How Often Should I Feed My Dog?

By October 17, 2023Dogs

As a pet parent, our dog relies on us for essential care, such as their daily meals. It is our responsibility to feed them the right amount of food for their meals and ensure that their nutritional needs are met. Generally, adult dogs are usually fed two or three times per day. However, the best feeding schedule for our dog should be decided based on various factors such as their lifestyle, age, and overall health.

Small meals throughout the day keep our dog’s metabolism in good working order. Meals that are spaced more than 12 hours apart tend to slow down the metabolism and could result in them feeling nauseous. Some dogs that are fed once per day might occasionally vomit as their empty stomach fills with stomach acid, causing an acid reflex. Regardless of the feeding schedule you have decided on, remember to take your dog’s specific mealtime needs into consideration.

Feeding a Puppy

Puppies should ideally eat small portions throughout the day. This will provide them with a steady supply of energy and nutrition to help them develop and grow. The recommended feeding schedule for puppies is 3-4 times per day to keep things manageable while delivering the nutrients they require, depending on their breed and age. It is not recommended to feed puppies all they can eat at one time as it can cause juvenile obesity, encourage binge eating, and be a cause of orthopedic problems and diabetes. Over-eating can also cause stomach discomfort and bloating, causing slower digestion.

Feeding an Adult Dog
The number of meals an adult dog eats per day depends completely on the family schedule. As a guideline to follow, once they are a year old, they can start eating twice per day. Regular mealtimes (i.e. once in the morning and once at dinnertime are recognized as the best way of feeding dogs.). Do note, however, that different dog breeds have different needs. Small adult breeds have faster metabolisms, so they could do better with three smaller meals per day instead of two. Just like humans, all dogs are different when it comes to their diets, so some dogs may simply not want to eat as much as others. In these cases, eating once a day would be more suitable for them.

Setting up a feeding schedule is important as dogs tend to follow routines and they would feel secure when being fed on a regular schedule. While there are dogs that are being fed three meals a day, what works best for you and your dog could be different from other families, and that is perfectly normal. Your dog’s training and exercise regimen should be taken into consideration when creating a feeding schedule. There are three main methods of feeding dogs – free feeding, mealtimes, and a mixture of the two. Let’s take a look at each of them.

Free Feeding Method
This is a popular choice for dog owners because it is the simplest out of all three feeding methods. All you have to do is keep food in your dog’s bowl all the time and let them eat whenever they want to. This is particularly great for owners who do not have a fixed feeding schedule, whereby your dog can get food anytime without having to bother you.

The downside of free-feeding is that some dogs do not have self-control for it. While one dog may nibble away at their food and come back for a few more bites later on, others might wipe out the entire bowl of food because that’s the only way they know how to eat. This can be a challenge if you are trying to switch from having a fixed feeding schedule to free feeding.

If you have several dogs at home, it might not be a good idea to use the free-feeding method. While one dog may comply with the free-feeding rules, other dogs might nibble away at the others’ food bowls and end up overeating. Generally, veterinarians do not recommend using this feeding method unless you have a very active dog in a single-dog household.

Portion Control Method
If your dog tends to overeat, you would need to use the portion control feeding method to keep their weight in check. Know how much food your dog should be eating in a single portion, and ensure that you are feeding them that amount of food each time you feed them. This can prevent them from becoming overweight. However, it involves effort on your end to portion out your dog’s food and feed your dog the correct portion over time. It is important to educate and make sure everyone in your household is on the same page.

Time Feeding Method
This feeding method is a compromise between portion-control feeding and free feeding. With time feeding method, you give your dog a set amount of time to eat, without controlling the amount of food that they eat. When the set time period is over, simply throw away any food that your dog didn’t finish. You can feed them again in 8-12 hours when they are hungry. This is a great solution if your dog doesn’t overeat, but you don’t want them to have uncontrolled access to food all day.

Making sure your dog has a healthy diet is crucial and this means feeding them the right amount of food. Plan their feeding schedule according to their lifestyle and nutritional needs. A dog’s daily intake should be determined based on their age, weight, breed, and existing medical conditions. Don’t forget to factor in their activity level when deciding how much your dog should eat each day. If you are unsure of how you should be feeding your dog, consult your veterinarian for advice.

Feeding your dog at regular times provides the security and predictability of a routine. A feeding routine helps your dog cope when there are changes in the household and makes necessary food changes easier. When your dog is accustomed to eating at the same time every day, his body becomes conditioned to expect food at those times. Hunger can be a great motivator and can help transitioning to a new food be a seamless and straightforward process.

All in all, while deciding on how often to feed your dogs, choose the feeding method that works best for you and your dog. Proper nutrition is an essential part of giving our furry ones the healthiest, most fun-filled life. Don’t be afraid to explore and experiment with different feeding methods to see which is the most suitable for both of you. Don’t worry, if your dog disagrees, they will be sure to let you know!

Any views or opinions communicated on this page belong to the author and do not represent the views or opinions of any other organizations. This article is meant for us to share our own views and opinions in general. Kindly consult a professional if you would like to seek professional advice.



Adopted from sources

– How Many Times A Day Should A Dog Eat? By Dr Zach Coston, Dutch.

– How Often to Feed Dogs. By Alex Murray, Closer Pets.

– How Often Should I Feed My Dog? Here’s a Vet’s Advice. By Janelle Leeson, Daily Paws.

– Feeding Times and Frequency for Your Dog. By Ryan Llera, VCA Animal Hospitals.

– Images of dogs, Pixabay and Pexels.