a Dog Should Be Fed

Dogs share a lot of things in common with humans. Both parties are omnivores. This implies they find nutritional benefits in both plant and flesh. Although the canine and human anatomical structures are different, food quantity is something that affects them positively or negatively.

As with humans, dogs should not be fed simply because they feel the urge to eat. This could lead to lots of complications. Such adverse effects could range from excessive weight to more severe health complications. On the contrary, insufficient feeding could lead to a health deficient furry pal.

Considering this, we need to answer the question of how much food to feed a dog. In doing this, you should understand that there is no one size fits all answer to this question. The quantity of dog food is dependent on a couple of factors.

If you prefer a visual explanation of this article, below is a detailed and helpful video.

Video: How Much a Dog Should Be Fed (Yardstick for Feeding)

Some of these factors include age, physical activity, breed, health peculiarities, nutritional track record, product specifications, among others. Let’s go over some of these factors one after the other.

Age of the Dog

As regards to feeding your dog, age is one of the essential factors to be put into consideration. At the early stage of their lives, dogs go through a rapid growth process. As a result, they need certain nutrients both from weaning and external sources.

If they are not exposed to these nutrients through various meals, the chances of impeded growth are very likely. Bearing this in mind, what food per life stage should your dog be exposed to?

Younger Puppies

Taking into consideration the various breeds, let us make this general statement. In the context of feeding, it costs more to have a puppy than an adult dog.

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Dogs require more amount of food while they are young. As they progress in age, they can be fed less. This is considering the delicate nature of their growth process while they are still young.

However, this statement should not take effect too early. From 8 – 8 and a half weeks, dogs should be weaned. Except for breast milk, you should not expose them to nutrients from external sources for 3 – 4 and a half weeks.

At that stage, every nutrient required for their growth is embedded in the mother’s breastmilk.

After the 4th week, you should start introducing small portions of commercial dog food. There are stage sensitive dog meals you can purchase. These meals consider the stage of your dog.

At this stage, one problem your dog can have is properly chewing his meals. This is especially with dry food. Bearing this in mind, you should make the meal slightly moist using water. This way your dog can chew easily.

As they progress, you can refrain from making the meals moist using water. This is to make sure your dog engages his tooth as much as possible. This slightly helps against tartar build-up. 

Also, some people use milk as another option to soften the kibbles and dry food at large. Frankly, most dogs would love the taste. However, we recommend water considering the delicate life stage of the dog.

Furthermore, breastfeeding mothers should be adequately fed. This is also considering the welfare of the puppy weaned.

This stage is also important for its eventual behavioral turnout. As a result, do not separate the puppies from their mother at this stage. This could turn out very bad. Among other things, this could lead to terrible socialization skills, aggressiveness, and a host of other negative future behavior.

In the 6th week, you should become more deliberate about feeding your dog(s) pet food. Among other reasons, this is considering that the weaning process will be over soon. To get very accustomed to the meals, you should feed him from 3 – 5 times daily.

For the records, do not interfere in the mother dog’s decision to stop weaning the puppies. Let that be her exclusive decision. However, just be meticulous about the feeding plan for commercial food as discussed earlier.

As a reminder, at about 4 weeks, you should introduce very small portions of feed. At 6 weeks, be intense about it. Feed about 3 – 5 times daily. The quantity should be influenced by the breed and size of the dog. On a general note, Larger sized dogs consume more food than smaller sized dogs.  

Video: How To Feed a Puppy – How To Choose the Best Puppy Food

Below is a detailed explanation of how to feed a puppy.

Older Puppies

Although our subjective opinion, we like to think puppies above 3 months as older puppies. At this stage, you would need to decrease the food consumption rate of your dog. As against the previous 3 – 5 times feeding system, you should feed the dog just 3 times a day.

At this stage of their lives, you would notice the development is not as rapid as during the earlier period. Asides from dealing with personal health issues, this is why for a dog, the first 3 months is the most important as regards to feeding.

After 6 months to 1 year, the feeding system should be reduced to 2 times daily. At this stage, they do not need as many calories as they required while younger.

Adult Dogs

The term adult dog is also subjective. This is also complicated by the varying breeds of dogs. On a general note, smaller sized dogs reach adulthood faster than larger sized dogs. Approximately, a smaller sized dog should exhibit adult tendencies at around 1 – 1 and a half years.

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On the contrary, large-sized dogs do not approach adulthood as fast as their counterparts. The process may take about 2 – 2 and a half years.

For an adult dog, for various reasons, you can explore the option of changing diets. However, this should be done gradually. The digestive system of the dog has to adjust to the change. Considering this, you should add it in the daily portion until your dog is used to it.

