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HOW MUCH FOOD TO FEED YOUR DOG
Food plays a major role in the healthy living of all creatures, human beings, and animals alike, including dogs. Dogs should be fed just the right amount of food as too much or too little can pose health problems. Not giving enough food to your dog can cause nutritional deficiencies while too much food carries the risk of obesity which comes with a lot of associated health issues such as difficulty in breathing, heart failure, Cushing's disease, musculoskeletal issues like intervertebral disk disease, osteoarthritis, ligament rupture, and reduced quality of life.
All these show the importance of feeding your dog the right proportion of food that contains all the nutrients needed. There are certain factors that should be put into consideration when trying to determine how much food to feed your dog, and we will cover them below.
- Body weight and size: Generally, smaller dogs eat less food than large-sized dogs. Dogs can be grouped into toy breeds, (such as Yorkshire Terriers and Pomeranian) small breeds, (such as Pugs, Dachshunds, Boston Terriers) medium breeds,(such as Collie and Australian Shepherd), and large breeds (such as Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers). The quantity of food to give your dog will depend on his size and weight. The more your dog weighs, the more food he will need.
- Level of Activity: A dog that doesn’t get to exercise and move about too frequently will not require as many calories to meet its energy needs as a dog that is always active and exercising. The calorie intake of less active dogs should be checked to avoid obesity.
- The number of meals: The number of times a dog is fed in a day will affect the quantity of food to be served at each time. The portion of food given to a dog that is fed three times a day will not be the same as that of a dog that is fed twice a day.
- Age: The nutritional requirements of your dog changes with his age. Puppies require food to aid their growth, while a senior dog's diet should be centered on maintaining good health.
How to know the amount of food to feed your dog
The feeding chart at the back of a dog food label is a good guide to follow in feeding your pet the right quantity of food. Usually, these charts prescribe the amount of food to be served within a day based on the weight and age of your dog. Also, the quantity varies from one product to another depending on the type of food and its calorific content.
Generally, however, the quantity of food to feed your pooch is as follows:
- Toy breed dogs should be fed 1/3 cup per day for 3lbs and ½ cup per day for 6lbs.
- Small-sized dog breeds should be fed ¾ cup per day for 10lbs, 1 cup per day for 15lbs, and 1 2/3 cups per day for 20lbs.
- Medium-sized dog breeds should be fed 1 ¾ cups per day for 30lbs, 2 ¼ cups per day for 40lbs, and 2 2/3 cups per day for 50lbs.
- Large-sized dog breeds should be fed 3 cups per day for 60lbs, 3 ½ cups per day for 70lbs, 3 ¾ cups per day for 80lbs, 4 ¼ cups per day for 90lbs, 4 ½ cups per day for 100lbs and an added 1/3 cup for every 10lbs if you have a dog that weighs above 100lbs.
A feeding schedule is required to help you feed your dog the right amount of food. It is best to check with your vet before deciding on the type of food, the serving portion, and the number of meals per day. However, there is a general schedule that is considered safe to follow in feeding dogs.
Senior dogs should be fed twice a day; in the morning and the evenings. You can decide to serve them when you are having your breakfast and when you are having your dinner to help you stick to a schedule.
Puppies should be fed three or four times (for very active puppies) per day. This would be in the morning, midday, and evening.
To set a feeding schedule that your dog follows, all you have to do is repeat it until it sticks. You can serve your dog his food and give him some time to eat. If the food is left uneaten, take it away and wait till his next feeding time. After some days, your dog will understand that he should eat his food at the time it is set before him, and you've successfully created a schedule.
Nothing is fixed when it comes to feeding dogs, but there are general guidelines like the ones mentioned above that you can follow. You can make adjustments when required to suit your dog's needs, preferences, and health conditions. Also, remember to check with your vet before making changes.