The first thing to know is your pet’s weight (in pounds or kilograms, depending on what your pet food specifies).
You can then refer to the feeding chart on the pet food label, which lists a specific amount of food per day based on your pet’s weight. For growing puppies or kittens, their expected adult weight or current age may also be used in the chart.
This feeding amount will vary for each brand, and for different recipes within a brand, since it’s based on the caloric density of each specific food. So, if you switch recipes, don’t assume the amount your pet needs will be the same—instead, check the feeding guidelines.
The amount is usually listed in weight of the food (ounces or grams per day) or volume (number of cups per day).
Tip #1: If the amount of food is listed in cups, that means an eight oz. measuring cup like you would use for baking—not a big coffee mug or any other type of cup.
If you prefer to measure the food by exact weight, you can use a kitchen scale.
If your pet falls between the weight ranges listed in the chart, use an amount between the nearest two weight measurements.
Once you know your pet’s total daily feeding amount, you can feed it as one meal per day, or (the method we usually recommend) divide it into 2-3 smaller meals. For example, if your pet should receive ¾ of a cup of food per day, you may divide that into three meals of ¼ cup each, or two meals—for ease of measurement, this could mean one meal being ½ cup and the other meal being ¼ cup.
Tip #2: If your pet receives additional food—such as wet (canned) food or treats—you’ll need to accordingly reduce the amount of dry (kibble) fed, so the total daily calorie intake stays the same.
If you’re up for doing the math, you can even check the feeding guidelines on both dry and wet food, and figure out exactly what proportion of each your pet needs and our Customer Service team will be happy to help you with this)
Tip #3: Since individual metabolism varies, the feeding recommendation is just a starting point. You may need to feed a bit more or a bit less, based on your pet’s response and whether their weight changes.
If your pet is under- or overweight…
If they only have a small amount of weight to gain or lose, you should feed to their “ideal” or “goal” weight, rather than their current weight. Your veterinarian can let you know the ideal weight for your pet.
For significantly overweight pets, your veterinarian will probably recommend setting smaller goals at first, rather than significantly reducing their feeding amount, which could have health consequences. Also, these pets may do best on a weight management recipe.