Have you ever asked the question, “How much should I feed my dog?” Sometimes, taking care of your dog feels like rocket science. It definitely seems that way when it comes to feeding your dog. There are a lot of factors to take in and every dog food is different. All these calculations can seem intimidating and difficult so how can we make it easier.
Canine Caviar wants to help you answer the age old question; how much should I feed my dog? Let’s take a look at the different factors of feeding to help make this process easier to understand.
Interpreting Feeding Guidelines
Let’s first take a look at feeding guidelines. When you ask yourself “how much I should feed my dog?” you tend to turn to feeding guidelines for the answer. It’s conveniently on the back of the bag and should be accurate. The issue though is that feeding guidelines aren’t specific enough. The picture above is a good example. Guidelines give you a range of how much you should feed but not the exact number.
But feeding guidelines are a good starting source. You know that how much you should feed is somewhere in the specified range. Now we just have to find a more specific amount.
The Factors of Feeding
How much should I feed my dog? To answer that question, let’s look at the following factors below. These 5 factors have the most significant impact on how much you should be feeding. Please be aware though that there are always exemptions. Every dog has a unique personality and has different needs and such outlying characteristics should be accounted for.
Size & Breed of your Dog
Let’s first look at the breed and size of your dog and this aspect isn’t difficult to understand. To put it simply, the smaller your dog, the less you have to feed and the bigger your dog, the more you have to feed. That sounds obvious but people can forget to include the breed into account.
Large breed puppies for example need to grow slow and steady so they don’t develop health issues. This means they need to eat a lower protein and fat diet as compared to their small breed counterparts. It’s important that you consider size and breed together to have a good initial understanding of your dog’s caloric intake.
Age of your Dog
The age of your dog also plays an important role. The older we get, the less it seems we eat and the same can be said about dogs. Younger dogs tend to be full of more energy compared to their senior counterparts. Seniors don’t require as many calories since they’re not as active and their metabolism starts to slow down. See if the age of your dog reflects how he or she acts. Has aging changed how active your dog is?
Weight of your Dog
Now let’s talk about your dog’s weight. The weight of your dog is a heavy predictor of how much to feed. That’s why it’s a standard measure in feeding guidelines. The more weight a dog has, the more calories it requires to move its body around. Bigger dogs may need more calories based on its individual characteristics.
But we know that not every dog is at its ideal weight. Some dogs are underweight and some are overweight. This will also change how much you feed your buddy. You should feed 10% less than the recommended amount for an overweight dog so that it can slim down while avoiding the feeling of starvation. Underweight dogs may require an extra feeding per day.
Activity Level of your Dog
One more factor to consider is the activity level of your dog. After all, every dog is different. Some dogs are naturally more lazy while others like to zip around. Dogs are more active if they’re working dogs. Working dogs include police canines, rescue dogs, professional sport dogs and more. Consider how active your dog is. Is your dog using a lot of energy?
Be careful though. Just because your dog likes to go for a run doesn’t mean he or she is an active dog as it relates to feeding guidelines. The standard house dog is classified as inactive even if it enjoys going on runs or hiking through long trails. Truly active dogs are using energy constantly such as rescue dogs when they’re working and running a minimum of 5 miles per day.
Calorie Composition of Dog Food
The last factor to consider is how many calories are in the dog food your feeding. Dog food products have different sets of calories and digestibility. Canine Caviar for example, has one of the highest calorie contents available. Our diets range from 399-636 metabolized calories per cup. That means you will feed significantly less on Canine Caviar compared to another brand. Look at the calorie content because it’s an important indicator to how much you should be feeding your dog.
So How Much Should I Feed my Dog?
You’ve checked the guidelines, taken into account important factors and now have a better idea of how much to feed. Hopefully you have an idea of how much you want to specifically feed. If you still don’t have a clue, that’s OK. There are organizations and tools available for you to use.
Canine Caviar for example bases its feeding guidelines on the calorie needs as defined by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA). We use their research on the caloric needs for the average adult dog in ideal condition. This data along with the unique caloric qualities of our diets helps us come up with our feeding calculator.
We encourage you find appropriate resources whenever you’re having trouble. Associations like the WSAVA and other organizations are great to check out. You can also call our office if you ever have a question about Canine Caviar & your dog. Call us at 714.223.1800 from 8AM-4PM PST.
Check your Dog for Further Evaluations
It’s also important to re-evaluate what you’re doing. What works now may not work later as your buddy’s metabolism changes with age. It’s always a good idea to evaluate your dog’s progress and see what changes need to be made. It may mean re-evaluating treats and goodies or putting your special friend on a diet but that’s a small price to pay for longevity and more precious time with your dog.
Consult your veterinarian as well. Not only are they the ones who take care of your pooch but they are also a resource for you to use to learn more about your dog’s health.
Taking the time to learn more about your dog and its body can go a long way. It’s important to stay proactive in our dog’s health. Something small like figuring how much you should feed your dog is the first step to prolonging your dog’s lifespan. Continue being great pet parents and always look at your dog’s health, with an analytical eye.
Canine Caviar hopes you’ve learned something new or helped yourself refresh some pointers. Check out the Canine Caviar Blog for more great content. You can learn how People Misunderstand Wording in Ingredient Lists or see how Raw Dog Food Compares to Canine Caviar. Also leave a comment down below and keep the conversation going.