All canines share identical nutritional needs and digest their food in the same way. Yet, the amount of food a dog needs to be healthy and happy is not the same. How much a dog requires to be healthy may differ. It depends upon a number of factors.
Your dog’s nutritional requirements consist of various different elements. The basic needs of a dog consist of the following:
All these substances are found in dry (kibble) food. Unfortunately, uniformity does not exist across the board. The quality of the products manufactured by the dog food companies vary widely. This element affects how much you will feed your dog.
Factors Affecting Feeding Quantities
The quality of the food you feed your dog is only one factor in how much you may feed your canine companion. Other matters that may affect the decision are:
* Age or life stage of the dog – puppies require more food than adult dogs. These small bundles of energy need more food to help them grow strong. Without the right amount and type of diet, they may not realize their full potential. Puppies are growing beings. They need the right nutrition and the proper amount so they can develop healthy bones, teeth and other physical components. Puppies need feeding not once or twice but between 3 and 4 times a day. It depends upon their age.
Adult dogs do not need as much food as the puppies require. Once a puppy matures, the owner must reduce the amount of food the dog eats. Even if the dog is energetic and lively, the food is fulfilling different functions. The owner may also decrease the amount of food when he or she becomes a senior. To an extent, reduction of the food will reside in the next factor – activity level.
* Activity Level – How active your dog is will help determine how much food you give him or her. If you canine is a couch potato, he or she will not need as much energy providing food as a dog who is constantly on the go, walking, running and playing.
* Breed – Genetics plays a role in determining how much food to feed your dog. Some breeds are more prone to put on poundage than are others. Bulldogs, Basset Hounds and Pugs are 3 examples of dogs who gain weight quickly. While the label of the dog food may say feed a dog weighing such-and-such this amount, you need to reconsider this if you have this type of dog.
* Medical condition – If your dog suffers from some medical conditions, you may not be able to follow the manufacturers’ instructions on what and how much to feed your dog
* Other factors: How much do you treat your dog? Giving him or her treats throughout the day does constitute feeding the dog. If you feed lots of treats, you will have to cut down somewhere. Either reduce the food or the treats.
So How Much Should I Feed My Canine?
The label of your favorite or recommended brand of dog food is a guide to the amount of food you need to feed your dog. The amounts stated will vary according to the brand and the supposed composition of the food. However, you have to understand your dog and his or her eating habits. You also need to know whether your dog gains weight easily and understand the negative effect eating too much food will have on his or her health. When in doubt, talk to other dog owners and consult your vet about how much you should eat.
Feeding your dog the right amount of food can be a minefield if you do not know the requirements of your breed and any particular or peculiar characteristics. Sometimes, it is a matter of letting your dog help you decide. This is not, however, reasonable if you have a dog who has a bottomless stomach. Talk to your vet, other breeders and experienced dog owners. They can help you find the right diet and the right amount of food for your canine.