How much do I need to feed my dog?

April 13, 2012

Nearly all dog owners overfed the pet. Who can ever say no to a pet with a woebegone expression and imploring eyes? Dogs can be real con artists that have learned to be adept at playing on the emotions of the loving owner. The whimpering when accompanied by the doleful expression and a longing look at the kibble bin will earn the dog another full doggie dish. Moreover, wouldn’t it be better to have a roly-poly pet that waddles and follows your every move than to have a pet that is bony and skinny. We dog owners would want to have the pet with us as long as possible. But have you ever realized that over feeding the pet can result to obesity? Unlike humans, the dog would not care whether it is fat or not but obesity can give rise to some health issues that can shorten the life of the pet. On the other hand, owners aware of this fact can be too strict with the amount of food given to the pet. Feed the dog too little and you will have a bony and skinny pet that becomes a scavenger. Again, this can result to health issues. Dogs have voracious appetites. Lady and Tramp will eat until their sides practically burst. It is a pity dogs don’t come with a meter that will blink when the stomach is full. The pet should have the right amount of food to maintain the ideal weight. But how would you know if you are feeding too much or too less?

Is your dog a puppy? Puppies would have different food requirements than adult dogs. Due to a quick metabolism, puppies would need more protein and fat as compared to adult dogs. Check the label on the food container. It should have meat as the first ingredient. The small stomach would not hold the daily food requirement in one meal thus the food has to be given four times every day. When the puppy is about 3 months in age decrease the feeding to three times a day. Feeding can be reduced further to the normal two feeding a day when the puppy is five months old. Use the weight of the puppy as the basis for the amount of food it should receive. The amount of food should be about five percent of its body weight.

How much food will you give an adult dog? Manufactured food bags have specific guidelines for the right amount of food based on the weight of the dog. Assuming that the commercial food is a balanced diet, the amounts specified are pretty accurate. You simply need to take the pet to the vet to get its accurate weight. However, you need to make some adjustments given the fact that every dog is an individual with different nutritional needs. The feeding directions on the food bag are general estimates. Aside from the weight, you still need to consider the age, the breed as well as the activity of the dog. For instance small dog breeds that weigh up to 22 lbs can have about 4 to 6 ounces of food everyday and 16 to 18 ounces of food is the requirement of large breeds weighing 55 to 77 pounds. These rough estimates would not be enough if the dog is a working breed. A sled dog for instance would need about four times the amount food consumed by a dog of the same weight but one that lounges around the house all day. Some breeds are known to need more food. On the other hand, older dogs may not have the appetite of younger dogs although both may be in the same weight bracket. The rule of thumb is to feed the dog more when it is thin and less when it getting obese.

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