Image via iStock.com/maushot
By Jennifer Coates, DVM
Feeding dogs seems so simple. You just offer an appropriate dry dog food or wet dog food and never anticipate a problem.
Except, it’s really not that simple.
As pet parents, we care about our dogs’ well-being and health. We monitor how they’re feeling; we take them to the veterinarian; we give them all the attention in the world. But if we’re not paying attention to their diet—not just what we’re feeding them, but how much we’re feeding them—we could be doing our dogs harm.
The question, “How much should I be feeding my dog?” needs to be answered, but the answer doesn’t come easily. How can you accurately determine your dog’s caloric requirements? How clear are the instructions on your dog’s food? Why is your dog gaining weight when you feed what’s recommended on the bag?
If you’re ready to learn a few easy tricks to ensure that your pup is getting the right amount of dog food, then you’re in the right place.
How Much to Feed Your Dog
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, in 2017 about 56 percent of dogs in the United States were overweight or obese. To put this into perspective, that’s about 50.2 million dogs that are too heavy and at risk for health problems.
While we can’t say that overfeeding based on confusion regarding how much food to feed dogs is the entire reason that dogs suffer from weight issues, it’s certainly a factor.
Learning the mathematics behind how much your dog should be eating is a powerful tool for helping your dog stay happy, healthy and trim.
But determining the right amount of food isn’t as easy as placing a dog bowl in front of him and letting him eat until he’s full. Many dogs will eat what you put out, no matter what. It’s up to you to figure out what’s a healthy amount. So, how can you determine how much to feed a dog?
Start by Talking With Your Veterinarian
For starters, take your dog to the vet. Get your dog weighed, have the vet give him a physical examination, and talk about whether or not the amount of food you’re currently serving is appropriate.
Be honest about your dog’s activity level and the amount of food he currently consumes (including dog treats, table scraps and other extras!). This way, you can get a more accurate idea not just about what you should be feeding him, but also about how much you should be feeding him.
Next, take a look at the label on your dog’s food and look for a dog feeding chart.