How Much Should I Feed My Dog? Tips, Charts & More

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Tetiana Zhudyk
Updated on

Embark on a rewarding journey to ensure your furry friend's optimal nutrition. Let's navigate the intricacies of dog feeding, ensuring your pet receives the nourishment they need for a healthy, joy-filled life. Keep an eye on your dog's weight, body condition, and health, and rely on regular vet check-ups for tailored adjustments to their feeding plan as they age and grow.

General facts:

How, when, and what to feed your dog generally depends on your dog’s age, breed, size, body condition, and activity level

Treats should not make up more than 10% of your dog’s everyday diet

Most dogs will consume 2 to 4% of their body weight in food

What Influences How Much a Dog Should Eat?

Similar to humans, there's no universal diet that can perfectly meet the needs of every individual. So, there are specific factors to consider when selecting the ideal diet for our furry companions.


Younger dogs have much faster metabolisms than older dogs (like humans), so it’s imperative to reduce your dog's food once they’ve stopped growing to prevent them from putting on weight.

Younger dogs also require a greater proportion of protein in their diet, as well as specific omega-fatty acids that help them grow.


Some breeds, especially working-type dogs, will metabolize more calories in a day than others. Examples of this include the working cocker vs. show cocker spaniel. A working cocker is likely to need a lot more food than a show line cocker if they’re receiving the same amount of exercise and are the same age!


Larger dogs will burn more calories throughout the day than smaller dogs and thus require more food.

Activity level:

It’s a good idea to give less fatty foods to dogs that exercise less. Dogs that are more sedentary do well with a greater proportion of fiber in their diets, as this helps to keep them full without adding unnecessary calories.

Dog with allergies and/or sensitivities:

Common dog allergies often relate to poultry. If your dog has itchy skin, inconsistent stools, or is showing odd behavior, try removing poultry from their diet and look out for improvements over the next few months. Dogs can also be allergic to certain grains and starches. Remember, allergies may develop later in life, not necessarily from birth. If unsure, consult your vet and consider trying an elimination diet.

Pregnant dogs:

Pregnant dogs require more food throughout their pregnancy, with the amount increasing until birth. Even after birth, the mother may need up to six times her usual calories while nursing puppies. It's crucial to ensure the mother gets the right balance of calcium and phosphorus to support healthy bones and milk production.

Neutered dogs:

Neutered dogs usually find it easier to put on weight due to slower metabolisms and thus require a lower-calorie diet than their intact counterparts.

Female vs. m ale dogs:

There’s no evidence to suggest different sex dogs require different food/calories, but the average male of the same breed is larger and thus will often require a slightly higher calorie intake.

Body Condition:

Maintaining an ideal body condition is vital for a dog's overall health. Regularly assessing their weight and adjusting their diet ensures they get the right balance of nutrients without excess calories.

How Much to Feed a Dog


Puppies generally need more calories per pound of body weight than adult dogs. Follow the feeding guidelines on the puppy food packaging, adjusting based on your puppy's growth rate.

Adult Dogs:

The amount depends on the dog's weight, activity level, and specific dietary needs. Most adult dogs do well with two meals a day, and the feeding guidelines on the dog food packaging provide a starting point.

Senior Dogs:

Senior dogs often have reduced activity levels and may require fewer calories to prevent weight gain. Adjust the portion size based on the specific senior dog food guidelines or vet recommendations.

Here's a sample dog feeding chart based on the caloric needs of adult dogs of different weights:

Dog’s WeightCalorie Intake Per Day
3 pounds100
5 pounds148
10 pounds294
20 pounds418
30 pounds567
40 pounds703
50 pounds832
60 pounds953
70 pounds1070
80 pounds1183
90 pounds1292
100 pounds1399

P.S.: Remember that the information in this chart is very general; every dog needs an individual approach.

How Often to Feed a Dog


Feed puppies four times a day, gradually transitioning to two meals as they mature. More frequent meals accommodate their smaller stomachs and higher energy needs during growth.

