how much food should i feed my dog


how much food should i feed my dog

Determining the appropriate quantity goes beyond simply consulting a food label. The amount of food necessary for your dog is influenced by various significant factors including:

  • type of food
  • your dog’s breed
  • activity level
  • body weight
  • number of meals

The number of meals your dog requires each day can be influenced by their age. For instance, puppies typically eat between three to six meals, whereas most adult dogs eat two. However, determining the appropriate quantity of food can be challenging. To provide accurate guidance, we conducted research and consulted with veterinary professionals to help you determine the right amount of food for your dog.

How to Read Dog Feeding Charts

There is variation in the cup recommendation for dogs in different dog food charts. However, it is easy to understand the information provided in the tables. To determine the appropriate amount of food for your dog, find their weight in the chart and divide the recommended portions into the number of meals they have each day. A helpful tip is to measure out the food in a separate container every morning, so you do not have to estimate how much they have eaten.

To gain insight into the potential format of a feeding chart, consider the following example, which is based on a common dry food for adult canines:

 Dog’s Weight   Food Per Day 
3-12 pounds ½ – 1¼ Cups
13-20 pounds 1⅓ – 1¾ Cups
21-35 pounds 1¾ – 2½ Cups
36-50 pounds 2½ – 3¼ Cups
51-75 pounds 3¼ – 4¼ Cups
76-100 pounds 4¼ – 5½ Cups
Over 100 pounds 5 and one-fourth plus one-third cup for every additional ten pounds.

To get a brief overview, watch our video that provides information on the appropriate amount of food to feed your dog.

Tips on feeding dog food

  •  Use a pet food calculator:  You can also use a  pet food calorie calculator In order to assess whether your dog's food label provides accurate feeding instructions, or if you should adjust the number of cups based on your dog's activity level, you need to conduct an evaluation.
  • Use a scale or weigh food in grams.Using a scale that measures food in grams might assist in ensuring proper feeding. Cup sizes can differ depending on the manufacturer, potentially leading to unintentional overfeeding as well.
  •  Slowly increase feeding: the temptation to overfeed your dog. Stick to the lower end of the recommended portion size, and if your dog still seems hungry, gradually increase the amount by 1/4 cup at a time. begging  !)
  •  Tip on switching dog foods: Nevertheless, feeding guidelines differ and are not applicable to all dog food brands as the calorie content can vary. It is crucial to keep this in mind when transitioning to a different dog food. In the event that the new food has a different number of calories per cup, it will be necessary to modify the portion size in order to keep your dog's weight stable.
  • Ensure that the brand complies with the standards set by the industry. To label dog food that meets the  AAFCO’s In order to meet the requirement of being a "complete and balanced" dog food, companies must provide feeding guidelines on their packaging. These guidelines are usually presented in a simple table format and the recommended daily serving amounts depend on the weight of your pet.
  • Their daily intake should consist of no more than 10% treats.suitable plan to control the number of treats given to dogs enrolled in a training program. Additionally, for dogs that are already overweight, explore alternative treat options that are low in calories.more expensive, but higher quality, dog foodthat still fulfills their nutritional needs but has a longer shelf life as a special indulgence.

Feeding Guidelines for a Puppy

The table provided demonstrates the recommended amount of food to be given to your young dog:

Puppy Meals per day Cups per day
up to 12 lbs 4 to 6 1/3-1.5
up to 40 lbs 3 1-1.5
up to 75 lbs 3 to 4 1.5-3
up to 100 lbs 4 to 6 2-5 (1/3 cup for every 10lbs over 100)


Tips for feeding your puppy

Please remember that the amount of food your dog needs may differ based on their current diet. As your puppy grows older, you can gradually reduce the number of daily meals to only two, around the time they reach 4 to 6 months of age. Serving smaller portions at each meal can aid in their digestion. By the time your puppy turns one, they should be content with being fed twice a day.

 Don’t free feed: Certain puppies might whine in order to acquire additional food or show a reluctance towards their meal, anticipating extra treats. For puppies with selective eating habits, specialists suggest removing any remaining food from their vicinity around 10-20 minutes after serving their meal. If dogs appear to still be hungry, they can be provided with an extra 1/4 cup of food.

 Keep it a routine: to a regular schedule, a typical puppy will consume their food at approximately 7am, 12pm, and 5pm.The food schedule for a young dog is adhered to strictly.Early mealtime is crucial for successful potty training.your puppy is able to sleep peacefully all night without need for a bathroom break.


