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How Much Should You Feed Your Dog?

 by jaime on 21 Jun 2014 |
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When you buy a new puppy and bring it home to your house for the very first time, it can be intimidating trying to adjust to this addition to your life. New parents bringing home a baby often worry about how much or how often their new child should be feeding. When you bring a new puppy home, trying to figure out its eating schedule can be equally difficult. So how much food should your dog be eating?
Puppies vs. Dogs
Human children do not eat the same portions or follow the same schedule as adults. Dogs are no different than humans in this respect. When you first bring home a very young puppy you will need to follow a different feeding schedule than you would if you adopted an adult dog. During the first three months of a puppy's life you should be feeding it three to four times a day.
Young puppies, particularly between eight and ten weeks, need to eat food more frequently during the day with smaller portion sizes. Keep the feedings on a regular schedule and be sure to serve the same amount of food each time. For example, if you feed your puppy a half scoop of food every day at 8am and continue that trend every four hours, that schedule should continue until it is three months old.
Once your puppy reaches three months old you can change its diet schedule. Older puppies and adult dogs only need to eat twice a day. The need for consistency in the food, portions, and timing continues throughout a dog's life. If you begin feeding your dog at 10am and 6pm, you should continue that trend as closely as possible at all times.
Factors to Consider
The amount of food that your particular dog consumes can vary drastically from your cousin's dog or your neighbor's dog. It is beneficial for all dogs to eat twice daily at roughly the same time during the day. However, a Chihuahua is not going to consume the same amount of food that a Great Dane will at those two meals. You should learn about the eating habits of your breed to ensure you are not offering too much food.
Perhaps the most important factor to consider when determining the amount of food to feed your dog is its activity level. Just as a human being gains too much weight from eating large portions and not exercising, a dog that eats too much food and never gets a walk will gain unhealthy weight. If you have an extremely active, working breed such as a Siberian Husky, you are going to notice your dog eating more at each meal.
On the other hand, a Chihuahua is not necessarily going to eat extra because the breed is generally a house dog that does not spend hours running with its master or hauling carts.
Why Food Portions Matter
The amount of food your dog eats is critical to it having a happy life. When your dog's weight gets out of control, your dog can suffer from a number of life-shortening (though not always life-threatening) diseases and conditions. Overweight dogs are susceptible to hypothyroidism, diabetes, pancreatitis, cancer, and arthritis.
Feeding your dog a balanced diet on a routine schedule will help ensure that it maintains a healthy weight, and lives a happy life.

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