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How to Feed Two Dogs at Once

Dr. Martha G. Cline, DVM, DACVIM
By Dr. Martha G. Cline, DVM, DACVIM
Updated: 5/14/20242-4 minutes
two dogs eating out of silver dog bowls

If a second dog has recently joined your family, you’re no doubt experiencing the many joys, and perhaps a few challenges, of expanding your pack.

One of those potentially challenging times can be mealtime. However, with some smart and creative management, the process of feeding two dogs at once can be successfully and safely accomplished.

Why Should You Feed Your Dogs Separately?

Separating your dogs’ feeding bowls, and even feeding spaces, is a better solution for their health and safety than a community feeding bowl, for two major reasons.

Avoiding Food Aggression in Dogs

We all know that food is a powerful motivator for dogs. This is why it can also be a source of aggression.

According to the Merck Manual Veterinary Manual, possessive aggression, also known as resource guarding, most often centers on things dogs find valuable, such as toys, and especially treats or meals. This can lead to dogs fighting over food.

Feeding your dogs in separate bowls, with the help of either a multiple dog feeding station or separate designated areas of your home, is the easiest way to avoid territorial disputes that can result from a dog guarding food.

Ensuring Everyone Gets the Nutrition They Need

If your dogs require different diets, separate feeding bowls are a must. When your dogs need the specific nutrition provided by a quality puppy food, adult dog food or senior food, or a diet prescribed or recommended by your veterinarian for a specific health-related issue, the correct diet, fed in the proper serving amounts, can be vital to their health.

The same holds true if you have one picky or slower eater, and another that practically inhales every meal, then tries to stick their nose where it’s not wanted—in your other dog’s bowl. In these situations, communal eating can result in overeating for one dog, and lack of nutrition for another…leading to weight problems for both.

A Guide to Feeding Multiple Dogs

How to stop a dog from eating other dogs’ food? Or stop food guarding before it becomes a more dangerous confrontation? There are several ways to create, and maintain, separation at mealtime.

Here are some suggestions from experts at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, to help keep peace at mealtime and ensure that your dogs each enjoy their food (and only their food), without disruption.

Become a Watch Dog

The simplest way to make sure your dogs each stick to their own bowls is to watch them eat their meals. By supervising your dogs at mealtime you can make sure that each dog is eating the right meal.

Give Everyone Some Space

Another method of feeding multiple dogs is to designate areas where each dog can eat without disturbance.

This can be as simple as placing dog dishes on different sides of a room. If you have a bowl raider, however, you might need to make those areas more secure by separating them using a dog pen, crate or gate. Or give each dog their own room and close the door to prevent trespassing.

Controlling a Food-Focused Dog

If one of your dogs is a chowhound who gobbles their dinner down quickly, you’ve got an additional level of difficulty added to the challenge of how to stop a dog from eating other dogs’ food. 

Try taking your chowhound for a walk while your slower eater is enjoying their meal. Another option to slow down a speedy eater is to use a puzzle feeder or specialized food bowl to slow them down.

Dinnertime Doesn’t Have to Be Double Trouble

Feeding two or more dogs can be successfully achieved. With some extra oversight and care, and perhaps a bit of creative management, you can make sure that each of your unique canine family members gets exactly the nutrition they need, at every meal.

For more expert tips on feeding your dog, explore our other dog feeding articles.   

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