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How much should I feed my dog?

Find the best serving size for your dog's age, weight and activity level

Profile picture of Jessica Render
by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team
dog next to food bowl

Calories in dog food are expressed in “kilocalories per kilogram.” This is usually portioned by the cup (kcals/cup). Most dogs need about 25–30 calories per pound per day to maintain their weight. For example, a 30-pound dog needs around 800 calories a day. You can subtract from this figure to help your dog lose weight.

It can often be difficult to determine how much you should feed your dog. Many dog owners worry whether they’re depriving or overindulging their pets at mealtime.

Dog feeding guidelines

Your dog’s age, weight, activity level and overall health play a significant role in the amount of food they need:

  • Age: With all their romping and running, puppies and younger dogs generally require more food that is higher in fat and protein. Older dogs that aren’t as active need fewer calories to stay healthy.
  • Weight: Weight is one of the best ways to determine how much to feed your dog. Use the chart below as a guideline for how much to feed your dog according to weight. Heavier dogs may wolf down more food, but smaller dogs generally need to consume more calories per pound than large dogs.
  • Activity level: Keep your dog’s energy output and overall lifestyle in mind when considering how much food to feed them. If your dog joins you on daily runs and maintains a highly active lifestyle, more food might be necessary. Less active dogs won’t need as much food.
  • Overall health: Examine your dog’s general health. You’ll know your dog is enjoying a healthy diet when you see sparkling eyes, a glossy coat and clean ears. If your dog suffers from chronic eye or ear infections, a change in diet could help.

You want to make sure you’re feeding your dog the right amount of food and also the right kind of food. With dozens of brands on the market, dog food quality varies widely. The best dog foods contain high-quality meats, vegetables and grain sourced in the USA.

Dog feeding chart

The dog feeding chart below will give you a good starting point, but we recommend checking it against the label on your dog’s food and verifying with your veterinarian if you have any concerns or if your dog has special weight loss needs.The chart outlines recommended daily serving for full-grown adult dogs. Puppies may require double or triple the recommended adult feeding amounts.

Dog sizeDog WeightDaily Serving size
Toy  
 3 lbs.⅓ cup
 6 lbs.½ cup
Small  
 10 lbs.¾ cup
 15 lbs.1 cup
 20 lbs.1⅓  cups
Medium  
 30 lbs.1 ¾ cups
 40 lbs.2 ¼ cups
 50 lbs.2 ⅔ cups
Large  
 60 lbs.3 cups
 70 lbs.3 ½ cups
 80 lbs.3 ¾ cups
 90 lbs.4 ¼ cups
 100 lbs.4½ cups
woman feeding her dog

How often should I feed my dog?

There are two schools of thought here. You can choose to feed your dog at specific, regimented times each day, or you can leave a bowl of food out all day for your dog to “graze.” While neither method is wrong, veterinarians generally recommend feeding your dog twice a day and removing the bowl after a set period of time (typically ten to twenty minutes), whether or not the bowl is empty. This will teach your dog to eat when the food is there, and help you keep track of exactly how much your dog is eating.

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Profile picture of Jessica Render
by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team

As a member of the ConsumerAffairs research team, Jessica Render is dedicated to providing well-researched, valuable content designed to help consumers make informed purchase decisions they can feel confident making. She holds a degree in journalism from Oral Roberts University.