PuppyMeals Per Day
Up to 12 pounds4
Up to 40 pounds4
Up to 75 pounds4
Up to 100 pounds4

Adult Dog:

Most adult dogs thrive on two meals a day. Adjust portion sizes based on weight, activity level, and specific dietary needs. Regular feeding schedules contribute to consistency and routine.

Adult DogMeals Per Day
Up to 12 pounds2
Up to 40 pounds2
Up to 75 pounds2
Up to 100 pounds2

Senior Dog:

Senior dogs often benefit from two meals a day. Monitor their weight and adjust portions to accommodate reduced activity levels. Consider specialized senior dog food to address changing nutritional requirements.

Senior DogMeals Per Day
Up to 12 pounds2
Up to 40 pounds2
Up to 75 pounds2
Up to 100 pounds2

Why Does Food Amount Matter?


Overfeeding can lead to issues such as joint problems, as excess weight puts too much pressure on joints during exercise. Other potential problems include diabetes, heart issues, skin problems, and even cancer. To keep your pet as healthy as possible, they need to stay slim and fit!


Malnutrition and underfeeding can cause poor coat conditions and skin problems, such as flaky skin. Additionally, in extreme cases, underfeeding can lead to organ damage and, eventually, failure.

What to Consider When Choosing the Right Food?

How to choose the right kibble for your dog: Avoid any type of meal (for instance: meat meal, poultry meal, corn gluten meal), menadione, peanut hulls, dyes and colors, poultry or animal digest, animal fat, propylene glycol, soybean oil, soy flour, ground soybeans, soybean meal, soybean hulls, oxide or sulfate forms of minerals (for instance: zinc oxide, titanium oxide, copper sulfate), poultry or beef by-products, BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, and sodium selenite.

You should look for real and non-adulterated ingredients: For example: beef, chicken, beef liver, turkey, salmon, organic green beans, and blueberries.

Although the best food you can give to your dog is raw unprocessed, unadulterated food, you can choose the best kibble for your dog and add a few healthy toppers/treats (e.g., spinach, cucumbers, broccoli, blackberries, blueberries, sardines, and organ meats) that will optimize your dog's diet and reduce inflammation, remove toxins from their body and have many other benefits for your dog's health.

Slow Feeders

Slow feeders, designed to slow down how fast dogs eat, offer several benefits. They help prevent issues like bloat and improve digestion. Slow feeders also support weight management by encouraging dogs to eat more thoughtfully and preventing overeating.

Beyond physical health, these feeders provide mental stimulation, making it a positive and engaging experience for dogs.

If your dog is crafty and flips their slow feeder bowl over, you can try adding water to the food and freezing it before giving it to your dog!

Toxic Foods

Types of FoodWhy Not Good?
Bread, pretzels, anything with glutenIt’s hard to digest
CornIndigestible and very dangerous if they swallow the cob
GarlicCan be toxic in high quantities
PomegranateNot toxic, but lots can cause an upset stomach
BaconHigh fat and salt content
OnionToxic for dogs
LemonThe citric acid in the fruit and the rind itself is toxic for dogs
Sausage and smoked meatHigh fat and salt content
Macadamia nutsPoisonous for dogs
Cooked bonesCan splinter and puncture the digestive tract
Hops and alcoholCan cause hypothermia and even death
Tea, coffee, chocolateCaffeine and theobromine contained in these are toxic for dog
Sweets and sweetenersMost sweeteners are toxic
Grapes and raisinsToxic
Sorrel and rhubarbOxalic acid in the plant is poisonous to dogs
EggplantGenerally safe, but some dogs might have allergies. Solanine levels are a minor concern; large quantities would be needed for it to be problematic!

In Conclusion

In conclusion, determining the right diet and how much your dog needs to eat is crucial for their overall well-being. From playful puppies to active adults and senior companions, tailoring their nutrition to specific life stages is essential. Regular veterinary consultations and diligent monitoring ensure a customized feeding approach that contributes to your furry friend's happy and healthy life.

Written by

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Tetiana Zhudyk

Woofz Content Manager with a deep passion for dogs and a strong affinity for positive reinforcement training methods.

Reviewed by

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Annie-Mae Levy

Experienced dog trainer with Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Behavior. Diplomaed dog nutritionist. CFBA Accredited Canine Behaviorist