“The best therapist has fur and four legs.” Summer is here, which means it’s time…
Most dog owners know the importance of a balanced diet for their dogs. Note, being that you’re reading this article, you’re one of them! You can keep your dog happy, healthy and even prolong his life with an appropriate diet. How much to feed your dog will depend on a few factors, including his age, energy level, health issues, size and type of food. So, let’s answer the question, “how much should I feed my dog?”.
Make Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs a Priority
Varied amounts of protein, fats, and carbohydrates can be found in different dog foods. In addition, dog food contains some amount of minerals and vitamins. Some brands don’t have enough of these elements and others can contain excessive amounts for some dogs. Most dog foods stay within the appropriate span set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials.
Your dog has specific needs, and some dog foods will be better than others for him. The dog food you should be looking for has a healthy ratio of protein, fat, and carbs. In addition, it should contain an appropriate ratio of minerals and vitamins. Consult your veterinarian for recommendations based on age, health, breed, and energy level of your dog.
Consider the Calorie Intake
Depending on age, environment, and activity level, different types of dogs require different amounts of calories. Just like athletes need a larger calorie intake, in comparison to couch potatoes, active dogs exert more energy and need more calories than that of a sedentary breed such as Bulldogs.
Puppies grow, thus need more calories, as well as proteins and other nutrients. Senior dogs generally require fewer calories in order to maintain a healthy weight.
In certain cases, the environment can be a factor for consideration. For example, dogs in below zero temperatures will burn more calories keeping warm. In fact, they’ll burn 10-t0-90 percent more energy than dogs in mild climates.
How Much Should I Feed My Dog?
There is no cookie-cutter science to this, and trial and error are typically necessary. Start by reading the feeding guidelines on the dog food packaging. Note, take the information on the packaging as a suggestion rather than a requirement. Often times those guidelines can result in inaccurate portion sizes for your dog.
Second, factor in your dog’s lifestyle and age. For example, young puppies and active senior dogs require a higher calorie intake in comparison to more elderly dogs. If you’re wondering if you’re feeding your dog the right amount of food, the best way to gauge this is by observing his behavior. Observe his eating habits and whether he finishes the food, leaves some behind, or skips meals. Take note of your dog’s physical stature as well. If your dog is well proportioned, has a visible waistline, and you can feel his ribs, you’ve probably got the right amount of food.