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How Much Canned Food to Feed a Dog?

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Dr. Jamie Whittenburg, veterinarian director at SeniorTailWaggers.com and Kingsgate Animal Hospital, says how much canned food to feed a dog per day is based on kilocalories (kcals), the scientific term for a measurement of food. This is how pet food calories are measured. Each can of food, or bag of kibble, will have a recommended daily feeding guide.

If you have never fed canned food to your dog, you may wonder whether the same calorie counting guidelines apply to wet food versus dry food. While breed, age, health, activity level, pregnancy and nursing affect the amount of food your dog should be getting, there are some general guidelines you can follow when it comes to feeding canned food, starting with reading the back of the can of food for the company’s recommendations, just as you would for kibble.

How to calculate how much canned food to feed a dog

If you’re concerned about your dog’s weight or other activity levels, the Basic Calorie Calculator from the Ohio State University, gives you a more in-depth look into how much food your dog should have daily.

The chart calculates your dog’s resting energy requirements, multiplied by factors, such as life stage and current weight, to determine the appropriate amount of calories a dog needs per day.

For example, a Jack Russell Terrier and a Miniature Poodle are both about the same size, but their activities levels vary, which puts them in different categories for energy exertion and calorie intake.

Is there a standard amount of canned food to feed a dog?

No, the number of calories each dog needs is different. Dr. Whittenburg notes that though the calorie calculator is the most accurate method of determining your dog’s daily food intake, it will not be perfect for every dog, similar to the general feeding guidelines on the can, and modifications may need to be made. Because of this, he recommends asking your veterinarian for help. Come prepared with the number of kcal per cup for your dog’s food so your vet can do the math.

How does mixing canned and dry dog foods affect calorie count?

It doesn’t matter if you are mixing canned, dry, pouched or even homemade food, explains Dr. Whittenburg. All that matters is the total number of kcal per day. When you mix foods, add the two kcal amounts together to make sure you aren’t going over your dog’s allotted amount.

As a final note: Treats fed between meals count towards your dog’s daily kcal. To keep your dog at a healthy weight, factor in those treats when deciding how much canned food to feed your dog each day.

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