How Much Should I Feed My Dog?

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How Much Should I Feed My Dog?

One of the most common dog owner’s questions is: “How much should I feed my dog?”

Sometimes, the feeding guidelines on the dog food label are not accurate.

Dog’s breed, size, and exercise level must be taken into account when determining how much to feed dogs.

how much should i feed my dog

Here is some advice about this issue:

Step 1

You should visit you veterinarian assistant.

He can help you to evaluate your dog’s weight and tell you if he is underweight, overweight, or at an ideal weight.

Additionally, he can also detect some associated health conditions during the dog’s routine physical exam.

Dog nutritionists use a scientific method to specify dog’s caloric requirements based on weight, activity level, and life stage.

They can help you to calculate your dog’s Daily Energy Requirement (kilocalories), which is conveyed on dog food labels.

Step 2

Choose a premium and nutritionally balanced dog food. You can use our dog food selector to find the perfect food for your dog.

In alternative, recipes for complete and balanced homemade diets are obtainable through vet nutritionists.

Step 3

Most dogs at an ideal weight present the following characteristics:

  • Palpable but not excessively prominent ribs and vertebral spines.
  • Perceptible waist behind their rib cage and in front of their posterior limbs.

You should feed your dog the quantity of food that leads to an ideal weight.

The feeding guidelines on the dog food label can be used as a rough instruction.

It‘s only a starting point. My advice is to start with a little less amount than the guidelines state.

Step 4

Monitor your dog’s weight and evaluate if corrections need to be made.

If your dog is overweight or needs to loose some pounds, ensure he is not losing more than 2% of his body weight weekly.

On the other hand, if your dog is skinny and needs to gain some pounds, he should gain weight at a healthy rhythm.

Step 5

Now it’s time to decide on a feeding schedule.

My advice is that you should have a regular time for morning and late afternoon meals for adult dogs.

How much to feed a puppy?

If you have a puppy you should divide his daily amount of food for four meals.

Puppy Feeding chart

Age Weight Amount per day Meals per day Cups per day

Small Breed Puppy

 (2-4 months)

2 Kg (4 lb) – 10 Kg (20 lb) 80g – 120g

(3 oz – 4 oz)

4 – 5 2/3 cup – 1 cup

Medium Breed Puppy

(2-4 months)

2 Kg (4 lb) – 10 Kg (20 lb) 270g – 300g

(9 oz – 11 oz)

4 – 5 2 ¼  cup –  2 ½ cups
Large Breed Puppy

(2-4 months)

30 Kg (66 lb) 280g – 300g

(10 oz – 11 oz)

4 – 5 2 1/3 cups – 2 ½ cups


How much to feed my adult dog?

Remember that the quantity you need to feed your dog will vary according to your dog’s breed, weight, age, level of activity and health. The type and brand of dog food you are feeding him is also a determining factor for your dog’s daily food intake

Dog Feeding chart

Age Weight Amount per day Meals per day Cups per day
Small  Breed Adult 2 Kg (4 lb) – 5 Kg (11lb) 30g – 90g

(1 oz – 3 oz)

2 – 3 ¼ cup – ¾ cup
Medium Breed Adult 10 Kg (20 lb) – 20 Kg (44 lb) 120g – 240g

(4 oz – 8 oz)

2 – 3 1 cup – 2 cups
Large Breed Adult 30 Kg (66 lb) – 50 Kg (110 lb) 240g – 480g

(8 oz – 16 oz)

3 2 cups – 4 cups
Giant Breed Adult   60 Kg (132 lb) 390g – 570g

(14 oz – 20 oz)

 3 – 4 3 ¼ cups – 4 ¾ cups


The feeding charts above are only very rough guides,they were based on the daily quantities preconized by premium dog food brands, such as, Acana and Orijen formulated for adults and/or puppies. The cup recommended above is a standard 120 g (4 oz) measuring cup.

Some Helpful Tips

If your dog is a fast eater, you should have a slow feeder dog bowl. Large breeds have an increased risk for gastric volvulus (twist stomach) after a large and fast meal (e.g. Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers, and Rottweilers).

Food puzzle toys function as a challenge to dogs get their food.

A dog must shake, paw, roll or lick the puzzle toy in order to get his food.

These kind of food toys eases tedium, decreases destructive comportment and reduces the anxiety dogs can feel when home alone.

The main risk factor for obesity in dogs is overfeeding.

In order to your dog has a long and healthy life you should pay attention to the quality and quantity of his food.


About the Author:

Hi! I'm Dora Mancha, DVM. I am graduated for the Veterinary Medicine Faculty of Lisbon (2009). My degree is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). I completed my degree in Veterinary Medicine in July, 2009. Over the first years as a veterinarian my work was closely related to the animal health field. I have gained some average experience having worked in Barcelona University (UAB) Equine Hospital and by working with veterinarians in Portugal. In addition, in 2009 - 2010 I was in Madrid at the University Alfonso X el Sábio doing an internship in the equine service. I am also very interested in small animal medicine and surgery. In fact I worked in several small animals clinics in Portugal improving my knowledge about small animal behavior and health. Dogs always have been present in my life, since I was a child. At the present moment I have four dogs a Labrador, a Epagnheul Breton, a Whippet and a mixed breed dog.

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Why was the Dog Food Selector created?

Each dog has unique needs... The approach "one food for all dogs" isn't the more suitable. Dogs have different sizes, different life stages, unique breed characteristics, health conditions and a few other factors... Choosing the right food for your dog may help him or her life a longer and healthier life! We exist to make that task easier for you.

How does the Dog Food Selector work?

It's quite simple... It's a 1-2 step process. You just have to fill in the form with your dog's characteristics, like gender, age, size, activity, health conditions and a few other important data and click "search". Then, you'll see a list of dog foods with the highest review score. If you wish you can see all the detailed review of each individual dog food.