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Are You Feeding Your Dog the Amount it Says On the Dog Food Bag?

Are You Feeding Your Dog the Amount it Says On the Dog Food Bag? Then You Are Most Likely Feeding Your Dog the WRONG Amount of Food!

How many of us read the suggested serving sizes on the meals we prepare for our family and strictly follow them? We don’t even read the suggested serving size, unless it’s to see how much food will be made. Then, instead of going off that, we sit there, holding the package, trying to think about how much each person in our family will eat, so you know if one package is enough, too much, or not enough.

So why do we read the serving size on the back of the dog food packet as gospel? Remember, that it is a guideline made for the “average” idea of a dog. This is so we have a ball park starting amount and so we don’t give the dog a human size serving.

If you think humans vary in size, shape and amount of food they can consume without getting overweight (dang those rail-thin people who can eat anything!) The dog world has even MORE variety. From teeny-tiny teacup Chihuahuas to English Mastiffs – and everything in between. Then, within that division you have

· The teacup Chihuahua that is 13-years-old+ that’s going blind and sleeps all day.

· The teacup Chihuahua that’s 4-years-old, does agility and competitive obedience, and maybe even shows in conformation.

· The teacup Chihuahua puppy, 8-weeks-old, that’s growing every day.

· The teacup Chihuahua that’s 2-years-old, lives indoor with a family, but gets moderate exercise.

The combinations of age, exercise level and health are almost endless. Does it make sense that each one of these dogs would get the same amount of food just because they are in the same weight range? Chances are the 13-year-old would be too fat, the 4-year-old would be too thin, and the puppy wouldn’t be get enough nutrients. Perhaps the 2-year-old is doing okay, for now.

THE POINT IS YOU NEED TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION YOUR DOG’S AGE, HEALTH, AND ACTIVITY LEVEL, THEN ADJUST HIS MEAL SIZE ACCORDINGLY.

So how do you do this?

Luckily, it’s really not too hard to manage your dog’s food intake to keep him at the optimum weight. Optimum body score includes being able to see a few (2-3 ribs), with a defined waist that “tucks up” at the hips. There is some slight variations between breeds, but not enough to make a huge difference.

Start with where your dog is now. Is he too fat, too thin? Get his weight and look at his body condition. Compare it to the body condition score guide. If he is on either end of the spectrum – too thin or too fat – you need to adjust his food.

This means that, for example if your dog should be around 25kg, but is actually 30kg, you will need to feed him at the 20kg amount to lose that extra 5kg – and don’t forget to exercise him! Just like people, you need to combine diet and exercise to lose weight effectively and gain that important muscle tone.

But, don’t get stuck on those feeding guidelines!

Maybe your dog has an extremely slow metabolism, in which case you might need to feed even less at first to get that weight off, and then build it up to a maintenance amount that, for your dog, is still lower than what the bag says. (This is always true for desexed dogs)

Then, keep checking his condition and changing the amount you feed to match. Because it will change as your dog ages and if health issues develop. For example, a dog that develops diabetes may get really fat, and need to be on a very controlled diet, whereas a dog with thyroid issues tends to get very thin and may need to eat much more than they previously did.

You will also have to adjust your dog’s food intake if he suddenly gets more active (you start doing agility) or gets less active (an injury makes him unable to go for those 5-mile daily runs).

Climate can sometimes have an effect as well. We all burn more calories in the winter keeping our body warm, so dogs in very cold climates may need more calories to stay at a healthy weight, especially if they are outside in the elements a lot.

Hot weather can affect dogs food intake as well, however the important thing here is the leaner they are the more comfortable they will be in the hot weather.

The most important thing to remember is that each dog is an individual and you just need to compare your dog to the body score sheet and then adjust his meals to get him where he needs to be. Trust us, your dog will be much happier, healthier, and most likely live longer, when he is the correct body condition/weight!

14 thoughts on “Are You Feeding Your Dog the Amount it Says On the Dog Food Bag?

  1. Freda Catmull says:

    I have a pugalier who has put on 2k after being penned up for 8 weeks after surgery and I have been giving her less but she is not looking weight .What amount would you recommend I feed her.I feed her once a day in the evening.
    Thank you in anticipation.
    Regards Freda.

    1. Robert says:

      Hi Freda, thank you for your question. Without seeing your dog its hard for me to say. BUT… if for example she is putting on weight rapidly you may need to halve or even take out 70% of the current amount. Another example a 5kg dog that is 1kg overweight I would feed for a 3kg dog, to get the weight down. This would be about 50grams of our food and nothing else for the day. Also we do have a feeding guide for overweight dogs on our bags. Just weigh your dog and go across to the obese dog chart and feed that amount.that should get you going in the right direction. Please remember treats are calories too, and do add on weight especially when dealing with small dogs under 10kg.

