I thought I'd share this little trick for finding out the best way to say something. It isn't 100% accurate but it usually gives a very good hint!
Let's take those two sentences as an example: "I gave food to my dog." vs "I fed my dog.".
*I know this one is pretty obvious to native English speakers, but I couldn't come up with a better example :(. If you find a better example, let me know in the comments.
All you have to do is type both sentences in Google and compare the number of results. Don't forget to: 1) quote the sentence 2) omit unnecessary words ("dog" in this case as it could be replaced by any animal name without changing the meaning of the phrase).
As you can see, it's pretty obvious that the second one (I fed my) is more widely used and that's usually a fairly good indicator that it is indeed the right construct.