There's no need to worry if they choose not to eat.If a young dog fails to eat enough during one meal, their hunger will motivate them to finish their food during the next feeding and teach them to eat when it is provided. Additionally, due to their regular meals, they will not experience prolonged periods of hunger.


Portion control for dogs

Proper portion control is essential to ensure the health and well-being of your furry friend. Feeding your dog the right amount of food will help maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity-related health issues. However, determining how much food to feed your dog can be a bit challenging. In this article, we will provide you with some guidelines on portion control for dogs to help you keep your canine companion happy and healthy.

Proper dog food amount

When it comes to determining the proper amount of food to feed your dog, there are a few factors you need to consider:

  • Size and weight: The size and weight of your dog play a significant role in determining the amount of food they should consume. Larger dogs generally require more food compared to smaller ones.
  • Age: Puppies and senior dogs have different nutritional needs compared to adult dogs. It's important to choose a dog food formula that is appropriate for your dog's life stage.
  • Activity level: Active and energetic dogs may require more food to fuel their activities, while less active dogs may need fewer calories.

Nutritional needs of dogs

Dogs have specific nutritional needs that must be met for optimal health. A well-balanced diet should include:

  • Protein: Dogs require high-quality protein sources, such as meat or fish, to support muscle development and overall health.
  • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates provide a source of energy for dogs. Whole grains, such as brown rice or oats, are good options.
  • Fruits and vegetables: These provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into your dog's diet is beneficial.
  • Fats: Healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, are important for a dog's skin, coat, and overall immune health.

Dog food portion size

While the exact portion size may vary depending on your dog's specific needs, a general guideline for feeding adult dogs is to provide 1 to 1.5 cups of dry food per day, divided into two meals. However, it's essential to consult the specific feeding guidelines provided on the dog food packaging for accurate portion sizes.

Feeding guide for dogs

Here is a simple feeding guide to help you determine the appropriate amount of food for your dog:

  1. Weigh your dog: Start by weighing your dog to establish their current weight.
  2. Consult the packaging: Read the packaging of your dog's food and look for the feeding guidelines. The guidelines are usually based on weight and activity level.
  3. Adjust the portion size: Use the feeding guidelines as a starting point and adjust the portion size based on your dog's individual needs. If your dog is gaining weight, you may need to reduce the amount of food. If they are losing weight or showing signs of hunger, you may need to increase the portion size.
  4. Monitor your dog's weight: Regularly weigh your dog and make adjustments to the portion size as needed. It's important to maintain a healthy weight for your dog.

Dog feeding guidelines

When it comes to feeding your dog, it's important to follow these guidelines:

  • Stick to a schedule: Establish a regular feeding schedule and stick to it. Dogs thrive on routine, and feeding them at the same times each day helps regulate their digestion.
  • Measure the food: Use a measuring cup to ensure you are providing the correct portion size. Eyeballing the amount can lead to overfeeding or underfeeding.
  • Avoid overfeeding: Overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health issues. Follow the recommended portion sizes and monitor your dog's weight.
  • Monitor body condition: Regularly assess your dog's body condition. You should be able to feel their ribs with a slight layer of fat covering them. If your dog is overweight or underweight, adjust their portion size accordingly.
  • Consider treats: Treats should be given in moderation and should be included in your dog's daily calorie intake. Adjust the portion size of their regular food if you plan to give them treats during the day.
how much food should i feed my dog

How Much Should You Feed an Adult Dog?

Both experts state that most adult dogs consume two meals per day. If you are not acquainted with an adult dog's eating patterns, providing two cups of suitable food daily is recommended. It is suggested to give one meal in the morning and one in the evening, while ensuring there is always fresh water accessible to the dog.

Many companies that produce dog food frequently advertise products that are specifically formulated for different life stages of dogs, making it a simple task to locate food that is suitable for your dog based on her current age and developmental phase.

If you’re still at a loss, try  PetMD The general guideline for adult dogs is as follows:

  • Small breeds of dogs that weigh between 3 to 6 pounds should be given a daily portion of 1/3 to 1/2 cup of food.
  • For small-sized dog breeds weighing between 10-20 pounds, it is recommended to feed them a daily amount ranging from 3/4 cup to 1 1/2 cups.
  • For medium-sized dogs weighing between 30-50 pounds, it is recommended to feed them 1 3/4 to 2 2/3 cups of food per day.
  • Big dog breeds that weigh between 60-100 pounds should consume 3 to 4 1/2 cups of food daily. Additionally, they should have an extra 1/3 cup of food for every 10 pounds they weigh beyond 100 pounds.

