If dogs were calling all the shots, it would be a 24-7 food fest. Most dogs eat as much food as you’ll provide – and then want or search out even more. There’s really no single answer as far as how much to feed a dog since it all varies with age, health, activity level and scheduling.
Feeding your dog too often or not often enough may impact his health. Feeding him too little may prevent him from absorbing all the nutrition his body needs to maintain proper health. If you feed him too much, he could develop weight issues. As with most health related issues, it is wise to discuss with your veterinarian how often to feed your dog.
The frequency you feed your dog may also depend on your schedule and his preferences. Whatever route you take, it’s best to establish a routine and stick to it.
Consider these options when setting the schedule:
- Portion Control – Dogs should typically be fed twice daily by using a portion control method that divides the amount suggested on the food label into two meals that are served 8-12 hours apart. This controls consumption and is a good route for weight control. You may need to tweak portions to achieve your dog’s ideal daily “maintenance” amount.
- Free Feeding – Food is available at all times via a free feeding route. Not normally recommended, except for nursing dogs or those with medical issues that may necessitate regular access to food. This method works with dry food since it won’t spoil when left out.
- Timed Feeding – This route involves making a portion of food available for your dog to eat for a specified period of time. After that time has lapsed, the remaining food is removed.
Remember that since puppies need more food per pound of body weight to support their growth, they should be fed more frequently throughout the day. Many vets agree that puppies up to six months of age should be fed three meals daily. From six months to maturity, most dogs – including seniors – do fine when fed twice daily.
Naturally, there are exceptions depending on health issues that may require feeding more often. Among these are diabetes and hyperthyroidism. Your vet will guide you on this.