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The feeding of our dogs It directly affects your health and well-being, for this reason, choosing a complete and high-quality diet is essential. However, when we talk about canine nutrition, some doubts usually arise, generally related to the number of intakes, the caloric intake of the food or the amount that we should offer them. ¿You also have some questions about the food ration daily for your dog?
Although we will normally find the amount specified on the packaging, it is highly recommended to inquire thoroughly to ensure that this contribution is adequate for our dog. Remember that the daily amount of dog food It will vary depending on age, daily physical activity and the quality of the food, but there are really many other factors to consider, such as metabolizable energy, an aspect that we will also detail. Find out below at AnimalWised how much a dog should eat a day.It may also interest you: Amount of daily food for a Great Dane Index
- The dog's nutritional needs
- Is the dog food chart on the packaging reliable??
- The importance of metabolizable energy and kilocalories
- How many times a day should a dog eat?
- Amount of daily food for a puppy
- Daily amount of food for an adult dog
- Amount of food for an elderly dog
- How to adapt the amount of food for a dog?
The dog's nutritional needs
The feeding in dogs It is not an exact science, since there are various factors that can intervene in the nutritional needs of an individual, such as the level of activity, the stage in which it is or body temperature, among others. In addition, there is also no single way of eating, since we can find multiple diets to follow that, well managed, are equally valid and healthy.
The most important thing when feeding our dog is to ensure that it receives the necessary energy and nutrients for your body, taking into account your specific needs as an individual. Precisely for this reason, many people opt for the so-called balanced diets based on "feed " or "croquettes ", as it is a simple way to ensure a complete nutritional contribution and to avoid nutritional deficiencies that may favor the appearance of pathologies.
Likewise, we also find other forms of food, such as homemade diets, either raw or semi-cooked, which must always be supervised by a veterinarian specialized in nutrition. Finally, it should also be noted that there are food supplements, such as cans of pate or wet food, that we can offer to our dogs in a timely manner to enrich their day to day..
Is the dog food chart on the packaging reliable??
In most packages of balanced food we find a table of dog food that suggests an approximate the total daily amount to offer, according to weight, age and physical activity, usually in grams. We can see that it is never an exact quantity, but rather oscillates between certain parameters.
In general, we could say that the amount of dog food indicated on the product packaging yes it is reliable, since tests and studies have been carried out to support these indications. However, each individual has their own needs, so it is important adapt the diet to each case.
Dog food meter
Regardless of the portion chart, some brands offer a dog food measuring cup with indications so that the owner can calculate the grams to offer without having to use a scale, however, it is very important to point out that these products are designed for that specific food and they are not applicable to all products that exist in the market.
A determining factor when establishing a table of quantities is the metabolizable energy of the feed, which is not the same in all brands and, therefore, it is not advisable to use a measuring cup from a specific manufacturer for a different one.
The importance of metabolizable energy and kilocalories
A more precise way of determining the amount of daily food for our dog, and that will also give us useful information about the quality of the product, will be to look at the metabolizable energy, which is expressed in kilocalories per kilogram. Although not all packages show this information, the choice of foods that do contain it should be prioritized..
Metabolizable energy (ME) is the energy value of a food that helps us determine its nutritional value, essential for the body's metabolic processes. Energy is measured through trials, that is, this product is offered in specific quantities to a selected group of dogs and their stools are then analyzed to find out the total energy provided by the food, translated as metabolizable energy. The higher this index, higher energy input will receive our dog and, as a consequence, he will need to ingest a less food balanced.
We must know that the digestibility of the product can affect the energy that the dog finally ends up receiving, which is why it is so important choose a high-quality product. In these cases we must check the container again to follow the manufacturer's instructions and, at the same time, those of our trusted veterinarian. In this sense, it highlights NFNatcane As a reference brand, a Spanish company dedicated to natural canine nutrition, with quality ingredients and easy assimilation, which clearly indicates their metabolizable energy in all its products, unlike many manufacturers. As we said, this energy value effectively covers the needs of the dog and, therefore, requires consuming a smaller amount of feed.
How many times a day should a dog eat?
There are many doubts about the amount of daily food that an adult, elderly or puppy dog should eat, for that reason we will explain the three ways of feeding that exist and that you can consider offering. However, in each of the following sections we will detail with more precision what is most indicated according to the stage of the dog:
- At will (ad libitum): this form of feeding is much more common in cats than in dogs and consists of leaving food available throughout the day for the dog to ration it to its liking. It is recommended in dogs that eat little, as well as in lactating females. However, it is not indicated in dogs that do not know how to ration food or that are above their normal weight.
- Ration food by quantity: in this case, the owner sets a quantity of food and distributes it in several feedings, which he offers to the dog throughout the day. It is the most advisable method, because in this way we can calculate the exact dose of food for our dog and prevent it from gaining or losing weight. In addition, through this system we can quickly detect any anomaly or disease.
- Ration food by time: consists of offering a bowl with food and leaving it at the disposal of the dog for a specific time. It is an advisable system in dogs that know how to ration their food, but otherwise, we will not know if the dog is eating more or not. Likewise, it promotes a rapid intake that is inadvisable in dogs with a predisposition to suffer from gastric or stomach torsion..
As a conclusion we can determine that the best option is to ration food by quantity, although it can also be interesting to leave food ad libitum when the dog does not eat enough and / or has an excessively thin body condition, below normal values.
