Do I Need a Dog Feeding Schedule?
Dogs like regular schedules, and that includes your dog’s feeding schedule. Most veterinarians recommend that dogs eat twice a day, approximately 12 hours apart. If it’s longer, you could cause nausea, as he gets hungry just like people do.
Feed your healthy adult dog twice a day. There is no best time to feed a dog. The time of day doesn’t matter as much as the time between meals. You can feed him at 5 p.m. or 9:30 p.m., provided you feed him at a roughly corresponding time the next morning. Don’t feed him at 6 p.m. on Friday night and then not until you wake up at 11:30 Saturday morning. If you need to change your dog’s feeding schedule, gradual changes over the course of 4 to 7 days are best.
You may need to adjust your dog feeding schedule by age or illness. Some canines, like puppies, seniors, nursing moms, and working/sporting dogs, need a lot of calories to maintain their weight and may need to be fed more often to accomplish that because you don’t want to overfeed him at a feeding. Some puppies need to eat four to six times a day.
If you do need to feed your dog more often, remember to feed smaller portions each time so you don’t overfeed him. If your dog needs four cups of food a day, and you feed him twice a day, that’s two cups in each feeding. If he cannot consume that much food at once, then you take the four cups and divide it evenly between the feedings.
Don’t feed your dog once a day, assuming he will eat when he’s hungry, sort of “free-choice.” He won’t. It’s most likely he’ll wolf it all down at once and be hungry 12 hours later. Free-choice feeding can make dog fat, and it can cause fights if you have more than one dog.
Feeding twice a day is an easy way to check on a dog’s health or to prepare him to adapt to changes, such as traveling or changing dog food. Two meals a day provides him with the stability he craves in his life, a tasty cornerstone that he can rely on. Feeding can also be a bonding moment between you and your dog.