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How to Feed Your Dog

Updated on August 27, 2012

Avtive Dogs Require More Calories

Active Dogs require a higher caloric intake than those that lounge about. You may need to feed your athletic dogs a little more than those "hang around the house" dogs!
Active Dogs require a higher caloric intake than those that lounge about. You may need to feed your athletic dogs a little more than those "hang around the house" dogs! | Source

Feeding Your Dog

Do You Know How to Feed Your Dog? Really?

Even though a dog is less fussy about its food, like people, dogs have a variety of nutritional needs that are governed by how old they are, what intensity their metabolism is, how much exercise they receive, and how much time they spend outdoors in the cold weather. Today, I will give you a few pointers on what to feed your dog, how much to feed him, and how frequently.

Choosing the Right Dog Food

How To Feed My Dog For His Nutritional Needs

When you are deciding on which dog food to feed your pet, contemplate these things;

  • the age of the dog
  • the dog's lifestyle
  • the dog's health issues (if any)
  • Breed specific nutritional needs

A growing active canine obviously needs more food than an old low-key lazy dog. Think about whether your dog has special needs in terms of ailments and diseases. Mama dogs will need a special diet while pregnant and through the nursing process. Certain breeds of dogs have particular nutrition needs, so be sure to learn your breed's needs. You can be sure your dog is in good shape if his coat is glossy, his weight is adequate for his size, and if he is alert and curious. With these health indicators being in good repair, you are probably doing a good job of feeding your dog.

Dry Dog Food vs Wet Dog Food

Is Dry Dog Food Better Than Wet Dog Food

You would think this question would simply depend on if the dog owner wants to feed dry or wet food. Nothing could be further from the truth. Feeding a dog wet or dry food can have a serious impact on the health of your dog. Some breeds are prone to dental problems, this may be a reason for feeding dry food because the harder kibble will keep gums and teeth cleaner and conditioned better than soft moist dog food. Other breeds or individual dogs may not eat dry food because they are finicky; thus wet food is a must. Knowing your dogs "breed needs" certainly plays a significant role in what you should feed him. Let's take a look at dry vs moist dog foods.

DOG QUIZ!! Do You Know the Answers to These Three Dog related Questions?

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Should I Feed My Dog Dry Or Wet Food

Dry Dog Food is going to be the cheapest option for these reasons:

  • It is easy to use
  • It can be left down for the dog to full-feed (eat whenever he feels like it)
  • Can be purchased and then stored in bulk (no refrigeration requirements)
  • Save on dental costs as the abrasive nature of the dry food reduced tartar build up
  • Releases stress because of the crunchy texture

Wet Dog Food is more palatable to your pet:

  • Dogs like it better because it taste good
  • Because they like it better they can easily over eat
  • Contains high amounts of sugar (degrades dental condition and increases fat)
  • Cost more to buy
  • Left overs must be refrigerated
  • Can not be left out for any length of time
  • Higher moisture means more frequent potty breaks

A Wet and Dry Dog Food Diet May Be Best

Once you discover and decide to feed your dog a food he likes and also keeps him healthy, it is best to stick with it. Frequently changing your pets food source can bring on gastrointestinal upset, and nobody wants that! For my dogs, I choose to feed a combination of both dry and wet. I also make sure to maintain healthy gums and teeth with chew toys and a frequent brushing.

It's Hard to Get a Dog to Wear Eyeglasses

Older Dogs may need specialized diets to help keep them healthy and happy for a long life with you.
Older Dogs may need specialized diets to help keep them healthy and happy for a long life with you. | Source

Nutrition Sources for Dogs

Carbs, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals, and Water for Dogs

Carbohydrates for Dogs

  • Source - well-cooked grains, cellulose, starches, sugars.
  • Uses - for energy; for bulk (indigestible cellulose) to detour constipation; to spare proteins (used as quick energy to keep store for building body weight and repairing tissue and bone)

Proteins for Dogs

  • Source - meat, eggs, fish, legumes (especially soybeans), milk (and its products), yeast.
  • Uses - Growth; healthy tissue repair and maintenance; formation of antibodies to fight infections; formation of enzymes and hormones essential to the body's chemical reactions.

Fats for Dogs

  • Source - Poultry, beef, lamb, fish by-products, meal.
  • Uses - Provides energy; gets vitamins A, D, E, K (the fat soluble vitamins) dispersed through the body; provides fatty acid for skin and coat health; improves flavor.

