Practical advise on how to calibrate your dog's daily food portions.
Measure Twice: How much does a dog eat?
- 6 minutes read - 1149 words
In the previous section, we started our
journey into dog nutrition and looked at how often should I feed my dog. In
this section, we will look at how to measure the quantity of food to give your
dog each mealtime. The quantities we present in the tables below should be
treated as upper bounds, meaning that you most likely shouldn’t be feeding your
dog as much as suggested by the food manufacturer. The only way to make sure is
to weigh your dog regularly, a topic which we will cover in the following
As stated above, the only way to make sure that you’re feeding your dog
properly is to weigh her regularly and reduce the portion size if she is
gaining weight too fast and increase it if she is not gaining weight fast
enough. Often, the problem, however, is over-feeding, meaning that for example
a large breed puppy should not gain more than a kilogram of weight per week.
For smaller breeds you will have to take into account her weight as an adult,
so if your dog will weigh 10kg as an adult the rate should be less than 1kg per
Below, we present two feeding guides supplied by a quality dog food
manufacturer Eukanuba. The first one is for large beed puppies and the second
one for large breed adults.
Feeding Guide: Large Breed Puppy
The table below, presents the daily portions for a puppy based on her weight and
age. In our experience, they should be treated as upper limits and the only way
to make sure is the weekly weigh-in. For example, for a two month old puppy weighing 6kg,
the daily upper limit should be 305 grams of Eukanuba growing puppy kibble per day.
1 - 3 months
3 - 4 months
5 - 7 months
8 - 12 months
12 - 14 months
Feeding Guide: Large Breed Adult
Feeding adult dogs is much simpler as the only thing you have to consider is
their body weight, which of course depends on the breed and sex of your dog. For
hovawarts for example, an adult female weighs somewhere between 30 and 35
kilograms, which will mean that her daily portion is somewhere around 330 grams
of Eukanuba adult kibble per day.
205 - 230 g
270 - 300 g
330 - 365 g
980 - 425 g
475 - 530 g
565 - 625 g
How to measure kibble quantity?
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 daily portion is to weigh 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, please do the following:
Place an empty deciliter measuring cup on the scale and note down the weight.
Fill the cup with kibble 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
deciliter cups of kibble you should feed the dog at maximum per day.
Divide the daily maximum with the number of meals you feed your dog per day.
In general, your adult dog should be fed once or twice a day. A growing puppy on
the other hand should be fed three to four times a day.
Measuring Example: A Large Breed Puppy
Hovarian Zarin (Eve) is a three month old Hovawart puppy, who eats three times
At three months, she weighed in 10.1kg .
The manufacturer recommended daily portion for a puppy her age is 380 grams, which means 127 grams per meal.
A deciliter measuring cup of Eukanuba Growing Puppy kibble weighs 57 grams.
In other words, the manufacturer recommends that she be fed 6.7 measuring cups per day or 2.2 measuring 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
measuring 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 have fed her that much food, her weight
would have sky rocketed 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.
Practical Feeding Tips
Here are a couple of practical feeding tips for dogs of all ages:
Always have plenty of fresh water available for your dog to drink.
Add a some olive oil or butter to each meal to help with your dog’s digestion
of the nutrients.
For puppies it is good to soak the kibble in hot water for approximately ten
to fifteen minutes before you give her her food. This way the kibble will not
expand in her stomach rather than in the feeding bowl.
Always take advantage of each mealtime to practice obedience and strengthen
your leadership. Your dog should never get her food for free, rather than make
her work for it and vary the exercise.
In the first two sections we’ve covered the basics of how often to feed your
dog, as well as how much food you should give your dog per day. In the next
section we will cover the basics of diet control, namely weighing your
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