How Much Food to Feed my Dog (quick answer)

If I finish my supper, can I have a cookie?

Is my dog eating enough…too much…? It can be confusing! Figure out how much food your dog needs by starting with this basic rule, and then adjusting it over time, as needed.

How much food to feed your dog goes mostly by his size.  Rule of thumb: toy dogs need up to 1/2 cup; small dogs, 3/4c.- 1 1/2c.; medium dogs, 1 3/4c. – 2 1/2c.; and large dogs, 3 – 4 1/2c..

That’s the quick answer, and a good starting point; but you’ll need to fine-tune it for your particular dog. Don’t worry – It’s not hard, and dogs are very flexible (warning: dogs tend to hit you up for more food than they need, especially goodies).  Read on, to learn how to figure out the right amount.

What the Experts Say about How Much to Feed a Dog

How many times a day should a dog eat?

Traditionally, dogs get one big meal a day. I was even told this, when I adopted my first greyhound. Drs. Llera and Downing, however, share a different perspective on this:

Because dogs have a simple stomach structure, once the stomach is filled with food, it will empty within a few hours as food moves into the small intestine. After 8 to 10 hours, an empty stomach begins to send signals to the brain stimulating a hunger response. For this reason, at least two meals per day are best for your dog. Imagine if you only got to eat breakfast each day, and that was it! Regular, routine feeding times allow your dog’s body to be prepared for the food it will receive. It is not recommended to keep the bowl filled and allow grazing.”

Ryan Llera, DVM, and Robin Downing,DVM

How do I know if my dog is hungry?

The problem here is that dogs seem to always be hungry!  Veterinarian Patty Khuly helps us sort this out:

… it can be hard to know exactly when we, as humans, are truly hungry and when we are not… Nonetheless, I’m convinced it’ll help a certain percentage of pet owners to know that a) food-solicitous behavior doesn’t always equate to hunger, b) “hungry” is a universally difficult-to-interpret concept in the context of our culture, and c) they’re not alone.”

Dr. Patty Khuly VMD

Is my dog eating too much?

Increasingly, it seems like I see more obese dogs than those of a healthy weight. One used to notice it when the dog started getting fat; but now our fat dogs don’t seem to stand out among everyone else’s chubby pups. 

Dr. Jennifer Coates gives sound advice on getting a reality check on your pet’s weight:

take your dog to the vet. Get your dog weighed, have the vet give him a physical examination, and talk about whether or not the amount of food you’re currently serving is appropriate.”

Jennifer Coates, DVM

How much to feed greyhound?

A good starting point for a newly-adopted greyhound is one cup of food, twice a day (so, 2c. daily).  Males tend to eat a bit more. 

A greyhound’s system is easily upset by any change in routine, so breaking up his daily food into two, or even three, portions is often more agreeable to his digestion.

Do dogs know when they’re full?

For both sexes, the amount they eat tends to taper off as they age.  If your dog has been eating the same amount for years, and he starts consistently leaving a bit, he is trying to tell you something. Try cutting his portion down by that amount, and see what happens. 

How Much to Feed a Dog: Tips

Training treats count as part of your dog’s daily food, too

Resources for Further Exploration 

n. b. – Shopping links in this article help to support this website, but at no charge to you.  Thank you. 

By Gail McGaffigan

The owner of the Greyhound Homecare website and YouTube channel, Gail has had retired racing greyhounds as pets since 1997. Please visit our channel, too!