Vitamins and Minerals for Dogs

  • Source - meat, eggs, fish, vegetables, milk (and its products), yeast.
  • Uses - For normal body function, including vision, growth, reproduction, and blood clotting.

A Dog Needs Crisp Clean Water Daily

Be sure to Pour Fresh Water daily for your dog! Crisp clean water keeps him healthy and active.
Be sure to Pour Fresh Water daily for your dog! Crisp clean water keeps him healthy and active. | Source

Water for Dogs

  • Sources - Gathered from metabolism of the foods (primarily of fats) and liquids the dog ingests.
  • Uses - Vital to every function and every cell in the body.

How Much Water Does A Dog Need Daily

Water For Dogs

Most dogs require about 1 cup of Fresh water daily, for every 10 pounds of body weight. This varies with health issues, exercise, lactation, dry food (the low 10% moisture increases water intake needs) and, wet food (75% moisture reduces water intake needs). A dog should have access to clean fresh water 24 hours a day, everyday.

Go Directly to the AAFCO Site

Association of American Feed Control Officials

This group develops and implements the laws surrounding animal feed regulations, standards for enforcement policies for regulating, distribution and sales. Without them the animal feed industry would run rampant!

Calorie Requirements for Puppies and Adult Dogs

WEIGHT (in pounds)
# of calories PUPPIES need
# of calories ADULT DOGS need
Calculations derived from ASPCA

Understanding Dog Food Labels

The first thing to look for (and most important) on a dog food label is that the food meets the nutritional standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), then check:

  • The Product must be complete and balanced for all stages of or a particular life stage.
  • Meat, fish, poultry and high quality cereal grains should be among the first listed items. This is because the ingredients are listed according to weight, so these should be the predominant ingredients by weight.
  • Guaranteed Analysis on most consumer grade dog food labels is questionable at best; these labels don't separate digestible protein, fat, and fiber (meat) in the food from the indigestible (hooves, beaks, feathers, etc.). The percentages offered are for crude protein, fat, and fiber, which means they are combinations of both digestible and indigestible components.

Dog Food Know How

Feeding Your Dog

No matter whether you feed your dog dry or wet food, it should be divided into two-equal daily rations. Canned dog food can be mixed with dry dog dry food (just keep an eye on the calories for your dogs health). Dry foods can be left out for your dog to snack on throughout the day if scheduling issues occur, while wet food must be refrigerated to remain safe.

As long as you remain sensible when it comes to your dogs dietary needs— minimize snacks, exercise him when possible, give fresh clean water daily—you can plan on a healthy life together. Remember that our K9 friends are put on this earth to be loyal and loving companions, treat him as such, and you will be rewarded abundantly!

Bird Feeds Dog Noodles...I guess this is one way to feed the dog!

Comments for "How To Feed Your Dog"

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  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    MizBejabbers~ What a great additional bit of information about feeding our dogs! Thank you for sharing it with us! It is good to know you have such devotion to your dog, I offer you much respect for this!

    Thanks for telling us your story, it is a really good one.



  • MizBejabbers profile image

    Doris James-MizBejabbers 

    6 years ago from Beautiful South

    Good advice. Feeding your dog a nutritious food pays in good health for the dog. We discovered the difference between grocery store dog food and veterinarian-approved dog food. When our chowpei puppy smelled so bad that we couldn't stand to pet him, we took him to two different vets who had no idea what was wrong. A third vet diagnosed food allergy and immediately put him on a venison-based food, which did the trick. It was a high-priced non-prescription food, but he was worth it. Within 3 or 4 months the bad odor went away. A few times he would get tired of the vension and we'd buy him something more palatable, and the odor always came back with a vengeance. The same happened if we allowed table scraps. So sometimes the dog's condition will dictate the proper food choice.

  • Marla Rose profile image

    Marla Rose 

    6 years ago from Aventura, Florida

    Very interesting Hub! Thank you for the tips! I learned something new to tonight about what not to feed your dog!

    I will put those tips to great use!

    Have a good one!

  • Millionaire Tips profile image

    Shasta Matova 

    6 years ago from USA

    K9, this is great information, thanks! Can you tell me what brand names of dog food you recommend?

