How much should I feed my dog? You will not believe it

How to discover if a dog is under or overfed and what obesity could mean for your loved pet.

Table of Contents

How much should I feed my dog?

There are many factors which a dog owner should consider: how much should I feed my dog is one of them.

Most adult dogs should eat 1-2 portions per day, this is different for puppies as they grow fast and need 4-5 meals a day.

As a dog owner myself, I feel all pet owners have the responsibility to feed their dog for a healthier life. 

It is a very important aspect as the health of your pet starts with the right feeding schedule and food you choose.
How much you should feed your dog depends on a variety of factors:

Age, activity levels, type of food and your dog’s health.

In this article, I aim to show how much to feed a dog from being a puppy to a dog at a senior age.

How much should I feed my dog when is yet a puppy?

  • Up to 8 weeks your puppy should eat his or her mother’s milk. Otherwise, they can develop socialization and behaviour problems later on
  • 3-4 weeks can introduce small portions of solid food. If the puppy develops diarrhoea, delay the feeding
  • 6 weeks: 4 times a day plus mothers milk
  • 3-4-month-old weaned off milk 4-5 times a day feed

(if a puppy is eating dry feed, it is best to add a bit of water to soften it)

  • 3-6 months puppies accustom to solid food
  • Up to their first year in their life- the ideal is 2 servings per day  [1]

Essential that the feeding schedule changes are done progressively. So the digestive system gets accustomed.

How much should I feed my dog when adult?

A dog with 1-1.5 years is considered an adult. There are very few large breeds which adulthood is considered from 2-3 years.

Once the dog reaches adulthood, the portions should be reduced to 1-2 per day.

The final decision will depend on our individual dog. some like to eat all in one go, and some will like to split their food into 2 servings.

How much should I feed my senior dog?

A recent study showed that mature dogs require 20% fewer calories in order to maintain the same weight as younger ones. Dogs entering old age may benefit from eating food with less fat and fewer calories.

Research also suggests that L-carnitine, a vitamin-like compound made from amino acids found in red meats, fish, chicken, and dairy products, may help the body use fat for energy. (2)

When the dog reaches old age, the owner will need to assess the health and particular needs. Your veterinarian will be able to advise on medication and/ or type of food best for your dog. Tthis might mean that they will restrict protein.

How much food does my dog need?

Most commercial food brands will have a guide at the back of the pack on your dog’s food needs for a day. 

It is important to remember that instructions on labels (for commercial dog food) are way too generous and tend to overfeed the dog. 

Commercial dog food labels are fashioned for active, unneutered dogs or lactating, pregnant dogs. So always feed at the lower end of the recommendation. You can always make adjustments later. 


  • The recommendation is for the entire day, not for one meal
  • Made for 8oz measuring cup, not your coffee cup or other cups in your cupboard

Recommendations are for ideal weight.

So if the dog is slightly overweight, you will need to find out your dog’s ideal weight. If you are unsure what your dog’s ideal weight should be, your veterinarian will be able to assist with this.

Is my dog Overweight? How do I know?

This can be assessed by looking at your dog in 3 simple checks:

1. Ribs: You’re able to feel their ribs without too much fat covering.

2. Waist: Their waist should be visible from above (look for an hour-glass shape).

3. Tummy: Abdomen (the part of their underside just in front of their hind legs). Should be tucked up towards their pelvis when viewed from one side.

Body condition system (BCS dog system) has more detailed instructions. [3]

If a dog gets overweight, this could lead to some health problems, which could be:

  • Arthritis, joint damage and pain
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Reduced stamina
  • Reduced liver function due to fatty liver

If you are feeding your dog their regular meal. And still seeing that they are increasing their weight, consider tips below:

Is their activity level the same as before?

Has your dog stopped nursing?

Have received more treats than usual, make sure you count treats calories?

Is more than one person feeding your dog?

Meal schedules are essential for dogs with the tendency to overeat. If we do not control this, they might develop obesity or other health problems.

It is important to remember that not all food is good for your dog. Some food can be harmful, for example, chocolate. See our article 18 Ingredients to avoid in dog food and reasons to be cautious about them to find out

If your dog is underweight- seen ribs, losing muscle mass- or overweight, pay a trip to the vet. There could be underlying health issues

What to do next?

We hope that the information has been helpful.

I know from personal experience, that it can be confusing on How much I should feed my dog. If you have any further questions specific to your dog, your local vet will be able to advise.

To know how much I should feed my dog for her to be in the best shape is the best reward in my book. 

If you liked this article, you might find these below articles useful:

Foods that my dog can eat

What can dogs not eat

Dace Lace

Dace Lace

My name is Dace Lace. I am one of the people who give the same voting rights to their pets as if they are another human being. After all, they have their own passport :)

ALL the content we will publish on this site has been written or overseen by a qualified vet or vet tech.

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