Ask any 10 people how often you should feed your dog and you’ll get 10 different answers. The topic is hotly debated and there’s no definitive consensus. As long as your dog is healthy, not overweight, obtaining proper nutrition and not going hungry, much will depend on a family’s schedule and your veterinarian’s advice.

Schedule

You may decide to feed your canine on a regular schedule or adopt a “grazing” approach. No matter which option you choose, there are some things you should know. Some dogs will eat everything put in front of them any time of the day or night. Others are self-regulators. It’s best to assume your dog is an all-you-can-eat type of feeder.

Establishing a regular feeding schedule does have some advantages, particularly for shelter dogs and for puppies when housebreaking. A puppy will generally need to relieve themselves approximately 10-15 minutes after eating. It makes it easy for people to know when to take the puppy out and the dog will associate relieving themselves with going out.

Feeding on a regular schedule provides a predictable and stable routine a canine can count on. It’s easier for them to cope with changes within the household and for people to predict when the dog will need to relieve themselves. If the vet orders a change in diet, a regular schedule can make the transition much easier.

An adult dog’s stomach will begin to register hunger every 8-10 hours, making twice-a-day feedings desirable. You may also choose to create a breakfast, lunch and dinner approach, depending on your schedule. Whatever schedule you select, make sure you can continue it. A dog’s stomach will be accustomed to eating on the schedule you set and will need to relieve itself accordingly.

There’s some evidence that an all-day buffet can lead to obesity. Feeding too much at a meal can result in bloating, digestive distress, discomfort, and slower digestion. This will disrupt their need to relieve themselves. At least two meals a day is preferable, about 12 hours apart. Any longer than that can result in a hyper-acidic condition that causes nausea. Consult your veterinarian for the best solution for your dog.

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