How Much Should You Feed Your Dog?

Dr. Joe Alcorn, M.S., D.V.M.

Dr. Joe Alcorn is founder of Care Animal Hospital in Temecula, California. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and his advice has been featured in large publications like Bustle and Martha Steward.

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A lot of dog owners like to leave a bowl of dry food out for their pet to routinely snack on throughout the day. While this might be the most convenient way of feeding your dog, it is isn’t the most healthy technique for your pet.

The amount and frequency in which you feed your dog will depend on a multitude of things, like your pet’s weight, age, size, and breed.

As a rule of thumb, we most often recommend feeding your dog twice a day, in the morning and at night.

However, puppies under the age of 5 months old require a different feeding schedule, since they are still growing and need more food for energy.

Puppies under 5 months should usually be fed about 3-5 times a day. During your puppy’s first vet check-up at Care Animal Hospital, we can help you determine the healthiest quantity and frequency to feed your pet after assessing its size and health.

Establishing a Healthy Eating Ritual For Your Dog

One of the primary reasons you should feed your dog on a schedule is that it helps to make your dog more obedient. Not to mention, a dog that eats on a schedule will also poop on a schedule. This is one of the easiest ways to begin house training your dog.

Another benefit of feeding your dog on schedule is that leaving a bowl of dog food out all day can attract critters, like mice, cockroaches, and ants.

It is also important to feed your pet on a schedule, so you can observe its eating habits and fix food anxiety. For instance, dogs, just like cats that are sick often lose their appetite, making it easier to detect when your pet is ill. Most dogs are hearty eaters and will gobble their bowl up as soon as you put it on the floor.

Feeding a Nervous Dog on a Schedule

If you’ve recently adopted a dog, it might be a little less keen on eating, especially if it wasn’t on an eating schedule beforehand. If your dog is nervous about eating, you should leave the bowl out for about ten minutes.

If he still hasn’t touched the bowl, then pick it up, whether he has eaten or not. During the next schedules meal, put the same bowl back down for about another ten minute period. If he still has not eaten, he will eventually become hungry enough to realize that he needs to eat when food is available. If your dog’s appetite hasn’t improved after a few days, you should take it to the vet for a wellness exam.

Where You Should Feed Your Dog

After you’ve established a feeding routine with your dog, you will soon realize that mealtimes are one of their most favorite times of the day. Not only because they are able to eat for sustenance, but also because it is a moment for you to bond with your pet.

With that said, dogs are pack animals, so it is not a good idea to feed them in the middle of busy activities in the house.

Feeding your dog in the middle of a busy hour in your household will make them want to eat quicker, which can lead to digestive problems like swelling. Dogs can also become protective of their food, making them more likely to growl or bite at someone trying to interrupt their meal. It’s best to find a place out of the way, where your dog can relax and enjoy their food without feeling rushed.

​​​​​​​Dogs can also be untidy eaters, leaving food and water all over the floors and even the walls. With that said, it’s important to find an area that is easy to clean, but also easy to access for clean water. If you have hardwood floors, it is a good idea to put your dog’s water bowl on a waterproof mat or something to prevent water damage on your floors.