Every dog owner keeps on worrying his pet is left hungry especially if the animal loves to impress you with begging face expressions. How much should one feed his dog to be sure the animal is well-fed and content? That’s a hard question to answer since many factors affect it. On one hand, giving a dog too little food will cause him to be deficient in vital nutrients so necessary for his health. On the other hand, feeding him too much will make him obese which is fraught with many health risks. That’s why it’s crucial to accustom a dog to a regime. This way you can be sure your four-legged friend gets the perfect amount of healthy food. In this article, we are going to give a satisfying answer to your “how much should I feed my dog a day” question.

Table of Contents:

Building the Regime Based on Weight
Building the Regime Based on Age
Other Factors to Note
Dog Feeding Schedule
Tips for Feeding a Dog

Building the Regime Based on Weight

Perhaps the simplest yet the most accurate way of deciding how much food a dog needs a day is measuring it based on the dog’s weight. It’s obvious that smaller dogs need less food than bigger ones. However, what’ts the exact amount of food you should feed your dog with?
First of all, weigh your dog accurately to find out whether his body size is considered small, medium, or large. If you fail, you may under or overfeed the animal. Once you have your pet’s precise weight, be guided by the following feeding schedule:

A toy dog

Feeding Toy Dogs

Toy dogs are very funny since, despite their tiny body forms, they feature amazing characters and stand out in the crowd due to their activeness. Generally, such dogs weigh about 10 pounds. Among the most popular toy dog breeds are Yorkshire Terriers, Havanese, Pomeranian, and others. On ideal, a toy dog should eat 1/3 cup a day if he weighs around 3 pounds and 1/2 cup a day in case of weighing about 6 pounds.

Feeding Small Dogs

A small dog

People sometimes can’t see the line differentiating toy dogs from small ones. And it’s really difficult. Anyway, knowing the difference is vital since it has a direct influence on the feeding regime. Small dogs are larger than toy dogs, yet they don’t weigh more than 20 pounds. Among small breeds, you can meet Shih Tzus, Dachshunds, Pugs, Boston Terriers, etc. If your small dog weighs around 10 pounds, feed him 3/4 cup of dog food a day. Dogs weighing around 15 pounds should eat 1 cup per day, while a bit larger ones (weighing 20 pounds) will be satisfied with 1 and 2/3 cups per day.

A medium dog

Feeding Medium Dogs

As the weight of a dog increases, the amount of food he needs should increase, too. The most popular dog breeds claiming the title are Collie, Bull Terrier, and Australian Shepherd. A dog weighing 30 pounds will get satisfied with 1 3/4 cups a day, a pet weighing 40 pounds needs to eat 2 1/4 cups per day, and a larger medium-size dog with 50-pound weight must eat 2 2/3 cups of food every day.

Feeding Large Dogs

A large dog

How should I feed my dog by weight if he is a large one? Big dogs are impossible not to spot easily. These are giants, who, despite their large size and heavyweight, love to lie on your laps! To stay healthy and active they need much larger portions than all the previously described dog breeds. Among these dogs, you will meet Rottweilers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, etc. Here is how much you should feed your big dog:

  • 3 cups for dogs weighing 60 pounds;
  • 3 and 1/2 cups for dogs weighing 70 pounds;
  • 3 and 3/4 cups for dogs weighing 80 pounds;
  • 4 and 1/4 cups for dogs weighing 90 pounds;
  • 4 and 1/2 cups for dogs weighing 100 pounds.

If your pet is even heavier, add an extra 1/3 cup of dog food for every extra 10 pounds.

Building the Regime Based on Age

When searching an answer to your question “how much should I feed my dog” you should be guided not only by weight but also by the dog’s age. If a puppy or a young dog needs food to grow their bodies, an adult dog’s diet must be more focused on maintaining their health. Let’s dig a bit deeper into this:

Feeding Puppies and Growing Dogs

When feeding a puppy or a growing dog, you should be very cautious with new foods. Pay keen attention to not only how much you give your pet during every meal but also on what you give him. During the first eight weeks, a puppy should nurse exceptionally on their mother’s milk and as many times as he wants. Once your puppy is one-month-old, you can start giving him small portions of watered-down dry food. The latter will help your pet gradually transit off mother’s milk.
And once your pet is eight weeks old, you can start giving him nutrient-rich food twice per day.

Feeding Adult Dogs

Once a dog reaches 90% of his estimated adult weight, you can feed him as an adult one. Generally, by seven months, dogs already reach their adulthood. Yet, large breeds grow until they are over one year old.
The aim of a diet schemed for an adult dog who has passed his growing stage is to maintain the dog’s weight with nutrients.

Other Factors to Note

So, age and weight are the basic factors in determining how much you should feed your dog. However, there are also some other points to take into consideration. Here are they:

An active puppy

Health Conditions

Dogs suffering from health conditions require special diets. And if your pet has problems with weight, liver, heart, or kidney, consult with your veterinarian to scheme out the most appropriate feeding schedule.

Activity Level

Just like in the case of humans, the activity level plays an important role in building a diet. If your puppy is not an active one, he doesn’t need many calories. On the other hand, an active dog needs more fat.

Dog Feeding Schedule

These are general recommendations to feed a dog safely. However, it’s important to talk to a professional before you scheme out a diet for your pet. If you are too busy and can’t feed your pet more than once, tell about it to your vet.

Puppies should eat three or four times a day (super active puppies need even more frequent meals). Give them scheduled breakfasts and dinners, while also feeding them during the day with lighter meals.
Adult dogs, in the meantime, usually eat twice a day – breakfast at around 7 am, and dinner at around 6 pm.

Tips for Feeding a Dog

Now you already know how to figure out how much you should feed your dog. But what if he refuses to eat? How can you make sure he eats all he is supposed to? Here are a few useful tips to take into account:

A slow feeder dish for dogs

  1. Persuade your puppy to eatIf your dog is somewhat stubborn and refuses to eat, you can try to persuade him by adding a small treat to his meal.
  2. Limit his mealtimeIf you are used to leaving your dog’s bowl out, you shouldn’t. Break this habit and leave the bowl at his sight only for around ten minutes. Even if your pet doesn’t touch the food, take away the bowl until the next mealtime.
  3. Slow your dog’s eating downIf some dogs are lazy-eaters, there are also those which inhale food within seconds. This can be dangerous to a dog’s health. If your puppy has such a habit, get a slow feeder dish. The latter will help your pet eat slowly and nicely.


Having a persistent feeding schedule and food dosages for your dog will save him from being under or overweight. And on the contrary, if a dog is fed according to an accurate schedule, he will get all the necessary nutrients. So, learn your dog’s weight, age and health conditions before you build a diet for him.

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