How Many Times a Day Should a Dog Eat?

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How many times a day your dog needs to eat depends on several factors, like his age, activity level and overall health.

Having a feeding schedule and routine can help you stay on track and plan for your day. Let’s look at how many times a day a dog should eat, how to create a feeding schedule based on his individual needs and the best time to feed a dog.

What is a Dog Feeding Schedule?

If you’re picturing an elaborate calendar, don’t worry. That’s not what a dog feeding schedule is. Your dog’s feeding schedule is simply the regular times at which you feed him on a daily basis.

Feeding him at the same time (or close to it) each day helps keep his digestive system regular and makes his need to go outside more predictable. This schedule also helps your dog learn when to expect you home, so he’ll have fewer accidents.

How Often Should You Feed a Dog?

Before you create a schedule, you need to figure out how often your dog should eat. This depends on several factors, including his age, activity level and general health.

The type of food you select can help you determine how much to feed him and how often. Refer to the serving suggestions on your dog’s food label and compare it to his breed size and age.

This will give you a better idea about how much your dog should eat each day. Once you know this, you can divide that amount into two or more meals.

The frequency of feeding depends on your schedule. If you’re home during the day, you may prefer feeding three meals a day. If you work outside the home, it may be more convenient to feed him twice per day.

As you develop your dog’s feeding schedule, pay attention to his preferences as well. He may prefer three smaller meals rather than two larger ones, or vice versa.

What is the Best Time to Feed a Dog?

Again, this depends on your schedule, but you should also consider your dog’s age and activity level. Just as you wouldn’t want to eat a large meal before going to the gym, your dog shouldn’t eat right before or after exercising. This can lead to a life-threatening condition called bloat, particularly in large breed dogs.

If you still aren’t sure about how often you should feed your dog, ask your veterinarian. They know your dog and can tell you how much he should eat and when, based on his age, health, activity level and more.

Your veterinarian may also offer tips to improve your dog’s eating habits. For example, if your dog eats too fast, they may suggest changes to help him slow down.

Get more expert tips on dog feeding, nutrition, training and other topics on our Pet Expertise page.

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