How much to feed your dog?

One of the best ways to keep your dog healthy is to feed them the right amount of a complete and balanced dog food. Too little food and your dog could suffer from nutritional deficiencies, and too much could lead to obesity and other health problems related to being overweight.

The correct amount of food to feed is very much individual to your dog, and varies greatly depending on your dog’s breed, age, activity, what type of food you are feeding, their metabolic rate, the amount of exercise they get and even the weather, so the best advice is use the feeding guide as just that, a guide and feed to your dog’s condition.

To begin with, review the recommended feeding guide on your dog food’s label. The amounts are usually stated as the recommended amount for your dog over a 24 hour period.

Most adult dogs eat two meals a day (puppies often require three or more feedings), so you will need to divide the amount recommended on the feeding table by the number of meals you are offering your dog each day.

It is important not to over feed puppies as this can cause health issues later in life. Consult  your vet or the breeder who you got your puppy from.  They should be able to give you good advice. The key with puppies is you don’t want them to grow too quickly by over feeding them. Each breed is different so again, talk to your breeder or vet about the rate of weight gain that is healthy for your puppy.

Check your dog’s condition every 2-4 weeks and if your dog is inappropriately gaining or losing weight (body fat), adjust the portion sizes appropriately. In general, dogs who are a healthy weight have an ‘hourglass’ figure from a top down view. Their abdomen should be narrower than their chest and hips. When viewed from the side, they should look ‘tucked up’. This means that when they are standing, their chest is closer to the ground than their belly and lastly, their ribs should not be readily visible, but easily felt with light pressure.

A useful guide on whether you  have the amount that you are feeding your dog right is to reference a ‘Condition Score Chart’ from a reputable organisation such as World Small Animal Veterinary Association.  www.wsava.org/WSAVA/media/Arpita-and-Emma-editorial/Body-Condition-Score-Dog.pdf.

Talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s health or diet.