The age-old question with the age-old answer… How much food should I feed my dog? Well, it depends. We know, we know…that’s not the response you were hoping for. Continue reading and, we promise, there’s a lot of good information in here to help guide you through.
Whether you’re a first-time dog owner trying to determine how much food to feed your puppy, or a seasoned pet parent trying to help your dog mature gracefully, nutrition is top-of-mind. There are three things to determine when you’re building out your dog’s diet:
- What type of food?
- What amount of food?
- How often should they eat?
Let’s break that down one-by-one.
What Type of Food Should I Feed My Dog?
Kibble is a great choice to feed your dog because it’s packed with all the nutrition your dog needs, it’s less of a mess, it’s easier to store, it has a longer shelf life and typically costs less per meal. Plus, the crunchy texture provides added assistance in keeping your dog’s teeth clean. To review, the benefits of feeding kibble include:
- Lower cost
- Complete and balanced nutrition
- Dental health
Our Wholesomes recipes come in a variety of dry kibble options for adult dogs and for puppies of all breeds. You’ll find a nutritious option in any category, including whole grain, grain-free, sensitive skin & stomach and even specially formulated diets for extremely active, high-energy dogs. Here are a few things to consider when choosing your dog’s food:
- Size and breed of dog
- Is your dog considered a small breed, large breed or simply somewhere in between? Larger dogs may need more supplemental nutrition than smaller dogs, such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin for joint health. Also, keep in mind that certain breeds often have an ideal weight. Certain breeds are often more susceptible to sensitivities as well.
- Age of dog
- Puppies and adult dogs have very different nutritional needs. Puppies often need more calories in their diet to balance out their high activity levels and support their developmental growth.
- Dog’s lifestyle
- Is your dog pretty active or more sedentary? Could they stand to lose some weight, or are you trying to help them maintain their current body condition? Look for something higher in calorie if your dog is extremely active, and lower in calorie if less active.
- Goals and intentions
How Much Food Does My Dog Need?
Once you’ve selected the appropriate food for your dog, you’ll need to figure out how much food your dog needs to eat. AAFCO (Association of American Feeding Control Officials) requires dog food companies to include feeding directions on their packaging. You will find a feeding guide and a daily feeding chart on the back of every Wholesomes dog food bag. These instructions will help you select feeding amounts based off your dog’s weight. See the example below from our Chicken Meal & Rice recipe.
Our feeding charts are organized by weight of dog and cups of food per day. The weight categories are divided into ten-pound ranges: 5-10 lbs., 10-20 lbs., 20-30 lbs., and beyond extending up to 100 + lbs. Select your dog’s current weight and below will be the suggested amount of food they should eat in one day. As an example, if your dog weighs 65 lbs. find the weight range 60-70 lbs. and you’ll see listed below that 3 ¼ – 3 ¾ cups of food per day is what’s recommended for this recipe. If your dog is over 100 lbs. in weight, take the amount of food listed for 100 lbs., which is 5 cups, and add ¼ cup of food for every 10 lbs. over 100 lbs. in weight. An example of this would be: your large breed dog is 120 lbs., which is 20 lbs. over the highest weight listed on the chart. An additional ½ cup of food is advised, meaning, you’d feed your dog up to 5 ½ cups of food each day.
How Often Should You Feed a Dog?
Now that you know the quantity of food your dog should eat, let’s figure out the feeding schedule. Think about what works best for your daily routine and your own daily schedule. Are you home often enough for food to be out all day, allowing your dog to graze? This is called free feeding. Free feeding is not well suited for dogs that devour food too quickly. How many times a day are you home and available to feed your dog? Your dog’s feeding routine should fit well with your lifestyle, and your dog’s temperament. We suggest feeding your dog twice daily, once in the morning and once in the afternoon or evening. Take another look at the feeding chart on our Wholesomes dog food packaging. If your dog is 65 lbs. and you’re expecting to feed him a total amount of 3 ½ cups of food each day, you’ll feed him 1 ¾ cups in the morning and then another 1 ¾ cups in the evening.
Keep in mind that our feeding guidelines and charts are simply recommendations. Portions will vary according to your dog’s age, breed, temperament, and environment. Always do what you feel is best for your dog and consult your veterinarian if needed. It’s also a good idea to reassess your dog’s nutritional needs as years pass.