Beyond the simple pleasure of chowing down on some tasty grub, mealtimes are cornerstone events in any dog’s day, effectively forming a template around which other activities fit. Whatever else is happening, dogs are generally pretty content if their feeding routine remains reliable.
A routine feeding schedule can help to establish a healthy lifestyle, increasing the likelihood of other healthy habits - like regular poops. This makes it easy for you to choose the best time for your daily walks. Routine feeding also makes it easier to spot a loss of appetite, which is often the first sign that you pet is not feeling very well.
So, we’ve established that a dependable mealtime routine is important but what does that look like? In truth, there’s no single answer to that question: all dogs are different and are living in a different family with diverse lifestyle. Yet, we can offer some broad advice based on the age and breed of your dog.
What sort of feeding schedule suits an average healthy adult dog?
Generally speaking, most adult dogs should have two meals a day, one in the morning and one at dinner time. This routine will help to establish a stable metabolism and healthy digestion. Always make sure your dog has fresh water when you give him his kibble.
Regular activity is also important and should ideally happen before each meal. The first walk of the day might be at 6 a.m., followed by a meal at 7 a.m. then if possible, a further walk should precede dinner.
Does size make any difference?
Yes, toy and small breed dogs typically have faster metabolisms and burn energy more quickly than larger dogs. This makes them more sensitive to low blood sugar level, which means it might well be better to feed them three times a day.
If you own a giant dog breed, you might have noticed they can be sensitive to bloating and gastric issues feeding these breeds several small meals over the course of the day is therefore preferable to one or two large meals. For the same reason, it’s best to avoid feeding a giant breed dog immediately before their daily walk. Additionally, try to wait at least an hour after your walk before serving up. Ensuring your dog eats in a calm environment can also help to prevent them from eating too quickly and swallowing excess air.
Should a puppy’s schedule look any different?
Because puppies are growing, they have bigger appetites, which means you should feed them at least three to four times a day. As with all dog feeding schedules, it’s important to establish routine, so, while your schedule may differ from the one proposed here, do try to stick to the same times every day.
It’s important not to delay the last meal of the day too late in the evening. You want to give your puppy plenty of time to digest their food and poop before going to bed.
Make sure you’re feeding your pup nutritionally appropriate food. Stick with recipes that have been specially developed for growing puppies, like our Fabulous Duck & Chicken meal – it’s full of high-quality protein that helps build muscles and strengthen the immune system.
Maintain this three-meals-a-day routine until your puppy is fully grown, at which point you should shift to two meals a day. For toy and small breeds, this will be a the age of six to eight months. For medium, large and giant breeds, this will be at the age of nine to ten months, eleven to twelve months and twelve to thirteen months respectively.
What about senior dogs?
As your dog gets older (generally 8+) their dietary requirements will change a bit. So, while you should stick with the two-meal-a-day schedule they’re used to, you might consider adjusting their diet to suit a slightly less energetic pace of life. Older dogs can also benefit from a diet that offers a bit more support to bone structure and joints, like our Magnificent Free-Run Chicken & Norwegian Salmon for older dogs that’s packed with Omega 3 - a helpful supplement for older dogs with aging brains.