Dogs like to have a set routine, and that includes the times you give them food. It’s probably convenient for folks to feed their dogs every morning and every evening when they come back from work.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t work that well with all dogs, in the sense that by the time you feed them in the evening, they might be ravenous and could eat too fast and too much.
But how many times a day should you feed your dog? We’re answering this question and more in today’s post, so keep on reading!
What’s the right amount of food?
First of all, no matter the brand or type of food that you have chosen for your pup, it’s quite likely that the label includes several feeding recommendations, such as the right number of cups per day based on the dog’s size and age.
If you feed your dog a mix of kibble and wet (canned or pouches) food, things can get a bit more complicated. Unfortunately, most manufacturers seem to think that dog owners feed their canine friends either wet food only or kibble only, so they don’t create feeding recommendations for mixed diets.
On top of that, dogs aren’t great at regulating their own appetite such as cats, for example. While it might be true that even cats have started to develop obesity (especially indoor-only ones), they’re gifted with an instinct that tells them how much food they should have.
If a dog is hungry, he’ll scarf down anything that’s available and in whatever amount. If you do not want your dog to overeat, you can just follow the food brand instructions or give your dog a maximum of 30 minutes to eat his food. If he’s not done, you’re just storing the kibble away for the next meal.
How many times should you feed a puppy?
Puppies have to be fed more often compared to healthy adult dogs, and that’s because their nutrient and calorie necessities are higher. It would be great if you could split up the amount of food that you should give your pooch based on his age and size into four or even five portions a day.
If you really have no way of going about things, you can feed your puppy only three times a day instead of five, but that’s not ideal.
How many times should you feed an adult dog?
Adult dogs should be fed two or three times a day. You might have come across other recommendations on the Internet according to which you can safely feed your dog just once a day, but we do not recommend that.
Dogs have a stomach that’s more or less similar to that of humans, which means that they tend to get hungry every eight to ten hours.
That is why feeding your dog just once a day is not a great idea. When you finally give him his meal, he’ll be so hungry that he’ll eat too fast. And large dog breeds are always predisposed to developing bloat, which is a life-threatening condition that’s caused by ingesting food or water too fast.
If you do not have the time to feed your dog three or four small portions per day (which is way healthier), just feed him every morning and every evening.
Also, make a habit out of forcing your dog to eat slowly. No matter the type of food you give him, small bites are always better. Wait for two to three minutes, then give him another bite and so on. It might sound tedious, but it’s safe and healthy.
After all, you might have heard that people shouldn’t eat too fast either, right? And if you do this, your dog’s brain will realize when his stomach’s starting to feel full, so he’ll be less inclined to eat too much food too fast.
Do senior dogs have to eat more often?
On the contrary. Senior dogs can do quite well with just 2 to 3 meals a day like any other healthy adult. But the difference, in this case, is that geriatric dogs have a lower metabolism and aren’t as energetic, so they need great quality food, but they need fewer calories to avoid becoming obese.
Also, as your canine friend grows older, he will lose some of his flexibility, he might need special diets for various chronic conditions, or supplements such as omega 3, chondroitin sulfate, or even CBD for pain management.
Consider all of this when choosing the right diet for your canine companion and always make sure to make that decision with your veterinarian.
What if your dog constantly asks for more food?
Well, something could be wrong or not. If you’ve taught your dog to beg at the table or you’ve taught your dog a routine where he gets three meals a day and now you’re feeding him just two, it’s quite likely that he’s feeling hungry. Don’t worry, it will take a couple of days, but he’s going to get used to the new feeding schedule.
But if your dog seems to be hungry all the time, something else might be at the root of this behavior.
If it’s too cold outside, he’s going to need more sustenance to be able to maintain his body temperature. That’s why some dogs gain weight in the winter and lose weight in the summer.
Dogs that are recovering from a medical problem might not have the same appetite as perfectly healthy ones.
Also, if your dog has a vitamin or mineral deficiency, he might want to eat all the time and could even develop disorders such as pica, where he ends up eating things he’s not supposed to (such as the paint on the walls, rocks, and more).
In a nutshell, healthy adult dogs should be fed at least twice a day. Three or four small portions a day are better, but two are enough if you really have no other options.
Puppies should be fed about three or four times a day. Seniors should have two or three meals but they have to be lower in calories.