  • carol3san profile image

    Carolyn Sands 

    6 years ago from Hollywood Florida

    Hi there, another great hub. I enjoyed reading it. I wrote something on dogs also. Voted up and useful.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    Cardisa~You offer a very good point, serving up all wet food to your dog can result in unmanageable "bathroom" control. If you have ever experienced cramping associated with this type of thing, it is a miserable pain. The combo (dry with wet added in) seems best suited for most dogs all around needs, but a vet would have to tell you which is the perfect dog food for your pets health, age, and breed.

    I am so honored that you made it by today, it's like having a celebrity in the house!



  • Cardisa profile image

    Carolee Samuda 

    6 years ago from Jamaica

    Another master piece K9, loved it. I figured the crunchy stuff was better. I have seen dogs react badly in terms of pooing every few minutes when given the moist stuff. Yes it taste better but it's not really good for their health. They gain more weight eating the stuff.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    serendipitypalace~ I couldn't agree with you more! I don't think dogs have a judgmental bone in their body! Thanks for sharing your comments.



  • serendipitypalace profile image


    6 years ago

    Dogs love their owners unconditionally. Humans should take their example.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    Simone Smith~ So pleases that you are taking away a few new bits of doggy nutrition knowledge! Puppies need far more calories than adult dogs because they are constantly growing as their millions (billions?) of cells split and multiply over and over and over again, which uses a huge amount of energy (calories). As dogs have a pretty high metabolism (most breeds) they do need a human number of calories to keep them healthy and active. This is particularly true with large breeds, I'm guessing a toy fox terrier or Jack Russel would "pop" if trying to consume 3,000 calories like an adult Mastiff! Although, I wouldn't underestimate the tenacity of either breed!

    Thanks so much for leaving your comments Simone, I appreciate the support!



  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    serendipitypalace~ It can get pricy to feed a dog a proper diet, just like the rest of our family. Supplementing super market low-cost budget foods with some good quality wet foods can improve your dogs dietary nutrition a great deal. I think we can only do what we can monetarily, the most important component in any dogs life is the amount we share their love, this feeds any dietary need!



  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    athena2011~ I couldn't agree more!



  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    vocalcoach~ I gotta tell ya, that Clancy is one lucky dog! What a beautiful thing to have shared 12 happy years together, these kinds of bonds run very deep. I am moved by the joy you garner from your furry friend. This is what I wish for every animal on earth (people included). I always feel that dogs (if they could) would throw their arms around their humans and hug them every day, to just say thank for taking such good care of me, and for letting me love you. Humans should return the favor as often as possible! This is how I picture you and Clancy. (me, smiling big)

    I sure appreciate you sharing your Clancy with me today, thank you!



  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 

    6 years ago from San Francisco

    This is so useful... and I've learned a lot from your guide! I had no idea that some dogs must consume as many calories as the typical human... that's a lot of food! Thanks for making this so easy to follow... should I ever get a puppy, I'll be going straight back to this Hub before buying dog food!

  • serendipitypalace profile image


    6 years ago

    We also fed our dog wet and dry food. Wet food for breakfast and dry food for supper. He was finicky on certain dry food flavors. When I purchased the cheapest brand from the grocery store like $1.99 or $2.99 bargains. It cost more in the long run. Had to get Chef Michaels or Kibbles n Bits for his liking the mixture. Our vet strongly urged us to get the more expensive brand that they sold. It was way beyond our affordability. Your hub has interesting content and stats.

  • athena2011 profile image


    6 years ago from Beachfront - In My Dreams:)

    Thanks for sharing all of that excellent information. Dogs are so easy to care for and give us so much love. They are true gifts from above.

  • vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt 

    6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

    Once again, your hub is right on the money! Clancey gets a combination of dry and wet food. The problem with me are the treats. I worry about feeding him too many. So, when I think he has had enough, I distract him by getting down on the floor with him and we play. He's older now and just turned 12. I want to keep him healthy and very happy. He has given me unconditional love for 12 years.

    A great hub and I voted up!

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    Melissa~ You are absolutely right on the money! Treats can make or break a dogs total health. Like you, I feed a combo of wet and dry, with plenty of safe chewy toys to keep teeth clean. A good brushing 3xs a week doesn't hurt either!

    I sure appreciate you sharing your thoughts and advice here. Excellent info on treats!



  • Melissa McClain profile image

    Melissa McClain 

    6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

    An informative hub! I feed my dog a combination of wet and dry food but I have to watch the amounts or he starts to gain a little too much weight! Of course a big variable in a dog's caloric intake are the treats he gets. Those add up fast as most doggie treats are little more than junk food for dogs.

    Thanks for the hub! Voted up!


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