How often should I feed my dog?
This often becomes an important question asked by many dog lovers and dog owners. If it is a puppy within age of the first six weeks, the puppies need to be given milk at the rate of five to seven times per day. The puppy will make some sound if it wants to feed in general.
However, the feeding frequency may be reduced when the dog becomes six to eight weeks old. By the time the dog assumes the age of four weeks, it may start taking of some solid food. Hence, mix the solid food with water in majority and feed your puppy once or twice in the beginning and if the dog develops some diarrhea, then delay the feeding.
Most of the times, it is due to trial and error but taking some basic steps in feeding, so you need to watch out. The feeding frequency may be changed to two to three times after the assumption of age of eight weeks. However, if the dog is seen hungry craving for food, then provide food once than the estimated numbers. This varies with different breeds of dogs.
However, avoid feeding too many times in this age group of dogs. Around three months to six months of age, the puppy will be teething. Hence, restrict the feeding to two times only but the balanced type of nutrition needs to be provided to the dogs of this age group to avoid the deficiency based symptoms in them.
From six months to one year, try using puppy food that is available commercially. It’s common that from the first year on wards, the adult food may be given gradually. You need to remember when the dog becomes an elder dog, restrict the frequency of feeding since the movements of such adult dogs are highly reduced due to multiple reasons. When you have a pregnant animal may be fed an extra time depending on the willingness of the animal and restrict the quantity of the food but without compromising on the quality of food.
Let’s get started…
Do you feel guilty eating three yummy meals a day plus snacks while your dog just gets one or two scoops of dry kibble?
It doesn’t have to be that way.
There are several healthy ways to feed your dog, depending on its individual needs. Here are the top three:
1) Let Your Dog Decide
For dogs who are a healthy weight and aren’t having accidents in the house, you may be able to use the free-choice feeding method.
This means you leave food out all day and let your dog graze. This can be a good method for highly active dogs that are burning more calories than their couch-potato friends.
If you are leaving food out all day for your dog to nibble on, use dry food, which won’t spoil.
If you have a nursing dog, she will probably be fed by the free-choice method. Dogs who are nursing need many calories to produce a constant flow of milk for their pups.
Downsides: Leaving dog food out all day could attract insects, rodents, or raccoons. That’s especially the case if you feed your dog outside, so be on the lookout.
And if you have more than one pet, they may bicker over the food. Also, this method is not for dogs that are diabetic.
2) Control Portions
For the dog who would never stop eating, use the portion control method. First, ask your vet what your dog’s ideal weight is. If you are using a commercial dog food, feed your dog the amount printed on the bag that fits with its ideal weight. Sometimes, however, the suggested amount is more than your dog needs. Your veterinarian can calculate the exact amount to feed.
3) Watch the Clock
If you’re not worried about your dog overeating but don’t want to leave the food out all day, use the timed feeding method. This means you give the dog a certain amount of time, like 30 minutes, to eat. When time’s up, throw out whatever he hasn’t eaten.
When you offer food again 8-12 hours later, your dog will be hungry and ready to eat.
What About Treats?
Dog treats should make up 5% to 10% or less of your dog’s daily diet. Ask your vet about the number of treats this means for your dog. It’ll vary based on his weight and activity level.
If you need to use treats frequently for training, use very small pieces. You can also set aside some of your dog’s daily portion of kibbles to use as “treats” when you train.
He Looks Great But Is Always Hungry
Using the guidelines on a commercial pet food label should be a starting point for deciding how much to feed your dog. If he seems hungry all the time, you may need to feed him more. Beware that some dogs will always seem hungry and are already overweight. You may need to use a diet food that is more filling to him.
The amount of food your dog needs may change if:
- Your dog becomes more active or is pregnant or nursing.
- The weather is very hot or cold.
- Your dog is recovering from surgery or an infection.