There are a variety of feeding options for dogs these days. Maintaining an overview is a demanding task. Between terms such as BARFing, dry and wet food, and gluten-free and rich in protein, it is important to know how much food your four-legged friend really needs. We have put together useful information for you on how you can realistically estimate the amount of food your dog should eat and which factors are important.
How much food does my dog need?
First of all: It is not possible to give a general answer to this question. Rather, calculating the correct amount of food for your dog is determined by a variety of factors. We will guide you through the most important areas and explain what you need to consider when measuring.
If you’re giving your dog ready-made food, it’s a good place to start by looking at the package directions. However, it is always a feeding recommendation and not a “dosage” that is exact to the gram, as is the case with medicines, for example. In general, when it comes to feeding, listen to your common sense. You know your dog best and live closely with him. Observe his figure, weight development, and well-being. This makes it easier for you to assess whether you have set the right amount of food. The following tips will help you.
The amount of feed depends on the energy requirement
How many grams of dog food actually end up in the bowl depends on your dog’s actual energy needs. Among other things, the following questions are important for the calculation:
- How big/heavy is your dog?
- Which race?
- Does your dog get treats?
- Is he underweight or overweight?
- How much exercise does your dog get?
- Is your dog pregnant or nursing?
- Is your dog neutered?
When it comes to feeding your dog, it is essential to ensure a balance between protein and energy. An adequate supply of vitamins and minerals is also essential for maintaining good health. While the exact nutrient information is already noted on the package for complete feed, it is particularly important to know the exact proportions of a single feed.
Calculating energy requirements: Here’s how!
There are automatic feed calculators on the internet that calculate how much feed your dog needs. With the following formula, you can determine the energy requirement yourself in no time at all. The result represents the energy maintenance requirement of an adult dog in megajoules.
Energy requirement = 0.52 MJ x (body weight) kg0.75 = MJ per day
(according to Meyer and Zentek)
Using the specific example of an adult dog weighing 25 kilograms, the calculation looks as follows:
Energy requirement = 0.52 MJ x 25kg0.75 = 5.81 MJ per day
There are also formulas for determining other requirements, such as your dog’s protein requirements. Interested parties can find out in even more detail what amount and proportion of food your dog needs.
What should be considered with puppies and older dogs?
Puppies are growing rapidly and during this time they need the right nutrients and more food in relation to their body weight than adult dogs. Although puppies should be supplied with the necessary energy, they should not become overweight. Adjust the amount of food during this time to your puppy’s needs. The same applies to particularly sporty and pregnant/lactating females.
Older dogs require less energy intake because they may not be as active and their metabolism generally uses less energy. Also, remember to adjust the amount of food. If in doubt, ask your veterinarian who can help you with this.
Is my dog overweight or underweight?
You can tell if your dog is at the ideal weight when the ribs and vertebrae are not yet visible individually. You can then feel them easily and without pressure. If you look at your dog from above, their waist should be clearly visible – but again, there are breed-specific differences.
If your dog is underweight, the ribs and vertebrae are clearly visible.
If your dog is probably overweight, however, the waist will be difficult to see and you will not feel the ribs and spine, or only with difficulty when petting it.
The best way to see your dog’s weight development is to weigh it regularly.
Remember that small treats also contain calories and take this into account when calculating the amount of food for your darling.