Regardless of the specific quantity of food, having a regular feeding routine will be advantageous for all dogs. Providing meals to your dog at consistent times and in a designated spot each day will contribute to her feeling protected and confident. Additionally, this practice will strengthen the bond and trust between you and your dog, while also promoting a healthy metabolism for her.

Factors Influencing Your Dog’s Appetite

Although feeding charts can provide valuable guidance and serve as a beneficial starting point, they possess certain constraints. Specifically, they fail to consider the lifestyle and genetic factors that also influence the appropriate amount of food to feed your dog.

"Dogs, just like humans, are unique individuals, and their caloric requirements will differ," asserts. Dr. Jamie Whittenburg  , Veterinarian and Director of  Kingsgate Animal Hospital  in Lubbock, Texas.

The packaging's recommendations can be influenced by various factors and can determine if you choose to deviate from them.

  •  Weight: If your dog is too heavy or too light, you may need to adjust her daily food intake until she reaches a healthy weight. Your veterinarian may also suggest transitioning to a specialized dog food designed for either weight loss or weight gain.
  •  Activity levels: in the English language, the following paragraph can be paraphrased as: Feeding charts are not completely accurate when used alone as they do not consider the exercise patterns of your dog. Therefore, it is logical to understand that a high-energy dog would require different feeding requirements than a less active one. Border Collie  might require more food than a sleepy  Bulldog  . As  Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS According to a veterinary surgeon based in London, a dog that stays in a kennel or doesn't get much exercise will not require a significant amount of calories.
  •  Puppyhood: It is not unexpected that all those puppy behaviors demand. food A puppy's developing body requires extra calories, protein, fat, and nutrients compared to an adult dog. This means that they need to be fed more often than adult dogs.
  •  Adulthood: When a dog reaches adulthood, their metabolism slows down and their calorie needs decrease accordingly. At this stage, the puppy can typically decrease their meals to two per day.
  •  Senior dogs: healthcare plan specifically tailored to their needs. This specialized plan could provide them with the necessary medical attention and treatments to improve their overall well-being. special formula diet Before completely removing a meal, it is important to consult with a veterinarian as some older dogs may require specific nutrients. Additionally, senior dogs who lead less active lifestyles may be able to switch to eating once a day.
  •  Food brands: The typical serving of dry dog food contains a range of 350-600 calories. To ensure your dog receives the appropriate caloric intake, you might have to modify the portion size to prevent overfeeding or underfeeding.

Should You Measure By Calories or Cups?

Although following a food's recommended feeding chart is the simplest option, it may not be the most beneficial or healthy choice for your dog. Unlike human nutrition labels, the cup size feeding guide on dog food labels is not overseen by an organization. Therefore, the feeding guide included on dog food bags may not be personalized for your dog's specific needs.

are unclear and confusing to pet owners. Often, the recommended serving sizes are too broad, leaving owners unsure of how much to feed their dogs. Additionally, the instructions may not provide specific details on how often the food should be given or whether it needs to be mixed with water or other additives. This lack of clarity can be frustrating for pet owners, who want to provide their dogs with proper nutrition but are unsure of how to do so based on the information provided on the packaging. don’t align  with the standards set by the  Pet Nutrition Alliance Occasionally, this happens because the company’s estimations were made considering dogs that are more active than the average pet that a household owns. Dr. Simon acknowledges that it is not uncommon for pet owners to have to adjust feeding instructions by up to 20%.

Fortunately, Dr. Whittenburg advises us that there is a relatively uncomplicated remedy – utilizing online calorie calculators.

"Compared to charts, calculators offer convenience and higher accuracy since they can provide precise values instead of general ranges. Additionally, calculators can consider factors such as gender, body condition score, and activity level."


 Pro-tip:  Dr. Whitenburg’s go-to  calorie calculator The Pet Nutrition Alliance has developed a helpful tool to assist in determining your dog's calorie requirements. By using this tool, you can easily calculate the appropriate amount of food your dog should be fed based on their daily calorie intake. Once you have determined the necessary calorie count, you can then measure your dog's food servings in cups accordingly.

Remember, every dog is unique, and their nutritional needs may vary. It's essential to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best feeding plan for your furry friend. By providing the right amount of food and following proper portion control, you can help keep your dog healthy, energetic, and happy.