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How To Figure Out What to Feed Your Dog; How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

How To Figure Out What to Feed Your Dog; How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight, Great Tips for Feeding the Overweight Dog

One question that I hear every day is, how much food I should be feeding my dog and what should I be feeding him.  Almost 71% of dogs in the United States are overweight, this has been shown to cause increased cancer rates, arthritis and cruciate disease.  Understanding how much should be feed to your dog is very important for maintaining a healthy body condition and allowing them to live longer healthier lives.  

Here are some steps to figuring out an exact amount to feed for your pet. 

Step 1

Body score- The quickest way to evaluate if your pet is overweight is to use a body score condition.  A scale of 1-9 is what is used in veterinary medicine, 1 being the skinniest and 9 being obese.   A good body condition should have an hourglass appearance from looking down at your pet, this means your pet should have a waist. Also, you should be able to feel the ribs but not see them. A body score of a 4/9 is ideal.

Step 2

Food to activity level ratio- As your pet starts to age his daily activity level is going to decrease, which is going to greatly affect how many calories that are burning.  This means that the amount of food they are fed should decreased by about 10% as his activity level decreases.

Step 3

Type of food- Switching to a light food is a good alternative to decreasing the amount fed.  It is a way to allow your pet to eat enough food to have a full stomach without all the calories.  Start by providing the same amount of light food. If no weight loss is 10 days then reduced the amount of 25%.

Step 4

Calculate the amount of food to feed - There are two ways to figure out the amount food to feed your pet. 

  • The scientific method -(30 x kilogram) + 70. This equation is the amount of calories that need to be provided per day.  You must figure out the calories in your food per cup to get an exact amount.
  •  The trial and error method-  If your pet is obese or gaining weight then decrease the food amount by 25%.  Weigh the pet at the end of the week and if no change is seen then decrease another 25%.  Repeat this method until your start to see weight loss.


Decreasing your pets weight will allow them to live longer and stay in better health. Paying attention to the exact amount of food ingested daily is a good way to monitor if they are eating to much. Always measure the exact amount of food ingested and adjust accordingly to weight gain or loss.

PetVetWisdom is a free website, owned and maintained only by veterinarians.  PetVetWisdom’s goal is to provide the most researched information on pet care and save pet owners money on every day products.   Useful Links:
  • To learn more about pet diseases caused by being overweight
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