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Feeding Your Dog

Dogs love to eat. And eat… And eat… And many would eat all day if they could, but overfeeding does them no favors.

A healthy dog is a happy dog, which is why it is so important that you feed them a balanced diet. It might be very tempting to give your dog an extra helping or a few extra dog treats, but your dog will love you much more in the long run if you keep him healthy. Partner up what you are feeding him with plenty of exercise and your dog will live to a ripe old age.

Breeds puli dreadlocks
A healthy Puli needs a healthy diet. And just look at those corkscrew curls!

How Much Should You Feed Your Dog?

A lot of dogs share a common love for food and some dog breeds can be particularly greedy. For this reason we can’t just let our dogs eat as much as they like, but it does make knowing how much to feed your dog a bit tricky.

Your vet will be able to tell you the typical amount of food that is required for your dog’s breed and size, and you can always follow the guidelines on the packaging of your dog’s food. But you should still regularly monitor your dog’s weight and then change how much you are feeding him accordingly.

Depending on the size of your dog, you can use a set of bathroom scales by weighing yourself first and then weighing yourself holding the dog (the difference in weight is equal to the weight of your dog). Or if you are unsure or unable to weigh your dog then speak to your vet to organize a regular check up and weighing session.

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with its head in a bowl of food
A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel enjoying a bowlful of the good stuff

Use a Measuring Cup

Dog obesity is on the rise with many of our dogs becoming more at risk to health problems like diabetes, cancer and liver disease. The extra weight will also take its toll on your dog’s bones - those with canine hip dysplasia, luxating patella, intervertebral disc disease or other orthopedic diseases will certainly feel the full force of the extra weight.

To combat this, you can control the portion size that our dog gets in his meals. Use a measuring cup and start by following the instructions given on the food packet. If your canine friend continues to balloon then you can begin reducing the portion size until their weight stabilizes at a healthy level.

How Often Should You Feed Your Dog?

As your dog begins to mature into an adult at around 9 months you must think about how often you are going to feed him.

Small and medium sized dogs are usually fed twice a day, one small meal in the morning and one in the evening. Typically, larger dogs are fed one large meal towards the end of the day. Remember that dogs find assurance in routine, so once you have decided when you are going to feed your dog make sure that you stick to it.

How Much Should You Feed A Puppy?

It is amazing to see how fast your tiny little puppy grows into a strong and lively adult dog. To give him the best start in life it is important to feed the right type, and right amount, of food. A good breeder or shelter will be able to recommend a suitable food for your new puppy. It is always a good idea to follow their advice because young dogs have sensitive stomachs which can be upset if their diet is changed, so stick to the food they are used to for the first week or so. After this time you can slowly change the diet, if you so wish.

Puppy newborn bottle fed hand fed
This pup needed hand-rearing, which is a tricky and skilled job. But after, that, it's plain sailing.

A puppy will need feeding little and often, usually four to six times a day. This helps to keep his energy levels fairly constant, and is a lot easier for him to digest than two large meals a day.

When you first collect your puppy, make sure that the breeder provides you with some guidelines so that you don’t over or under feed your pup. In general, follow the recommendations on the back of the dog food packet. You may need to adjust how much you are feeding by monitoring your dog’s weight and body shape. You should be able to feel a puppy’s ribs but you shouldn't be able to see them clearly. He should also have a visible waist when you look at him from above. This is an accurate way of deciding if you are over or under feeding your puppy, whatever the breed or size.

A beautifully little puppy eating a bowl of dry food in the garden
A puppy picnic out on the lawn

When your puppy reaches six months reduce the number of mealtimes to two a day (one a day for larger dogs). You will also need to start reducing your puppy’s meal sizes, and the best way to do this is to follow the guidelines on the back of the dog food packaging. Before you change the size of your dog’s meals speak to your vet for some guidance.

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