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Feeding Adult Dogs

General Information

Many commercial dog foods are available to adequately nourish the average adult dog. A good general rule is to avoid the cheapest brands. Even though cheap foods may have the proper ingredients listed on the label, they may not contain high-quality, usable protein.

Factors to consider when choosing a diet for your pet include your dog's age, activity, breed and temperament. Also, special diets are needed during pregnancy and disease. Prescription diets are available for pets with cardiac, renal, allergic, nutritional, skin and intestinal diseases.

Variety is not essential in your dog's diet.

The 10-minute Routine

For unenthusiastic eaters, offer a small amount of food, wait 10 minutes, and remove the uneaten portion. Allow nothing but water until the next regular mealtime. Repeat this 10-minute routine even if your pet eats nothing for several days. Your pet will learn that it must eat when food is provided or go hungry. Do not allow uneaten food to remain available after 10 minutes. And don't supplement your dog's diet with table scraps.

How Much Should You Feed?

In general, you can feed your dog according to the manufacturer's directions, but under certain circumstances the amounts should be modified. Your doctor will advise you of your pet's needs.

Another approach is to determine the caloric requirements of your pet, calculate the calories present in a given amount of food, and feed the necessary amount to meet your dog's needs. Remember that activity, pregnancy, lactation and environmental factors also govern total calories required by adult dogs. For instance, dogs that live outside in cold climates burn more calories per pound of body weight than those that sleep all day indoors.

The following are total daily caloric requirements for adult dogs of different weight ranges. These are general values and are meant to serve as practical guides. Circumstances may require changes.

Dog's Weight Caloric Needs

1-2 lb 60 cal/lb of body weight

3-5 lb 52 cal/lb of body weight

6-10 lb 45 cal/lb of body weight

11-14 lb 40 cal/lb of body weight

15-29 lb 35 cal/lb of body weight

30-45 lb 30 cal/lb of body weight

46-74 lb 27 cal/lb of body weight

75 lb and up 23 cal/lb of body weight

Example: A 10-lb dog needs 45 cal/lb in one day. Therefore, its total daily caloric requirements are 10 x 45 = 450 calories. If you feed the dog twice a day, it should receive 225 calories at each meal.

Different foods vary in caloric content, but you can use the following general rule: Dry foods contain about 1500 calories/lb. Semi-moist foods contain about 500 calories/6 oz. Canned foods contain about 500 calories/lb. Special diets vary in their caloric content