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How Much Homemade Food Should I Feed My Dog?

This may be the most asked question I get. How much homemade food should I feed my dog? It’s a thing that dog owners will struggle with if they are new to cooking homemade food. So, I’m going to give you an easy step by step formula to determine exactly how much homemade food to feed your dog.

If you are looking for homemade dog food recipes to start your fresh food journey with your fur baby, check out some of John John’s favorite recipes like Chicken Dinner Recipe for Dogs, Beef Liver Dinner Recipe for Dogs, or Chicken and Pumpkin Dinner for Dogs.

chicken and pumpkin dinner for dogs

How much homemade dog food should I feed my dog?

When preparing homemade food for your dog, you are probably wondering how much homemade dog food to feed your dog. You don’t want to over feed because your dog can gain weight and you don’t want under feed because your dog can be hungry! You need that perfect balance to keep your dog healthy, happy, and full — just like you do for yourself.

Just like with humans, all dogs are a little different. And food will depend on their age, activity level, and current weight. You will have to adjust for all three of these things throughout their life, so the amount of food may vary during different life phases, just like with yourself.

The best way to figure out the perfect amount of food for your dog is to test it, just like you would for yourself. The only difference being your dog will probably not tell you when they are full — though, they might! It depends on your dog, just like some people will eat even if they are full and some will not.

How Much Homemade Food to Feed Your Dog

Your dog should be getting anywhere from 2% to 5% of their total body weight in homemade food. If your dog is smaller, they could even need more! Dogs weighing 20 pounds or less can require a higher percentage of food per their body weight, with some needing as much as 10%. 

chicken and pumpkin dinner for dogs

How do you calculate how much homemade food to feed your dog?

So, first you need to decide what percentage of body weight you want to go off for your dog. Take these factors into consideration when choosing. If your dog is small, you know you’ll be higher. If your dog is a puppy, go higher. If your dog is very active, go higher, and if your dog is not very active, then go lower. If your dog is trying to lose weight, go lower. And if your dog is trying to gain weight go higher. 

Now, all of this can be adjusted any day and anytime! If you went high because your dog was trying to put on weight, and they did, then maybe go a bit lower for their maintenance weight. If your dog is trying to loose weight and they did, then maybe stay where you are and see if they gain or lose, and adjust from there. If your dog is a runner with you, they may need more! You get the idea. 

So, this is not set in stone. Just like for humans, the amount of food you eat per day can drastically change depending on your needs.

Formula for How Much Homemade Dog Food to Feed Your Dog

Your Dog’s Current Weight x % of Their Total Body Weight = Total Pounds of Food Per Day 

For percentage of body weight, use the decimal, so 4% is .04. 

Let’s break this down using John John as an example. John John is 19 pounds, he’s fairly active, but also small. I aim for about 4% of his body weight in food. So, that formula looks like this:

19 x .04 = .76 pounds of food per day

I feed him about .76 pounds of food per day, split up between meals. I don’t count his treats, as those are treats. 

chicken and pumpkin dinner for dogs

How do you translate this into ounces?

If you want to take the total pounds and convert that to ounces so you can easily measure it out on a digital kitchen scale, then just multiply the total by 16 because there are 16 ounces in a pound. 

So, for John John that is: 

.76 x 16= 12.16 ounces of food per day

If I want to split that up between 2 meals that is 6.08 ounces of food per meal. And if I split it up between 4 meals, that’s 3.04 ounces of food per meal. So, depending on how many meals your dog eats, you can split it up any way you like. 

Having a digital kitchen scale is key for feeding your dog homemade food as it really helps to measure accurately, especially if you are needing to watch your weight for your dog. 

I hope this helps you feel confident in making homemade food for your dog! It’s really very simple, and once you get the hang of it, it’s just as easy as cooking food for yourself. 

Is feeding homemade food better for your dog?

Feeding your dog homemade food is a great way to boost your dog's health and wellness. Commercially made kibble is the equivalent of fast food or junk food for humans. You wouldn't feed yourself your children fast food or junk food for their entire lives, right? So think about it like that for your dog! If you do switch to real homemade food for your dog, you may even notice your dog can eat more and not gain weight. Or they can eat about the same as before and lose weight. Why is this? It's the same reason why humans who stop eating processed foods and stick to real whole foods can easily lose weight, it's the same exact thing for your dog!

If you can't cook all your dogs meals, even just making homemade food part of their weekly menu will drastically improve their health and well being. However much homemade food you can do for your dog will be a benefit! So, if you can do one recipe a week and they eat that up and then continue dog food again until Sunday, then they will still benefit! It's not all or nothing for dogs, they can switch back and forth, and the more real whole foods they can eat, the better health they will have. If you want additional help learning how to feed your dog homemade, I am a Dog Food Coach, just email me at hello@mimisorganiceats.com if you'd like to work together.

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