  2. Michele Micallef says:

    I wish I could get my toy poodle, Angelique, to have a complete diet of Stay Loyal kibble as I recognise it would provide a nutritional rounded diet. I have to supplement with other foods to get her to eat her kibble, especially so for the duration of her recent 9 week pregnancy.
    However now she is lactating she is rejecting it altogether and actually picking around it. . I’m hoping after she’s weened her puppy I can coax her to eat it again.
    I understand quantities, but hope you may make some suggestions for consumption. Crushing the kibble into a wet food she likes is all I can think of. Maybe she has become a lazy eater.
    I recollect you producing a large puppy food? Do you make a small puppy food?
    Thankyou for your product, your emails and your articles.
    Cheers.
    Michele, (Angie & new as yet unnamed puppy)

    1. Robert says:

      Hi Michele, you can soak the food in hot water and when cooled mix in with mince. I do that for my puppies. Both our Chicken Lamb and Fish and our Salmon Turkey and Pork are all life stage foods so they are basically high quality puppy foods for small to medium breeds. The difference is that the puppies will get about double the amount for their weight. Once pups hit about 9 months all their rapid growth has slowed and they should be getting adult portions.

  3. Kim Medley says:

    Hi Robert, I feed Rocky a raw diet plus the recommended kibble on bag but he does not eat all his dry food that may sit there for two days before he eats it all. He only gets one walk a day 1-1.5 hours the rest of the time he is sleeping or playing in the backyard. I feel I may be feeding him a little too much I have pulled it in a bit and trying to get him to lose a bit he is not over weight but not ideal either. In his raw he gets about 250g chunk beef, mixed with sweet potatoe/pumpkin/carrot and rice also any green vege’s I have. he also gets some chicken hearts, liver and kidney (small amounts) and a chicken foot. In the morning he gets a chicken wing or can of tuna or sardines. And an egg three times a week. He also gets meaty bones 2-3 times per week. He is an American X staffy 18 months old. He is not a greedy eater either. Any advice appreciated. thanks Kim

    1. Robert says:

      Hi Kim, If you think he could come down in weight just feed him less. Id start by feeding about 30% less of everything and just watch his weight. You should see an increase in energy in a few weeks.

  4. Rob says:

    Hey guys, presumably the recommended amount of food on the side of the bag is based on feeding your dog nothing else but that food. Naturally you’d dial that recommended amount back if you give treats for training or rewards, but how do you determine how to adjust? How much is a chicken neck worth? What about a chicken drum stick? Or say a Kangaroo tendon?

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Robert says:

      Hi Rob, If its a dry treat then adjust gram for gram. If its a raw treat like a fresh chicken drumstick I find Approximately 3 grams of chicken to 1 gram of our food. If it is loaded in fat then you may need to calculate 1 gram fatty treat to 2 grams of food. In the end its not exact. you estimate to get close and if you find your dog is getting too thin or too fat you adjust the portion.

  5. Anne says:

    My dogs are a little overweight. How do I deal with their continual begging. Our dachshund is particularly difficult. He will wonder off looking for food. Once, while we were out, he managed to open the plastic lid of the 2L Stay Loyal container we use and ate half! He was so fat we didn’t feed him for 2 days. He acts like he’s starving all the time but in reality he’s overweight.

    1. Robert says:

      Hi Anne, Basically you will have to ignore them 100% of the time. To understand how to stop the behaviour it’s good to know how it started. Basically us owners look for signals our dogs give and we say hey Fido you look hungry do you want to share my sandwich or steak? That is how the begging starts. Once our dogs know we will feed them something if they beg they will do it more often than needed, more of a behaviour out of boredom. Now you have a trained begging machine. To stop this begging machine you have to ignore their desires 100% of the time. Because if you give in just once out of 20 times it will basically reset the begging machine. It’s kinda funny as well as annoying. But Dogs do have a strong natural desire to beg and to scavenge, so we are working against that desire as well as our own desires to treat them and nurture them. Good luck and well dome on realising they need to lose weight. They will love you for it in the long run. 🙂

  6. Jessica says:

    I have a Pug who is 11 months and eats 1/2 cup dry bits morning and night.

    He’s pretty much straight on the sides but eats his food so fast I feel he is always starving! How can I slow him down? Maze bowls don’t help because his snout is too short.

    1. Robert says:

      Hi Jessica, you can try spread the food out on the ground. I prefer doing this outside so they get the microbes from the outdoors into their gut helping the diversity of their gut microbiome and making feed time more fun. Be sure to choose an area where you don’t spray chemicals etc. Concrete is fine. short grass can work but sometimes you will lose the kibble if the grass is too long and thick.

  7. Rebecca says:

    Hi thank you for this article, good food for thought. The issue I have, though, is that my dog is super furry so I have great trouble judging whether he’s too fat or too thin. Even when soaking wet (which he hates), I can’t see whether his ribs are showing and can barely tell whether he has a waist. Do you have any advice in this situation? (He also begs constantly and eats anything he can get a hold of… including once an entire cake that he stole off our table)

    1. Robert says:

      Hi Rebecca, So begging is a natural instinct dogs have and we just make it worse by giving in to them. To get a read on your dogs condition you just have to feel his entire body and do it all the time. After a while you should get good at it. The other way is shave them down but not sure if you want to do that.

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