The Right and Wrong of Feeding Your Dog – How Much Is Too Much?
When it comes to our dogs, we can’t really help ourselves, can we? From buying delicious, high-grade treats to soft, plush toys for them to play with, we show our affection and love through the time we spend with them and the things we buy for them.
And, who can blame us? We wish we could give them the world. Our dogs are our bundle of joy. But, as the saying goes - kindness can kill. And, our excessive love can sadly turn into unintentional abuse. If we imagine an abused dog, we visualize a skinny, skeletal, malnourished, scared-looking dog, cowering at the sight of its own shadow. Understandably, this is the typical image of abuse but that’s not the only one that exists.
The other side of the spectrum consists of an obese dog that’s been overfed, the extra weight restricting any free movement and denying the dog a normal, healthy life. Not to mention, obesity can lead to life-threatening ailments or even lower life expectancy.
We don’t follow any scientific method or formula when we measure the food for our dogs, we measure it with love. But obesity in dogs is no joke. According to the latest census, nearly 50 million dogs suffer from obesity around the world. To understand how much your dog needs to eat in every portion, you need to keep in mind their age, breed, size, activity, and lifestyle.
What Food to Feed Your Dog
Before we delve further into the factors mentioned above, the most important factor that needs to go into your dog’s diet is, of course, the dog food itself. The portion of food you provide for your dog will have consequences but so will the wrong type of food.
Before you decide on the portion, decide on the dog food itself – look for criteria like if its gluten or grain-free, how much nutrition it will provide in each serving, if it's cost-effective or not, is the food hypoallergenic and so on. One example of high-grade dog food is Fromm Dog Food.
Feed According to Age
There’s a very simple chalk mark to feed your dog according to age.
If your dog is 8 to 12 weeks old, you need to feed them four times a day.
If your dog is 12 weeks to 6 months old, they need three meals a day.
If your dog is over six months old, then they should be fed twice a day.
Too many treats can lead to stomach upsets and excess calorie intake. An easy way to judge if your puppy is eating too much, is to notice if they are defecating too much. Or just keep an eye on their weight.
Feed according to Breed/Size
The size and breed of your dog is crucial factors to consider when it comes to feeding them. Different breeds have different energy levels and they need food that matches it. Most food brands have a general guideline for feeding at the back of the package but the information is quite inadequate.
For example, if you own a larger breed of dog, it’s better to feed them food that’s good for growing joints. A Great Dane and a Chihuahua will surely have different needs which will influence their growth.
Read up on the eating habits of the breed of dog you want to get or own. Aside from using your own judgment and observation, keep a body condition score chart.
Feed According to Activity
The level of activity is also very significant in setting the diet and calculating the nutrition for your dog. Is your dog a couch potato or a whirlwind around the house? How active is your dog when they are out on their daily walk?
You can’t feed your dog the same amount every day, you will need to adjust the amount every day. To make things easier, you should keep an ideal body condition score (BCS).
Look for signs. Does your dog have a glossy, dandruff-free fur coat or can you see their ribs? You should also keep track of their energy level and notice if they are lethargic or hyperactive – this could also mean your dog is suffering from food intolerance.
If you are still unsure of how much to feed your dog or if you’re having a hard time trying to figure out if your dog is healthy or not, don’t hesitate to contact a vet. There’s only so much information you can find on the internet and you can’t always rely on it. Seek out a professional opinion and make sure that your love for your dog doesn’t turn into abuse.