Monday, March 20, 2017

How Many Times A Day Should We Be Feeding Our Dog(s)?

As a pet sitter, I do my best not to judge the way my human clients care for their pets. Of course I think I am the most perfect animal mom and everyone should do things MY way, but sometimes I run across some practices that I'm really not fond of. And then I do some research and learn that my way is actually NOT the best way. Once example of that was when a few of my clients only use clay/non-clumping litter for their kitties. At first I thought it was gross and felt badly for the kitties but then I dove into the subject and found that clay litter is actually better in many cases for some cats...especially wee little kittens - another blog for another day!

So this brings me to my next "Oh-em-gee-I-can't-believe-that-Fido's-people-do-that-they-are-the-worst-pet-parents-in-the-world!" moment...feeding your dog only once a day. GASP!

I marched my righteous self straight to the interwebs and started researching why feeding a dog once a day is horrible. I planned to present my findings to my clients who would immediately change their minds! Yeeeeaaaaahhhh, not so fast, Miss. Know-It-All!

The short of it is that there really is no hard rule about how often to feed a dog, UNLESS they are a puppy, in which case they should be fed three to four small meals throughout the day. So, here's what I found...

With the proper food and diet for a healthy dog's size, breed, and age, once-a-day feeding is totes fine! In some cases, it's best! Why? The answer goes back to their physiology and the way their digestive systems work - NEWS FLASH!! Dogs are not like humans in the way their bodies process food. In fact, in the wild, dogs are hunters, they eat large meals and then may go days without another meal. This practice shows to allow their digestive systems to rest and "reset" to prepare their bodies for their next big meal. When your dog's digestive system is functioning smoothly, the typical meal takes seven to twelve hours to pass through their system. This largely depends on what they eat - raw diets digest faster than a dry kibble diet.

The behavioral aspect of once-a-day feeding is also interesting and makes perfect sense to me. The more often you feed your dog (or cat, for that matter), the more accustomed to that food they become. Take a dog who is free fed, meaning they have access to food 24 hours a excited are they about that food? Maybe at first they like it, but when they realize that's all they get all. the. time. they may not be too excited over it. It would be like us having access to an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet all the time (I think this is actually called "heaven"). We would most likely grow tired of it and our excitement about meal time would diminish. According to, "A critter with no passion for food is an unhappy critter. A pet should have an unbridled passion for food. They need to look forward to their next meal with anticipation and excitement. This lays the foundation for a well-tempered, happy pet." I tend to agree!

Some people say that their dog(s) would drive them batty if they only fed them once a day...I know my Jackson would most likely begin plotting my slow and painful death, so this is not an option for him. However, our Parker is about as excited about eating as I am about getting my yearly mammograms, so I am going to give this once-a-day feeding a go for him! Just keep in mind that you must make sure you are feeding a good, natural food and enough of it at meal time if you are going to make the switch.

Happy eating, everyone!!  

Allison Otero
Owner, AlleyCat's Pet Service, Inc.


1 comment:

  1. This is a great blog. I always thought it was mean to only feed dogs once a day, but know many people who feed once a day and their pets are very happy. It really is a good option for the right dog.