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As a general rule, puppies and young dogs burn more calories, so they need a greater quantity of food that is higher in protein and fat. Older, less active dogs require fewer calories to remain healthy.


I, over the last four plus years, as foster for several Boston Terriers and Boston Mixes with special needs and health issues, have had to pay attention to what I was feeding these dogs. The more I have become aware of how to provide the right types of food, the more I have become aware of the importance of also ensuring that the dogs were getting the right amount of dog food.


This has lead me to do much more than just admiring the pretty pictures on the labels. The importance of learning just what "dog food" contains and how much dogs really need to be healthy, has lead me to a lot of reading. Some of this information I hope will also help, if you too are searching for answers. 


Recently I came across some items that caught my attention. I thought I would share these with you.


How much to feed

If you’re using a commercial pet food, beware of the “feeding guidelines” on the bag or box. It lists different weights and the corresponding amount of food to feed your dog to maintain that weight, and should be used only as a rough guideline. There are many people who believe that if they only give their dogs one meal a day that they are being cruel, and that their dogs will be unhappy. However, if you do still want to give breakfast to your dog, make sure it is very early in the morning and something very light. The evening meal should still be the main one.

What I never paid much attention to at first, but have read often while looking for suggestions on just how much to feed a normal healthy dog is this:  Many dogs are overweight because their families closely followed the directions on the label, which often indicates portion sizes that are too large. After all, the sooner the bag is empty, the sooner you will need to buy more food. It is suggested to use the low end of the "suggested guidelines" found on the labels and containers.dustypuppies9


Something else that I have come across is that large breed dogs require less food and small breed dogs require more food when expressed on a volume of food per pound of body weight.


The food requirements of individual dogs vary according to their health, level of activity, and age. Here are some guidelines for portion sizes at different stages of your dog’s life:


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Puppies are typically introduced to solid food at three to four weeks of age and are completely weaned from their mother’s milk by eight weeks.


If you are feeding commercial pet food to your fostered or adopted puppy, select a brand that is specially formulated for puppies development. Young puppies should be fed at least three times a day — morning, noon, and early evening — until their food requirements, per pound of body weight, begin to level off as they mature.


When is a puppy not a puppy?

By the time the puppy is five or six months of age, his feeding schedule can be reduced to twice a day. If you have a finicky puppy, you can add some warm water to dry food to encourage him to eat it. If your puppy doesn’t eat all his food within an hour, discard the uneaten portion. A dog is a puppy from birth till nine months of age. Then, from 9 months until 15 months of age, it is considered a young dog.


NOTE: Did you know that milk can act as a laxative and cause digestive problems for some puppies and adult dogs? It is highly suggested to avoid giving milk to your pup, or only give very small amounts.


If your puppy appears to be gaining too much weight, gradually decrease his food intake, but if his ribs are showing, increase his portions. If you are unsure about his proper weight or appearance, talk to your vet for guidance.



When the average dog is one year old, he has reached full maturity. His nutritional requirements will dog weight chartstay about the same during his young adult life, assuming he is not ill or engaging in extreme physical exercise. His weight should remain stable and his body should be well-proportioned. Your dog should have an observable waist and you should be able to feel his ribs with your fingertips, beneath a thin layer of fat.


If you are feeding your adopted adult dog a commercial pet food, select one that is specially formulated for adult dogs. You should establish a feeding schedule. Constant changes in the food schedule can lead to nervous disorders and other diseases.


Active adults:

Moderate exercise is essential for all dogs and helps them remain fit and trim throughout their lifetime. But some dogs, like some humans, will regularly do more intense exercising. If your adopted dog is particularly active and if he jogs or runs with you regularly, or is involved in sporting activities, his energy needs will be greater than those of his more sedentary counterparts.





Senior dogs:

Senior dogs have reduced energy requirements and therefore; should not consume the same quantity of food as they did when they were younger. If you’re feeding your adopted senior dog commercial pet food, look for brands that offer reduced calories while still including all the necessary nutrients. Senior dogs, like all dogs, should be fed according to their overall health and level of activity. A less active dog can quickly gain weight if you’re not careful.¹ As with humans, a dog’s appetite may vary from day to day. This is not cause for alarm unless his loss of appetite persists for several days or he shows obvious signs of weight loss or illness. However, having no desire to eat can be the first sign of many illnesses, so monitor your dog’s food intake carefully.²







¹Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM, PhD, author of Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats