How Much to Feed Your Dog
A lot of people I talk to ask “how much should I feed my dog?” Well how much to feed is the most confusing bit – so I will try to simplify it.
Find out (a simple Google search will find the answer) what the recommended adult weight your dog should be – for example:
My dog is a Cairn terrier – adult weight 6-8kg, height average 9-13″
Take into account any differences : Taller – shorter etc – (my boy is 14.5″ so taller than average, therefore I base his food on his ideal weight of 9kg)
Step 1 – Exercise
The recommended feeding of raw food for an Adult dog is 2% to 3% of your dog’s adult weight
2% for a less active dog or overweight dog
2.5% to maintain and average exercise
3% for an active dog
Increase food if your dog is underweight until you have achieved an optimum balanced weight. Make sure there is no underlying medical condition for your dog’s weight loss.
Step 2 – Activity
My dog does an average of 25 to 30 miles on a normal week plus play time at home. We do approximately 1.5hrs to 2hrs walk per day in the week, (2 to 5 miles for us humans, with ball chasing it will add to that distance for him) longer walks of 5 to 8 miles at weekends or a cycle ride; he will run alongside us cycling quite happily for 10+ miles – this is a normal level of activity for his breed; he is slim, fit and has very good muscle development.
Step 3 – Calculate
To work out how much to feed your puppy, visit our Puppy feeding guidelines page.
To work out how much to feed an Adult dog, visit our Adult feeding guidelines page.
BE HONEST about the amount of exercise your dog actually gets to what he really needs!
Some people are unable to exercise their dogs enough for the breeds requirements – due to their lifestyle and/or work commitments – in which case feed accordingly – or alternatively there are some great dog walkers out there to employ. An exercised dog is a happy dog – it can reduce stress and anxiety behaviours.
Certain breeds do not need as much exercise as you might initially think and can end up with joint/muscle problems if over exercised. Please check what exercise needs your breed of dog requires.
If you are contemplating getting a dog, please remember not to just buy or re-home what is ‘cute’ for you; look at the dogs needs and temperament and costs to maintain (vets bills, insurance, food) to see if they suit your family lifestyle. Lots of later problems can be avoided if you are aware of the breeds needs; research will tell you the breed behaviour traits and correct amount of exercise from puppy to adult.
One common concern with raw feeding is that it is not ‘complete and balanced’. It is and is easily achieved; balance can occur over time; I personally look at my dogs’ diet over a month period – just as we do with our own meals. Every meal does not need to be ‘completely’ balanced as long as the nutritional needs of the dog are met over the long term.
General Feeding Info
Now it has to be said that like us and every other domesticated pet, there will be variances.
My mother’s dog (Jack Russell/Springer Spaniel cross) is happy and well on the Raw diet but refuses to eat or gnaw on bones!! He will happily eat minced carcass and so stag bones are a good alternative for him to gnaw on.
I have another friend who has two Border Terriers, one will eat anything happily, and the other one only eats certain flavours and doesn’t like bones! Again stag bones or Bull Pizzles are a great alternative whilst still allowing the neck and jaw muscles to work as well as help clean teeth.
My daughters Rhodesian Ridgeback has been fed raw since a pup of 8 weeks. Her coat, temperament, health and vitality are wonderful – she eats everything too!
My Cairn would eat week old rotten fish (not that I let him of course), but what I am saying he is a foodie! They are all different, and all happy on their different versions of the raw diet.
PLEASE NOTE – NEVER FEED DRIED FOOD AND RAW FOOD AT THE SAME TIME
You may need to teach your dog to chew meaty bones – try feeding by hand – hold onto a bone (chicken wing/quarter) until they learn to chew at it; It may take a little of your time but will be so beneficial for your dog – it will be worth it.
If this is a complete ‘no go’ for you and your dog, good quality complete meals or minced carcasses have already been pre balanced with correct amount of bone. Just open packet and serve.