Determine Your Dogs Body Condition Score
Whichever method you pick, youll have to use a scale or body condition scoring system to fine-tune the amount of food you offer.
Your veterinarian can help you decipher your dogs body condition score and determine an appropriate calorie amount.
In general, dogs who are at a healthy weight:
Have an hourglass figure when you look down on them from above. The abdomen should be narrower than the chest and hips.
Are tucked up when you look at them from the side. This means that their chest is closer to the ground than their belly when standing.
Have ribs that are not readily visible but are easily felt with only light pressure.
Monitor Your Dogs Weight
When feeding your dog, you should regularly monitor any changes that you notice.
Some people like to weigh their dog. But, you can also use a visual assessment!
You should be able to feel but not see your dogs ribs, and when you look down on them, they should have a defined waist.
Of course this will vary a little between each breed.
So, if unsure, check with your vet.
Body Condition Still Applies With Puppies:
Puppies will look thin and gangly as they grow. This is normal theyre growing! Dont you remember when you were an awkward string bean? You may hear comments from people who assert your dog is too thin. These are often the people who have no idea their dog is overweight ignore them.Emaciated and underweight body conditions are different from a healthy, growing puppy. Follow the chart referenced earlier and youll be okay. And if youre unsure, ask your vets opinion.
This group needs to be treated like puppies from a food volume perspective.Once pregnancy is confirmed, you can begin to move your dogs daily food intake up from 2-3% to 4-5%. When the puppies are born, youll want to stay within that 4-5% range . Prior to weaning will be the highest point for your dogs daily food volume needs.After puppies are weaned, your dog can go back to her normal 2-3% range within a short period of time.
No vast difference in quantity of food with older dogs. But if your dog is less active you may need to slightly decrease food volume.
Puppies How Much Food A Puppy Needs Per Day
To correctly calculate the amount of food for the little ones, youll need to know their weight and caloric content of food. Approximate figures per 1 kg of weight can be seen in the table below.
|Puppy age||A daily rate of kcal per 1 kg of weight in grams||Quantity of feed|
|Up to 1|
|Used calculation for adult animals|
Small dogs will have smaller portions than puppies of larger breeds.
Cooking Our Way To A Healthier Dog Diet
Ever since I started raising my own dogs, Id always wanted to make their food at home but thought it would be too expensive or too time consuming, or that they wouldnt get the nutrition they needed.
During the month of Bugs doggy depression, I vowed to make her precious life as comfortable as possible.
Both of my pugs had a range of health issues growing up, which I unfortunately found out were common for the breed.
My older one had persistent hot spots and itchiness that no commercial dog food could cure .
Bug was overweight for a while when she was younger, even though she ate the recommended amount of food for her target weight. Eventually, I settled on Wellness kibbles and they did well with that brand.
But, I wanted to explore other options. I wanted to give them real food fresh, nutritious ingredients that I recognized and could even eat myself.
Ive mentioned in my post on homemade whole grain chicken feed that the entire household all share the same whole grains and seeds that we buy in bulk, as well as the bounty that comes from our edible garden.
Everything our animals eat, we can eat.
When it comes to homemade feed for our laying hens, we stick to a tried-and-true formula that works for every layer: 16 to 17 percent protein , vitamins, minerals, and amino acids from a wide variety of grains and seeds, and free range of a pasture for weeds, greens, and insects.
Dogs, on the other hand, arent bred for a standard function the way chickens are.
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Determine The Quantity And Schedule
How much should my dog eat? We are almost there, but unfortunately, there is some math involved here:Select the amount of calories/cups per day from your dog foods feeding guideline. Dont forget to factor in your pups activity level in making this determination.Subtract the number of calories you are feeding your dog in snacks.Determine how often you feed your dog. Most people feed their dogs twice per day, but there is no hard and fast ruleso consult your veterinarian if you have questions. Divide the number of daily meals from the recommended daily feeding amount determined in steps a and b above, and voila, you have your per-meal serving size.
Complete And Balanced Dog Foods
One of the first things you should look for on a dog food label is the statement is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles. This isnt just an advertising slogan. The Association of American Feed Control Officials has strict requirements to make sure that a product is in fact complete and balanced for dogs . Complete and balanced diets must contain the minimum amount of all of the nutrients necessary for dogs, which is also indicated in the guaranteed analysis. This analysis gives the minimum amount of crude protein and fat, along with the maximum amounts of water and crude fiber. The analysis does not, however, give the exact amount of these components, which means there is room for considerable variation. The manufacturers average nutrient profile is often a better tool for evaluating a product.
