Do You Know How Much to Feed a Dog?
Are you confused about how much to feed a dog? If you have a dog, you want to provide him with the best nutrition possible without overfeeding and increasing his risk for obesity. You can’t count on your dog to send you the signal that he’s full since most dogs will eat well past the point of satiety? So how do you know how much to put into your dog’s bowl and how often to feed?
The decision on how much to feed a dog can be a confusing one. Many people select food quantity for their dogs based on weight which can be misleading since some dogs are more active than others. Plus, there’s the issue of age. Dogs should be given less food during their senior years than they would need during puppyhood or the peak of their life. In addition, underlying health factors need to be taken into account. If your dog has active health problems, it’s best to speak with your vet to make sure your dog doesn’t need a special diet. For example, dogs with kidney disease may need a low protein dog food. Your vet can help you work out exact quantities of food to give your dog in these special cases.
If your dog is healthy the general formula for how much to feed a dog is 1.5 cups per twenty pounds of weight for small breeds and 1 cup per twenty pounds of body weight for large breeds. Small breed dogs have higher caloric requirements than do larger breeds which is taken into account with this formula. If your dog is currently overweight or has a low activity, you’ll want to adjust food quantities down slightly. If your dog is active, lean, and undergoes brisk walks on a daily basis, food quantities should be adjusted upwards to meet his higher caloric requirements. If you feed your dog twice daily, give half of the suggested quantity at each meal. To make sure you’re feeding your dog appropriately, check a weight every two weeks and make food adjustments based on the results.
With the recent concern regarding dog food ingredients, what type of dog food should you select? The safest and healthiest commercial dog foods are composed of natural ingredients without added fillers such as corn and wheat. Learn to read dog food labels and be aware of potentially dangerous additives and by products found in dog foods. Avoid ones with artificial coloring, flavorings, or preservatives. Look for a high quality protein source and make sure it’s listed as the first ingredient on the label. When switching over to a new food, be sure to mix the new food with the old initially and gradually increase the quantity of the new food as your dog adjusts to his new diet. Sudden dietary changes can promote diarrhea in dogs.
What about people food? Should a dog be offered table scraps? Although most sources will discourage adding table food to a dog’s diet, there are some human “treats” that are healthy for dogs. Small nibbles of fresh fruits and vegetables can be healthy substitutes for commercial dog cookies and should add significantly to your dog’s caloric load. If you choose to give your dog fruits and vegetables, obtain a list of foods that shouldn’t be given to dogs. For example, onions, garlic, and raisins should be strictly avoided. Also be aware of the sugar, fat, and sodium content of any table food you give your dogs. Fatty foods can increase your dog’s risk of pancreatitis, a relatively common and sometimes fatal condition in dogs.
By researching what and how much to feed a dog, you can optimize your dog’s weight and possibly even prolong his life span. Make sure you make the right choices so you can have your best friend around for a long time