When to Feed your Dog
As any dog owner who’s lost socks or underwear to the stomach of their canine companion will tell you, dogs will eat pretty much whenever they’re hungry! When talking about regular meal times, it is about establishing a routine that suits both and your pet dog.
When you’ve figured out which foods your dog likes and how much they regularly eat, simply divide the amount up into as few or as many meals as is suitable to your routine.
For most dog owners, this means 1-3 meals a day, often a morning and evening meal to fit around work schedules. There is some concern around bloating in dogs that are given 1 single large meal every day, so you might hear from your vet that 2 meals per day is about right. There is a condition known as gastric torsion that can affect dogs who are given a single large meal. This is not only painful, but can in extreme cases even become life threatening.
This tends to affect larger dogs with deep chests such as Great Danes, Setters and St. Bernards. If your dog is one of these kinds of breeds, we definitely recommend that you break meal times up into at least two feeds per day. If your dog gets hungry easily then it’s a good idea to give several small feeds during the day so their stomach isn’t left empty for long periods. As we’ve already mentioned, dogs are opportunistic and omnivorous and will eat items of clothing, toys, and pretty much anything they find lying about. If your dog does this regularly, it’s probably time to recognise you’re not feeding them enough and either giving them larger meals or an extra meal in the middle of the day if possible. For very hungry dogs, small meals throughout the day might be the best sort of routine.
The most important thing to establish is regularity. While dogs are flexible and opportunistic, they also love routine. Whatever your routine is, stick to it as closely as possible to make sure that they eat well.
Of course life isn’t always that straightforward and there are many reasons you could break or change your dog’s feeding routine. This is generally not a problem and you shouldn’t worry too much as long as you stick to a routine for the most part.
We’ve already talked about how rapid the dog’s digestive system is (the fastest in the mammalian world) so for dogs that use the toilet in the house at night, it’s best to stick to morning meals if possible to give the food time to work through their digestive system.
If your dog has a medical condition such as diabetes or is pregnant, then it might be necessary to adopt a more controlled and specialist feeding routine to maintain their health. We recommend speaking to your vet.