Hi, does anyone know how much food to give a dog daily? My dog acts like she is starving ALL the time, but she is over-weight. She was a stray before I got her. She weighed in at 24 pounds, and the vet said that was a good weight for her. Now she is pushing 30 pounds, and acts REALLY hungry all the time. I give her a cup of dry in the A.M. and P.M. but in the morning I mix a bit of canned with water for gravy. She also gets a few treats daily, some of my friends treat her, and I give her two before I leave for work. I just wanted to know if I was under feeding, even tho her weight sez no. Thanks for any advice.
If she's 24 lbs then give her a little 'wet' food (ie half a cup of canned or home steamed meat or fish) with about a cup of dry. She gets that morning, and she gets that evening. Less or more depending on how hard she exercises or if it is cold weather (they always need a little extra in really cold weather)
Cut out the treats in between, unless they are very tiny morsels of her dry food in order to train her, or dental chews. Dogs don't need to 'graze'. Sheep graze. Cows graze. Dogs are of the Predator type. Predators don't eat constantly, and snack all the time. They eat, then go quite a few hours without eating till the next meal. For a dog this is a little longer than the average human, who usually has to have breakfast, a snack mid morning, lunch, sometimes tea, and dinner, with often a snack before bed......dogs do not need to eat like that (most humans don't either!)
A good feeding-amount guideline (rule of thumb) for a healthy adult dog is this: If she is gaining weight on the food you give her, cut it down until she is the optimum weight. Then that is her best amount to keep her weight stable, and keep her well. (But like I said, hard exercise makes a difference. If she is a working dog, and has extra demands on her, that makes a difference. And hard cold weather makes a difference.)
Many dogs are greedy. Mine is. She will try to convince any visitor to my house that she is hungry. (She is not. She gets a healthy breakfast and a healthy dinner) She is always on the lookout for food. That doesn't mean she needs any more.
I agree with ginger's assessment. Also, some dogs just naturally bolt their food and act like they're starving when they aren't. Humans reinforce the acting out by giving in and giving them either more food or a treat. It sounds like your dog is a natural bolter, so moistening the food can help slow her down. Bolting food can cause medical problems like bloat and a twisted stomach which can be fatal, so do whatever you have to do slow her intake down.
Also, check the nutrients on the food you're using. If it has a lot of corn in it, she's getting mostly carbohydrates that won't last through the day. You want a high-quality food that has a high protein content from natural meat sources. Many people make their own dog foods, but I personally don't think it's necessary unless there is a medical reason for it. Any high-quality (read "expensive"!) commercial food is fine.
I've noticed that the feeding guidelines on bags of dog food are usually WAY higher than my dogs require. I don't know if that's simply a marketing ploy to get people to buy more food more often, or perhaps my dogs don't get enough exercise. Since you know your dog needs to be around 24 pounds, play around with amounts of food a bit and see what happens. If she doesn't get walked at least once a day for 30 minutes, increase that amount to at least an hour a day, preferably twice daily.
If you decide to change the brand of food you're currently using, make the change slowly. Dogs don't generally do well with a sudden change in diet. It won't kill them to do so, but there's no reason to have a vomiting dog with diarrhea if it can be avoided. I usually take about 5 days to complete the change to a new food.
Since your dog is apparently very food motivated, you probably don't need to spend extra money on special dog treats. One piece of kibble will likely do the job - particularly if you present it like it's really special.
While dogs who bolt food can have medical problems, their focus on food also yields some good things. These kinds of dogs are usually very easy to train using a piece of dry kibble for positive reinforcement of the behavior you want to see. Take advantage of it! :-)
I agree with the comments above. I would put it this way: Use good-quality food that you are certain is nutritious, and feed just enough to maintain an appropriate weight. Period.
Some dogs are very manipulative and can look like they are starving when they do not need food at all. You can't go by how hungry they "act." Sometimes this is especially true of dogs that previously were strays. They have spent a lot of their life being hungry, and they aim to make sure they are never hungry again.
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