Dog Food Math: How Much Should I Feed My Dog?
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention revealed in 2017 that up to 56% of the canines in the US were obese, or overweight; this equates to around 50.2 million pups stand the risk of developing serious health conditions. Despite this revelation, while we cannot categorically state that overfeeding based on the uncertainty of how much kibble to feed a dog is a full reason that some dogs suffer from weight problems, it’s definitely a factor.
It might seem very simple to just fill a dog’s bowl with kibble and let your furbaby have its feel without anticipating any problems whatsoever. But then, the truth of the matter is that it is not as simple as that. How much should I feed my dog? This is a question that veterinarians all over the world have been entertaining from anxious pet parents over the years. Many of these dog adopters are often those who are aiming to mitigate against overfeeding and its consequences; thus, they need to be sure of the appropriate amount of calorie intake per day before proceeding.
Now, we need answers on how much food we should be feeding our canine friends. How possible is it to accurately determine the caloric requirements of your pet? How about the instructions on your dog’s food bag, is it clear enough? Why is it that your pooch is slowly inching toward the size of a couch potato, even when you are adhering to the recommendations written on the food bag? Want to get answers to all these questions? If so, continue reading.
Understand Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs
The onus is on us as pet parents to cater for the wellbeing of our canine companions, and we also need to take their overall health into consideration. We need to monitor such things as their feeding, take them on routine visits to the vet’s clinic, and give them quality attention. However, if we fail to pay very close attention to our pet dog’s diet, not just what they are eating, but the quantity of what they are ingesting – it just might be that we are doing them harm.
Learning the rudiments on how much to feed a dog is one powerful tool, which can be leveraged to help your furbaby remain healthy, happy as well as trim. However, determining the correct dog food amount is not as easy as presenting the pup with a bowl filled with kibble, and allowing it to eat until it is full. Many pups are known to consume whatever their adopters put before them; thus, the onus is on you as the pet parent, to calculate or figure out what constitutes a healthy amount of food and what doesn’t. That way, you will know the quantity to feed your furry companion.
Consult the Vet Before You Start
For starters, it is necessary to talk to the vet – your dog should be taken along for physical examinations, which includes a thorough weigh in. And most importantly, you should discuss the amount of food your dog is currently taking with the vet who will let you know whether it is appropriate or not.
You need to give the vet an accurate detail of the pup’s activity level as well as his current quantity of intake – this includes the likes of table scraps, dog treats, and any other extras. That way, you will be in a better position to get information on the right kind of food for your pooch, as well as how much is appropriate for the dog. Always check the labels attached to your dog’s kibble, and try to leverage a good dog feeding chart.
Understanding Dog Feeding Charts
Though they might look very straight forward, dog feeding charts are not that easy to understand. For a start, you will typically see an estimate like this – feed ½-1 ½ cups to pups 10-30 pounds. The aforementioned statement is an overly generalized one, and cannot be useful to anyone.
If your furbaby happens to be a 20-pound canine that loves to spend the entire day lying around without any interest in exercise, feeding such a dog with that max amount of kibble is highly likely to result in weight gain, which will turn out to be unhealthy. On the other hand, an active canine that is always on the move will need to ingest more calories than what is obtainable from the lower end of the food range.
Food labels on canine food bags are equally as confusing as they are difficult – like in the above example which states that your dog should be given ½-1 ½ cups in one day, it is quite easy for some pet parents to misunderstand it to mean that the quantity is for a single meal.
Figuring out the Best Portions to Feed Your Dog
It is up to you as a pet parent to accurately determine the right quantity of calories that should be fed the dog – this, of course, is done alongside your vet’s instructions. With the decision taken, then, the time has come to figure out a very good feeding schedule that will sit well with your furry friend. Several canines are known to flourish on a couple of meals per day, but you can go ahead and feed a healthy canine one meal in a day if you deem it to be more convenient. In the case of puppies, you may need to feed them three times per day, or more depending on factors like age and size.
In a situation where your vet has helped in deciding that your pooch should be fed with two cups of a certain food in a day, the two cups can be portioned out into one cup in the morning with the second cup following in the afternoon
It may also be possible to feed your dog with wet food in the morning and dry dog food at night. Provided you let it have half of the entire daily dry ration for its morning food, and half of the recommendation per day of the canned food towards evening; this should be just fine.
Other Things to Remember When Feeding a Dog
More often than not, dog adopters tend to forget some important factors with regard to their dog’s feeding. For instance, a cup is not always a cup. You should note that a true cup measures 8 ounces, thus, it is necessary that you make use of a real measuring cup, or you can even leverage premeasured tools in getting the right quantity of dog food per day, rather than guessing.
There is another key factor that adopters fail to account for with regards to determining the right quantity of food to feed their dogs – here; we are talking about treats! All those rewards that you lavish on your furbaby for good behavior also come with some calories. Recommendations are that you keep rewards and treats to just ten percent of your pooch’s overall caloric intake; also, please be sure to subtract the calories from your pet dog’s “regular” food at mealtime.
But then, we have several helpful tools in the market which helps in portioning out meals, as well as regulating the feeding schedule of your canine companion. It is easy to control the quantity of your dog’s food and also keep track of what and what your canine friend is eating – you can start by presetting the feeder so that it only delivers a certain amount of food per meal.
There is a similar feeder that allows your pooch as much as 12 meals per day. What’s more, there is even a slow feed option that functions to dole out a certain quantity over 15 minutes in a bid to prevent gorging. If it happens that you don’t like using an automatic dog feeder, or can’t afford it, then, you should consider some dog bowls that are accurately sized to only hold a certain portion of kibble. Overfeeding will be ruled out when your pet’s bowl can only hold a suitably sized meal!
What Are the Right Dog Food Portions for a Puppy?
You might be thinking that those chubby little puppies are cute; the truth is that being overweight is not healthy for young puppies. While it is quite ok for them to be born with a good weight, and continue growing steadily within their first few weeks of life, puppies are better off with a lean physique once they become weaned, and consuming normal solid kibble. When you allow a puppy to become obese, or even encourage it to grow unnecessarily fast at their young age, health issues may ensue when the dog becomes an adult, and the dog’s life span may be cut short. As a result of this, it is very important to feed your puppies with the right quantity of food to avoid overfeeding, and its consequences.
Recommendations are that you only expose puppies to foods that are specially formulated for them as opposed to adult kibble. The mineral and vitamin requirements for puppies are quite different from that of the adult canines – this is because puppies are passing through a period of rapid growth, and their bones are experiencing fast growth. As for the quantity of food that is right for puppies, you have to consider several factors like their energy level, size, and their potential size as adult dogs.