Your dog’s dietary needs will change as he ages and grows and will can vary based on breed. You will literally find yourself buying one bag for your Labrador and a very different food bag for your Chihuahua. So how do you know where to start and when to change schedules or amounts of food? Below is an overview that details size and life stage that can help you decide how much and how often to fill Fido’s food bowl.
At about a month old, your puppy is ready for some solid food. He should still be with his mommy up to eight weeks old, but you can introduce some solids sooner. The food will be easier to digest if you mix three parts puppy food with one part water or puppy milk replacement. From six to eight weeks old, your puppy is eating some small amounts of solid puppy food 3-4 times daily but still depending on his mommy too. At 8 weeks, he can be cut back to twice daily and is likely ready to leave his mommy. For the coming months (up to about six months in age), your puppy is teething. This may cause some fussy eating and appetite changes.
At six months old, your puppy may look more like an adult dog, but he is still an energetic puppy and needs the extra nutrition in a puppy food or high quality dog food. Your veterinarian can help you decide when you need to be ready to make the switch from puppy to adult dog food.
For most adult dog breeds, feeding continues at twice daily but changes to an adult dog food. Selecting a breed specific food such as large breed adult dog food versus a small breed variety will help ensure the bites are of an appropriate size and are easy for your dog to chew and digest. You can also select a life stage variety of dog food such as senior dog food.
Your bag of dog food lists a recommendation on the feeding amount so this is where you will turn to find out the “how much”, but below is a quick general guide of how much dry dog food to feed your dog daily based on his adult canine weight.
Dog’s Weight Dry Dog Food/ Day
Up to 10 pounds = ¼ to ¾ cup
10 to 25 pounds = ¾ to 1 cup
25 to 50 pounds = 1 to 2 cups
50 to 75 pounds = 2 to 2 1/2 cups
Over 75 pounds = 2 to 4 cups
Your dog’s lifestyle will need to be considered. For example, a more active dog may eat on the upper end of the recommendations. Keep an eye out for excessive weight gain, watch the treats and talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s diet and exercise routine.
Any changes or transitions to new foods should be done gradually. A sudden change to your dog’s diet may give your pooch and upset tummy. And while you may not have asked the question, “When should I feed my dog?” Dog feeding etiquette suggests keeping your dog on a feeding (and bathroom) schedule. This will help regulate his digestion, his appetite and help prevent potty accidents in your home.
As a dog training collar expert, author and practicing veterinarian, Susan Wright encourages dog owners to take extra care in keeping their dogs safe, especially during the summer months when dogs like to roam more often.