Wondering what is the right amount of dog food to feed your precious pooch? There are several things to take into consideration. It depends on his age, size, activity level, and the type of food he is eating.
In general, puppies and younger dogs burn more calories. This means they need a greater quantity of dog food that has more fat and protein in it. Dogs that are older or less active will remain healthy on fewer calories.
If you are feeding your dog a commercial pet food, watch out for the “feeding guidelines” printed on the bag. They should only be used as a rough guideline. Many labels suggest portion sizes that are too large, so that logically you would need to buy their dog food more often. For this reason, it may be a good idea to feed your dog a bit less than they suggest, monitoring him or her for hunger or body condition. Here are some general guidelines for sizes of portions at various stages of a dog’s life.
Portions for Puppies
By 8 weeks old, most puppies have been weaned from their mother’s milk. They are usually introduced to solid food by 3-4 weeks old. The amount of food you should feed your puppy varies, depending on his activity level, metabolism, size and environment. If the puppy seems to be gaining too much weight, you can gradually decrease his food intake. On the other hand, if his ribs are showing, feed him more. Your vet can help to guide you.
Puppies need to be fed a diet that is high in nutrients and protein, to foster proper growth and development. If you have chosen a commercial pet food, choose a brand that has been specially formulated for puppies.
Young puppies need to be fed three times a day: in the morning, noon, and early evening. As they mature, their food requirements per pound of body weight begin to level off. After the puppy has reached 5-6 months of age, feeding them twice a day should be sufficient.
If your puppy is a finicky eater, adding some warm water to the dry food may help to encourage him or her. Avoid using milk as this can cause some digestive problems for dogs.
Feeding Average Adult Dogs
After a dog has reached 1 year of age, he is considered an adult. His feeding goes into a maintenance period, meaning that his nutritional requirements will remain about the same throughout most of his life.
Adult dogs should have a stable weight and their body should be well-proportioned. You should be able to see his waist and feel his ribs with your fingers, under a thin fat layer.
If you are feeding your dog commercial pet food, pick one that has been specially formulated for adult dogs. Just like humans, a dog’s appetite can vary from day to day. No need to worry unless this loss of appetite lasts for several days or you notice an illness or significant weight loss. If your dog has no desire to eat, take him to the vet as this can be the first sign of many illnesses.
Feeding Active Adult Dogs
Dogs who are very active, have energy needs that are greater than a dog who is more sedentary. Keep in mind however, that during the less active winter months, his food requirements will decrease.
When it comes to very active dogs, they shouldn’t be fed right before or right after a strenuous workout. Digestion problems or discomfort may result. In addition to this, the risk for dangerous gastric bloat increases in situations such as these.
Dogs that are hardworking should receive most of their daily calories an hour or more after they have had their last exercise session for the day. Small snacks or treats can be given during times of increased activity to ward off hunger and fatigue. For every dog, be sure plenty of fresh water is available at all times.
Feeding Senior Dogs
As dogs age, their dietary requirements change. Dogs that are elderly require less calories than they did when they were younger. If you feed your senior dog commercial pet food, choose one that has reduced calories, yet a sufficient amount of nutrients.
In regards to the amount to feed a senior dog, this depends on their overall health and activity level. If a dog isn’t very active, they can easily gain weight if you aren’t careful.