Dogs are like people in many ways, but responsible pet owners who do lots of research might still have legitimate questions about their pet’s nutritional needs and the appropriate amount of food for a dog. Just like for humans, portion control and a balanced diet are vital to a healthy life.

Pet parents who wonder what, how much, and how often to feed their dogs are bombarded with information from all corners, and not all of it is valuable. Here is everything you need to know about ensuring your pup gets the appropriate amount of dog food each and every day.

The Basics of Good Nutrition for Dogs

In general, dogs have basic nutritional needs. They usually need more protein and less nutrient variety in their food than humans, but they benefit from a proper feeding schedule and portion control. A few tips to keep in mind:

  • Implementing feeding schedules is beneficial to maintaining healthy body weight.
  • Good nutrition and high-quality dog food helps keep a dog’s skin and coat healthy,
  • It also helps to prevent a variety of diseases and health issues.
  • A balanced diet will keep your dog from succumbing to the ill effects of obesity as they age.
  • It will enable him or her to stay mobile and active at every life stage.

The truth is there are many factors that contribute to the number of scoops of food to feed your favorite pup. Knowing the answers to a question or two could mean the difference between choosing the wrong option from myriad dog foods and selecting the right one for your particular pooch.

What Impacts Serving Size?

It’s important to consider a few feeding guidelines before you plan out exactly what to feed your dog, the amount, and how many meals a day he or she will get. The following questions and answers will help you understand what your dog needs and how to keep him or her healthy for years to come.

1. How large is your dog?

Most adult dogs should get two meals per day, with puppies getting three or four meals of smaller amounts. Think about how big your dog is when determining the right food ratio for him or her. For example, a three-pound chihuahua might only need a 1/2 cup of food at each meal, while a 70-pound retriever mix might need a full cup or even two cups per meal. The side of your dog food bag is your best friend in determining how much food he or she should get. There’s usually an easy-to-follow feeding table to make the process super simple.

2. Do puppies need a larger amount of dog food?

If you are raising a sweet little puppy, you are probably well aware of just how much energy they have to burn. Puppies are growing at a rapid rate and will need to eat a smaller amount of food more often than adult dogs, sometimes three or four times each day rather than two. Feeding your puppy smaller, frequent meals helps to keep their energy levels consistent and aids in digestion. Your puppy can begin following an adult dog feeding schedule once he or she turns into a one-year-old dog. Make sure you pick up high-quality puppy food to ensure your dog gets a tailored mix of nutrients for strong bones.

3. What breed is your dog?

Different breeds could have different nutritional needs, so it’s important to consult with your veterinarian regarding any such restrictions for your pup. There are some breeds that are more prone to genetic disorders and health issues, which makes ensuring that they are eating the right dog food and following a proper schedule essential to helping ward off major health conditions.

4. How active is your dog?

Your dog’s lifestyle plays a role in determining how much food is needed each day. If your adult dog has a high activity level and takes several long walks each day, or follows a strict fitness regimen, he or she will probably require more calories per day and a larger portion size to maintain their overall well being. Lap dogs, which tend to burn fewer calories over the course of a day, won’t generally need as much food. Think about what his or her day looks like and how much energy they tend to burn, then tailor the amount to their individual needs.

5. Have you talked to your vet about how much to feed your dog?

Talk to your veterinarian about determining a feeding schedule and overall diet for your pet. These professionals can help you with portion sizes as well as help you pick the right dry food to suit your dog’s needs and health goals. That might mean choosing one that is geared toward adult weight management, more appropriate for younger dogs, or offers more nutrients for seniors.

There are many brands on the market, and a lot of them have been specially formulated to contain powerful breed-specific ingredients to suit your dog’s energy needs. A good veterinarian can also help you to go through ingredients, informing you about nutrients and the exact vitamins and minerals that help keep dogs healthy to ensure you feed your dog only the best.

Knowing Makes All the Difference

Once you have picked out the right brand of food to feed your dog – and maybe a few special dog treats to go along with it – you will need to keep an eye on your dog’s weight and behavior. Speak to your veterinarian about any potential issues that can be caused by over or underfeeding your dogs. All of this information means you are well-prepared to give your dog a healthy, happy life.

You may also like to read 7 Tips for Brushing a Dog’s Teeth

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How to know the right amount of food for your dog