How much dry food to give a dog per day

Dog Food

Using dry dog food is very convenient – no wonder many dog owners choose this method of feeding. But a dog’s diet based on dry nutritious pellets must be prepared according to the rules – in particular, a certain amount must be respected so that the animal does not starve or suffer from obesity. How many grams of dry food to give the dog per day is not an easy question because the dog’s size is taken into account and several other factors.

What the daily portion size depends on

While one dog out of two eats dry food, not all owners know how to calculate their dog’s dry food allowance correctly. Yet, calculating his daily allowance is essential for his health because overfeeding can lead to obesity, and being overweight can lead to other serious problems. 

How much dry food to give a dog per day

The recommended daily allowance for a particular food item is usually listed on the food package. However, quite often, they are significantly overstated because the manufacturers can not consider all the features of your pet. Therefore, inexperienced dog breeders often consult cytologists and veterinarians.

How much dry food a dog needs per day depends on the following factors:

  • The pet’s breed;
  • weight and size characteristics;
  • lifestyle (where the pet lives, how many times it walks, presence of physical activity)
  • The age of the pet;
  • physiological condition (pregnancy or lactation, recovery from illness or surgery, etc.)
  • health status (presence of chronic diseases).

Thus, it is necessary to gather all the individual information about the animal before calculating its daily food allowance. It is better if the owner and the veterinarian choose dry food. Remember that you should never overfeed your dog. It’s perfectly normal for a dog to be hungry during the day, which means he has had a good meal. Excessive satiety only harms the four-legged dog.

In general, the average dry food allowance for an adult dog should amount to 200 to 900 grams per day, depending on his weight and activities. In this case, you should feed your dog twice a day. Puppies are fed somewhat differently – they are provided more often, dividing the daily portion into 3 to 6 meals.

How many times a day a dog is fed

The frequency depends directly on the age of the animal. Puppies are allocated shorter intervals between feedings and a more significant number of meals. 


From the age of three weeks, puppies begin to be accustomed to solid food. The number of feedings reaches 5-6 times a day.

When the puppy is two months old, the feedings are reduced to 3-4, after six months of age to 2. Depending on their physical condition, one-year-old animals and older are fed twice a day.


Feeding an adult dog is carried out twice a day – in the morning and in the evening. It is necessary to observe a strict interval between meals – 12 hours – and not to shift it in any way. The regime can be broken if it is required to fast before tests or surgery.

Pregnant females increase the frequency of feedings only in extreme cases – usually, an increase in portion size is enough.

Three to six times a day is fed to adult dogs if they are on a diet to treat a severe illness. Then, when the pet feels better, it is transferred to the usual two meals a day.

How much dry food to give a dog per day
How many times a day a dog is fed

How much food a dog needs per day: Tables

To find out for yourself how much dry food your dog needs per day, you can use the chart to tell you how many calories you need per day. And you’ll need to know the energy content of the food you’ve chosen, as shown on its packaging.

And watch out that premium and holistic puppies are more energy-dense and need less than your average economy breed.

Puppies – How much food a puppy needs per day

How much dry food to give a dog per day
How much dry food a puppy needs per day

To correctly calculate the amount of food for the little ones, you’ll need to know their weight and caloric content of food. Approximate figures per 1 kg of weight can be seen in the table below.

Puppy age (in months)A daily rate of kcal per 1 kg of weight in gramsQuantity of feed (in grams per 1 kg of body weight)
Up to 1220-25015-20
8-12100-130Used calculation for adult animals
Puppy Nutrition Calculation Chart

Small dogs will have smaller portions than puppies of larger breeds.

For small breed adults – How much dry food а small breed adults needs per day

How much dry food to give a dog per day
How much dry food а small breed adults needs per daytime

The daily allowance for adults of small breeds (up to 15 kg) is 300-400 g of food if you’re giving the economy class and 150-300 g if you’re giving the premium or holistic.

Dog weight, kgAmount of feed in normal activity (grams per day)Amount of feed for high activity (grams per day)
Nutrition Calculation Chart For small breed adults

Dogs weighing 10 kg require 150-170 g with good exercise and play, while their less active littermates need 120-150 g. Afterward, the portion size should increase by 100 g for every 10 kg. For example, if an animal weighs 20 kg – he needs 250-270 grams of food per day, 30 kg – 350-370 g, etc.

Large Breed Adults – How much dry food large breed adults need per day

How much dry food to give a dog per day
How much dry food do large breed adults need per day

Large and giant breeds include dogs weighing 35-65 kg or more. Feed large animals a large amount of food – but it is not allowed to overfeed. The calculation is done according to the following table:

Dog weight, kgAmount of feed in normal activity (grams per day)Amount of feed for high activity (grams per day)
Nutrition Calculation Chart For Large breed adults

Giant breeds have a good appetite, but their metabolism is much slower than small breeds. This is why they have hearty but not overly calorie-dense foods.

