Learning how much you should feed your dog is more important than you may realise, but obviously, there is a massive size difference between dogs and the level of activity and breed change how much food they may need. Finding specific guidelines is quite tricky because it tends to be more trial and error. Still, it also seems to be something we often get wrong as obesity in the dog word is becoming a real problem for vets across the country. So, it’s essential you try and work out precisely what nutrition and how much your four-legged friend might need each day.
Why is it important how much I feed my dog?
Just like in humans, obesity in dogs can cause significant health problems and shorten their life span. Equally, undernutrition can also be a problem that can make your pet ill. It is likely if you visit a vet’s office you will see posters on the wall showing you how your dog should look, and the easiest way to see if a dog is under or overweight is to look at them when they are standing up from above. A dog should have a small indentation where their waist would be, and you shouldn’t be able to see their stomachs sticking out if you are standing directly over them looking down. A dog would be considered too thin if you could see all the definition of each rib. The health concerns from dog obesity are serious and can be life-limiting, resulting in a shorter time with your pup. The most common conditions are diabetes and arthritis, which is very similar to overweight people, also hypothyroidism, cancer, pancreatitis, and oral disease.
Conversely, there are problems if an animal does not get enough nutrients and lose weight, and, in this case, we would class them as malnourished. You would expect low energy levels, a dull and dry coat, perhaps even with flaky skin or dandruff. Your dog would also be much more susceptible to getting viruses and bugs and may even vomit. If a dog vomits green or yellow bile with nothing else in it the chances are, they are hungry.
How much should I feed my puppy?
Puppies are like children and are constantly growing and developing their bodies and organs. Due to this, they need regular high calory food to help them.
It is generally recommended that when you first get your puppy, they should have 3 to 4 small meals a day up until they are around 6 months.
By feeding small meals more frequently, it is easier to fo the puppy to digest. On top of that, as your puppy will be active in exploring and playing, they will use their energy up quickly.
At around 6 months you can start looking to drop this down to just 2 meals a day. It is also essential to keep an eye on their weight as often an overweight puppy leads to an overweight dog.
If you are uncertain of how much to feed your dog at any stage in its life, please consult your vet.
How much to feed an adult dog?
This is a very good question, and with humans, the answer is not quite straightforward. If your dog is the ideal weight, then simply look on the back of the packet and feed according to the guidelines. Of course, you will need to keep an eye on their weight just in case.
However, if you have a dog that is not as active and say has a 20-minute walk around the block, then feeding the recommended amount could lead to them being fat. The same as an active dog could be underweight.
It is important to remember that the package is only a guideline as no one can be exact without knowing the dog.
Start with the recommended amount in a measuring jug, monitor the eight dogs over a month, and then adjust accordingly.