You can always contact the dog food company directly to get more information about its product. A reputable company that has your dogs interests at heart should be happy to answer your questions and in many cases will give you more information than what is available on the website or product label. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association has a helpful sheet with questions you can ask a company representative.
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Recommended Serving Amounts For Homemade Dog Food
As a general rule, dogs will eat around 2 to 3 percent of their ideal body weight in fresh food daily. Larger breeds may need as little as 1 1/2 percent, and smaller breeds may need as much as 4 percent.
This works out to be approximately:
- 2 pounds of food per day for a 100-pound dog
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of food per day for a 50-pound dog
- 1/2 to 3/4 pound of food per day for a 25-pound dog
- 5 to 6 1/2 ounces of food per day for a 10-pound dog
There is much variation in what the ideal amount should be as it depends on how much your dog weighs and how active she is.
I feel that the best approach is to feed and watch if your dog is losing weight, give more, and if your dog is gaining weight, give less.
For our pugs, we feed a scoop each in the morning and a scoop each in the evening, plus all their supplements.
We have an easy system for this: homemade food is refrigerated in a sealed container with a measuring cup , and all the supplements are lined up together in a cupboard in the kitchen. Keeping your ingredients organized and accessible will make feeding time fast and smooth.
Compared to feeding commercial food, where you might scoop out kibbles or open up a can, feeding homemade food with all the supplements takes maybe 10 seconds more. And even if it took 10 minutes more, fresh wholesome food for our furbabies is worth it.
What Is The Proper Amount Of Complete Dog Food To D Complete Dog Food Should I Feed My Dog
According to some good quality dog food, the recommended amount for dogs weighing approximately one to ten kilograms is roughly 1/2 cup per 10 kg of body weight per day, since they require about 25-25% more calories per pound. Dogs typically receive 2 cups of milk per 10,000 kilograms of weight, and giant breed and large dogs typically receive 4 cups.
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How Much To Feed Adult Dogs
Most breeds of adult dogs eat twice a day, according to PetMD. If you are adopting an adult dog and arent familiar with her eating habits, two cups of age-appropriate food per day is a good place to startone in the morning and one in the evening, and always with fresh water available. Some dog food brands will have guidelines printed on the bag, and this can be a good place to start, and increase or decrease depending on your dogs current size and her ideal weight.
According to WebMD, adult dogs, depending on their personality, may be responsible enough to decide how much food is enough. In this case, youd leave food out during the day and let the dog decide how much she wants.
Owners of these eat to live-type dogs often have little trouble helping their dog to maintain a healthy weight, as long as the dog gets enough exercise. Some dogs thrive with this grazing routine, while otherssimply cant control themselves.
For those of us with live to eat-type dogs, we need to help our dogs with portion control. If you are having trouble helping your dog to maintain a healthy weight, your vet can assist with ideas for weight control and portion control. They may recommend a specialized diet that often includes premium food.
If youre still at a loss, try PetMDs general rule of thumb for adult dogs:
What Is A Multiplier Factor
To estimate your dogs total daily energy needsand maintain a healthy body condition score, the resting energy requirement is modified to adjust for your dogs activity level, life stage, and other corresponding factors. As you can imagine, a dog who does not move around a lot will have a smaller multiplier than say a K-9 police dog who works.
The modification is done by applying known multipliers, i.e.:
- neutered adult = 1.6 x RER
- intact adult = 1.8 x RER
- inactive/obese prone = 1.2-1.4 x RER
- weight loss = 1.0 x RER for ideal weight
- weight gain = 1.2-1.8 x RER for ideal weight
- active, working dogs = 2.0-5.0 x RER
Note: Its worth noting that we use standard factors, typically used by veterinarians. However, there are other option that some vets and owners prefers, such as the Maintenance Energy Requirement.
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How Much Should Adult Dogs Eat
Dont let your dog trick you into more mealtimes with adorable puppy dog eyes. Most dogs only require two meals a day, but if you catch your dog begging, an occasional healthy treat can help.
The trick is to make sure youre not feeding your dog more than is recommended. Food labels can be misleading or confusing. Generic feeding charts may over-calculate how much to feed a dog, or use outdated information.
To determine how much food to feed your dog, you should start by knowing your dogs estimated adult weight. Most large breed dogs will weigh between 50 to 150 pounds, while small breeds weigh under 20 pounds. Knowing the weight of your dogs same-sex parent can also be an excellent guide.
From there, you can use the estimated weight to determine how many calories dogs need per day.
Skin And Coat Problems
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Constant scratching or chewing/licking of the skin, especially around the paws is sadly very common in dogs. It can itself be stressful, uncomfortable and often painful for the dog which is bad enough but more often than not it is also a sign of bigger problems under the surface.
