Skip to content
Previous article
Now Reading:
How much food to feed your dog

How much food to feed your dog

Is your dog its ideal weight?

One of the most common questions that we get is about how much food to feed your dog. Some of you are worried (especially the Italians ;-) that your dog will be too skinny or on the other side of the spectrum – overweight, and looking like a night table because he or she ate too much. 

One of the leading causes of obesity in dogs is dry, processed food because it is not species-appropriate and has a large number of calories are packed into a small volume of kibbles. Dogs like to eat until they feel full and their calorie intake is often too high. This is why so many dogs fed processed food look like four-legged night tables and are far from their optimal weight, whereas their natural raw or cooked diet-fed counterparts often look lean and healthy.

Recently, one of my readers, Francesca, asked me on Facebook what her dog’s RER –  resting energy requirement was. Then I thought: “I never count my RER and keep myself in good shape. Nature never intended dogs to calculate their RER." I recalled the boring course in nutrition at the veterinary college where we used to calculate RER for cows, while in reality, all we needed to do was to let them onto the pasture and allow them to graze.

In my opinion, RER is mainly used by processed pet food companies whose so-called scientific methods are meant to distract us while they sell us nutritionally inappropriate, processed food junk.

So here I am, writing this blog for all those dogs who could have a better and happier life and everyone who wants to calculate less and understand more. I also give my thanks to Francesca for encouraging me to write something that I should have written a long time ago.

So, when the question of how much to feed your dog comes up,

All you need to know is:
  • How much food your dog needs to start with
  • How to recognize if your dog is thin or overweight
  • How much to adjust your dog's food
  • When to re-evaluate how much you're feeding your dog

If you are feeding processed food, I urge you to reconsider. Recently, I witnessed a sad example of what happens when your dog becomes a victim of processed food. I have now been recommending natural raw or cooked diets for dogs for more than 20 years and it has become very obvious that pet food companies don’t tell us the 'whole' food truth.

Quite some time ago, I met this really nice 10-year-old lab and his owner in a park. Let's call him Barley. I learned that Barley had heart disease. He required a $5,000 surgery to remove his spleen and some huge tumours on his shoulder. It broke my heart to see that Barley wanted to play with my dog Skai, but could hardly move. I learned from his owner that he was fed Pedigree because a vet told him that a raw diet was unsafe. The owner asked me if Skai was three years old. "He is going to be 10 this summer," I replied.

If you are already feeding your dog raw or cooked natural food, it will be easy to follow my recommendations. If you intend to continue feeding dried food, read on anyway as most of the information is universal. 

[[advertisement product="raw-diet-ad" /]]

How much food does your dog need to start with

Here is an example: A dog that weighs 50 lbs should get approximately 500 grams of food consisting of 3/4 meat (including raw bones and organs) and 1/4 vegetables. 

Here is the simple formula I use:

Body Weight (lbs) x 10 = total amount in grams to feed.

So, for a 50 pound dog, this will give you a total of 500 grams of food per day in one or two feedings per day. If your dog is a small or more active breed, or thin, you may need to feed more, sometimes up to two times as much, and then adjust up or down by 20 - 30% based on how they do on that amount over a two to four week period.

Here is a conversion chart for ounces to grams. 

31 879
32 907
33 936
34 964
35 992
36 1021
37 1049
38 1077
39 1106
765 57 1616
793 58 1644
822 59 1673
850 60 1701

To evaluate your dog’s body weight, feel the ribs, touch the hips, is going to be your mantra.

Just follow this chart for simplicity and adjust your dog's food amount accordingly.

Feeding Guide for Dogs

If you follow this simple chart, your dog is very likely to be a healthy weight. However, there are some medical conditions that may contribute to obesity. Don’t forget to count in any food, including treats and bones, that your dog eats. Bones have a very similar calorie density to meat. 

And if you are still not sure how much food to feed your dog, our Healthy Recipe Maker for Dogs can help do all the math for you 🤓. 