Daily amount of food for a puppy
Around two months of life the puppy begins weaning and initiation to solid food, generally based on soft food, either in a can or through feed soaked in water, which favors greater acceptance and adaptation to the new diet. Soft food is progressively stopped until the dog is fed only solid food, commercially labeled as "Puppy " or "Junior ". It is very important to choose this type of product and not to choose feed labeled "Adult " or generic, as puppies have specific nutritional needs, which include a highest percentage of fat and protein, thus ensuring its proper growth and development.
On the other hand, large breed puppies they may require a specific food adapted to their size, which includes a slightly higher percentage of calcium. We must pay special attention to this type of puppies, as overfeeding in large puppies can cause skeletal deformations..
¿How to calculate the amount of puppy food?
If you are not sure how much kibble a puppy is given, you should start analyzing the table amount of puppy food present in the container. Remember to calculate doses based on months of age and weight. Also, don't forget distribute the quantity in 4 doses.
This stage is especially important, since it will depend on it if the dog develops properly, so the veterinary visits To start the puppy's vaccination schedule they are essential. The specialist will help you make a weight tracking and to adapt the exact doses of food according to the case.
The nutritional needs of puppies
Some owners want to go a step further and find out what is the amount of food for a puppy taking into account the nutritional and energy requirements of this stage, which ensures a much more precise diet adapted to the individual. In these cases we can take a photograph or write down the nutritional information on the label, specifically of the analytical components and the metabolizable energy so that our veterinarian can perform the corresponding calculations and thus detail the exact amount that our puppy requires.
Daily amount of food for an adult dog
From the twelve months, in general, the dog starts on the feed labeled "Adult " and thus begins the search for one "maintenance diet ", that is, a fixed amount of food that will ensure that the dog remains at a healthy and adequate weight for its body, without gaining or losing weight. It is also important to ensure that it is a quality food, checking the composition of dog food.
The maintenance diet is also applicable to dogs that perform intense physical activity, as is the case with sports dogs, but pregnant bitches, lactating bitches or dogs with very specific nutritional needs, which are caused by a pathology, for example, are excluded. In these cases, the most advisable thing is to consult with the veterinarian, who will guide us properly.
Amount of feed or kibble for an adult dog
The amount of food for an adult dog will therefore depend on the level of physical activity and its age, although we can also take into account the season of the year and other factors that may influence it. As in the case of puppies, we must review the nutritional table on the container, looking at the variables we mentioned above. As for the intakes, we can distribute the total food in two or three servings a day throughout the day to help you feel fuller.
It should be noted that not all brands indicate the quantities by means of a table, as some choose a different indication, such as starting by offering 1.5% of body weight Of the dog and vary based on specific needs. Again, we highlight the importance of metabolizable energy at this point, since this data, as we have previously verified, will directly influence the daily amount of dog food.
Finally, it should be noted that any dog must have at his disposal fresh and clean water throughout the day, so you can drink whenever you need. Likewise, if you observe that the dog drinks more than normal or that it hardly drinks, it will be interesting to visit a veterinarian to rule out any pathology.
Amount of homemade food for adult dogs
If you have decided to feed your dogs homemade diets, such as the BARF diet, it may be interesting to know energy needs of an adult dog, which will help us to set the appropriate dose. As in the previous case, the needs of each individual may vary, so it is always advisable to consult with a veterinarian, preferably one specialized in canine nutrition..
Here we show you daily kilocalories to offer according to the weight of the dog :
- 3 kg = 190 kcal
- 5 kg = 280 kcal
- 10 kg = 470 kcal
- 15 kg = 640 kcal
- 20 kg = 790 kcal
- 25 kg = 940 kcal
- 30 kg = 1080 kcal
- 35 kg = 1210 kcal
- 40 kg = 1340 kcal
These indications in relation to kilocalories can also be useful when measuring the amount of feed for the dog, because looking at the metabolizable energy that indicates the product container, we can determine the amount of feed or croquettes that it requires on a daily basis.
Amount of food for an elderly dog
From the seven or eight years, Although it can vary depending on the breed, the dog begins in its old age stage. It is important to understand that older dogs have specific nutritional needs, for this reason it is advisable to look for foods labeled as "Senior " or "Mature ", as they contain a lower proportion of protein and fat, fundamental in this period. In addition, these products usually incorporate foods, nutraceuticals or vitamins that are beneficial for the health of elderly dogs, which help prevent obesity or maintain the correct joints..
Amount of feed for an elderly dog
Once again we will review the nutritional table of the container to determine the approximate amount of food, which in the next section we will help you adapt. Do not forget that at this stage there may be tooth loss, so instead of betting on dry feed we can look for soft foods in the market, such as pate, wet food and even start with home-made diets, always supervised and prescribed by a veterinarian.
How to adapt the amount of food for a dog?
In each of the stages of the dog we have highlighted the importance of finding an approximate amount, then, adapt it to the individual. Although the veterinarian is the one who can best help us to set the exact maintenance dose, we can also learn to identify it through the body condition of the dog.. ¿How? We will start by offering the dog a certain amount of food and, after a while, we must weigh it and analyze its figure to determine if there has been maintenance, increase or loss of weight.
According to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), a dog that is in a ideal body condition the ribs are covered with very little fat and are easily palpable.  In addition, the waist is also seen and there is an obvious abdominal crease. If our dog does not meet these requirements, it is probably that he is excessively thin or over his weight and, therefore, diet must be readjusted.Image: wsava.org