It should be no surprise that dogs like people need to not only eat a balanced diet but also eat in moderation. Too much and they become overweight, too little become lethargic and underweight. Little dogs especially, since a lot of owners might not have the ability to walk their little dogs every day or might not have the space, as most small dog owners have an apartment or some sort of small house with little room. Therefore lack the needed exercise to burn off calories consumed. There are many factors to take into consideration besides the weight and size of the dog. Although we don’t need to be 100 percent precise it does help to have a good idea of how much small dogs should eat.
The basic amount of food small dogs should eat range from 110 grams or 3.88 ounces to 224 grams or 7.9 ounces. This will depend on the number of calories in the dog food you are using, as well as the age, weight, activity level of your small dog, who should range somewhere between 10 pounds and 25 pounds.
On average dog food tends to have between 350 and 400 calories per cup, which equals about 128 grams or 4.5 ounces. For a quicker and easier on the eye look at how much food you should be giving to your dog I’ve created a simple chart as a rough guide for you.
Remember that these numbers may change depending on many factors. After all, just like it happens with humans, they are supposed to burn the ingested calories and then eat some more. That’s why it is recommended that portions are divided into two or three meals throughout the day.
How does age influence the amount of food my small dog should eat?
Dog’s activity and appetite vary according to age. Senior dogs (8 years and over) will probably move a lot less than active and working adult dogs. As a result, they require a lesser amount of calories or food. They may also lose a little muscle weight and their metabolism may begin to slow down.
Although it is normal that they eat a lesser amount, it doesn’t mean that they completely stop eating. If something like this does happen then a visit to your local vet might be in order. Having said that, age does diminish a dog’s appetite and may require special vitamins to help them deal with arthritis, joint pain, and other conditions that might arise.
Similarly, puppies have different dietary needs. Puppies usually need to eat 4 times a day which can be brought down to 3 times a day after the 4th or 5th month. It is recommended to start feeding them twice a day after they have reached the one year mark. It should go without saying this doesn’t mean feeding them a full meal 3 or 4 times a day using the table above. You will need to divide the suggested meal into however many portions you’ll need for the day.
It is important to remember that puppies are constantly growing. If they are eating a little more than planned, it is normal. However, they should always compensate with the same amount of exercise. So, if your puppy is eating more than it should, try to get him to play and go out for a walk. That will get some extra energy and make him/her burn those extra calories.
How does the dog food brand influence the amount of food my dog should eat?
It is always important to take into account the specific dog food brand and the product you are feeding your dog -in case you don’t cook for your dog. The reason is simple. They all have different contents and, as they are smaller than us, little amounts can influence their whole lifestyle.
In most cases, you can check out this number in the nutritional facts chart located in the back of the product. Just read the calorie content it provides per each cup and portion it adequately depending on your dog’s weight and activity.
If either of these two is different than your regular numbers, check out an online dog feeding calculator like this one at dogfoodadvisor.com and get a specific result or you may use it as a reference to know how much you should feed your dog.
This last option will tell you the minimum amount of dog food you should give your dog in case your products have a lower amount of calories or the top amount, in case the dog food you use has more calories than the ones in the chart.
Alternatively you could feed your dog with regular food. In that case you will need to take into account that there are ingredients you cannot use. Your dog’s diet would be very similar to the calorie count of any other person. The difference is that your dog will consume from 200 to 600 calories depending on your buddy’s specific weight.
If this is your case and you want to know your dog’s specific amount of calories, then the calculation is very simple. Take into consideration that “X” is your dog’s weight and this proportion only works for dogs with regular activity.
X * 600/25= The number of calories you should serve.
How does activity influence the amount of food my dog should eat?
We consume calories every day and ideally need to spend those calories, this is no different for dogs. The difference is that unlike us, they will spend calories whether we want to or not. So it is important to keep in mind how active your little dogs is.
For example, it is not the same to have a senior older dog who predominantly stays at home than a working or hunting dog who is very active burning calories. Senior dogs or dogs that may not be as active or able to burn calories will spend far less energy than the latter because they are not performing as many actions. As a result, they don’t need to consume the same amount of food, and they probably won’t.
Let’s take a look at the types of dogs there are according to the activities they regularly perform:
Senior or Inactive
Senior and inactive dogs are placed in the same category because they all have something in common. They don’t have regular amounts of activity. So, it is difficult for them to spend energy and, therefore, they don’t require as much food as other active dogs. A large amount of small dog owners fall into this category. This is not due to neglect rather due to lifestyle, especially for owners who are perhaps retired or they themselves are less active.
Ponyo tired from after his walk
A large portion of small dogs owners have small dogs due to restrictions on where we live. Apartments, units, flats, small houses with little to no backyards are far better suited to smaller dogs than their counterparts. Therefore they don’t get the exercise or freedom of running around in a large backyard or field like larger dogs might. Our little dog, Ponyo (instagram link), is fortunate to have a small backyard to run around in. However it’s essential for us that we walk him every day to get some exercise. Most of the time he gets to be off his leash at the big park or even at the beach. Occasionally that’s not possible and we simply have a walk. I would guess depending on where you live walking might be your only option. Whist this is great that your little dog is getting some exercise they aren’t burning as much as they would if they were running around free at a park.
To put it simply, whilst going for a walk and run is exercise, one burns far my calories than the other, and this might be worth considering when measuring out the food quantities for your little dog.
It is probably a good idea to mention retirees, and seniors with little to no activity. As it is quite common for seniors to have small dogs to keep them company, and such great and loving company they are, their amount of activity should also be considered. Seniors and retirees for whatever reason might not be able to take their dogs out for walks. Maybe the most activity that is possible for themselves and their little dog is walking around their house or apartment. If that is the case the suggested dietary requirement would undoubtedly be lower than more active dogs.
Even though it’s not the same as senior dogs, it is pretty common to find overweight dogs, especially in the US. As dogs get overweight, they tend to reduce their activity levels because it gets more difficult for them. Your dog’s ideal weight will show the following features:
– Ribs are easily palpable and there is no excess of fat covering
– The waist is behind the ribs when looked from above
– From the side, the abdomen is tucked up
If your dog seems a little bit chubby from these points of view, your dog may be overweight and he or she probably doesn’t get enthusiastic when it comes to exercising. You may want to talk to your vet about getting your buddy into diet and changing some habits to increase your activity levels.
These are dogs that are not too thin but not overweight either. These dogs tend to have enough amount of exercise for their size and they have regular amounts of activity throughout the day. However, they are not used for specific or special duties.
How often should you feed your small dog?
The age and breed is a relevant factor here. If you have a small dog but your buddy is a medium or large breed, then the way you feed him/her will be different than having a small adult breed.
In case you have a small adult breed, you should feed your buddy at least twice a day. However, three times will be much better. The regular food intake will increase your dog’s metabolism and improve their overall health. Also, remember that the amounts presented in the chart refer to the daily intake, so those amounts are meant to be divided throughout the day.
Ponyo taking a nana nap after a meal.
On the other hand, puppies or growing dogs that happen to be small should be fed differently. In most cases, it is preferred that their food intake is split into four meals and even five, depending on the breed, until it should slowly be taken down to three meals after at least the one year mark. If they are too young, you probably shouldn’t feed them with food just yet. Always ask your trusted vet in this last scenario.
The way your dog feeds is important to avoid thinness or overweight, which are two incredibly important factors for their health. In that sense, calculate the amount of food your buddy should eat considering the activity level, the weight, the dog food you use and the age of your dog.
Also, remember to divide the amount over the day and make some changes in their habits if necessary. This will improve their metabolism, increase their internal defenses and even make them happier.