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How much should I feed my dog?

How much should I feed my dog?

Helping your dog to maintain a healthy weight, while meeting all of their nutritional requirements, is one of the best ways to help your dog live a long and healthy life. To help you figure out how much you should be feeding your dog, follow these tips from our Lincoln Park vets.

Why Feeding Your Dog Right Matters

It's not always easy to tell how much food you should feed your dog, but it's important for them to get the right amount of nutrients every day to be healthy. However, if you feed your dog too much food it can cause weight gain. If your pup becomes overweight they are at a higher risk of developing serious health conditions such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, and some cancers. 

This makes it important to give your dog the appropriate portion sizes, consistently every day.

Determining the Right Amount of Food for Your Dog

The size of the meals you feed your dog depends on a variety of factors including:

  • The number of meals they require
  • The type of food
  • Your dog's activity level
  • Their weight
  • Metabolic rate

Below are a few easy tips to help you determine the amount you should be feeding your dog every day. We also recommend talking to your veterinarian who will be able to give you a more accurate recommendation for how much your pup should be eating daily based on the criteria listed above.

Dog Feeding Charts & Guides

Each brand of dog food comes with its own dog feeding chart on the packaging. These charts can provide you with a good guideline regarding how much you should be feeding your dog for their size and weight, over a 24 hour time period. Keep in mind that each brand, and even different flavors of the same brand, could have very different recommended portion sizes for your dog.

Adult dogs require approximately two meals a day, whereas puppies will need three or more until they mature. You will need to divide the daily feeding amount listed on the dog food chart/guide by the number of meals you feed your dog a day. If you are uncertain how many times you should be feeding your pup every day contact your veterinarian.

Use a Calorie Calculator

Calorie calculators can act as a good guide by informing you roughly how many calories you should be feeding your dog every day based on a specific set of criteria. However, the numbers they inform you to feed your dog aren't always accurate and can be off by approximately 25% (sometimes more, sometimes less).

Record Changes in Your Dog's Weight

It may be a good idea to keep a diary or journal of your dog's weight. Weigh your dog every 2-4 weeks and track your results, and adjust the amount you feed your pup accordingly. If your dog is losing an inappropriate amount of weight give them slightly bigger portions, if they are gaining too much weight feed them less. However, inform your veterinarian if there are any changes in your dog's weight because weight gain or weight loss can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. 

Recalculate Portion Sizes When You Switch Foods

Because the amount of calories or nutrients in every type of dog food is different, you need to readjust the portions you give your dog based on the feeding guide of the new food and your dog's calorie needs. 

Talk to Your Vet

Your vet can help you to determine the best food to feed your dog and the right amount based on your dog's lifestyle and physical characteristics. You can also ask them any questions you have about your canine friend's dietary needs. Your vet understands your dog's health best and wants your pet to thrive, so don't hesitate to ask for guidance.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Want to learn more about how best to feed your four-legged friend? Contact our Lincoln Park animal hospital to book an examination for your dog.

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Dix Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Lincoln Park companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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