How much food should I feed my dog?

What’s the right amount to feed your dog? What should a dog’s diet consist of? What’s the best dog food for your dog? What’s the best dog food for your puppy? What can dogs eat? What can’t dogs eat? How many times a day should you feed your dog? Will feeding treats cause weight issues? Read on to find out
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3rd December 2020

What’s the right amount to feed your dog? What should a dog’s diet consist of? What’s the best dog food for your dog? What’s the best dog food for your puppy? What can dogs eat? What can’t dogs eat? How many times a day should you feed your dog? Will feeding treats cause weight issues? Read on to find out the answers to all these questions in our expert dog feeding guide...

Whether you have an cheerfully energetic Cockerpoo or a couch-loving Greyhound, there’s one question many a dog owner asks – ‘how much should I feed my dog?’. However, it’s not an easy one to answer. Because every dog is an individual, how much you should feed them depends on a whole range of factors including breed – a compact Pug will obviously require far fewer calories a day than a rangy Irish Wolfhound – along with age and activity level.

And, while pet food comes with a helpful guide on the packaging to steer you in the right direction, it’s important to note that this is just a recommendation and not a definitive answer. To work out what, when and how much to feed your dog requires a little research.

Choosing the right food for your dog

Two things are key here – life stage and lifestyle. The optimum diet for your dog is one that supplies the correct number of calories and balance of nutrients for their size, life stage and lifestyle.

Life stage

Dog food has never been better researched with recipes created using the latest in nutritional science to calculate the correct balance of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fats. What’s more, a dog’s nutritional needs varies throughout their life. For example:

  • Puppies require a little more protein to support their growing muscles and the right balance of calcium and phosphorus for developing bones and teeth
  • Adult dogs require foods that are naturally rich in protein for good muscle maintenance and essential fatty acids to help nourish their coat and maintain healthy eyes
  • Neutered dogs, or those who are not as mobile, require fewer calories supplied in ‘light’ recipes
  • Older dogs benefit from added glucosamine for optimal joint mobility and prebiotics to aid the body’s natural defences


It wasn’t until the 1930s that foods specially designed for pets appeared. Even as recently as 30 years ago, there was no real understanding of what dogs require at different stages of their lives. Today, we now know much more about the significant role nutrition plays when it’s tailored to the different stages of a dog’s development, ensuring the optimum quality of life for the longest time possible.


All dogs need regular, daily exercise, but some canines are naturally more active than others – compare high energy breeds such as English Springer Spaniels and Labrador Retrievers with slightly more sedate breeds such as Bichon Frises and Pomeranians. In addition, although a well-exercised pet Border Collie may be classed as a ‘working breed’, he or she will not require the same higher calorie nutrition as an actual working Collie who’s running about on a farm all day long. Find out how much exercise your dog actually needs >>


Dogs are not, as is often believed, classified as carnivores, but as omnivores – benefiting from a healthy diet that contains both animal and plant-based foods such as grains. In fact, even wolves in the wild derive nutrition from both plant and animal sources.

Getting the portion size right

 When it comes to dishing out your dog’s dinner, the golden rule is don’t guestimate. Giving your canine chum a little more than they need, along with too many treats and the leftovers from your own dinner, is a recipe for disaster. If this is a regular pattern, you run the risk of your dog becoming overweight, which can lead to all manner of health problems, along with the inability to exhibit natural behaviours – obese dogs find even a gentle walk hard work.

Equally, if you don’t feed enough, your pet will not be getting all the nutrients they need and will become underweight. If you’re not sure about how much to feed, ask your vet for advice. You can also call our expert team on 0800 413 969 who’ll be happy to help. They’re available 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. Alternatively, you can use our online form to get in touch.

How to measure dog food portions

Accurate and regular weighing of food portions is essential to maintain a healthy weight. Here’s what to do:

  • Use a kitchen scale to weigh out the correct daily amount of cat food as outlined on the packaging or use a dry-food measuring cup.
  • Place the weighed or measured-out food into a storage container. Whether you feed your at twice, three times or more a day, take the amount from they’re daily ration in the container so you’ll know your dog is getting just the right amount of food – not too much and not too little.

How much is just right? Start by following this Burgess guide

These amounts are based on what you should feed a healthy, active adult dog over a 24- hour period if you’re feeding Burgess Supadog Adult Chicken. Remember to adjust as necessary, depending on your dog’s appetite, age and activity level.


5-15kg                          135-300g

15-30kg                       300-480g

30-40kg                      480-600g

40-70kg                      600-850g

How many meals should you feed your dog each day?

Puppies, with their small stomachs need three or four small meals a day, while adult dogs generally have two meals a day. Sometimes, elderly dogs benefit from three or four smaller meals.


Complete foods are those which will deliver all your dog’s required nutrients in their daily ration. Complementary foods have high or low levels of certain nutrients and are therefore only complete when fed in conjunction with other foods. All the foods in the Burgess Dog Food range are complete. This means that you can be sure you are providing your pet with all the nutrients they require in exactly the right proportions, so you don’t have to worry about balancing their diet.

