Feeding your dog is a topic, which is shrouded in myths and beliefs. This article
contains some practical tips for the owners of both large and small dogs, which
are based on our practical experience. We know that one of the most important
things you can do for your dog is to feed her properly. Often the problem is not
the lack of food, rather than over-feeding. Even if we are not professional
nutritionists, we do base our information on practical knowledge, as well
as researched information. If your dog is allergic or requires a special diet,
we recommend that you consult a professional.
Product Recommendations for the Impatient
Below, you will find links to products, which have proven to be excellent for dog
nutrition. By using our affiliate links below, you will support this site. Even if
the products are high quality products, we suggest that you read on below to
find out more about our experiences using them in practice. Blindly trusting the
instructions given by the manufacturer is probably not a good idea.
Thanks in advance for your continued support!
Dry Dog Food or Kibble
We have chosen to go with Eukanuba
dry dog food brand not because we think it is the
only or best one, rather than our dog breeders have recommended it based on their
experience of raising dogs since 1980s. Eukanuba is a known quality brand and easily
available. One of the important factors that separates quality dog foods from the rest
is the quantity of crude ash. For any given brand of food the quantity should be
below 10%. For example Eukanuba contains approximately 5% of crude ash. In addition,
a good indicator of quality food is what comes out of the other end of the dog as a
result. If the residual waste is compact and solid, it is often a good sign.
If you are considering changing your your dog’s kibble from one brand to another or
even between different kibbles of the same brand, please do not do it all at once.
You can use a four day phased approach, where on day one you give 1/4 of the new
kibble mixed with the old. On the second day, you can then use half and half, 3/4
on the third day and then on the fourth day you can feed the new kibble as normal.
This way your dog’s digestive tract can adjust to the new food without any problems.
If you decide to give Eukanuba a try, please use the links below to support this website.
A bathroom scale to weigh a dog with its owner via Amazon.
A luggage scale to weigh the dog in its transport box or an IKEA bag for example via Amazon.
Your New Family Member
Once your dog arrives in her new home, one of the most rewarding things for you as
the owner is to feed her. One of the basic challenges you will face, however, is
quantity. How much should I feed her and how often? What about raw food? Which foods
not to feed her? To keep it simple, we recommend that you will mainly feed her with
quality dry dog food, kibble. Another thing to realise is that it is in the interests
of dog food manufacturers to maximize the consumption of their product, i.e. they
over-quantify the recommended portions.
How much food should I feed my dog?
A basic principle in feeding a dog is to maintain their weight at an equal level
week in, week out. For growing puppies, especially large breed puppies, it is
necessary to keep their weight increase on a linear scale. A kilo per week is a
good rule of thumb in order to avoid health problems with joints or hips later
on in their life. Often the problem is not the lack of food, rater than
over-feeding. We tend to give our dogs a little bit extra at each meal just to
make sure that they dont' go hungry. There is, however, an easy solution for
dog weight management: first weigh the dry dog food on a kitchen scale,
second weigh the dog every week on a bathroom scale or with a luggage scale as
detailed below. If the dog is gaining weight, reduce the quantity you feed
your dog. This is not difficult but requires a little bit of effort on your
part, as does owning a dog in the first place. Please remember always to have
plenty of fresh drinking water available for your dog.
As stated above, it is in the interests of food manufacturers to maximise the consumption of their product. They announce the recommended daily
portions as grams dependent on the dogs age and weight. The easiest way for you to determine the maximum portions is to weight the dog food
on a kitchen scale. Luckily, you will only have to do this once, whereafter you should be able to adjust the portions based on this
measurement. To see how much you should feed your dog per day at most, please do the following:
Place an empty cup on the scale and note down the weight.
Fill the cup with dog food and note down the combined weight.
Subtract the weight of the empty cup from the combined weight.
Divide the manufacturer announced maximum daily portion for your dogs weight and age with the result of the previous step. This will inform you on how many cups you should feed the dog at maximum per day.
Divide the daily maximum with the number of meals you feed your dog per day. Feed your adult dog twice a day. A growing puppy on the other hand must be fed first four times a day and then three times a day. (Usually people have to settle for three meal times, as they have to be at work during the day).
Practical example #1, a large breed puppy
Hovarian Zarin (Eve) is a three month old Hovawart puppy, who eats three times a day.
She weighed in 10.1kg at three months old. The manufacturer recommended daily portion
for a puppy her age is 380 grams, which means 127 grams per meal. A deciliter measuring cup of
weighs 57 grams. In other words, the manufacturer recommends that she be fed 6.7
measuring cups per day or 2.2 cups per meal. This, however, is way too much even
for an active puppy like her. With the help of weekly weigh-ins, we have determined
that her current baseline is around 1.5 cups per meal (which is the
recommendation of her breeder in the first place). The manufacturer recommended
daily difference is 125 grams or 42 grams per meal. On a weekly basis that
would mean 900 grams of extra food!
