Adult dogs require sufficient nutrients to meet energy needs and to maintain and repair body tissues. The amount you feed your adult dog should be based on his or her size and energy output. Activity levels may vary dramatically between pets, and will play an important role in determining caloric intake.
How Much to Feed Your Dog
The amount you feed your adult dog should be based on his or her size and energy output. For example, an animal with a normal activity level should receive what we call “maintenance” energy. A pampered lap dog may require just 10% of that, while an active pet who exercises regularly outdoors may require maintenance plus 20 to 40%.
You may need to adjust portions as you learn your dog’s ideal “maintenance” amount. Pet owners should always consult with their dog’s veterinarian to determine the best feeding schedule and types of foods for their pets.
Outside factors, like the temperature, can contribute to how much your dog should eat. Since keeping warm and cool require extra energy expenditure, extreme hot or cold weather can also increase a dog’s energy needs. Talk to your pet’s veterinarian about what to do when the mercury dips or soars.
Feeding Working Canines
A dog’s energy needs will increase with his or her work and stress level, and the dietary needs of working canines—such as police dogs, guide dogs and cattle dogs—will depend on their occupations. A dog with a moderate work load may require an energy increase of 40% compared to maintenance, whereas a dog with a high work load may require an extra 50 to 70%.
Feeding Your Dog as He Recovers from Surgery
An animal recovering from surgery or suffering from a disease may have an increased nutritional requirement for repair, healing and fighting infection. Be sure to check with your veterinarian on your pet’s post-opt nutritional needs.
Treats should be given in moderation and represent five percent or less of the dog’s daily food intake. The rest should come from a nutritionally compete dog food. When using treats as motivation, such as during training exercises, use the smallest pieces you can.
Setting a Feeding Schedule
We recommend all dogs be fed twice daily. Simply divide the amount of food your pet requires into two meals, spaced eight to twelve hours apart. Dogs may be fed in a number of ways that meet both the owner’s and the animal’s needs. These methods include portion-control, free-choice and timed feeding.
- Portion-control feeding refers to controlling the amount of food that your pet consumes by measuring your pet’s food and providing it in one or meals daily. This method is often used for weight control programs and for animals that might overeat if fed free-choice.
- Free-choice feeding allows food to be available to your pet at all times, as much as your pet wants, and whenever he or she wants it. This method is best when feeding dry food, which will not spoil when left out. Most nursing mothers are often free-choice fed, but some dogs will overeat when fed in this manner, resulting in obesity.
- Timed feeding involves making a portion of food available for your pet to eat for a specific period of time. For example, food can be placed in the dog’s bowl for 30 minutes. After that time, if the pet has not consumed the food, it is removed.