Among the many questions new and experienced dog owners face is an especially important one. How often should dogs eat? Diet and nutrition are crucial components to keeping your dog a healthy member of the family for years to come.
Though there’s no hard-and-fast rule to how often a dog should eat, twice a day is generally a good place to start. However, more important than feeding frequency is meal portion size. Portion size may vary based on breed, age, and health condition, and settling on the right amount can be tricky.
Dog meal delivery services can make it easy to serve your canine companion delicious, nutritious, and appropriately-portioned meals that even humans can eat. One of these services, NomNomNow, offers healthy, fresh dog food is made specifically for your dog’s health goals and delivered straight to your door.
What Affects How Often a Dog Should Eat?
Veterinarians recommend feeding a dog at least twice per day. Dogs with medical issues or dietary needs may require specialized feeding schedules or restrictions on what they eat. Talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s eating habits to make sure you’re meeting their nutritional needs and healthcare requirements.
Breed plays a large role when deciding how often to feed your dog. Common large breed dogs, for instance, will often require more feedings and more calories per day than medium and small breed dogs. Age is also another important consideration. The caloric requirements for a two-month-old Yorkshire Terrier varies greatly compared to a two-year-old Yorkie.
How Much Should Puppies Eat?
Since puppies are growing rapidly, they need more food than adult dogs. Puppy nutrition is crucial for developing a foundation for future growth, as well as their bone and organ development. Puppies must have a specific amount of calcium in their diet, otherwise, they can develop metabolic bone disease or orthopedic conditions like early-onset arthritis. Toy-breed puppies, in particular, are prone to hypoglycemia.
Puppies need small, frequent feedings. For the first few months of a puppy’s life, they will need small meals of food throughout the day as they transition from their mother’s milk to solid food. Starting around four months, puppies can begin eating about three times a day, and after that, puppies will quickly graduate to twice-a-day feedings.
Feeding them three or four times per day makes it easier for puppies to digest and help keep energy levels consistent. However, it’s important to not overfeed them, since overweight puppies are more likely to become overweight adult dogs.
Toy-breed puppies will need 4 to 6 meals per day for the first three months of their lives. Medium-breed puppies will require three meals per day, and large-breed puppies typically need 3 to 4 meals per day. Though the breed is an important consideration, metabolism and energy levels can vary by up to 30 percent. Therefore, you’ll need to proportion meals accordingly.
Even though puppies grow quickly, it’s important to keep caloric intake and food amount consistent from four to twelve months of age. Puppies use fewer calories for growth as they become older. This comprehensive puppy feeding chart has vet-recommended guidelines on how much and how often to feed your puppy.
How Much Should Adult Dogs Eat?
Don’t let your dog trick you into more mealtimes with adorable puppy dog eyes. Most dogs only require two meals a day, but if you catch your dog begging, an occasional healthy treat can help.
The trick is to make sure you’re not feeding your dog more than is recommended. Food labels can be misleading or confusing. Generic feeding charts may over-calculate how much to feed a dog, or use outdated information.
To determine how much food to feed your dog, you should start by knowing your dog’s estimated adult weight. Most large breed dogs will weigh between 50 to 150 pounds, while small breeds weigh under 20 pounds. Knowing the weight of your dog’s same-sex parent can also be an excellent guide.
From there, you can use the estimated weight to determine how many calories dogs need per day. You can use this helpful chart or speak to your veterinarian.
What Sort of Feeding Schedule Works?
Free-feeding, or leaving food available to dogs at all times, is often not recommended by veterinarians. For multi-species or multiple-dog households, free-feeding makes it difficult to account for different diets and to track each dog’s intake. Additionally, free feeding can lead to obesity when dogs overeat. This obese dog guide can help determine whether your dog may be overweight, and what to do about it.
Sticking to a schedule can help your canine companion avoid grazing, feel like part of the family, and can encourage good mealtime behavior. You should plan a feeding schedule by consulting with your veterinarian.
Considering Fresh Dog Food
Fresh dog food is often much more digestible than processed kibble, or even processed wet food, so puppies can benefit from NomNomNow‘s recipes to get more energy and nutrients from “less.” Another benefit is that with NomNomNow, you don’t need to worry about when to transition from “puppy” to “adult” food. NomNomNow will adjust the food for you as your puppy grows. Moreover, NomNomNow’s recipes include DHA, a nutrient that can enhance brain development, which is an essential component to keeping your pup mentally sharp.
Adult dogs also thrive from eating NomNomNow, as each meal customizes portions according to weight, activity, age, breed, and diet history. Even the pickiest eaters likely won’t be able to resist. More importantly, NomNomNow has many customer success stories touting improvements in health conditions from allergies to obesity. Lastly, all of NomNomNow’s meals are specially formulated by their in-house board-certified veterinary nutritionist, Dr. Justin Shmalberg, so you know what your feeding your furry friend is vet-approved.