How Much to Feed a Dog Based on Weight

By R.L. Remenyi

How much food to feed your dog will vary throughout her life. As a puppy, she needs a lot of food to promote healthy growth. As an adult, she needs to sustain her energy levels. The weight of your dog is a starting point on which to base how much you should feed her.

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Puppies and Growing Dogs

Puppies need a lot of food to help them grow. In the first eight weeks of life, they should primarily nurse on their mother's milk whenever they want. After their first four weeks, however, you can start adding in small amounts of dry food mixed with water to help them make a better transition when their mother's milk is no longer available.

After eight weeks, switch your puppy to eating twice a day. Pick a food that has a good balance of protein and calcium and other added nutrients. You can determine if your food choice is good by checking the label. A good indication is if meat is the first ingredient listed.

Feed your growing dog puppy food twice a day for the first year. Once your dog is into his second year, smaller breeds only need to be fed once a day and can be switched to adult food. Larger breeds of dogs can sometimes get puppy food and twice-a-day feedings for up to two years. Ask your veterinarian for advise on this feeding timetable.

Adult Dogs

Adult dogs don't need as much food as puppies. According to Dr. Ron Hines, DVM, when picking out dog food you want to pick a food that contains around 21 percent protein, 5 percent oil, 2.5 percent fiber and 8 percent ash. Aim to feed smaller-breed dogs (up to 11 lbs.) 3 to 5 oz. of food per day. For dogs that are 11 to 22 lbs., feed 4 to 6 oz. per day. Dogs that are 22 to 55 lbs. should eat 10 to 12 oz. of dog food per day. Larger breeds around 55 to 77 lbs. need 16 to 18 oz. per day. And finally, for very large dogs that are 77 lbs. or bigger, feed 24 to 30 oz. per day of dog food.

Other Considerations

The amount you feed your dog should not be based solely on weight. Take into consideration how active your dog is. If he expels a lot of energy, he should be fed slightly more than the average dog. If your dog regularly gets table scraps and treats, feed him slightly less than the recommended amount.