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How much should I feed my dog per day?

ByCharlotte Miller

Oct 22, 2022
How much should I feed my dog per day

Owning a dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences. They provide us with companionship and love and often act as family members. Dogs require a lot of care and attention, a critical part of ensuring they get the proper nutrition. Not all dogs are the same, so how much to feed your dog depends on various factors.

Assuming you are thinking about a healthy, average-sized dog, there are general guidelines for how much to feed your dog each day.

Excellent dog food to consider is Beneful dog food, which contains all of the essential nutrients your pup needs to stay healthy and active.

Various factors to consider

Age

Puppies (up to 6 months old) need the most calories and should be fed 3-4 times daily.

Adult dogs (6 months to 1-year-old) usually only need two meals daily.

Senior dogs (over seven years old) may benefit from eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.

Activity Level

Dogs that lead a more active lifestyle, such as working dogs or those that participate in agility training, will require more calories than those that are less active.

The National Research Council of the National Academies guidelines recommends 50 to 150% more calories for active dogs.

Breed Size

It’s no surprise that more giant breeds need more food than smaller breeds. But even within breeds, there can be a wide range of sizes.

For example, an adult Yorkshire Terrier will need about 155 calories daily, while an adult Great Dane needs almost 3,000 calories daily.

Coat Type and Condition

Double-coated dogs like Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers may need slightly more calories than dogs with single coats, as they require more energy to maintain their coat.

Dogs that have a thick undercoat, like the Alaskan Malamute, may also need more calories.

If your dog has a long coat, you may want to increase its fat intake to help nourish its coat and skin. 

Muscle Mass

Dogs with more muscle mass will need more calories than those less muscular, which is why working dogs and athletes often need more food. For example, a racing Greyhound needs about 2,000 calories daily, while the average pet Greyhound only needs 1,400 calories and one of the best options is the Freeze dried dog food.

General Health and Metabolism

Dogs that are ill or have a slow metabolism may need fewer calories.

For example, a dog with heart disease may not be able to process food as efficiently and will require fewer calories. On the other hand, dogs recovering from an injury or surgery may need more calories to help them heal.

Pregnancy and Lactation

Pregnant and nursing dogs will need more calories than those who are not. How much extra depends on how many puppies your dog carries and how much milk your dog produces. Your veterinarian can help you determine how many extra calories your pregnant or nursing dog needs.

What to include in your dog’s diet

Proteins

Dogs need proteins for energy, to build and repair tissues, and to produce enzymes and hormones. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which must be obtained from the diet as the body cannot produce them.

Dogs can use both plant- and animal-based proteins.

  • Familiar animal protein sources include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products.
  • Plant proteins include grains, legumes (beans), and tofu.

Fats

Dogs need fat for energy, to absorb some vitamins, and to produce hormones.

Fat is also a concentrated source of calories, so it helps dogs maintain their weight.

The diet has two main fat types: saturated and unsaturated.

  • Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and come from animal sources, such as beef, pork, lamb, butter, and cheese.
  • Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and come from plant sources, such as vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are an essential source of energy for dogs. They are also necessary for proper digestion and for maintaining healthy gut bacteria.

Carbohydrates are found in the plant- and animal-based foods, such as grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and meat.

Vitamins

Vitamins are essential nutrients that help the body perform various functions. They can obtain these from diet or supplements.

  • Vitamin A is essential for vision, bone growth, reproduction, and cell division.
  • Vitamin B12 is necessary for the formation of red blood cells and the maintenance of nerve tissue.
  • Vitamin C helps heal wounds and repair and maintain bones and teeth.
  • Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for bone health.
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage.

Minerals

Minerals are essential nutrients that are needed for various functions in the body. They can obtain these from diet or supplements. 

  • Calcium is necessary for bone health.
  • Phosphorus helps the body use calcium and is also necessary for bone health.
  • Potassium helps regulate blood pressure and fluid balance in the body.
  • Sodium helps regulate blood pressure and fluid balance in the body.
  • Chloride helps regulate blood pressure and fluid balance in the body.