Don’t ignore your dog’s individual needs. If you find your dog at the recommended levels on his food pack will cause him to gain too much weight, reduce his portions or cut back on one meal. If he eats more and asks for more, even though he’s losing weight, he increases his amount or switches to a higher calorie food.

Calculation of One Dog Food Serving

Knowing his daily food allowance allows you to quickly calculate how many pellets you should give him per meal.

How much dry food to give a dog per day
Example of calculating one serving of dog food in a measuring scoop

How to determine the weight of one serving of dry dog food

How to calculate the dog’s food allowance: Divide the daily food allowance by the number of feedings, two for adults. The amount of food per 1 kg body weight per day for an adult dog depends on the food’s breed, weight, and caloric content (see above).

Active animals, service dogs, or athletes need particular calculations, as pregnant and lactating animals do. To the usual amount of dry dog food, you should add about 1/3 of the serving size for working dogs and 1/4 for pregnant and lactating dogs. If the dog is elderly and inactive, the portion should be reduced by about 1/3rd.

How to measure the right weight

Dry food can’t precisely be measured without scales, so you should buy a kitchen scale if you want to know the ideal amount.

Manufacturers of some high-priced foods include measuring cups in the package, which can fill the desired portion. Remember, however, that such a container is only for that brand because all dry food pellets have different densities, sizes, and weights.

If you count only approximately, food can be poured into a 100-milliliter cup – you get about 240-250 grams. When buying food by weight, you can ask the retailer to divide the product into several portions equal to the daily food allowance. At home, you can divide it in half for breakfast and dinner.

How many times a day should puppies and adult dogs eat? In this short video

If you want to know quickly how often you should feed your dog, this 4 minute video from the AnimalWised channel tells it all.

Soaking the food

Unless the manufacturer specifies a limit on soaking, and this information is on the package, the food can be soaked. This is especially useful for older dogs, sick puppies, and puppies up to three months old.

For this purpose, you should half or a third of it with unboiled drinking water, heated to about 40 degrees Celsius. The puppy is sometimes added boiled milk. 

Soaked food does not keep for a long time – three hours maximum. Using it after a longer storage time is dangerous because it gets sour very quickly. Whether the dog eats dry or wet food, the norm is the same.

Drinking regimen when “dry feeding”

If the animal is fed only dry food, calculating the required daily amount of liquid is made according to the formula: 50 ml of water per kg of body weight. 

How much dry food to give a dog per day
Drinking regimen when dry feeding

Of course, it is not necessary to feed the dog at specific intervals. It should have free access to the drinker and meet its own needs. And the requirements may vary depending on many conditions: age, exercise, time of year, etc.

Water must always be clean and must be changed every day. If this is not possible, a unique automatic dog drinker may help. We shouldn’t use boiled water, preferably filtered or bottled water without gas. Raw water is strictly prohibited.

Why a pet is under or overfed

It’s not uncommon for miscalculated amounts of dog food to result in a pet getting less or more than its fair share. If he’s always begging for treats, it doesn’t always mean he’s hungry. Nevertheless, it is worth taking a closer look at the dog’s behavior. 

How much dry food to give a dog per day
Why the dog is underfed and wants more

A dog is not getting enough to eat if: 

  • he doesn’t want to leave the bowl after eating; 
  • He has brightly visible ribs, edges of shoulder blades, and pelvic bones, except for greyhounds; 
  • a thin layer of fat; 
  • the hunger pit (the depression on the sides just behind the ribs, in front of the pelvic bone) is quite noticeable. 

If a dog doesn’t eat enough food regularly, he will start to lose weight; there will be increased shedding, the coat will lose its shine, the pet will always be near its bowl or try to grab something somewhere (the instinct to feed itself will kick in). 

From these signs, you can understand that the dog is not getting enough nutrition and nutrients, so it is recommended to increase the portion. However, this should be done gradually, without adding a lot of food at once. Before doing so, make sure that the dog is not infested with worms.

If the pet does not finish the entire portion, leaving it in the bowl, and it becomes pretty noticeable the presence of fat on it, it is worth reducing the amount of food a little. After feeding, the bowl should remain in place for another 15 minutes. Then it would help if you took it away and did not give anything to the dog until the next feeding.

The portion size should be chosen so that the dog has enough energy to live everyday life, but it should not lead to overeating with obesity or starvation with exhaustion. Therefore, the dog can be weighed from time to time.

The issue of feeding is significant for any living creature—a properly fed dog and not overfed lives a whole and long life with excellent health.

This article is for guidance only. Please consult your veterinarian!

Rate article
Pet Food Assistant
Add a comment

  1. yes88


  2. Maureen James

    Very helpful thank you