Not only does the age of your dog affect when and the amount he eats, but the breed type and size do as well. For example, there are dogs that love to eat and often over eat. Then there are ones that do not require a lot of food to function like Siberian Huskies, who know when to stop. But what about small dogs, and how often should they eat? That’s what we’re here to answer today.
How Often Should They be Fed?
Puppies will need their meals spread out into 3-4 portions throughout the day. This has a lot to do with their size and the amount of calories they burn. The same concept carries over to small dogs, who remain small in stature even as they mature.
You can adopt the same feeding schedule as you would a puppy. Small dogs burn energy much faster than larger breeds so aim for around 3-4 separate meals a day. Depending on your dog’s age, health and weight, how many times to feed him may vary so you should check natural balance dog food reviews for more details.
Your vet should have a good idea about how often to feed your dog and can help you come up with a suitable feeding schedule.
How Much Do They Need?
Now that we know how often they should eat, we then need to discuss how much small dogs should eat. It’s very easy to overfeed your fur baby, especially when he’s looking at his food longingly. As a pet parent, we advise you to remain steadfast and don’t give into their puppy dog eyes.
Overfeeding your dog can lead to health concerns such as obesity and high blood pressure among other ailments. Since you are feeding frequent meals, you should also decrease the amount based on your small breed’s weight. There is no need to fill his bowl to the brim every time if he’s going to eat again in a couple of hours.
Depending on the dog food of your choice and your pet’s weight, there will be different portion recommendations. Once you have calculated the exact amount of calories your dog should consume in a day, divide that portion by 3 or 4 (depending on how many meals you feed).
Remember that as your dog ages, his need for calorie intake will also decrease. Knowing that, the portion you feed your small breed from puppyhood to adulthood and into his senior years will vary.
What to Feed a Small Breed Dog
If you’re stumped on what to feed your small breed dog and are debating between brands, then you will be happy to know that there are a ton of dog food companies out there that develop size-specific formulas.
Sometimes you will even be able to find breed-specific dog food. For example, there is a wide variety of suitable dog food for pugs that can also benefit other small breeds.
Small dogs do well with kibble, but we will say we have also experienced more picky eaters in small breeds. If this is the case for your canine, a good way to get him to eat his food is with food toppers. There are dehydrated raw dog food toppers you can find available or you can use wet dog food.
Keep in mind that if food toppers are added, they will take up a portion of your dog’s daily food and calorie intake. This means you should decrease the amount of kibble you feed to offset this.
Another important factor to remember is to feed your dog age-appropriate food. A puppy should eat puppy food and when he grows into his full size, which is around 6-10 months for a small breed, you should switch to adult food.
Puppy food is more nutrient-rich compared to adult food. If it isn’t swapped out when your dog matures, there is more risk of him gaining unnecessary weight. The same goes for when your dog is around 7 years old. At this age he enters into his senior years and will need senior dog food and maybe even supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin to help with joint protection and lubrication.
There are a few things that not every dog owner knows when it comes to feeding. There is a difference between a picky eater and a dog that is full. If your dog eats only a portion of his meal and he’s not usually picky, then there is a good chance he is full.
You can also adopt a free-feeding method, which means you leave out his entire day’s meal and let him eat when he is hungry. Some breeders and dog owners feel that this may not be the best way to teach your dog the scarcity of food and lead to pickier eating, while others believe this helps relieve food guarding and feeding aggression.
Dogs are all different and they respond to training and feeding methods differently. What works for one dog may not work for yours, so get to know your pup before attempting a certain way of feeding.
The free-feeding method is not recommended for dogs who love to eat. There are some fur babies out there that don’t really know when to stop, which will lead to them devouring the food right away and whine for more for the rest of the day. Dogs like this are more suited to portion controlled feeding methods.
For those of you that like to supplement your dog’s diet and use treats as positive reinforcement, don’t forget to incorporate that into your dog’s daily calorie limit. If you have specific questions about how many treats you should feed your dog a day, the person who is most knowledgeable of your pooch’s specific needs is your vet.
Small dogs need smaller meals spread throughout the day. Their smaller bodies make them burn through calories much faster than larger breeds, which is why they need more frequent feedings. The only thing to be aware of is not to overfeed small breeds as they can also gain weight easily and put undue strain on their joints.