Portion Control For Healthy Feeding

I do bake and cook a lot for Kirby but he doesn't eat as much as you would think.  If I let him free feed he would be one fat boy considering how much he loves food.  I like to know how much he is eating and if he isn't eating which is a sign something is wrong so I believe in portion control.  The meals I cook for him are frozen in individual sizes for future feedings while the treats are shared with other dogs, especially the ones that come through the drive thru at the bank where I work.

Kirby gets roughly one cup, more or less, of food per day - a small handful of kibble in the morning and a meal at night. He gets tiny pea size treats when we practice his tricks and a bedtime treat.  Some days he gets extras, especially on the weekends, so I adjust accordingly.  He isn't lean but he isn't overweight so we have a somewhat happy medium. 

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Are you wondering how much to feed your dog each day? It's recommended that a dog should eat 2-3% of his total body weight daily. Puppies would need a bit more while older or inactive dogs would need less.  There are two ways to figure this.

The first is the easiest and the one I've always used.  Multiply your dog's weight by 16 to get his total body weight in ounces.  For example, Kirby weighs 15 pounds so 15 lb x 16 oz = 240 oz which is his total body weight in ounces.  Next divide that number by 2% for the total minimum amount of daily food to feed (240 oz. x .02 = 4.8 oz.) and divide by 3% for the total maximum amount of daily food to feed (240 oz. x .03 = 7.2 oz.) One cup is 8 oz so we stay pretty close.

The other way is to count calories.  I don't count my calories consumed so I'm not going to count his. Having said this I have a friend who counts every calorie she consumes so this is a personal choice as to what works best for you.  One thing I do want to mention is I don't eat a lot of sugar and fat so neither does Kirby.

Dogs weighing less than 20 pounds require 40 calories per pound per day. For instance, Kirby weighs 15 pounds so he needs 600 calories per day (15 lb x 40 = 600). Dogs that weigh over 100 pounds usually need about 15 calories per pound of body weight per day. For example, a 100 pound German Shepard will need roughly 1,500 calories per day (100 lb x 15 = 1,500).

You can feed one daily meal or divide it into two feedings. I used to feed Kirby one meal in the evening but he seemed to be starving by meal time so I changed to two daily meals which suits him better - a small amount of kibble in the am and a nourishing meal in the evening. These are standard guidelines which can be adjusted to fit your dog.  Is he too thin, add more.  Is he overactive, add more. Is he on the chubby side, add less.  Is he laid back or elderly, add less.