As a new owner, setting a consistent schedule for your new puppy is very important – both from the point of view of your pup’s health, as well as discipline/training. So the question of how much food should a dog eat, and how often, is an important decision to make early on.
You might brush this off now as a trivial thing. But most dog trainers would tell you otherwise.
And it won’t be so easy to implement a proper schedule. Not when your brand new puppy wants extra treats and table scraps.
You might feel like you have to indulge her since she’s the newest addition to your family. Or simply because you love her so much! But that’s inviting trouble…
You must set some rules – or in this case, a schedule – and once you set them, both of you must stick to it!
But, you might ask, what’s the big deal, really? Why this question of how much food should a dog eat? Why can’t I just leave her a big bowl of kibble for her to munch at all day, whenever she likes?
Why Set A Norm on How Much Food Should A Dog Eat?
But we kind of mentioned the main reason at the top of this post already. Health, and discipline. And don’t underestimate those if you’re a new owner.
Irregular eating patterns, and eating too much or too little over a period could lead to long-term health problems for your puppy. These could range from obesity and skin disorders to musculoskeletal disorders or worse.
And secondly, having set feeding times teaches your dog better discipline – that you really are the leader of the pack, and it’s your house, your rules. And that if she doesn’t eat on time, she’s going to have to go hungry until the next mealtime.
Besides, there’s another thing in it for you…
Having your pup on a set feeding schedule also means she would want to go relieve herself on schedule. Well, more or less.
That’s less of a worry for you, especially during potty training!
1. Make Sure You Consult Your Vet While Setting The Schedule
There’s no set formula for determining how much food should a dog eat. Just to be clear…
Well, one could say that a 5 pound dog should eat about 1/3 to half a standard 8 oz. cup’s worth of dog food or kibble. And that a 100 pound dog should eat about four and a half cups.
That’s a whole day’s worth of food, and not per meal, just to be clear!
And it’s a fact that adult dogs need to be fewer times than puppies, who are growing and more active. Grown dogs should be fed twice, or a maximum of thrice a day, whereas puppies will need 4-5 meals.
But like there’s no math determining how much all people eat, that doesn’t suit dogs either. Other factors like how energetic or active your dog is, her health conditions and metabolism matter a lot in how her feeding habits affect her health.
So the answer here, essentially, is to start safe with the kind of formula we mentioned above. And then observe how your dog feeds, and behaves after that.
And most importantly, consult your vet on how much food should a dog eat – and yours specifically. That means relaying all that you observed like we described above, so your vet can zero in on the best portion size and frequency.
2. Leave Food In Her Bowl Only For A Short And Reasonable Set Amount Of Time
Your puppy could be one that gobbles down her meal within a couple of minutes. Or she could be a picky eater, taking forever to clean up her bowl.
Whatever be the case, make a point of leaving food out for only a set amount of time. Say, ten minutes.
Or if she takes longer, maybe twenty minutes to be generous. After that, be firm that there will be no food until the next mealtime.
Don’t waver. Your puppy won’t suffer just from missing one meal, unless she’s suffering from some illness or condition (clear that up with your vet while setting the schedule).
And there’s to be no feeding in between meals, stuff like table scraps. A few treats as a snack are fine, of course.
Soon your puppy will learn to respect her schedule.
3. Monitor Her Appetite On The Schedule
Take the time to note your pup’s feeding habits very carefully as you’re getting to know her. This could come much handy later when you need to fine-tune her schedule. Or during vet visits.
Does she not finish her meal regularly? Reduce the portion size…
Is she being way too picky with her food despite you strictly imposing short mealtimes? Maybe the problem is with the food and not her. Try to switch brands to a better one.
Is her feeding pattern changing suddenly or drastically? She might not be well, time to schedule a vet visit.
Your responsibility doesn’t stop just at figuring out how much food should a dog eat. Keeping an eye on your puppy and her habits will go a long way towards keeping her fit and healthy as much as determining the ideal portion size.
Hope these pointers on how much food should a dog eat help you help you draw up a solid schedule for your new puppy. If you have any tips or suggestions of your own, do let us know in the comments section below!
Featured image by instagram.com//bruce_and_penelopethebulldogs/