How do you work out how much to feed your dog?

Over the years I have met dog owners with all sorts of different strategies for making sure their dog gets the right amount of food from sticking religiously to the guide on the label, feeding by eye, feeding a strict percentage of body weight, free feeding and many many more but with almost half of British dogs now overweight, something is clearly going awry.

So, today’s quick question: How do you work out how much to feed your dog and how do you know it’s the right amount?

I started off by feeding the guidelines on the packs and keep a close eye on weight. I weigh once a fortnight as my dog is small and even a little gain could be a problem. It has been tricky because she has put on a kilo since I got her from dogs trust. However she is still lean and has stabilised for the last year. She was a stray and a little underweight at first. She is now getting the top amount of the recommended amount and some healthy extras such as natural yogurt or a poached egg on occasion.

My dog enjoys her food very much and I think she would almost certainly overeat if I free fed her. To date she has never left a scrap in her dish. It is hard to judge visually if she is a healthy as she is long haired so I continue to use the scales as a guideline.

1 Like

I take very little notice of feeding guidelines, I’ve only ever really looked at them when using a new food for the first time, and then simply in order to compare them with those on foods I am familiar with so I have an idea whether I need to feed more, less, or about the same. I rarely weigh my dogs either.

I feed my dogs exactly the same way I would feed a horse or a sheep - by eye and by feel. By feel, mostly. Condition scoring comes naturally to me and every time I stroke my dog I’m almost unconsciously taking in the feel of his spine, ribs, and hip bones, if they feel anything other than perfect to me he then gets more or less food in his next meal, as indicated. Simple as that.

1 Like

I feed using the RDA as a baseline, I increase or decrease dependant on the dogs weight and poop output.
I weigh regular, I feed more before a comp and after for stamina, instant energy etc
Happy New Year Forum been so busy with new grand child :slight_smile:
luv Lou

1 Like

My little one has Gentle and uses 1% of body weight, as per instructions, which are 1% to 1.2% of body weight. The other two are a different story altogether. At the 1% figure they should be getting 80g to 85g but can only have 65g or they will gain weight. I’ve tried a few and it is the same with whatever food I use - they can have no more than about half to two thirds of the lower RDA. Even on raw food they could not have the recommended 2% of body weight. :frowning: Mostly I don’t even read the RDA on the packet because I know that if I took any notice of it the girls would become overweight.

I have to weigh them approximately weekly. The problem with feel and body condition scoring is that I am not very good at it and the dogs have thick coats that disguise their shape. Also, I have a feeling that it’s a bit like us when our trousers and skirts get a bit tight - by the time we notice we’ve probably gained half a stone.

I have never found that to be the case. Condition scoring is not about overall girth but about the prominence of bones and the amount of fat that can be felt around them - that’s around, not over, as there should be scarcely any fat over the ribs and spine. On the contrary, I find condition scoring a more accurate guide than weight, since weight is affected by stomach, bowel and bladder contents, and by water retention, as well as by the amount of muscle as well as fat, so is far from reliable as a guide to condition, whereas the amount of fat you can feel is the amount that is there.

Oh, and thick coats are not an issue either; think about it, it wouldn’t work very well as a guide to the conditon of a sheep in full wool if that were the case.

Condition scoring is a skill well worth acquiring in my opinion, and is really not difficult - get your vet or a vet nurse to show you how…

1 Like

I noticed a picture of a dog in the vet which said ‘feel me’ you could see the ribs so I think it was supposed to mimic how a healthy dog should feel. i was dying to go and have a feel but I had a stressed out terrier and 1 pug, 1 staffy and 1 jack russel between us and the picture. ::slight_smile:

1 Like