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How Much Food To Feed Your Dog Or Cat

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The Pet Food Institute and its members are committed to helping dogs and cats live long and healthy lives. They advocate for legislation, regulations, and technologies that support the domestic manufacture and global distribution of safe, quality pet food and that provide for consumer choice.

How much food should you feed your dog or cat?

So, what I’m often asked as a nutritionist is “what I should be feeding my dog in terms of the quantity?”. The bottom line is that on every single bag of dog or cat food there are feeding recommendations. Those recommendations are designed for the life stage as well as for the overall amount that we think your dog or cat should be eating depending on how much they weigh.

For Lucy here, she weighs about 40 pounds and for her to maintain her ideal body weight, I typically, for the food she’s on right now end up feeding her about three cups per day. Obviously, that’s going to vary a little bit depending on the specific food that you’re feeding and that’s why it’s always important to look at that package to help with your guidelines.

Should you always feed the same amount?

When I’m feeding Lucy, I pay attention to whether she’s gaining some weight or losing some weight and I try to maintain her within her ideal body condition.

  • If at some point I feel like she’s gaining weight maybe during the winter time when she’s not working out as much, then at that point I’ll actually back down a little bit on the amount of food that I’m feeding. Not much, but just a little bit to keep her where I need her to be.
  • During the summertime, when her activity level goes up and she’s playing around with her brother at home, will increase her food to make sure that she again is maintaining that ideal healthy weight every day.

So, if your dog is gaining weight you can decrease by about a half of a cup and if your dog is losing weight then you might want to increase by a half a cup. Working with your veterinarian you come up with some wonderful guidelines on how to feed your dog appropriately for a long and healthy life.

How to measure out dog’s food?

So, I’m often asked about exactly how much I should be feeding? Really, I don’t want to be feeding a cup that’s like this because this really is not a cup. So, Gracie, if she saw this cup being filled, would be very excited because I’d be feeding her about 2-3Xs what she should be fed.

When your veterinarian sits back and says feed a cup you should really get a measuring cup much like this one and feed your dog according to those measuring cups.

If you are feeding a cat at home or even for some small dogs you may want to look at an individual measuring scoop for the amount of food that you feed and this is a quarter cup measuring cup and it also has a little hash mark in it for an eighth of a cup and that’s going to be very useful for your smaller pets.