How Much Dog Food Should I Feed My Dog?

February 26, 2010  
Filed under Dog Food Tips

Taking charge of your dog’s diet is a full-time job, especially since dogs seem to be constantly hungry! However, there are some common mistakes that many dog owners make in relation to feeding their dog. The most damaging of these mistakes is to feed your dog an incorrect portion size. There are many health and behavioral conditions in dogs that can be a result of over or underfeeding. To prevent this, it is essential that you are familiar with the factors that can influence how much food you should be feeding your dog.


Depending on how old your dog is, you will need to adjust their feeding portion accordingly. Though some dog food formulas have a general guideline that gives you an idea of how much food your dog will need, most only cite your dog’s weight as an influential factor. As a general rule, you will have to feed your dog less as a puppy, more as an adult, and less when they are over seven years of age. This is because as your dog ages, their metabolic rate will fluctuate slightly. It’s also best that you switch formulas in each of your dog’s life stages, since this will affect your dog’s development and caloric intake.


The majority of commercial dog food formulasPuppy Eating Dog Food include a weight chart that will allow you to figure out how much your dog should be eating each day. However, there is a general rule that you can use as far as portion size. If your dog weighs up to 10 lbs, you will want to feed them around one cup of food per day. If your dog weighs from 10 to 25 lbs, you need to feed your dog from 1 ½ to 2 ¼ cups per day. If your dog weighs from 25 to 50 lbs, they will require from 2 ¼ to 3 ¾ cups of food per day. Dogs that weigh from 50 to 75 lbs will need from 3 ¾ cups to 5 cups per day. If your dog weighs over 75 lbs, you will want to feed them from 5 to 8 cups of dog food per day. These are the general guidelines for dry food formulas, and should be adjusted when feeding your dog canned food formulas.


Contrary to popular belief, the guidelines stated for your dog’s daily feeding portion should be adjusted according to your dog’s activity level. Some dogs that are highly active should be fed slightly more food per day. However, it is important not to overfeed your dog, since this will cause them to have a higher likelihood of becoming obese. If your dog has a low level of activity, and spends a significant amount of time indoors, you will want to feed them slightly less than their recommended daily portion. As stated before, you need to only use very slight adjustments when finding the proper portion of food for your dog. This will prevent your dog from gaining weight, or from becoming prone to malnutrition.

As always, we appreciate your comments!

Question:  Do you adjust the amount of food your dog consumes based on their activity level?

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53 Responses to “How Much Dog Food Should I Feed My Dog?”
  1. Jeanna says:

    Hi, I have a 9 yr old Shih Tzu that has ALWAYS been a picky eater. He loves people food but I really want to keep him from it. The problem is that I have tried many different dog foods both wet and dry, cheap and very expensive and there is nothing that he really likes. He even seems to prefer cat food to dog food. If I only offer him dog food, he will go so long without eating that he makes himself sick and I spend the night taking him out to eat grass. What can I do? Help!

  2. Jess says:

    Nothing wrong with people food as long as you cook his without and salt, pepper and other spices. You can try it raw, some people swear by raw feeding. Stay heavy on the meat side and add some vittys and he’ll do fine. You can get recipes all over the internet, but that really isn’t needed. Just try some stuff like carrots, sweet potatoes, meat (try to stay away from pork fat & no cooked bones) peas or whatever you eat. Tony loves raw carrot’s so I’ll drop them on the floor and he thinks he is making the big steal. He runs into the living room with a, look what I got, on his face and so proud of himself. Really no spices. Heck throw his in his own pan and go after it. Now Tony weighs well over a hundred pounds (107) or I would do his like that.

  3. derrick says:

    Hey I have a german shepherd and i started taking her on runs about a month ago. We’re gradually going up and now we’re switching our runs to 8 miles and 4 miles everyday. She’s about 70 lbs. Any ideas on how much i should be feeding her?

  4. Bonnie says:

    I have a beagle that is over weight, I can’t afford the expensive foods she’s suppose to eat. I’ve been giving her some of her Kibbles and Bits with green beans. She needs to lose at least 5lbs she can hardly get out the dog door. I know she needs exercise but with my job and the hours I have to work, I don’t have them time. i will try to walk her on the weekends, do you have any advise for me?????????????????????

  5. Holly says:

    My husband fills his dogs water bowl constantly. It’s a rather large bowl. His dog is a 5 yr old pug. She weighs 20 lbs. Because of the constant access to the water and her greedy appetite she can drink 2 bowls a day, causing her to have to pee approx. 5 times a day. Is there a certain amount of water to give her?

