What kind of food?
No single food is right for every dog. Be willing to try different foods until you hit on the one that’s right for your dog. You’ll know by his bright eyes, shiny coat, and healthy energy level.
- Commercial dry food is convenient. It’s easy to buy and backed by manufacturer’s research. It also has a long shelf life. What it won’t do is help keep teeth clean, contrary to what many people think, so don’t think feeding Max dry food means you can skip brushing.
Tip: Garnish dry food with a small spoonful of canned food, a little meat, or cottage cheese to add pizzazz.
- Canned food has flavor going for it. Dogs love the taste. It’s mostly water, though, so you’re paying a lot for the amount of meat you actually get out of the can.
Probably the best way to use canned food is as a flavor enhancer for dry food.
- A home-cooked diet has no surprises. But it can be tricky to get the correct nutritional balance. You can’t just throw together some meat and rice and assume it will meet your dog’s needs.
Tip: Find recipes that have been vetted by a veterinary nutritionist.
- Raw-food diets are healthy. But expensive. It also takes a lot more time to prepare–or used to. Plenty of companies are now selling raw food, online or in pet stores , so you don’t have to do the work. But it’s still going to cost you.
- Vegetarian is fine–with work. Dogs can live long, healthy lives on vegetarian diets, if you give them plenty of protein and all the essential vitamins and nutrients. About half his diet should come from grains and the other half should be a mix of protein and vegetables. Excellent sources of protein include lentils, cottage cheese, cooked eggs, and baked beans. A little bit of low-fat cheese is okay too. Healthy grain options include potatoes, brown rice, wholegrain cereal, and bread. (Do not feed your dog onions, garlic, grapes, and raisins, all of which can be toxic to your pet.) You can now buy canned versions of vegetarian meals now in most major pet store chains, including Petco and Petsmart.
Base the amount you feed him on how he looks. Not by how hungry he acts. Dogs are con artists. If they can make you think they’re hungry or need more food, they will.
Some general guidelines:
- A highly active dog will need more food, or a higher-protein food, than a couch potato dog.
- Small dogs have higher energy requirements than large dogs and need a dense, nutrient-rich food.
- Even dogs who are the same breed or size may eat different amounts.
- Feeding requirements can vary by as much as 30 percent in dogs who are the same age, breed, or sex, so it’s easy to feed one dog too much while feeding another too little, even if both get the same amount of food.
(The following assumes the food is high-quality; you’ll need bigger amounts for low-quality food.)
Size of dog Amount of dry food a day
Less than 10 lbs 1/4 to 1/2 cup
10 to 20 lbs 1/2 to 1 cup
20 to 30 lbs 3/4 to 1.5 cups
30 to 40 lbs 1.5 to 2 cups
40 to 60 lbs 1.5 to 2.5 cups
60 to 70 lbs 2.5 to 3 cups
80 to 90 lbs 3 to 4 cups
100 to 150 lbs 4 to 5 cups
More than 150 lbs 4.5 to 6 cups
When do I feed him?
Twice a day, and try to make it about the same time every day because dogs like routine. If he still hasn’t eaten it after 20 minutes, take away his bowl so he learns to eat it all at once.