Linda Arndt ~ Canine Nutritional Consultant

Amounts To Feed


If you have a puppy that is under 6 months of age, you should make the feeding transition quickly so as not to disrupt their growth patterns. This should be done in 3 meals or less using the Precise or Precise Plus line of foods. I like the Precise Canine Adult Formula or Precise Super Premium Foundation formula, both support growth very well.

Puppies: Start with 50% old food and 50% new food and sprinkle your Probiotics on top of the food to smooth transition. The Probiotics can be BakPakPlus, 4 in 1 Probiotics or Filling N The Wholes. And make the transition over by the third or fourth meal.

Adults: start with 25% new and 75% old food and use probiotics but take 2-3 days to move over to new food totally.

Using The Chart

GIANT BREEDS - Dogs maturing over 100 lbs or more at 18 months.

This chart is base the assumption that a dog may be crated or less active during the day while the owner is at work. Use this guideline to help prevent growth diseases in puppies ( HOD). The most sensitive time for growth problems is from 2 months - 6 months of age, with the most common being 11-16 weeks of age. Giants (Danes, Newfies, Pyers, Irish Wolfhounds etc.).

On the chart below, start with the low end amounts (females) and on males use the mid-range amounts. They should not be fed at the high end amount until they are in the at least 1/2 way through the month. Example:
If your female puppy is 10 weeks old she would be on 3 cups a day of kibble divided into 2 feedings.

  1. GIANTS - start females on the low end amounts on chart and males on the mid range amounts.
  2. They should not be at the high amount until they are in the at least 1/2 way through to being another month older.

Example: a 17 week old female Dane should be eating approximately 4 cups a day divided into two meals - maximum 5 cups a day divided. A Dane male at 17 weeks should be eating 5 cups a day divided, maximum 6 cups a day divided.

2 months or 8 weeks = 2-4 cups per day - (divided into 3 meals daily)
3 months or 12 weeks = 3-5 cups per day - (divided into 2 meals daily)
4 months or 16 weeks = 4-6 cups per day - (divided into 2 meals daily)
5 months or 20 weeks = 5-7 cups per day - (divided into 2 meals daily
6 months or 24 weeks = 6-8 cups per day - (divided into 2 meals daily)
7 months 6-9 cups per day - (divided into 2 meals daily)
8 months..... 6-9 cups per day - (divided into 2 meals daily)
9 months..... 7-10 cups per day- (divided into 2 meals daily)
10 - 12 months....7-10 cups per day - (divided into 2 meals daily)

12 -18 months males - 8-10 cups a day (divided into 2 meals daily)
12 -18 month females -6-9 cups a day (divided into w meals daily


LARGE BREEDS - Dogs that mature between 45 - 99 lbs.

Greyhounds,Labs, Boxers, Collies, Goldens, Shepherds, Dobes, Rotties etc., should be fed the low end amounts on chart up to 5 months, then at 5 months and up they tend to hold around 5-7 cups of food, unlike the giant breeds - so hold in this range of 5-7 cups -increase or decrease according to activity levels. You want them well covered, but with the last rib showing slightly.

2 months 2-4 cups per day - (divided into 3 meals daily)
3 months 3-5 cups per day - (divided into 2 meals daily)
4 months 4-6 cups per day - (divided into 2 meals daily)
5 months 5-7 cups per day - (divided into 2 meals daily)

6 months and up 5-8 cups per day - (divided into 2 meals daily)

This is a general guideline so they do not consume too many calories before 6 months of age, disrupting their growth patterns causing accelerated growth and potential bone problems.

Keep the puppy lean, but not skinny. A dog with a smooth coat, I want to just barely see the last rib if the dog is standing. That is the perfect weight for growth. If he is too lean, feed 1/2- 1 cup more per day. You have plenty of time to get muscle on them as the mature - show people are the worst at wanting them heavy to get them in the show ring. Just relax, you can't force an acorn to become and Oak tree over night.

NOTE: If your puppies seems absolutely starved on these amounts you can add a little more food as long as their legs don't start to turn left/right or bow out..or you can a homemade veggie soup component to the diet and it will not add too many calories.

Linda's Very Veggie Soup

2 large cans of chicken or beef broth - (low sodium or homemade) - NO MEAT . Add LOTS of veggies - carrots, green beans, wax beans, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and couple cloves of garlic. The idea is to use this as the filler so you want it to be hearty and filling.


Why do they go off feed?

For a couple of reasons - Hormones play a big role in your dog backing off their food - coming into season, the false pregnancy, teething around 5-7 months of age, and inactivity all have a hand in them backing off eating. Food consumption can be directly related to the amount of free exercise your dog gets on a daily basis. I have 2 Great Danes at home right now, 3 and 4 yrs of age - intact male and spayed female. Normally, the female at 125# eats 5 cups total a day divided AM and PM. The male is 165# and in good weight on 6 - 7 cups a day.

A pet owner writes:

"If we try to offer more food, it just gets left behind and they don't eat all of it."

As long as your dog is not running a fever, lethargic, vomiting, distressed or has diarrhea and you KNOW they are not sick, then it is normal for them to back off on their feed regardless of weather. This is natures way of telling you they do not need it - regardless of their weight, they are eating a nutrient dense diet and they need to take a break from it. Remember, in the wild, dogs would never eat on a daily basis, so they are telling you.."Mom, I don't need it - take it away!". They are not usually food driven like people who eat for a variety of other reasons; celebrations, misery, nervousness, pleasure etc. ...well, that is most dogs aren't. My Pug on the other hand, well that is another story!

How I Handle This:

Every week on one day I cut back on the amount by 1/2 cup each meal or 1 cup per day total - IF THIS IS A DOG THAT SELF REGULATES INTAKE and starts walking away from their food you may have to do this more frequently. My male is like clockwork...once a week he turns his up his nose and I would have to throw out half his food, if I didn't cut back once a week...then the next day he is ready to eat again.

Weather is a Factor:

Right now is July and we are in the heat of the summer (Indiana) which means humidity and horseflies, so my dogs are only out long enough to do their "business" a few times a day, then they come right back in the house until the sun sets.

Although they live in an in air-conditioned environment my male will drop down from 7 cups a day total to eating only 5 cups a day total --- and female will normally eat 6 cups a day total, will drop down to only 4 cups a day total consumption. This is because they do not get the free exercise they would normally get in good weather, so their intake is directly related to the enegy they expend. Less exercise means they need less food intake.

The only real exercise they get in the dead of summer is at night when the sun goes down, out the go to play. Their actual expenditure of calories is not as great in the heat or the dead of winter for that matter because of the decrease in exercise - so if you just remember that their intake is directly related to how much exercise they get you will realize you need to cut back at certain times.

If you don't remember they will let you know..they will walk away from their food. During this kind of weather it is not at all unusual for my males to eat half rations, by his own choice, for about 3 days, then back on full rations. This tells me he did not need the calories due to the fact that he is not expending much energy in extreme weather.


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