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Basic Feeding Guide:
Puppies and Adult Dogs

The first ingredient in your dog's food should be a specified meat.  Not a meat by-product, but the real thing. Puppies and adult dogs were not meant to eat corn and wheat. If the first ingredient in your dog food is a corn, wheat, meat by-product, bone meal or anything but a real specified type of meat, steer clear. By-products are the leftovers, such as the eyes, hooves, skin, feathers and feet, that are not good for human consumption (unless the dog food specifically states otherwise.) Beware of ingredients that do not list exactly what it is, such as words like "animal" and "meat" as opposed to "chicken," "beef," "duck," etc. See Rendered Products in Dog Food.

 
 

The first ingredient on the label should represent what the dog food is most made out of, but beware, as this is not always the case...

Using chicken as an example, when a dog food lists a meat in the ingredients such as "chicken" it is going by the weight in the meat’s raw state, before it was cooked.

Chicken in its raw state weighs about 80% more than it does once it is cooked and processed into a dry pellet. Once it is processed you are left with only 20% of the actual meat.

The word "meal" in an ingredient is something that was weighed after the water was taken out. For example "chicken meal" is chicken which is weighed after it has been cooked and the water has already been taken out, giving you more meat and protein per weight volume.

Therefore be aware that if the ingredients read "chicken" first and "corn meal" second, the food may contain more corn than chicken. Corn is a filler that a dog's body does not utilize well, if at all. The corn gets pooped out and the dog must eat more food in order to get enough protein and nutrients that their bodies can use from the other ingredients in the food.

Corn can also cause many issues. Dogs were not meant to eat corn or other grains. Corn has been linked to skin allergies, joint swelling and bloat in dogs, among other things. See Corn in Dog Food. Really?

Take a look at your dog's teeth. Notice that he does not have any grinding molars. They are all ripping canines. This tells us that dogs were not meant to eat grains, as they lack the teeth to grind them up. Dogs have pointy canines for ripping into meat. A lot of dogs develop skin problems and other health issues, including bloat, due to the grains they are being fed in their dog food.

It is best to feed dogs a grain-free diet. While the better quality dog food may cost more, the dog can eat less of it since their bodies use more of what they are eating, producing less waste. Not to mention the vet bill if your dog develops issues from consuming a low quality food. Be sure to read the ingredients label of the dog food you are using. You may have trouble finding a good quality food at a grocery store and may have to go to your local pet store to find a higher grade food.

A poor diet can also cause a dog to shed more, have a dull coat and have body odor.

 

How much should I feed my dog?

Below is a daily basic feeding guide for puppies and adult dogs. An individual dog's requirements may differ from this chart. It is best to consult with your vet about the specific needs of your pet.

Sadie and her puppies

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The first 8 weeks

Puppies should not be separated from their mother before they are 8 weeks old. Puppies that leave their mothers sooner have a rougher time adjusting and a higher incidence of illnesses. I do not know if it is due to weakened immunity or mourning the premature loss of their family. Their mother's milk provides them with the nutrition and antibodies they need to become healthy dogs. At three to four weeks, puppies should begin eating some solid food. You can try mixing three parts food with one part water or puppy replacement milk. This will make the food easier for the puppy to digest. If your puppy begins eating a little solid food before it leave its mother it will have an easier time adjusting when you bring it home. One way to tell if a puppy is ready to come home with you is if it prefers human company over its mom or siblings.

6 to 8 weeks

Feed your puppy 3-4 times a day. Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs. Choose a puppy food that provides the appropriate balance of nutrients your puppy needs. Be sure it is getting the right amount of protein and calcium, and the proper amount of calories. Check the label to determine if you are feeding your puppy a balanced diet. A specified meat should be the first ingredient on the label.

After 8 weeks

Feed your puppy twice a day.

