Feeding guide for dogs

Unfortunately there isn’t one approach that will fit all dogs. The amount you feed your dog each day will depend on a number of factors, such as your dog’s age, breed, size, level of activity and the type of food you are providing. If you’re feeding complementary foods then ensure they are given alongside complete and balanced dog foods, so your pooch gets all the nutrition he/she needs.

The best place to start is on the back of the pack as each pet food will have a different composition of energy, macro and micro nutrients. You’ll need to know how much your dog weighs. Also assess your dog’s activity levels; highly active dogs will need more dog food and inactive ones, less food.

If you’re feeding more than one type of dog food, you’ll need to take into consideration the feeding guide for dogs recommended on both packs, and divide them accordingly. The total amount you feed your dog should be split across all meals you feed. For adult dogs, one meal per day is adequate although many dog owners like to provide two meals per day.

Avoid overfeeding your dog

The amount of food you give to your dog is highly important as it can lead to a dog that is either in the healthy weight range, or underweight or overweight. Studies now show that overweight dogs have a shorter life spans than those in a healthy weight range.

The mistake many dog owners make is that in addition to the dog food, they also give their pooch extra bones, treats or human leftovers. It’s this extra food that can be the culprit for overweight dogs, so be sure to allow for any extras you give.

The best sign of whether your dog is the right weight is their shape and whether or not you can see/feel their ribs. The dog should have a distinct waist with the outline of the ribs slightly visible (make sure you can feel them with your fingers if they have a lot of fur). Your vet can advise you if you’re unsure.

Most dogs aren’t too fussy, being happy with the same food every day, but of course there are exceptions. If you need help choosing the right dog food for your four-legged friend, please Contact Us.

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What not to feed your dog

Onions, garlic, chocolate, bread, citrus, grapes and raisins, nuts, avocado, alcohol, coffee, cooked bones. Don’t forget to always leave water out for your dog, and refresh it every day. For specific puppy feeding tips, refer to our puppy food page here.

Changing your dog’s diet

If you have been giving your dog dry food and want to change to a home-cooked or raw food diet, we strongly advise doing so slowly. Most guides for feeding dogs raw food stress the importance of introducing the fresh food gradually, over a period of several weeks, as your dog’s stomach needs time to get used to it. This is true for every new food product, but especially so when transitioning your pup from a purely dry diet to a mainly or exclusively raw diet.

FAQs

Since dogs, just like us humans, are all different and have unique requirements, there is no one-size-fits-all guide for feeding your dog. In general, your starting point is knowing your dog’s weight and following the food manufacturer’s feeding suggestions on the product package. Other factors to consider are your specific dog’s breed, their sleep requirements and activity levels.

The rule of thumb for knowing if you are feeding your doggie enough is that you should be able to see or feel your dog’s rib cage. If you are varying your dog’s routine and providing more outdoor and exercising time, you might need to appropriately increase your dog’s meal. Similarly, if your dog’s life has taken a turn for the sedentary, reduce their food, even though their appetite is still the same — their stomachs take a while to catch up to their metabolic needs.

Overall, they are, but you should always adapt them to your own dog. The same way the recommended amount of pasta at the back of a package might be too much or too little for you, the same is true for dog food. The dog food manufacturers are going off a general, average dog size, weight, breed and activity level. You, as the pet owner, and your vet are in the best position to determine how your dog compares to this “average” dog.

A dog should eat one to three times a day, depending on its age, breed and lifestyle. Generally speaking, active breeds such as Border Collies, Vizslas and Terriers can benefit from eating three times a day to keep pace with their faster metabolism. Mid-size dogs with a fairly active lifestyle, such as Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Bulldogs, are usually fed twice daily. Sedentary breeds and larger breeds, such as Mastiff, Great Danes and Greyhounds, tend to sleep for longer and can be fed only once a day. It’s important to remember that, ultimately, every dog is different, and there is no set dog feeding guide in Australia that doesn’t require adjusting and personalising.

Most adult dogs tend to benefit from being fed twice a day, approximately 12 hours apart, to both appropriately meet their metabolic requirements and aid in their digestion. However, you need to take into account the uniqueness of your dog as well as your lifestyle and do what works for you and pooch. Some dog owners prefer to mimic a dog’s natural, wild diet which would be feeding just once a day. This approach can also help boost a dog’s appetite, so it might be worth a try if your dog is fussy or often ignores food you know they like.

If you are feeding your dog twice a day, it’s commonplace to feed them the same amount of food both in the morning and at night. The early morning meal will provide them with the energy they need to run around and explore during the day. The later meal will fill them with all the nutrients their bodies need to recover and rest overnight. If possible, try to avoid feeding your dog dinner just before bedtime, as that can result in digestive problems. A good routine with set mealtimes works best.