How Much and How Often Should I Feed My Dog
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Two of the most common questions regarding dog food are: how much should I feed my dog? And how often should a dog eat? The answers to those two questions will depend on many factors such as the dog's age, level of physical activity, diseases or clinical conditions, the kind of dog food you offer it etc.
The best person to tell you how much and how often you should feed your dog is definitely your veterinarian, especially if we talk about a puppy or elderly dog. However, at AnimalWised we offer you some tips that can help you set out feeding schedules and decide on the amount of food your dog should eat.
Continue reading to discover how much and how often you should feed your dog.
How to choose a good dry feed for dogs
First of all, you should know that dogs, regardless of age or breed, need quality food, no matter if it is store bought or homemade food. As for how much a dog should eat, if you are in doubt you can always go to a vet for advice, but the basic guideline is to take the size and physical activity of the dog into account.
In most animal care shops and supermarkets you can find, for example, dog dry food that is especially developed for giant dog breeds, containing extra calcium. Such kind of food is perfect because it helps strengthen the bones which bear a lot of weight. Do not forget that there are many different dog dry food varieties:
- Toy dogs
- Small dogs
- Medium dogs
- Large dogs
- Giant dogs
When trying to determine how much and how often a dog should be fed, you should consider the fact that dogs are animals that appreciate routine and consistency. Establishing a routine will help the dog feel comfortable in its environment. For this reason it is advisable to always choose the same times and places for feeding, no matter whether you feed your dog in one, two or three doses.
Choosing the suitable kind of food for your dog is vital, as many dogs may reject dry food if it is not the right type for them, or if it is of poor quality.
You can always combine dry food with some homemade food or wet food.
How often should I feed my puppy?
If you have a puppy, you might be asking yourself "how much and how often should I feed my puppy?". Overall, the frequency with which you feed your dog is higher when it is a puppy and progressively decreases as it grows. Unless your dog has a medical condition that requires different schedules, you can use the following recommendations as a general guide:
- Puppies up to 8 weeks old: until 8 weeks of age, puppies suckle on breast milk, so they should be kept with their mother and siblings. Separating them prematurely put their socialization skills at risk. In addition, artificial food such as formula milk does not provide little ones with adequate protection.
From the third or fourth week you can start offering them some semi-solid snacks so that they start getting used to solid food. You can do it by mixing some puppy food with water.
After six weeks of age you can start offering your puppies food specific for them 4 times a day (consult with your vet to choose the food). At this stage puppies should continue to have the possibility of suckling milk. Always remember to choose good quality food that is appropriate for their size.
- Puppies 2 to 3 months old: they must be fed at least 4 times a day. Some very small breeds such as Chihuahuas or Yorkshire Terrier may need to feed 5 times a day to avoid hypoglycemia.
- Puppies 3 to 6 months old: by this stage the puppy is already accustomed to solid food. You can reduce its usual dose to fewer intakes. Your puppy should now be fed 3 times a day.
- Puppies 6 months to 1 year old: your dog should now start receiving food only twice a day. Progressing slowly to fewer feeds can help you better maintain schedules and adapt the animal to its new adult life.
- Dogs over 1 year old: How often should an adult dog eat? From the age of one year a dog can eat once or twice a day. Some people find it easier to feed their dogs once a day, while others prefer to give them smaller rations divided between morning and evening.
The puppy stage is very important to ensure the dog's good development. That means it will be essential to offer it quality dry food in suitable amounts and frequency, and to guarantee a proper routine. Do not forget to go see your veterinarian to make sure that your puppy is growing well.
How often should an adult dog eat?
Adult dogs can be fed in one or two daily doses. At this stage the dog's digestive system is strong and stable and, unlike other animals, dogs do not need to eat regularly to keep their intestinal transit active.
Do not forget to occasionally vary your dog's menu to make it feel motivated and happy to receive the food it likes. Also, in an adult dog's diet, we must include treats that we will use to reward the dog and practice positive reinforcement.
You can give your dog some snacks if it has a healthy weight and you think it completely burns up the calories. However, if in doubt you can choose a snack that is low in calories. Although these are usually slightly more expensive, they can help prevent obesity in dogs.
So. the answer to the question "how often should I feed my dog" is: once or twice a day, plus a couple of snacks.
How much should an adult dog eat
On average, adult dogs eat food corresponding to around 2% or 3% of their body weight every day. However, this also depends on the dog's age, the caloric intake of the food in question, the dog's level of physical activity and their ideal weight according to height and breed.
As it is not possible to give guidelines that consider all those factors, dog food brands offer general recommendations on how much you should feed your dog based on weight. You will find them written on the food bag. Use these recommendations as a general guide and then decide if you are going to give a little more or a little less according to your dog's specific characteristics. Note that very active dogs (e.g. dogs that do canine sports such as agility training or go jogging with their owners) will need to be fed a little more food than dogs that do not do a lot of physical activity. Always check your pet's food packaging and follow the instructions.
In any case, in order to determine how much your dog should eat, it is important to weigh them once a month to see if the weight has maintained, reduced or increased. If you think your dog has weight problems or if you have any questions related to the amount you should give it, consult your veterinarian.
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