What is the best way to measure my dog’s food each day?

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Every dog is different, so there is no such thing as “one size fits all.” The feeding instructions on the bag of dog food are simply general guidelines.

Here’s another problem: Feeding the proper amount also depends upon many factors, including the dog’s metabolism, activity level, life stage, health, breed, gender and more.

Please have a thorough discussion with your veterinarian or pet nutrition expert about your dog’s daily food portions. You also need to be educated about what a healthy dog should look like. For instance, your dog may look too skinny to you, when he is actually healthy and lean.

One good way to test is the Body Composition System from Purina which many veterinarians use. Look at your pet from all angles, side and top. The pet should have a “waistline” and you should be able to feel the ribs. Run your hand over the pet’s back and you should feel the spine.

Another method is to use a dog food calculator. These online tools are similar to the human version that measures the Basal Metabolic Rate. Enter your dog’s weight and it will give you the approximate amount you should feed her, with the appropriate disclaimers.

In order to use the dog food calculator, you must know your dog’s exact weight. To weigh her:

• You can purchase a pet scale in most pet stores or online; the cost is anywhere from $100 and up. Please note, however, many require the dog to be picked up so she may not like that—or the dog may just be too large for you to carry. There are also digital models but, again, your pet will need to sit still.
• An easy method — use your own scale and first weight yourself without the dog. Then weigh yourself holding the dog. Subtract the two numbers.
• Easiest yet, ask your veterinarian to weigh your dog for you!

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