How Often Should I Feed My Dog?

November 13, 2009  
Filed under Dog Food Tips

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.


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 feeDinner Timedings 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.


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.


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?

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15 Responses to “How Often Should I Feed My Dog?”
  1. Mitsy says:

    hi im a 3 year old female pekachon and i eat kibbles nuggets & nibbles daily around 5pm. (1 cup) i seem to be hungry throughout the day.. should i have my food split into 1/2 cup once at 4pm and once again at 8pm? or am i old enough for 2 cups at 5pm? or 1 cup at 4pm and 1 cup at 8pm? im pretty fat already. Thanks!

  2. Jesus says:

    How often and how much food should I give my dog??

  3. Fay says:

    To mitsy
    I am having trouble finding any information on kibbles nuggets & nibbles but my recommendation would be to look on the bag and find the feeding guideline chart, look at the amount that should be fed daily and divide that in half,and feed her that in the morning and then night. She will probably act hungry but that is because dogs are greedy about food and will literally eat until they vomit. If you have anymore questions my E-mail address is in the previous post.

  4. Brenda says:

    Oh, my, all these years and I’ve been doing it wrong… I start my puppies (I don’t raise them I bring them home at 7-8 weeks, and begin by feeding them a handful (out of a measure for the day bowl) everytime the bowl is empty or just about empty (not like a stand there with more if they bolt the puppychow, but then those are the dogs I want to be most relaxed about food), by the time my active (they work sheep/cattle for a living) Aussie pups are adults, They get their measure each morning, and at night usually have a piece or too they gooble before kenneling up for the night. food is always there, and because they work rather than wait on me or another human for walks, they stay trim…. I can not imagine this working with some breeds, or with dogs that have had a “starve” time up bringing…we use a ‘starve’ time with the pigs to get them to eat more and get to butcher weight faster…. so I really believe that keeping out food all day keeps my dogs less prone to bolting food/ choking/ and getting fat…. again they are WORKING dogs… this method wouldn’t be good for inactive animals.

  5. Kim says:

    I used to leave dried food out for my dachshund, who lives a fairly active life as he comes to work with me etc, but in the end he did start to get a little fat.  So now he gets three meals a day.  Chicken necks or wings (raw of course) for breakfast (his favourite meal!), lamb ribs for lunch (again, raw) with a few kibbles (eagle pack) on the side and for dinner he has a few tablespoons of vegie/fruit/fish stew with half a handful of kibble.  

    He chews his food very well and is still quite fussy (although I have noticed a difference in his attitude to food since we stopped free feeding.. – a bit more interested and alert with food.. Hanging out in the kitchen etc).  He isn’t at all like the doxy we had growing up who had one measly meal of canned schlop a day, and no wonder he was food obsessed; always off eating rubbish, inhaled his food and was extremely food possessive.

    I know in the wild wolves are ‘famine and feast’ so some people see feeding three times a day as OTT.  And dogs’ digestive systems are incredible and can dissolve whole bones, so chewing isn’t exactly something they need to do either.  The best benefit (besides optimum metabolism) of frequent or free freeding is that it deters dogs from seeking out rubbish to eat – stuff on the street that they might sniff out if hungry- chocolate, roadkill etc.  

    Our doxy growing up ended up dying of intestinal cancer (aged 13.. not young but not exactly old either, plus i think he had probably been in pain for a while but didnt express it as animals are prone to do) and I blame feeding him one meal a day.. which I believe lead him to raiding bins, eating (possibly poisoned) dead rabbits, chocolate, animal poo, and god knows what else.  

    Imagine if you only had one meal a day and didn’t have a choice over it.  Everything would revolve around that one moment where you could eat.  You don’t have to feed them more.. Just split it up.  Give them variety and plenty of bones to chew on too.    

  6. Heather says:

    Hey guys!
    I have a 1 1/2 year old chocolate lab/viszla mix that we rescued in August. He’s energetic, dopey, needy, and most of all, will eat ANYTHING left within his reach. I love him to pieces though, but as of late, he’s been ‘going’ inside the house, in a storage room in our basement, sometimes several times a day. This problem of his is getting him in a lot of trouble, and threatening his stay with me. I am now starting him on a potty schedule, but am wondering how I should feed him. Up until now, I’ve just filled up his bowl in the morning, and allowed him to eat at his leisure. I am now seeing that this is bad for him, and would like to know how to properly feed him, to give him a happier, more balanced life.

  7. Junie says:

    My general guideline for feeding is to feed as much as the dog wants to eat, preferably in 2 meals. If the dog is overweight or close to it, then to stick strictly to a suitable portion for the dog rather than giving it as much as it wants.

  8. Sean says:

    You speak of the importance of feeding your dog after you and your family eat as the alpha in a wild pack would do and this is great. The only issue I have is the fact that wild dog/wolfs eat far less frequently than two-to-three times a day.
    An adult Gray Wolf of 85 pounds can eat up to 22 pounds at a time and will go weeks without eating again. My nine year old, 75 pound Lab (Still able to go out in the Bush for a hunt) will eat a couple of pounds once a day/every other day and has been since he was a year old. His vet has given a clean bill of health every time he has gone and he has been active from the day we brought him home at 12 weeks.

  9. jana says:

    Ive been feeding my 2.5 year old female lab 2 cups of food, twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening. But she seems to be hungry throughout the day, and has been destroying the trash can in our kitchen, and it has been getting both her and me in deep trouble with my roommates. Im considering feeding her a smaller meal mid day, but am nervous about her weight. What do you all think?

  10. Thomas Edwards says:

    Unlike most people who live in town, I live on a ranch. I have two Pyrenees/Anatolian crosses. They stay with my sheep to guard against Coyotes. They go out with the sheep in the morning and come back about 30 minuets before dark. The sheep roam over around 300 acres so it’s not practical to feed them but one a day. I’ve had dogs here for 15 years and have had no problem with them getting sick or eating trash as there isn’t any. I put 90 oz. of feed per dog and put the sheep up while they are eating. Sometimes they eat it all but mostly around 3/4 of the feed. On occasion, one of them will stand by their bowl, telling me he wants more. I will feed more until he leaves.

  11. Bobby says:

    Hey I have a chion (Pappilon mixed with chiuawah) that is 2 years old going to be three in september. I was wondering how often should I feed her? she is a little underweight and I would like to change that(: Please help. and how much should I feed her?

  12. arelys says:

    feed your dog 3 times a day
    morning, afternoon, and night
    if your dog is over weight. just dont pour a lot of food into his bowl . go with small amount servings. and make sure the dog is well exercised. a walk before they eat never after.
    I have two pugs and they are always hungry 3 times a day or they go crazy looking for food if its not 3 times a day

  13. Linda n says:

    Can I give my dog one half honest kitchen and one half acanna kibble

  14. In the know, says:

    Sure. Manufactures try and make you believe that each brand has it’s own vity and mineral make up, designed to be in the dogs best interest. Personally I don’t have any faith in HK, but I am a big fan of Champion dog food, the makers of Acana. Since I fed Orijen mixed with alot of fresh meat, I add a Vity supplement twice a week.

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Should you have a concern regarding the diet of your dog, you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is the opinion of the author, and is presented solely for informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving professional veterinary care for your dog(s).
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