How Often Should I Feed My Dog?

By Naomi Millburn

If your dog is an adult, feeding him two meals per day may be optimal. If he's a growing puppy, three meals per day may be suitable. Keep your pet on a puppy meal schedule until he's between 14 and 18 months old. At that point you can transition him to the adult plan of two meals daily.

Determining Meal Portions

Determine how much to feed your pet in one sitting by looking at the dog food label. Divide the recommended portion into two to figure out how much to feed your pet for a single meal. Feed your dog his first meal of the day in the morning. Give him his second meal of the day between 8 and 12 hours later.

The Benefits of Feeding Twice a Day

If you feed your adult dog twice a day, paying attention to what he consumes can be a simple process. As a result, overseeing his health and wellness can be a simple process, too. When dogs are ill, they often abandon their schedules, meals included. Predictable feeding schedules can encourage digestive regularity in dogs.

Some owners opt to free feed their adult dogs rather than give them meals throughout the day. Free choice feeding enables dogs to consume their desired amounts of food whenever they choose. Although dogs may enjoy this style of feeding, it can have drawbacks. It's more difficult to keep track of how much food your dog eats when free feeding, which can trigger obesity and its related medical conditions.

Veterinary Consultations Necessary

Many components can influence a dog's feeding schedule. If your dog is a small breed such as the Yorkshire terrier, more frequent meals may be beneficial for proper digestion and development of the organs. Small breed canines may require more frequent meals to keep hypoglycemia at bay.

Dogs who have certain medical conditions may need more frequent daily feedings. If a dog has megacolon or inflammatory bowel disease, giving him small meals more frequently throughout the day may be helpful for proper nutrient intake and digestion. Consult your veterinarian before determining exactly how often to feed your dog each day, regardless of his size, breed and age.

Treats in Strict Moderation

Not only is it important for you to supervise your dog's meal intake, but it's also important for you to supervise his treat intake. While it may be difficult to resist your dog's appetite for tasty treats, giving too many isn't a good idea for weight control and overall nutrition. Never let your dog's treat consumption exceed 5 percent of his total daily food consumption. This applies to adult dogs and puppies alike.

Dogs, a lot like cats, flourish when they have dependable schedules. Keep your dog happy by setting up a consistent and reliable feeding schedule when he's a puppy.