It is probably clear that should we feed her that much food, her weight would sky
rocket out of the recommended gain of one kilo per week maximum. She would certainly
eat all that food should we just feed her. In other words, feeding a dog takes as
much self control as feeding yourself. A couple of practical tips: add a some
olive oil or butter to each meal. Soak the dry food in hot water for approximately
ten to fifteen minutes before feeding your puppy dog. This way they will not inflate
in her stomach rather than in the feeding bowl.
Practical example #2, an adult small breed dog
Aio is a six year old Dachshund male, who eats twice a day, once in the morning and
once at night. According to the manufacturer and adult dog less than 10kg in weight
should eat between 120 to 190 grams of kibble per day.
Given the deciliter measuring cup of 60 grams per cup, measuring her daily portion
is quite easy, as she eats a cup at each meal. Her owner adds a bit of fish oil
into the bowl and since Aio is an adult dog, she eats them dry.
As stated above, measuring the dog food is a good starting point for taking control
of your dog’s nutrition, but at the same time you probably realised that the tables
provided by the dog food manufacturers should be treated as an upper bound. The
second important factor of course is the weight of the dog itself. An easy solution
to this challenge is a bathroom scale and weighing your dog once per week. This
solution will work as long as you’re able to pick up the dog and step on the
scale with her, but it is not a very practical solution with a grown up Hovawart
for example. It is, however, important that you know how much your dog weighs,
especially if you own a large dog breed, since extra weight will lead into
health problems later on. To weigh your dog with the help of a bathroom scale,
you can do as follows:
Step on the bathroom scale without your dog and note down your weight.
Pick up the dog and step on the scale with her and note down your combined weight.
Subtract your weight fromt he combined weight.
Mark down the result and date.
We know that doing this every week may seem cumbersome, but this effort will
guarantee that your dog is well-fed and not getting obese over time. Please
note that your dog’s weight may fluctuate somewhat depending at which time of
the day you do the weigh-in. If you have set meal times and you weigh your dog
every week at the same date and time, the results will be more predictable as
well. As stated above, this is not rocket science, but does require a bit of
effort on your part.
A less known trick is to use a luggage scale to weigh your dog. You can place your dog for example inside her transport box and lift the dog up inside the box as if you were measuring the weight of your luggage. You can also visualize this exercise as canine dead lift, as follows:
The main operating principle for the luggage scale is that it has a hook or a strap that you can attach to the handle of your dog’s transport box or even an IKEA shopping bag.
Attach the scale to the empty bag or box and lift it up to measure its weight.
Calibrate the scale to deduct this weight or mark down the empty weight.
Place your dog in the box or train your dog to lie down inside the IKEA bag (requires a bit of practice, but can be a fun game to play with the help of some treats).
Dead lift your dog with the luggage scale, which can measure a combined weight up to 50 kg.
If you cannot lift up your dog, buy a gym card or ask a friend for help.
Raw Food and Chewables
Feeding your dog with raw food is a trendy topic with a lot of proponents and
dissenters. Instead of taking sides, we recommend a hybrid approach, which focuses
on feeding your dog with dry food as the main staple, but supplementing it with
raw beef or pork (minced meat). The simplest “recipe” is to buy minced meat, roll
it up into meatballs and place them in a freezer. You can then supplement the
dog’s meal times with the help of a
Kong activation toy
The toy will occupy your dog’s full attention for approximately 30 to 40 minutes,
which will be a great opportunity for you to catch up on your sit up challenge for
example without the dog turning it into a wrestling match.
Amateur tip: If you’re giving your dog raw food with the help of this method, please remember to take it into account in the daily portion of the dry dog food. Using the activation toy is an excellent way to calm down an energetic dog, since she will have to use her brain power to lick out the frozen meat out of the toy.
If you’re interested in how to activate your dogs mind, please turn to this
Things You Must Never Feed Your Dog
There are a number of dangerous substances, which you must never feed your dog and some which are unhealthy and the effects can range between diarrhea and death.
Onions cause anemia in dogs over time, which may even be lethal.
Xylitol, which is a birch sugar based sweetener is poisonous to dogs.
Much of the advise detailed in this write-up is based on real-life experience raising dogs of different breeds and sizes over the years.
Some of the information is based on the experience of others, such as:
The puppy manual of a Finnish Hovawart Kennel Hovarian, which has been breeding Hovawarts since 1987.
In the name of transparency, we think it is good disclose the affiliate programe, to which we belong to. In practice, this means that should you end up buying products through our affiliate links, those entities will pay us a small commission. You will not pay us, nor is the price any different, should you buy directly from a given site.