Every new dog owner will soon notice that dogs love to eat. A dog’s love for eating renders it difficult for them to stop when they have eaten enough. This inability to self regulate makes it difficult for new dog owners to determine exactly how much food a dog needs each day. While dog food labels do provide a general idea, the information is not specific to the needs of any individual dog. Hence it is important to know the right dog feeding amount.
As a general rule of thumb, a puppy needs to eat thrice a day until they’re eight weeks old. Thereafter, they will thrive well on a twice a day feeding routine.
Working out exactly how much dogfood to put in your dog’s bowl can be confusing, to begin with. There are many online calculators available where you can input the details about your dog and get an idea of how much food he really needs. Check out a good dog food calculator.
Table of Contents
- Personal factors
- Type and quality of dog food
- Feeding factors
- Environmental factors
How much food your dog will eat will be decided by several factors many of which are personal to the dog, as stated below:
Your dog’s age is a significant factor when it comes to the amount of food that he must eat. New born dogs upto 4 weeks need to feed on the mother’s milk several times a day. Thereafter, from the fifth to the eighth week, they may be given solid puppy foods along with mother’s milk.
Your dog’s lifecycle goes through four stages. These stages are divided into:
A puppy would require to be fed several times a day once he has completed the first 4-8 weeks after birth. In these first weeks, the puppy should only take its mother’s milk for the first four weeks atleast and then you can slowly introduce your puppy to solid foods from the 5th to the 8th week.
- A 2 to 3 months old puppy typically needs to be fed four times a day.
- A 3 to 6 months old puppy requires three feeds a day.
A dog of 6 months to one year age that has grown big enough but is still growing and developing is considered a junior dog though it is still a puppy actually. In the age range of 6 to 12 months old, junior pups must be fed 2 times a day. This stage can go up to 24 months for larger breeds.
An adult dog is one that is fully grown. An adult dog may require to be fed either once or twice a day or maybe even a third feed may be required. It really depends on the activity level of the dog at this stage.
Dogs older than seven years are considered mature adults. This is when your dog has kind of hit middle age. Most dogs at this stage are fed either once or twice a day depending on their activity level.
Dogs over ten years of age are considered as senior dogs. A senior dog may not eat as much as a a younger one. Also, you might want to take your veterinarian’s help to see if you need to switch to food that is designed for senior dogs and also how much to feed him.
If you dog has completed his life expectancy and is still going, he will be considered as a geriartric dog. His activity levels are likely to be very low at this stage and food intake might come down substantially. It really becomes very case to case basis at this stage.
The amount of food a dog must eat is determined by factors such as age, life stage, activity level, size, breed. Other important factors include lifestyle, physiological status, and any digestive issues or other disorders.
Any digestive issues
You should also pay attention to the dog’s medications, supplements, and/or any medical procedures done or to be done.
Medications & supplements
Type and quality of dog food
The type and quality of dog food also play a critical role in deciding the amount of food to be fed to the dog. Dog foods that are made with cornmeal or meat by-products as main ingredients are not exactly providing all the required nutrition to your pet which means that your dog is likely to not feel satiated even after eating the specified quantity as his nutrition needs are not being fulfilled.
On the other hand dog food that contains main ingredients like chicken, turkey, beef, or fish would be more nutritious to your dog. Such dog food will also taste better than cornmeal or meat-byproducts based dog foods.
Certain disorders can also play a major role in deciding how much food your dog is able to eat and digest.
Feeding factors including the
Method of feeding
will affect the amount of dog food that a dog will eat.
Overfeeding or underfeeding
Excessive use of treats
etc are some feeding factors that can severely affect how much your dog will eat.
Environmental factors including the living space and the quality of the pets’ surroundings will also impact how much food a dog will eat.
Quality of the pets’ surroundings
Insufficient or excessive care
Insufficient or excessive environmental stimulation
can cause an animal to lose its apetite or have excessive hunger. These situations require effective resolution to produce appropriate behavioral changes in the dog so that it will eat well.
- If you are not sure about whether your dog is eating enough or if you are wondering whether his nutrition needs are being met, you can take the help of a good veterinarian to determine whether the diet of your pet is inadequate, both quantitywise and qualitywise. Accordingly, you should be able to prepare a plan for food and treats that provides appropriate calories and nutrient content for the dog.
- Do keep in mind that you must consider all food consumed in calculating the total intake of food including dog food, treats, table food, etc.
- The feeding plan designed for your dog must also incorporate considerations of feeding method, frequency, and location.