Feeding Your Adult Dog FAQ
WebMD veterinary experts answer commonly asked questions about creating a food and nutrition plan for your adult dog.
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.
Are treats OK for dogs, and if so, what are healthy options?
Some 40% of dog owners give treats and snacks. Dog treats don’t have to
follow AAFCO standards for a complete and balanced diet, so veterinarians say
it’s best to limit them. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals recommends that no more than 5% of a dog’s calories should come from
treats. Wakshlag says, though, that up to 20% is OK.
If you’re going to feed treats, look for ones that are lower in calories or
low-fat, high-fiber to help guard against weight gain. Small pieces of raw
vegetables also make good treats. Try green beans, bell peppers, or thin pieces
Is table food appropriate for dogs?
An occasional nibble is OK. But, giving big chunks of steak fat, poultry skin, and other greasy
leftovers isn’t a good idea, Wakshlag tells WebMD. A sudden change in diet,
especially one involving a large amount of fat, could cause pancreatitis. If your dog is
overweight, stay away from table scraps. Also, if you don’t want your dog
hanging around the table at mealtimes, don't feed it scraps.
What do I need to know about dry, canned, and semi-moist dog foods?
Deciding which food is best for your dog depends on your pet and your
preferences. Dry dog food provides more nutrients per bite than other types of
food because it contains less moisture. That means you won’t have to feed as
much to satisfy a dog’s nutritional needs, making it the most practical choice
for a large dog.
Dry dog food also costs less per serving and can be left in a pet’s feeding
dish all day, unlike canned. Dogs with dental problems may benefit from
specially formulated dry food made for dental health, which can help decrease
periodontal disease by
massaging the teeth and gums.
Canned food contains 68% to 78% water. Because of the high moisture content,
such foods usually contain more meat, seafood, or poultry than dry foods. They
also may contain textured proteins from such grains as wheat and soy.
Dogs with urinary tract problems may do
better on canned food because of the higher moisture content. And if your dog
likes to eat a lot but is overweight, canned food will help fill him up with
fewer calories. However, canned food will become stale quickly if left
Semi-moist foods contain 25% to 40% water. To help the food stay soft and
preserve shelf life, manufacturers add substances that preserve moisture such
as sugar, propylene, glycol, and salts.