3 to 6 months

Your puppy will be teething. He may become a finicky eater or lose his appetite. Keep feeding him nutritious food twice a day. If he has an upset stomach for more than one or two days, take him to the veterinarian.

6 months to 1 year

Your puppy may look all grown up but he is still a puppy. He should still be fed a highquality food for the added nutrition. Note, in some very high quality foods the company does not make a separate food for puppies because the food is of such a high quality that it provides for both puppy and adult equally. For example, a real human grade chicken is what it is for all ages. If you are feeding a puppy food ask your veterinarian when you should switch to adult food. Make sure the adult food you switch to is still a balanced high quality diet with the first ingredient being a specified meat that is not a by-product.

8 to 9 months

Feeding should be twice a day.

1 year

In most breeds feeding should be twice a day.
   
   

Below is the daily basic feeding guide for adult dogs. An individual dog's requirements may differ from this chart. It is best to look at the directions of the food you are feeding for their recommendations. This chart is a general reference. The feeding directions are based on using an 8 oz. measuring cup. Puppies can be fed up to one time the highest amount listed in their category. It is sometimes best to split the amount into two or more separate feedings rather than just one big meal, often twice a day. Puppies should be fed more often than adult dogs. When adding in canned food, cut the dry by up to half the amount and substitute the same volume that you cut with canned food, so the dog is getting the same amount of food, some dry and some wet. Note, if you are feeding a good quality dog food you will be able to feed less as the dog's body will utilize more and poop out less. If you are feeding a food that contains a lot of fillers (grain fillers such as corn are often used by some companies) you may have to feed more in order for the dog to get the proper amount of protein.

 

Typical Breed

Weight as an Adult Dog

Dry Food

Dry Food Mixed with Can Food 

Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, Toy Poodle

Up to 10 pounds

1/4 to 3/4

Cut dry up to ½ the amount and substitute the same volume with a can

Miniature Poodle, Scottish Terrier

10-25 pounds

3/4 to 1 cup

Cut dry up to ½ the amount & substitute the same volume with a can

Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, Springer Spaniel

25-50 pounds

1-2 cups

Cut dry up to ½ the amount and substitute the same volume with a can

Collie, Boxer,  Labrador, Golden Retriever

50-75 pounds

2-2 ½ cups

Cut dry up to ½ the amount and substitute the same volume with a can

Great Dane, Malamute, St. Bernard, Mastiff

Over 75 pounds

2-4 cups

Cut dry up to ½ the amount and substitute the same volume with a can

 

Good Basic Feeding Tips

  • Dogs should be fed at the same time every day. Feeding at the same time will keep your dog on a bathroom schedule. Ask your vet how many times a day you should feed your dog.
  • Feed your dog the same type and brand of food every day. Unlike humans, a dog's digestive system cannot handle changes in food. It can cause upset stomach and diarrhea.
  • When switching to a new food gradually transition him to the new food by mixing portions of both foods until you slowly phase out the old food. Your dog may experience diarrhea if his food is suddenly changed.
  • If you are mixing water into dry food you should mix 4 parts dry food to 1 part water.
  • Keep fresh drinking water available at all times. Change the water at least once a day, more for dogs who drool.
  • Keep food and water bowls clean.
  • Don't overfeed your dog.
  • Follow the guidelines on the dog food package for recommended feeding amounts.
     
  • Monitor your dog's weight and activity level, and make feeding adjustments as necessary.

 

  • If your dog has loose stool feeding sweet potatoes is a natural stool hardener. Unlike some medicines, giving too many will not make them constipated. They sell sweet potato chips for dogs in a lot of pet supply stores.

 

 

Interesting bits of info...

Dogs have about 1,700 taste buds. Humans have about 9000 taste buds, and cats have about 470.

Dogs have water taste buds, something humans do not have.

Dogs do not crave salt the way humans do.

 

Dog Food Nutrition

Corn in Dog Food. Really?

Rendered Products in Dog Food: What's your dog really eating?

 

 

 

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