We care nearly as much as you do about the health of your furry friends. Throughout your time being a dog mom or dad, maybe you’ve asked yourself the question, “How do I know if I’m feeding my dog the right amount of food?” Your dog might be eating every last bit of kibble in their dog bowl, but since pets aren’t known for their nutritional expertise, we can’t trust that they’ll stop when they eat too much or ask for more when they’ve eaten too little. Today, we’re here to provide a brief guide on how to know whether you’re feeding your dog the proper amount. Keep reading to see how to keep your pets in tip-top shape.
Consequences of Not Feeding Your Dog the Proper Amount
Before we get started on how to know if you’re feeding your dog the right amount, it’s important to clarify what might happen if you feed your dog too little or too much. If your pet isn’t getting enough food in their system, then they might suffer from malnutrition and the health deficiencies that come along with that.
If your pet is having a little too much for dinner, then that puts them at risk for so many more obesity-related problems, such as:
- Heart failure
- Difficulty breathing
- Shorter life span
- Poorer quality of life
Obviously, none of us would wish this on the dogs of our worst enemies, much less on our own pets. Let’s move on now to how much your dog should be eating (spoiler alert: you’re going to need to personalize this method to your own dog because each dog is different).
Pay Close Attention to Dog Feeding Charts
When it comes to knowing the exact amount you should feed your dog, dog food packaging is your best friend, so head over to your pantry (or wherever you keep store dog food) and check out the label. Every dog food brand will include a feeding chart somewhere on the packaging, clearly telling you the exact quantity of food you should put in your dog’s bowl per day based on their size. Note the emphasis on “per day”; if you feed your dog twice a day, then you’ll need to divide this number in half.
Some feeding charts might take age into account as well, and if so, then you’re in luck and don’t have to calculate that yourself. For the rest of us who aren’t as lucky to have such a detailed dog feeding chart, we have to mentally factor in age as well as a number of other factors. If you’re not sure whether you’re feeding your dog the right amount, a home visit veterinarian is a good way to have a professional observe your dog’s eating habits and ensure that you’re getting it right.
Factors to Consider When Calculating the Amount of Food You Give Your Dog
The size of your dog is perhaps the biggest contributing factor to the amount of food you should be feeding them. However, there are other factors to consider as well, including:
- Amount of exercise
- Type of food
Age is extremely important when determining the amount of food to feed your dog. Puppies are in the earlier stages of life during which they are growing basically constantly. They also have a ton of energy. Because of this, puppies need more food than adult dogs. You could have a 20 lb. puppy and an adult dog of the same weight, but you should put more kibble in your puppy’s dog bowl because they expend more energy by being more active and growing into their full size. The older your dog gets, the less food they need, typically.
As mentioned though, every dog is different, so another factor to consider is how much your pet exercises. Does your dog stay put at home in their dog bed all day, or do they enjoy spending time running at full speed outside? If your dog is very active and exercises a lot, then you should consider giving them more food than the recommended amount on the dog feeding chart.
Not only is every dog different, but every dog food brand is different, too. Because of this, some dog foods might provide more calories per cup than other dog foods. It’s super important to read the dog feeding chart whenever you switch to a new type of dog food so that you know how much your dog should be having of the food you are currently feeding them. The feeding chart of one brand might not apply to another brand.
There you have it – a brief guide on how to tell if you’re feeding your dog the right amount. To summarize, make sure you are carefully checking the dog feeding chart on your dog food packaging and also taking into consideration your dog’s age, the amount of exercise they do per day, and the type of dog food. By following these tips, your dog will be both happy and healthy and will stick around with you for the long haul.