Top feeding tips to follow

  • Make sure your dog always has plenty of fresh, clean water available and, if you are feeding a dry food, you’ll find they’ll need a little more.
  • When introducing a new food to your dog, you should do it gradually to avoid upsetting their digestion. Mix in the new food with the old over a period of 7 to 10 days until the new food completely replaces the old diet.
  • Remember that treats should be just that – something special, fed occasionally, in small amounts. Treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily diet.
  • Avoid feeding scraps left over from your own dinner. Human food doesn’t contain all the essential nutrients in the right amounts that dogs need and there are many foods that are toxic to canines. (Keep scrolling for more information on what dogs can’t eat).

How to check that your dog is the correct weight

Regular weigh-ins at the vets can help keep your dog’s weight in check. Your vet will also be able to advise of the correct weight range for your dog and help you devise a weight-loss plan if your pet is on the tubby side. 

In general, dogs who are at a healthy weight:

  • Have an ‘hourglass’ figure when looked down upon from above. The abdomen should be narrower than the chest and hips.
  • Are ‘tucked up’ when looked at from the side. This means that a dog’s chest is closer to the ground than his belly when he or she is standing.
  • Have ribs that are not readily visible but are easily felt with only light pressure.

The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association has a handy Dog Size-O-Meter, which you can check out here >>

Why choose Burgess Dog Food?

As a family-owned business with over 300 years of history, the health and wellbeing of pet animals is Burgess Pet Care’s number one goal and we’re proud of our expert knowledge in animal nutrition. All our pet food is produced in line with FEDIAF (the European pet food industry federation) nutritional guidelines. These guidelines, which are based on many pieces of published research, helps us to calculate the nutrient content and dietary components such as protein, fat, carbohydrate and vitamins and minerals required to ensure all our foods meet the detailed nutritional requirements for the pets they are designed for.

The Burgess Dog Food range – something tasty for every dog

At Burgess, all our dog foods are made using premium ingredients to ensure excellent quality and superior taste to help keep your dog happy and healthy – from puppy, to adult and senior. We’ve also developed foods to meet the specific nutritional needs working and sporting dogs, Greyhounds and Lurchers, and dogs with sensitivities. And we’re very proud of our Paul O'Grady's 'No Nasties' dog food range, which comes in Hypoallergenic and Grain Free varieties and is, in Paul's words: ''the best food you can feed your dogs.’'

How to buy Burgess Dog Food

Visit our Dog Food page  and add the variety of your choice to your basket and proceed to the checkout. You can even set up an account so we’ll have your details to hand the next time you order. Alternatively, you can search for your local Burgess Dog Food stockist here >> 

Is your dog a Burgess dog? Join the Burgess Pet Club for exclusive offers and rewards.

What can’t dogs eat? Foods that are poisonous to canines

If you suspect your dog has eaten any of the following, consult your vet immediately.

  • Alcoholic beverages – Can cause intoxication, coma, and death
  • Chocolate, coffee, tea – Contain caffeine, theobromine, or theophylline, which can be toxic and affect the heart and nervous system
  • Fat trimmings – Can cause pancreatitis
  • Pits from peaches and plums – Can cause obstruction of the digestive tract
  • Grapes and raisins – Contain an unknown toxin, which can damage the kidneys
  • Gravy – If made from meat juices, it can contain high levels of fat, which can cause pancreatitis
  • Large amounts of liver – Can cause Vitamin A toxicity, which affects muscles and bones
  • Macadamia nuts – Contain an unknown toxin, which can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscle
  • Milk and other dairy products – Some adult dogs do not have sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose in milk. This can result in diarrhoea
  • Mouldy or spoiled food – Can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting and diarrhoea and can also affect other organs
  • Mushrooms – Can contain toxins, which may affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock, and result in death
  • Onions and garlic (raw, cooked, or powder) – Contain sulfoxides and disulfides – chemical compounds which can damage red blood cells and cause anaemia.
  • Potato, rhubarb, and tomato leaves; potato and tomato stems – Contain oxalates, which can affect the digestive, nervous, and urinary systems
  • Raw eggs – Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain salmonella
  • Raw fish – Can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. More common if raw fish is fed regularly
  • Excessive salt – If eaten in large quantities, it may lead to electrolyte imbalances
  • Sugary foods – Can lead to obesity, dental problems, and possibly diabetes mellitus
  • Table scraps (in large amounts) – Table scraps are not nutritionally balanced and if excessively fed can lead to obesity. Fat should be trimmed from meat; bones should not be fed
  • Xylitol – This artificial sweetener sneaks its way into all sorts of foods – from peanut butter to jellies and jams and is highly toxic to canines. After a dog consumes a significant amount of xylitol, there is a massive release of insulin from the pancreas. This, in turn, results in a dangerously low blood sugar level and symptoms such as weakness, trembling, seizures, collapse, and even death

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