Keeping your dog well-fed is crucial to keeping it happy and healthy throughout its life. A dog feeding balance must be achieved so that your dog doesn’t put on weight or go hungry.
How Often Should I Feed My Dog?
As a general rule, feeding your dog two meals a day with an eight to 12-hour interval in between should be enough to satisfy its hunger and provide it with enough nutrition.
Puppies have different nutritional needs to adult dogs and need to be fed smaller meals more regularly –– around three or four times a day –– as they are weaned from their mother’s milk onto solid food and then onto Adult food.
When Should I Feed My Dog?
Feeding once in the morning and once in the evening will give your dog a chance to digest each meal comfortably and remain satiated for most of the day. It is important to stick to a schedule so that your dog will become accustomed to eating at regular intervals.
However, the exact time at which you feed your dog will depend on yours and your dog’s preferences, which will be established over the course of ownership. It may be hungry as soon as it wakes up or it may want to go for a walk before eating.
What Should I Feed Fussy Eaters?
If your dog has lost its appetite suddenly and refuses to take any food for more than a day or two consult a veterinarian as this may be an indication of an underlying health condition, such as liver failure.
However if your dog is or has become a fussy eater, this is often a result of learned behaviour, which thankfully with a bit of discipline, can be successfully unlearnt.
As descendants of the grey wolf, Dogs are scavengers and therefore, they aren’t naturally fussy eaters, but they’re very quick learners.
If your dog has refused food on occasion and has been ‘rewarded’ with more exciting foods, like treats or human food or has been hand-fed, they will learn through association that the refusal of their food results in a positive outcome (for them).
They refuse their food and they receive more food or your attention.
It’s important to break this cycle, otherwise, you’ll end up with a really fussy dog. To remove the association of refusing food with treats, maintain strict meal times –– ideally two meals a day –– so they build up an appetite.
Put down their food bowl at mealtimes, then take it away after 20 minutes, no matter how much your dog has eaten (even if they haven’t eaten anything). Dogs can go without food for a few days at a time with no ill effects, so a day or two won’t do them any harm. This should break the cycle and get them back to normal eating habits.
How to Handle Greedy Dogs
If your dog is a normal weight, they don’t require extra food. If they’re underweight, their hunger is justified and you’ll need to increase their food allowance.
Some breeds like Labradors and Golden Retrievers are prone to greedy eating habits. They can’t help their innate desire to eat as it’s part of their natural instinct. For dogs highly motivated by food, begging and scavenging can become a problem.
Try feeding them smaller meals more regularly –– without changing the total amount they’re fed per day –– to keep their hunger satisfied. Nutritionally balanced, gently cooked food is more palatable than cheaper, low-quality food. It’ll provide your dog with all the nutrients they need to stay happy and healthy, so consider switching them to a higher quality dog food to help satisfy their appetite.
How Much Should I Feed My Dog?
Dog feeding charts can be found online or on most regular dry food packs. They use your dog’s weight to determine how much your dog should be eating to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
However, it is recommended that you speak to your veterinarian, as they will be able to assess your dog’s health and give you an accurate indication of how much your dog should be eating.