Feeding Your Adult Dog FAQ
WebMD veterinary experts answer commonly asked questions about creating a food and nutrition plan for your adult dog.
What are some guidelines for checking whether my dog is too lean, just right, or overweight?
Body condition ranges from emaciated to obese.
An adult dog is emaciated if its ribs, vertebrae, and pelvic bones are
easily visible from a distance. Chronically underfed dogs or dogs fed
unbalanced diets may develop osteoporosis and are more susceptible to parasites and bacterial
infections. They also may lack the energy for working or for nursing
An adult dog is considered in moderate condition if you can feel its ribs
easily and see its waist when looking down at its back. You should also be able
to see an abdominal tuck when looking from the side.
A dog is overweight if it’s difficult to feel its ribs or see its waist or
abdominal tuck. It will have visible fat deposits on its back and the base of
its tail. Fat dogs are more likely to develop diabetes and
What should I do if my dog is overweight?
Give less food or switch to a low-calorie dog food. Cut out any table scraps
and high-calorie treats, such as dog biscuits.
Look for high-fiber, low-calorie treats instead. Make sure your dog isn’t
eating food intended for other pets in the house. Your veterinarian can help
you calculate the exact amount of food to give your dog when starting a weight
loss plan. It’s important to not give too much food or your dog won’t lose
weight. But it is equally important to give enough, or your dog can lose weight
too quickly and become sick.
How often should my adult dog eat?
Most pet owners prefer feeding an adult dog twice a day, although a dog can
eat just once daily. Giving two meals a day may make it easier for the dog to
digest the food and helps control hunger.
How much protein and fat does my dog need?
An adult dog needs at least 10% of its daily calories from protein and a
minimum of 5.5% from fats. An adult dog’s diet can contain up to 50%
carbohydrates, including 2.5% to 4.5% percent fiber.