  6. BrittanyD says:

    Holly, a dog that drinks that much water has a problem. I’d take the pug to the vet asap! Something’s not right. Maybe the dog has diabetes?? Water won’t make the dog gain weight, and with as much water as it’s drinking it could help it lose weight really. I’d go to the vet.

  7. Nikki says:

    I have a 12lb poodle age 5. He was 16lbs but he was overweight and I put him on a one meal a day diet and now he is at a good weight. Now I am concerned because I don’t think I feed him enough. I only feed him 1/3 cup of dry dog food and 1 oz of wet. Total that is only half a cup of food. Figuring that the wet is more of a treat and is probably higher in calories and fat. He is an inside dog that gets two decent walks a day. He has a heart murmur so exercising can be hard for him. He doesn’t seem hungry but he knows when it is time to eat. He wants to eat like an hour before everyday. The dog food I give him states that I should be feeding him 1 cup to 1 1/8 cups for dog food a day. My question is now that he is at a good weight should I start feeding him the 1 cup of food or stick with what I am doing?

  8. Gloria C says:

    I have a chihuahua mix; will be 4 yrs in a few months. He weighs approx. 17 lbs. Vet says he should be about 6 lbs lighter. I feed him wet food, sometimes dry. I would like to feed him people food because I believe it would be cheaper since I cook and a lot of food goes to waste. I would be able to cook without added salt, spices as I like bland food myself. How much should he be fed if I choose people food (needs to lose some weight), should a supplement be given? Thanks for your advice.

  9. Gloria C says:

    Forgot to add that I also have a cat. The dog eats his food and then eats whatever the cat leftover. Also, the reason I would rather give him people food is because dog food doesn’t have much meat and is loaded with fillers.

  10. Bethany says:

    I have a puppy that is 11 weeks old and is 11 lbs how much puppy food sould I be feeding her 3 times a day?

  11. Kevin says:

    I’m sorry Bonnie but your last sentence of “I will try to walk him on the weekends” probably says it all. The problem we have with having an obese dog, is that unlike us; the dogs don’t get to choose when and how much they eat and/or exercise. But like us, the ONLY way your dog will lose weight is if you monitor his food intake, and take him for regular exercise. I know it may seem like you have no time right now, but even a 10 minute jog every morning is better than nothing. And trust me on this one, it will make you and your dog’s relationship even better.I have a beagle too, and they are incessant eating machines. I used to feel guilty at the amount I feed him because I’ve always had bigger dogs, but every time I take him to the vet he gets a gold star for his weight 😉 I wish you luck and hope it works out great for you.

  12. Laura says:

    Bonnie, I think you shouldn’t have a dog! They are a big responsibility- you wouldn’t leave a child at home all day alone to be bored! Your poor dog must be very lonely and bored and if you did walk him more he would love you for it! Remember that we have lots of things to do but doggies only have us! We have to make sure they have things to do, and like Kevin says, even if it IS only for 10 mins, just the mental stimulation alone would do some good!

  13. A different April says:

    16 week old Boston Terrier-Beagle-little bit of Pug mix breed puppy, feeding 1 Cup of Acana in the morning and 1 Cup at suppertime. He is walked twice a day at least… not too mention the day to day backyard playing with my (almost) 3 year old. Is this a proper amount? Sometimes he eats so ravenously, and looks at me still licking his chops, that I’m tempted to give him another 1/2 cup, but am aware of most dog’s abilities of acting like they’re starving to death! He gets a few nibbles throughout the day.. a piece of cheese, 2-3 dog treats. Thanks for any advice!

  14. Rita says:

    i feed my dogs people food and canned food. 2 german shepherds
    10 and 13. 1 can each of morning and chicken and turkey at night.
    wondering if i could cut down to canned at night, if they will eat.
    want to make sure they get enough food. love my babies!

  15. Jesse says:

    Hi I am a trainer and groomer for many large breed dogs. one thing I must stress is if you are working your dog with alot of excercise great but for instance one gentleman mentioned a 70 lb German Shephard should be eating 1700 calories a day being excercised 4-5 miles per day. That same dog overweight with significantly less excercise should be at 1000 calories. The excercise is very important.

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Should you have a concern regarding the diet of your dog, you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is the opinion of the author, and is presented solely for informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving professional veterinary care for your dog(s).
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