About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

Most Popular

  • Flying with dogs
    In my article, I share the personal story of how I'm able to fly with my dog, Pax, thanks to overcoming challenges with sleepwalking and night terrors. This unique experience not only allowed me to travel with my service dog but also serves as a reminder that even difficult situations can have positive outcomes.
  • dog and pony
    Successful communication is essential for building healthier and more fulfilling relationships and happier lives. In this article, I'll share with you 8 communication hacks to help you avoid unnecessary drama, prioritize active listening and address conflicts effectively.
  • Dalmatian eating fruit
    Can dogs eat bananas, apples, strawberries and other fruit? What about grapes? Find out what fruits are safe, toxic, and healthy for dogs. Learn about the potential health benefits and risks of feeding fruit to your canine companion, and get tips on the ideal time to feed it.
  • Illustration of the anatomy of a heart
    As dog lovers, we all want our beloved pups to live long and healthy lives. Protecting your dog's heart from potential health issues is important, and in this blog Dr. Dobias shares some key points that you might not yet be aware of, read on to find out what you can do to keep your dog's heart safe. 

Dog Health

  • Husky lying on blanket with heart toy
    Dogs have our hearts and that is why we need to protect their heart. Dog’s as they age often face muscle problems and spinal misalignment and you might be surprised to know how that can hurt their heart. Learn how to protect your dog’s spine and by extension their heart.
  • The secret ingredient for a perfect No. 2
    Dogs and humans have evolved side-by-side but they are still quite different when it comes to their digestive tracts and dietary habits. We have studied their original environments such as the soils of the African savanna and consulted with top experts in the field of probiotics and microbiology to come up with a combination that reflects healthy bacterial flora of canines.
  • Man being pointed at
    Criticism can hurt a brand, but constructive feedback can help it grow. In this blog Dr. Dobias talks about the differences between these approaches, and how to handle the power of influence and opinion with care. 
  • Broccoli with vitamins and minerals
    Are you worried that your and your dog's diet is missing something? Maybe you're worried about toxin levels in food, the environment, or flea and tick products. Let's face it; we can't remove ourselves entirely from our toxin-filled world, but we can do things to reduce our exposure to harmful substances. 

Human health

  • Dr. Dobias with Pax
    How do you navigate the seas of life? How do you deal with disappointment? Whatever life throws at us, we can always rely on our dogs to bring joy into our days. In this blog I share my thoughts on the support our dogs provide during the difficult moments in life. 
  • Why 1 in 4 Americans suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
    Learn more about the alarming prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) affecting 1 in 4 Americans. Discover its main risk factors, diagnosis methods, and treatment options to better manage or prevent this silent yet severe condition. 
  • A new perspective on brain health, memory loss, Alzheimer's Disease, and dementia in people and dogs
    The Science of DHA and the Brain: Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily DHA, are the unsung heroes of brain health. They play crucial roles in brain physiology and biological activities, with exciting links between Omega-3 levels and cognitive function. Higher DHA levels have been shown to preserve the integrity of the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), your brain's security system
  • Dr. Dobias and Pax
    It appears that most of the world is ready for change, but whenever I think about the solutions to any of the problems that plague our world, I can’t prevent myself from thinking that we humans are acting like little toddlers who have broken a toy and do not know how to fix it. Despite my generally optimistic attitude, I have had a hard time staying positive at times because I know how complex this all is. Read here for some tools that make me feel good about the world, which I would like to share with you.

News, stories and good life

  • Dr. Peter Dobias with his dog Pax on his lap
    Do you have trouble staying positive during difficult times? These days we are surrounded by a lot of negative messaging, and it's easy to let that get you down. Here are some of my tips for remaining positive, and don't forget to share your tips with me!
  • Man raising fist on a mountain
    Most of us have been exposed to panic-inducing information about the virus spread, however, I have noticed the general absence of one piece of information, how to make your immune system stronger and body more resilient. (It will definitely not happen by stockpiling toilet paper!) I have always loved immunology and the current situation has prompted me to put together two simple lists on how to increase your dog’s and your own immunity.
  • Man with dog wearing a collar
    Does your dog have ear problems, nasal or oral tumors, reverse sneezing or an  itchy head or hair loss on their head? Learn how you can address some of these problems and save thousands in vet care costs.
  • Terrier eating raw food
    Now there is no need to guess if there is something missing in your dogs diet.  The HairQ Test is a highly accurate test for mineral deficiencies, toxins and heavy metals in dogs to finely tune your dog’s diet and supplement schedule.



Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping