Keeping our dog at his ideal weight is an essential factor to avoid health problems. If we overfeed our pet, it will fatten and be predisposed to suffer joint disorders, diabetes, or other pathologies.
Therefore, we must control the amount of feed that dogs should eat each day. But how to know the ration we should give him? Let’s investigate the world of dog nutrition to understand how much our dog should eat.
What defines proper nutrition?
Proper nutrition is one that provides the dog with all the nutrients it needs in adequate quantity and enough energy to maintain its bodily functions (digestion, breathing, etc.) and perform its daily activities.
What nutrients does a dog need?
5 types of nutrients are necessary for the proper functioning of a dog’s organism:
- Carbohydrates or sugars
- Lipids or fats
Water is essential for life. However, it is not included in nutrients.
How many nutrients does a dog need?
A dog should consume a minimum amount of each of these nutrients daily so that their nutritional needs are met. This amount is known as RDI (Recommended Daily Intake).
The RDI is the level of intake of a nutrient that appears to be adequate to meet the nutritional needs of almost all healthy dogs.
Pet food manufacturers formulate feed in such a way that, by eating the ration established in the package, the RDI of all nutrients is ensured.
Feedstuffs that are labeled “complete dog food” cover all the nutritional needs of the animal for which they are intended. So it is not necessary to supplement them with any supplements.
Also, feed labeling must specify the type of dog for which it is intended, especially age. There are foods for puppies, for adults and for senior dogs, and their composition is different since nutritional needs vary at each stage of life.
How much energy does a resting dog need?
The energy or calories that a dog needs to perform its basic bodily functions is known as REE (resting energy expenditure).
The Energy Expenditure at Rest can be determined with a mathematical formula knowing the weight of the animal:
REE = 30 x Bodyweight (Kg) + 70
How much energy does a dog need for its daily activity?
Dogs are not always at rest and require energy to perform other activities such as walking, playing, running. The amount of energy needed to cover the total activity of the pet is known as EMR (Energy Maintenance Requirement).
EMR varies according to age, activity level, and physiological state of the animal (if pregnant, neutered, sick)
Some formulas allow you to calculate the average needs of each type of dog, but we must remember that the individual requirements of an animal can vary significantly from the general estimates.
- Puppy up to 4 months: EMR = 3 x REG
- 4-month-old puppy until adult: EMR = 2 x REG
- Non-sterilized adult: EMR = 1.8 x REG
- Sterilized adult: EMR = 1.6 x REG
- Active dogs: EMR = 2-5 x REG
- Inactive dogs: EMR = 1.2-1.4 x REG
How much food should a dog eat?
Feed manufacturers perform even more complex calculations and perform a series of feeding tests with animals to more accurately determine the ration that ensures proper nutrition.
For this reason, it is advisable to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to set the amount that our dog should eat.
However, we have mentioned that there are individual variations, so it may be necessary to make small adjustments to this recommended ration depending on the characteristics of each specific dog.
How to know if our dog is eating the right amount?
The best way to know if our dog is receiving the amount of energy it needs is to assess its body condition and control its weight.
If we overfeed our dog, we give it more energy than it needs, that excess energy will become fat.
If we don’t give him enough food, he will use his fat stores to get the energy he needs, and the dog will lose weight.
When a dog receives an energy level appropriate to its needs, it will be maintained at its optimal weight.
Who can best confirm what is the ideal weight of our dog is the veterinarian, so if you see changes in the weight of your pet, you should go to his office to verify if you have to make any adjustments in dog’s ration.
Amount of daily recommended food for a puppy
Puppy feed contains many more nutrients than adult dog feed since they are in full development, and it is absolutely necessary to cover all their nutritional demands so that they grow without deficiencies.
Generally, we can find the daily amount of food for a puppy in the manufacturer’s container, classified as “Puppy” or “Junior. ” But if you have doubts or it is not indicated, you can be guided by these amounts and increase them if your puppy slims or decrease them if he gets too fat.
- Puppies up to four months: 2.5% of their body weight
- Puppies over four months: 1.8% of their body weight
Amount of daily recommended food for an adult dog
With adult dogs, we must be more precise even if possible, since depending on their habits, we must use a high energy feed or a maintenance feed. In this way, we can cover his caloric expenditure without losing or gaining weight.
In the packages of each manufacturer, we will find the recommended quantities. However, we can get an idea by following these indications:
- Adult dogs with normal activity: 1.6% of their body weight
- Adult dogs with lessened activity: 1.4% of their body weight
Remember that you must divide his daily portion into several doses, to prevent his stomach from working excessively with a large intake of food. Also, healthy dogs will need a specific high-energy diet while the older ones will require a “senior” or “low calorie” diet.