Following our guide to how much you should feed your cat, we’ve decided to also release this guide to help you manage your dog’s food consumption.
Pet obesity is a growing issue and it can actually have a detrimental impact on their life and puts them at higher risk of developing different health and wellbeing issues.
According to veterinary advisor Dr Moyes, measuring and monitoring the food intake of your pets is important for ensuring your pets are as healthy and happy as they can be.
You can also read our guide on How to Weigh Your Dog at Home here.
How Much Should I Feed My Dog?
There are a number of factors that impact how much you should feed your dog, such as the size of your dog, their age and their activity level.
Weight of Dog
Toy (Less than 10 lbs)
Including breeds like Chihuahuas, Pomeranians and Yorkshire Terriers, toy dogs tend to be less than 10lbs in weight and therefore require less food than the larger breeds of dogs. Smaller dogs may need to eat more often, however, as they expend their energy very quickly.
For toy dogs, it’s recommended that you feed them ⅓ cup of dog food if they’re 3lbs in weight and ½ cup if they’re 6lbs in weight.
Small Dogs (10-20 lbs)
For smaller dog breeds such as Pugs and Dachshunds, they need a little bit more to eat, as shown by the chart below from PetMD. If they weigh around 10lbs then they’ll need ¾ cup a day, for 15lbs they need a cup and if they’re 20lbs then they’ll need 1⅓ cups.
Medium Dogs (30-50 lbs)
There’s quite a step up from small dogs to medium dogs. Examples of medium dogs include collies and labradors.
Medium dogs tend to be more active than small dogs and therefore burn substantially more calories. Because of this, it’s recommended to give a 30lb dog 1 ¾ cups of food a day, 40lb dogs need 2 ¼ cups and 50lb dogs need 2 ⅔.
Large Dogs (60-100+ lbs)
Larger dogs include breeds such as bernese mountain dogs and german shepherds. Large dog breeds need between 3 and 4 ½ cups depending on their weight. This can be referenced on the table below again.
Age of Dog
The age of a dog also impacts the amount of food that they need to consume.
Some dogs may have health conditions that need to be taken into account when planning a feeding schedule. Speak to your veterinarian if you think this is the case and ask them for their specific recommendations.
As mentioned above, you should also take the activity level of your dog into account when calculating how much food they need to consume. Dogs who get longer walks or spend more time outdoors will likely need more sustenance that dogs who spend most of their day inside sleeping.
This video from PDSA provides further information.
How do I Measure My Dog’s Food?
We recommend using a digital kitchen scale for measuring your dog food. The Marsden B-450 Bench Scale, pictured above, has precision to the nearest 1g and is waterproof.
By weighing out your dog’s food, you can ensure they’re sticking to their portion sizes and not eating too much or too little.
How Often Should I Feed My Dog?
After puppies are first born, they usually consume their mother’s milk before being weaned at around six or seven weeks old. After this they should be offered some alternative food such as kibble.
As puppies tend to grow up to 20 times faster than adult dogs, they require food more often to help them develop. As such, puppies tend to eat 3 or 4 small meals a day to help them get the calories and sustenance that they need.
It’s important that puppies are fed a dog food intended for puppies so that they can get all the nutrients that they need to grow up big and strong.
1 Year and Older
For adult dogs, it is more common to feed them 1 or 2 times a day. However for smaller dog breeds, they may need up to 3 feeds a day as they burn through their energy much quicker.
Unlike with cats, it isn’t recommended to let your dog free feed, especially in a multi-dog household. Dogs aren’t known for being able to maintain their own food levels and most dogs will wolf down any food within sight. Therefore allowing your dog to free feed could lead to overfeeding.
Sticking to a schedule encourages your dog to avoid grazing and promotes a good meal time behaviour.
Can I Give My Dog Treats?
Everyone loves giving their dog treats, whether that’s for training or just for forming a bond. But it’s important that you don’t risk overfeeding your dog by offering them too many treats. Treats should be included in a dog’s daily calorie total.
You should avoid giving your dog treats that you take from your own plate or cupboards. This is because dog food is specifically created with a dog in mind and includes all the correct food and nutrients that they need, whereas human food is not.
Some human foods are even dangerous for dogs. View them below:
What Food is Dangerous for my dog?
- Grapes and raisins
- Garlic and Onions
- Milk and other dairy products
- Fruit like avocados and cherries. But, strawberries, apples, and blueberries can be given in moderation
- Common household and garden plants (e.g. Daffodil)
Dog Feeding Tips
Slow Your Dog’s Food Consumption
Eating too quickly can actually be dangerous for dogs and can lead to stomach or digestive problems. Therefore it’s important to ensure that they don’t just wolf down all their food at every meal. To do this you can give them their food slowly in smaller portions or use a slow feeder to help prolong their eating time.
Placing a ball inside of their bowl that they have to eat around can also force them to take smaller mouthfuls. Alternatively, you could also consider putting food inside of a kong to encourage them to burn energy and eat slower.
Always Have Water Out For Your Dog
Ensure that your dog always has access to a water bowl, whether that’s during meal time or just during the day.
It is not recommended to feed your dog homemade dog food as this often doesn’t contain all of the nutrients needed to create a healthy diet. That’s why you’re best off choosing from.
Your dog’s weight impacts the amount of food that they should be eating. Work out if your dog is a healthy weight using our guide: What Is a Healthy Weight for My Dog?
Did you know that takeaways could be fueling pet obesity? Marsden has created a blog post to discuss this unhealthy trend.
Can’t decide which scale is best for your dog? Explore our buyer's guide for veterinary scales.