Comparative Analysis: How Much Food Dogs Need

Updated: February 1, 2018 at 6:04 pm, Author: Alice

A dog’s nutritional needs is one of the most often overlooked, yet serious issues that affect pet owners and their pets alike. It is common for people to assume that a dog will eat when it is hungry and will stop when it is full. So the issue of how much food different dogs need rarely come up, and are rarely addressed.

Like humans (or most animals for that matter), the amount of food a dog will need will depend on a number of factors, with the two major factors being their age and their size. This is further made complex by the fact that different breeds will sometimes have different eating habits.

Large Puppies

Great care must be taken when it comes to puppies, especially for those that belong to a large breed. They need to be fed food that are not energy dense and contain slightly lower levels of calcium and phosphorous. This is meant to help prevent developmental orthopedic diseases, which are common among pups that become so heavy, so fast, that their own bones and musculature suffer under the weight.

Small Puppies

Puppies eating from one big bowl

Small breed puppies are not without their own diet considerations, as their small bodies burn energy fast. If they are not fed enough calories on a frequent basis, it can lead to hypoglycemia-which in turn lead to weakness, seizures, and even death.

Adult Dogs

The different dietary needs between small and large dogs continue well into adulthood. Adult dogs that are small will require less calories per pound compared to adult dogs that are big. A good example, though not exact, is that a hundred pound dog may require almost 2,250 calories on a daily basis just to maintain its health, whereas a dog that only weighs ten pounds will only require 400 calories per day.

The underlying math here is that small dogs need 40 calories per pound due to their faster metabolism, while large dogs only need 22.5 calories per pound to maintain their healthy weight. This difference is also affected by their differently-sized stomachs, as a small dog’s small stomach can only carry so much food and thus will require more dense food. This applies to treats as well, where you want treats that have the right amount of energy. Bully sticks work so well in this regard, since they are made from actual, natural beef and so are heavy with the nutrients that a dog needs, while also in the size that make them easy to manage. They can be bought in bulk and stored, which makes things cheaper.

Aging Dogs

The difference in size between dogs and its effects on their diet continues well into their twilight years. Small breeds usually live longer and have higher dietary levels of antioxidants, which make them much less prone to the deterioration that comes with age. This is why large breed dogs are more likely to suffer from arthritis when they reach old age.

This difference leads to older large breed dogs requiring food that contain ingredients such as chondoitin sulfate and glucosamine, which promote joint health. Large dogs that have reached senior age will also benefit from food that have antioxidants. While old small dogs can benefit from food that promote joint health as well, their reduced risk of arthritis means that it is better to tweak their diets in order to address their other health concerns.

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