Older Dogs

As a dog advances in age, he becomes more susceptible to health complications. This possibility should be factored into their food intake. For instance, older dogs are much likely to have arthritis. Also, the same can be said for diabetes.

At this stage, in line with professional guidance, the feeding should be health inclined. For instance, if a dog has diabetes, his feeding should be tailored to deal with or cope with personal health issues. 

Physical Activity

To appropriately feed a dog, this is another important factor to consider. Ignorance of this could result in an excessively large-sized dog on one end, and a malnourished dog on the other end.

When a dog engages in physical activity, he burns calories and pent up energy. Ordinarily, such a dog will demand more food. Also, the dog should be fed more than a dormant dog.

If a dog is not exposed to daily walks and other physical activities, he would not have a way to discharge calories and pent up energy. Feeding such a dog excessively could result in varying adverse effects. In plain terms, the activity level of a dog should influence food consumption.

Some of the dog breeds that are given to more physical activity include Boxer, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, among others.

These dogs among others naturally tend to be more active physically. This means they should consume more than less active dogs.

Breed of Dog

In line with the earlier stated point, some breeds are more physically active than others. On a general note, most large-sized dogs are physically active than small sized ones.

On account of this, dogs with more physical tendencies should be given many avenues to discharge pent up energy. Also, their feeding should be reflective of this. This implies that they should be fed more.

You should restrict their physical ability in a bid to control their food intake. This can lead to severe consequences such as separation anxiety. Pet parents should understand that a playful dog is a happy dog.

Health Peculiarities

This factor is more relative to aged dogs. As dogs advance in age, they become very susceptible to physical and health complications such as arthritis, diabetes, among others. Hence the need for appropriate meals to deal with these conditions.

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Bearing this in mind, you should make sure your dog’s food is tailored to address their health complications.

Also, you should be watchful of their conduct. For instance, you might need to stop your aged dog from jumping from the floor to the sofa. At this stage, they do not have that energy and immune system they possessed earlier in life.

Nutritional Track Record

Some pet owners do not experience the early stages of their canine companion’s life. Some dogs are purchased, while others are simply adopted from shelters across the country and the globe at large.

If you belong to this category, you should pay attention to the following statement: Considering that you were not involved in the early feeding decision, with the help of your vet, you should make sure your dog is not lacking in this regard.

If you observe that your dog is deficient in a nutrient, the subsequent feeding should be wired to correcting this flaw.

Also, such dogs may have allergies you are not aware of. You should be very observant of such canine creatures. This is important for his overall wellbeing.

Product Specifications

There are various brands of commercial dog food manufacturers. Some of them have a track record of producing high-quality meals in line with the best global practice standard.

Furthermore, most of these products come with quantity specifications inscribed on them. You should adhere to these specifications and observe your dog after a week or two.

Check out the weight of your dog after two weeks. If there is excessive gain or loss in weight, you should either re-evaluate the quantity or change the product entirely. 

In case you cannot find this specification on the product, most companies have this information on their website. You could check the company’s website to ensure you are feeding your dog the correct proportion.

Does Your Dog Need a Schedule for Eating?

Should you free-feed dogs or use a defined schedule?

There is no definite rule in this regard. However, this is dependent on the dog in question. Some dogs do not need a defined schedule for eating. This is considering that they can ration the food for themselves. However, not all dogs exhibit this tendency.

Helps Your Dog Avoid Obesity

On the extreme, feeding an over-demanding dog without a fixed schedule can be disastrous. This is considering the effect of his never-ending demand. At the very least, the constant indulgence of such dog parents may result in canine obesity.

You Can Detect Health Complications Easily

Also, free-feeding a dog can delay prompt response to medical conditions. For the most part, dogs eat a lot. One of the signs of a sick dog is the refusal to eat. With free feeding, you may not realize this trait on time. This is especially if you are a parent to more than one dog.

It Helps the Training Process

Furthermore, scheduled feeding helps with potty training. When you feed your furry pal at a definite period, chances are that you know when he decides to use the convenience. As a result, you have an edge training your dog to act appropriately in this regard.

To avoid these negative situations, we strongly recommend that pet parents feed dogs with a defined schedule. This saves you a lot of trouble.

Mental Stimulation as Part of The Package

Meals can be used to help your dog develop mentally. The meals can be served in puzzle toys. From experience, dogs who are successfully exposed to this strategy are less likely to have separation anxiety. This is because they are independent and not negatively attached to their owners.

On a Final Note

Pet parenting is a call to top-notch responsibility. You should be observant and committed to your pet’s welfare. Bearing this in mind, the feeding of your dog is very important.

This article has addressed factors responsible for how much food you should feed a dog. Determinants include age, breed, health history, physical activities and the likes. You should be practical about this from this moment.