How Much Should My Dog’s Eat?


How Much Should My Dog’s Eat?

Why Does My Little Dog Eat as Much as My Big Dog?

I heard that sometimes very different dogs can eat the same amount of food. Is that true? Why? How much should my dog’s eat?

Dear Ask Darwin’s,

I have an 11-year-old German Shepard mix, named Helga, who weighs about 70lbs and a smallish 2-year-old Australian Shepard Border Collie mix, named Beatrice, who weighs about 35lbs.  Here’s the thing. They both eat the same amount of food. I followed the recommended portions on the packages; Helga was getting fat and Bea was always hungry. I heard that sometimes very different dogs can eat the same amount of food. Is that true? Why?

Sandra – Texas

Dear Sandra,

Yes, it is true. Why?

Well, it does depend on the dogs., However, the most common reasons why large dogs and their smaller pals might eat the same amount are age, activity level, metabolism and sometimes the breed (some are food hounds while others are picky pups). Helga, being 11, and probably not nearly as energetic as Bea, will burn far fewer calories. Bea, being the crazy mix of two of the busiest dogs on the planet, no doubt never stops – therefore her calorie intake needs to be higher than the average 32lb dog.

How much should my dog’s eat?

Don’t be driven by averages and stats.  Around here, while we do publish feeding guidelines, we make sure everyone knows they are “Guidelines” not Gospel. I tell folks to watch their dogs’ I.E.P.W. – (No. it’s not the Longshoremen) Intake, Energy, Poop, and Weight.  It may take a few weeks – use your intuition and you will land on the right amount of food for both Helga and Bea.

Hope this helped,


Jeanne Romano - Menu Consultant


Jeanne Romano – Menu Consultant at Darwin’s Natural Pet Products

I openly believe in all things “green” (except teeth). I love crafting words that make people think, painting with watercolors, amazing individuals who really are working to cure breast cancer and, of course, sushi. I’m the mother of two amazing canines and am passionate (and quite knowledgeable) about dog nutrition. And, in spite of Lucy Van Pelt’s objections, I let my dogs kiss me on the mouth.


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