How Often Should I Feed My Dog?
A very important decision in your dog’s nutritional well-being is deciding how often you should feed your dog. Your dog’s feeding schedule can help promote digestive health, encourage good behavior and even help prevent some types of health conditions. However, figuring out how often you should feed your dog is dependent on several key factors. Here is some general information that will help you to decide how often you should be feeding your dog.
FEEDING YOUR PUPPY
In general, puppies need to have more scheduled feeding times per day than adult dogs. This is because a puppy’s body is in ‘growth’ mode, and needs a constant supply of nutrients in order to be healthy. Most puppies will benefit from a diet that has their daily food portion divided up into three feedings per day. These feeding times can be scheduled to be after family mealtimes, so that your puppy learns to obey a strict feeding time line. Puppies will generally not eat all of their food the first few days, which is normal. Once your puppy understands that they have scheduled feeding times, they will understand that they can comfortably consume their feeding portion without feeling hungry in between meals. Try to have even hour spacing in between your puppy’s mealtimes, in order to prevent digestive irregularities.
FEEDING YOUR ADULT DOG
Adult dogs are slightly easier to feed than puppies, as long as they have been raised to obey a strict feeding schedule. Adult dogs are healthiest when fed from two to three times per day. You can either choose to feed your dog on a twice daily morning/evening schedule, or feed your dog following each of your three family meals. In general, it is best to stick to feeding an adult dog three times per day. This will help promote digestive regularity, and will also help you to be aware of when your dog may have to go outside to go to the bathroom. In addition to this, feeding your dog after family meals helps to promote bonding. This is because with wild dogs, lower members of the pack always eat after the “alpha” members of the pack. By feeding your dog after your family, you are establishing that they are non-dominant member of your pack. This can also help to discourage aggressive behavior in some types of dogs.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FRESH WATER
It’s always highly recommended that you have a constant supply of fresh water available for your dog, even in between meals. Dogs are generally very good about drinking water when they’re dehydrated, which helps to prevent urinary tract problems. Dogs also need to ingest fresh water in order to properly digest their food. In order to keep your dog’s water fresh, it’s best if you clean and replace your dog’s water dish on a daily basis. This will help to prevent the growth of bacteria, and will also ensure that your dog has sanitary water available at all times. If you keep your dog outside during the day, it is also recommended that you have a readily available outdoor water source as well.
How often do you feed your dog? Have you noticed a difference when changing the number of daily meals?