how many cups of dog food in a pound

Perfect Portions: How Many Cups of Dog Food in a Pound for Optimal Feeding

One of the best ways to keep dogs healthy is to feed them the right amount of high-quality dog food. Feeding your dog too much or not enough can affect their health significantly. For example, if you feed them too little, then they’ll have nutrition deficiencies, but if you feed them more than required, it will result in obesity & other health issues.

It’s very important that we make sure that we measure our pet food every time we feed them, both to make sure they’re getting the proper nutrition for growth, for all their life stages, and to make sure that they’re maintaining a healthy weight. It also helps us keep track of how much they’re eating so we can monitor them and see if they’re losing weight or not feeling well.

In this article, I’ll explore how many cups of dog food are in a pound and how you can take steps toward optimal feeding for different life stages.

How Many Cups of Dog Food in a Pound?

A pound of dog food will contain three to four bowls of dog food, that is if your dog is a healthy and active adult. For puppies, you may get 6 to 8 cups of dog food because the smaller a dog is, the less it needs to eat at a time. However, even if they are eating small amounts of food, puppies must be fed more frequently.

So if you’re wondering how much is a pound of dog food good for, let me tell you that one pound of dog food will last you two or three days. So, in theory, a 15-pound bag of dog food should be good for 30 days of daily feedings.

How to Measure Your Dog Food?

How To Measure Your Dog Food?

If you feed a commercial diet, you’re going to see a chart on the packaging. Whether you feed kibble, commercial raw food, or any type of dog food (including wet food), they all have feeding guidelines like this. In one column, you’re going to see the weight in pounds of your dog, and in the other column, you’re going to see the recommended daily feeding amount in cups.

Let’s say; for example, your dog weighs 13 to 20 pounds. The recommended daily feeding is 1 to 1 and 1/3 cups. So, you’re not going to feed one cup per serving. You’ll actually feed one cup daily and split that into at least two servings. You would feed half a cup in the morning and half a cup in the evening. Some charts may also provide weight in kilograms and the amount in grams, but at the very least, you’ll get the weight in pounds and cups, and you can convert it if needed. Some charts may also mention adding 1/3 cup for every 10 pounds of body weight over 110 pounds if you have a really big dog.

Some Things to Consider When Measuring Dog Food:

  • When you have your bag or can of food, you want to look for your feeding guidelines to help you figure out how much you want to feed your canine babies. Also, you can look for the number of kcals per 8-ounce cup. A kcal equals one calorie.
  • When you’re measuring your food with an 8-ounce measuring cup– you want to make sure that it is an 8-ounce measuring cup and not a random type of cup because the calorie content of a variety of cups can be very different from that of an 8-ounce cup.
  • So when you’re measuring out your food, you want to make sure first that you’re not underfilling your cup. Rather, ensure that it’s a nice level cup of food. Also, make sure that it’s not a heaping cup.
  • Another thing that you want to make sure is that “treat” calories are not accounting for more than 10 percent of your animal’s total calorie intake. “Treat” calories can include things like commercial treats, or they can even include the things that you’re giving them from your counter or from your dinner table if you’re very ambitious.
  • If you’re looking to weigh their food, the calorie per kilogram of food is also available on the bag. You can take a simple kitchen scale, and you want to place your container on the kitchen scale and make sure that it reads zero. And you’re typically going to be measuring out the grams of food.

It’s very important to ensure that we measure our pet food every time we feed them, both to make sure they’re getting the proper nutrition for growth for all their life stages and to make sure that they’re maintaining a healthy weight. It also helps us keep track of how much they’re eating so we can monitor them and see if they’re losing weight or not feeling well. So we can know what they’re eating.

How Much Dog Food Should I Feed My Dog In A Day?

I used to get asked this question a lot: How much do I feed? Is there some type of guideline? You look it up on the internet, and it seems like you’re told 10 different things. So, I’m going to give you my rough outline of how I basically figure it out for most dogs. I’ll provide you with a guideline and explain how you can adjust it.

For dogs that are really active and burning through calories and are active, I actually suggest feeding them according to the suggested guidelines.

1. Adult Dogs

Adult Dogs

Ideally, any general adult dog requires two meals a day to stay active and healthy. But the number of meals varies from breed to breed. Like small and medium-sized dog breeds require two meals a day, whereas a big or giant dog breed needs three meals a day to thrive.

So, if the ideal serving portion size for your dog is one cup and you feed your dog twice a day, then you can split the serving portion into equal halves, which you can serve one in the morning and another half in the evening.

2. Senior Dogs

Once the dog reaches old age, we will have to start feeding it according to the health of the dog and its particular needs. It’s more likely for older dogs to suffer health problems, many of which require medication or restrict them from moving with the previous agility.

Some dogs may also prefer to eat smaller, more frequent portions due to health issues. Not all dogs need to have a schedule. Some are able to ration the food themselves, so we can leave their bowl with food for most of the day.

3. Puppies


After six weeks of life, we can give the dog solid food about four times a day, allowing them to continue feeding on their mother’s milk most often.

Puppies two to three months of age should either be weaned or be in the weaning period, requiring solid food about 4 to 5 times a day.

When puppies are 3 to 6 months of age, they are already accustomed to solid food, and we can reduce daily rations to 3 times a day as their development slows.

4. Overweight And Underweight Dogs

If your dog weighs 40 to 50 pounds, that would be more than three cups in total per day.

What about canned food, you may be wondering? Little breeds, which weigh around 20 pounds, would eat one can of food a day on average.

I encourage you to assess your dog’s body condition score. I want you to easily palpate your dog’s ribs. You just want to have a loose covering over the ribs. If there’s nothing there and the ribs are easily palpable, your dog’s a little bit thin. If there’s a heavy covering and you’re having a hard time finding the ribs, your dog’s slightly overweight. Then you’re going to have to modify the food; you’re going to increase or decrease the amount. But it really is up to you to monitor your dog fairly regularly and assess them in terms of their body condition score.

If they’re underweight, always seemingly starving and hungry, then maybe you’re going to have to increase the amount. But if they’ve gained a whole lot of weight and you can’t palpate those ribs anymore, you probably have a dog that’s overweight, which seems to affect over 50% of our canine population. Potentially, then you’re going to have to feed less.

5. Homemade Diet

Homemade Diet

Homemade food is a little bit different. For example, homemade dog food can contain chicken liver, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, which are high-nutrient-dense foods. Fresh food like this contains more nutrients in a smaller amount compared to kibble. For homemade food, you’ll feed about half a cup for every 25 pounds of body weight per serving. So, if you have a dog that weighs 50 pounds, you’ll be feeding about one cup at every meal, morning and night.


I hope that’s given you a better idea of the amount you should be feeding your dog. For kibble, we’re going for one and a half cups for 20 pounds of body weight daily. If it’s solely canned food, it’s one cup for 20 pounds of body weight daily. For a homemade diet, it’s about one and a half to two cups per 20 pounds of body weight daily.

It’s important to note that the serving size may vary depending on the quality of the food. If you have a lower-quality commercial dog food, instead of saying two cups for a 50-pound dog, it may say three or even three and a half cups. So, be aware of that and pay attention to the quality of the food, as it will directly relate to the amount you need to feed.

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