Food and digestive health play a major role in almost all skin problems so if your dog has skin sensitivities, be sure to check out our comprehensive guide to feeding itchy dogs here.
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Should I Feed Both Of My Dogs The Same
Nah.While you can find plenty of quality raw dog food calculators online, I dont recommend you use them for one reasonI want you to use your brain.With any new skill, theres a learning curve. Learn how to do this yourself instead of relying on a computer program to tell you what to do. That way, you understand what works for your dog. And you know when and how to tweak their diet.With practice, raw feeding becomes quite simple. Sure, youll experience the trial-and-error thats natural to any new endeavor. But youll never become comfortable unless you put the effort in.Remember, raw feeding is a lifestyle change. Participate in it.
Wet Dog Food As Topper Or Mixer
If youre not wanting to switch from kibble entirely, you can also feed wet food as a topper. To do this, pair it with your pets favorite kibble and simply put some of the moist food on top. Youll notice in the feeding guidelines above for K95 Turkey, there are also instructions for feeding it with dry product so just follow those instructions when using wet food as a topper.
A main advantage to using wet food as a topper is the increased palatability it adds to your pets food. If you have a picky pup who sometimes just doesnt feel like eating, its worth a try to incorporate wet dog food into their meals every once in a while to get them excited about dinner time.
Using moist food as a mixer is very similar to the idea of using as a topper, but in this case you actually mix the wet dog food into the kibble. If your picky pet still isnt eating all of their food with a topper, mixing it together may help your dog eat more of it.
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Step : Size Considerations
When determining how much raw food to feed your dog, heres one rule to keep in mind:
Ignore linear feeding guidelines.
What do I mean by linear? Let me explain.Its the assumption that food volume increases linearly by size. For example, it may sound right that a 50-lb dog needs twice as much food as a 25-lb dog. Or, a 100-lb dog needs twice as much as a 50-lb dog.But this type of thinking is incorrect.Heres the reality:
Small dogs eat more for their body weight than large dogs do. In fact, toy breeds and small breed dogs defy the rule.In discussing how much to feed a small dog, raw feeding expert Lisa from Souly Raw, explains:
I Just Changed From Kibble To Wet Food How Do I Figure Out Portion Sizes
This is tricky! You can try the recommended portion on the can, or you can try to make some educated leaps about equivalent serving sizes. Youll have to figure out how many calories your dog is eating per day in dry food and then assess the amount of canned food youll need to hit the same approximate amount.
Theres no avoiding math when it comes to figuring out approximate calories. Because of the differing moisture levels and formulation between wet and dry food, its unlikely youll be swapping a cup of dry for a cup of wet.
Typically, canned food also contains fewer carbs and grain than kibble, because kibble needs grains and starches as part of the manufacturing process. Wet food means more protein and fat for your dog, and fewer grains even if your chosen wet food isnt even grain free.
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Adult Dog Feeding Schedule
Most people choose to feed their adult dogs two meals a day one in the morning and one in the afternoon or evening.
Other people will free feed their dogs. This involves leaving your dogs food ration down at all times, so he can eat as and when he chooses.
Some problems with free feeding include: dogs eating out of boredom, dogs eating excessively and becoming overweight, not noticing loss of appetite, and it being a less sanitary option.
Remember, the food amounts we recommended above count for your dogs entire daily allowance.
So, you will need to split this food up into separate mealtimes.
Vegetarian Diets For Dogs
If youre not a meat eater yourself, it can be a moral dilemma as to what to feed your dog. Dogs are omnivores, which means they can eat both meat and plant-based foods. As long as you buy a complete commercial food appropriate for your dogs age and lifestyle, your dog will be getting all the nutrients they need whether youre feeding meat or not. As with any feeding, however, we dont recommend a homemade diet as its harder to make sure your dog is getting all the goodness they need.
If your dog has special dietary requirements, a vegetarian or vegan diet may not be right for them in this case, speak to vet or vet nurse for advice.
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Easy Homemade Dog Food Recipe
Jump to RecipeMy easy homemade dog food recipe combines lean ground sirloin, wholesome brown rice, fresh vegetables, hard boiled eggs, and tender herbs
***Please note, I am not a veterinarian, just a very passionate dog owner! The information in this blog post documents our own personal experiences, research, and the recipes that we feed our dogs under our veterinarian’s careful supervision. Please, consult with your vet and use your own personal judgment when considering transitioning to a 100% human grade food diet for your pup. This post was updated with video August 16, 2020, updated with additional recipe links 9/14/2020, updated 1/7/2021 with metric measurements.***