How Much Food Should Dogs Eat?

Math and science come together to determine right answer for your dog.


Q. How many grams of dog food should a 19-pound dog eat?

A. Warning: This answer is for math and science aficionados only!
First, we have to get our numbers in the same universe: Grams and pounds do not correlate very well. Let’s convert your dog’s weight to kilograms, using the formula. 2.2 pounds = 1 kilogram
Therefore, your dog’s metric weight is 8.63 kilograms (19/2.2).
To calculate your dog’s daily caloric needs, we use the formula:
Daily calories = Body Weight (kg) X 30 + 70, or 329 calories per day. Now you must check the label on your dog food, and see how many calories are in each cup, and feed accordingly. Of course, this metabolic formula is theoretical only, and will very according to each dog’s metabolism.
Many dog’s self-regulate, so you can free-feed them, and they will eat the exact amount they need.
Interestingly, this same metabolic formula can be used to calculate how much fluid your dog needs in a day. This is because each kilocalorie of food uses 1 mL of water during its metabolism. In this case, your dog would need to drink 329 mL per day.
If you enjoy the math and science of metabolism, feel free to use this formula to calculate your dog’s nutritional needs. Alternatively, you can start with the recommendation on the bag or can, then adjust if your dog starts to gain or lose weight.


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Ellen   Hollywood, Florida

11/21/2014 6:35:03 AM

My 17 week old chihuahua is 2.2 lbs. how much wet food should I be feeding him. I do not want him to get too fat by over feeding him. I am giving him one tin of Nutro ultra puppy. Ho loves it. He does not like crunches except for a snack.

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Marge. Capifoni   San Jose, California

2/5/2014 12:08:15 PM

How many times should I feed my 18lb poodle mix and how much. She is always hungry

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Kelly   Burlington, NJ

5/15/2012 2:37:00 PM

Ask your vet! Puppies will self regulate but adult dogs do not!

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Amanda   Chandler, AZ

11/6/2011 7:17:43 PM

Free feeding your dog can ruin positive training, at least in the early stages. Before the dog learns that certain behaviors are rewarding, we use a food reward. If they can have food whenever they want, a dog will pass up all rewards that aren't "higher value" than their dog food. For a picky eater, this can be disastrous.

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