Even when they receive the correct amount of exercise, many dog breeds are prone to obesity. Obesity can, in turn, lead to a range of health issues that can greatly diminish a dog’s quality of life.
It might even shorten their lifespan. For this reason, it’s very important that you correctly measure your dog’s food.
Measuring with a scale will give the most accurate and consistent measurement, but if you don’t have a scale, there are still a few tricks you can use to ensure that you’re feeding your dog properly.
Correct Dog Food Serving Sizes
How much food a dog should receive each day depends on several factors, including the dog’s breed, age, size, and how much exercise it gets every day.
In general, though, you can estimate how much food your dog should have by looking at their weight.
Toy dogs that are at a healthy weight for their breed and age and weigh between 3 and 6 pounds should receive 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup of food per day.
Small dogs weighing between 10 and 20 pounds should eat between 3/4 and 1 1/3 of a cup of food each day.
Medium-sized dogs weighing between 30 and 50 pounds should eat between 1 3/4 and 2 2/3 cups of food each day, and large dogs that weigh between 60 and 100 pounds should eat between 3 and 4 1/2 cups of food each day.
It’s important to remember that puppies require more food than adult dogs of the same weight, as they are still growing. Pregnant and nursing dogs also need to eat more each day.
If you feel that the amount you’re feeding your dog is incorrect, or if you can see that your dog is over-or underweight, it’s often best to consult with a veterinarian.
Feeding guidelines and the guidelines on the back of food packages can help you estimate how much food your dog needs, but you and your veterinarian know your dog better.
You may need to adjust your dog’s food amounts as they age or if their exercise levels change.
Use a Measuring Scoop
If you don’t have a scale, the easiest way to measure your dog’s food is to use a measuring scoop.
Once you know how much you should be feeding your dog, you can simply fill a measuring cup, either to the correct line or to the top, depending on the size of the cup.
The issue with a measuring cup is that, even if you fill it up to the same line every time, there can be some discrepancies in how much food your dog actually gets.
For the most accurate measurements, use either a dry ingredient measuring cup or a cup that was specifically designed to pair with the food you’re offering.
Measure Out Food Once A Day
To better offer a more consistent amount of food, try to measure out food only once per day. If you measure a larger amount each time, you’re more likely to get a consistent measurement from day to day.
You can then simply offer half of this amount, for example, if your dog eats twice per day. You don’t need to worry about each meal containing the exact same amount of food.
Use Consistent Measuring Techniques
Using a dry ingredient or dog-food-specific measuring cup and measuring out food only once per day can help you achieve a more consistent food amount, but there are also a few other tips you can use for even more consistency.
When you add your dog’s food to the measuring cup, make sure you don’t mound up any food at the top of the cup. The dog food should be level with either the measuring line or the cup’s top.
You can also tap the side of the cup or tap the cup’s bottom on the counter. This will help to level out the dry food pieces, creating a more consistent measurement.
It’s also a good idea to offer the same type of food. If you need to switch to a different kibble but want to feed the same amount of food, try to choose a kibble that has pieces of a similar size to your previous kibble. This will help with food amount consistency.
Remember, however, that different kibbles offer different nutritional amounts, and you may need to adjust how much food you offer if you change to a different food brand.
Offer Treats Sparingly
Many dog owners also wonder if they’re feeding their dogs too many treats or if dogs should have treats at all.
Dog treats are an excellent way to make food more interesting for dogs, and they can also sometimes be used as rewards for good behavior.
However, it’s important that you don’t offer too many treats, as they can also lead to obesity.
In general, treats should only make up 10% or less of your dog’s total diet.