How much should I feed my dog? Best Practice Guide

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How much should I feed my dog?
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, and 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 are responsible for feeding their dogs for a healthier life. 

It is an essential aspect as your pet’s health starts with the correct 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.

This article shows how much to feed a dog from being a puppy to a dog at an old age.

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

How Much Should I Feed My Dog
  • 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?

How Much Should I Feed My Dog

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

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

The final decision will depend on your dog. Some like to eat all in one go, and some will want to split their food into two servings.

How much should I feed my senior dog?

A recent study showed that mature dogs require 20% fewer calories 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 advise on medication and the type of food best for your dog; they might restrict protein.

How much Should I Feed My Dog?

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 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 assist with this.

How Much Should I Feed My Dog

Is your dog Overweight?

Look at your dog, three 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 hourglass shape).

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

The 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 dogs received more treats than usual? Make sure you count treat 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

How Much Should I Feed My Dog

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 should I feed my dog. If you have any further questions specific to your dog, your local vet will 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 helpful:

Foods that my dog can eat

What can dogs not eat


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