how many times a day should i feed my dog?

How Many Times a Day Should I Feed My Dog?

How often and how much should a dog be fed per day? That’s a question without a single answer. It depends on your dog’s age if he is at a healthy weight, his activity level, dietary needs, and even the type of dog food you choose to feed. Although it can be hard to give a direct answer to the question, we can provide you with factors to consider to create the perfect feeding schedule unique to your fur baby.

How Many Per Day Should I Feed My Dog?

feeding a dog many times per day
Images from Unsplash

Let’s get the big question out of the way first with a general answer. You are expected to at least feed an adult dog twice a day, and this number is recommended by vets. As said, there are a few factors that affect how often a dog should eat, such as the breed, which affects the size of your dog, and the activity level, although the latter impacts the amount more than the frequency.

You can feed the same amount to your adult dogs in larger two-portion meals or in smaller meals throughout the day. Large breeds will generally need more calories and food than small breeds (which is also why it’s more expensive to care for a large breed foodwise). Some pet parents may feed their dogs once a day, but a large portion like that is more difficult to digest, which also means the dogs need to wait longer before they can do any physical activity.

How many times a day should a puppy be fed?

how many times a day should a puppy be fed?
Photo by Isi Parente on Unsplash

Now we know how much to feed adult dogs, but how about puppies? Puppies have different needs from the amount of attention they demand to the type of food you give them. Puppies have weaker a digestive system as they aren’t fully developed yet, so giving them too much at once can be difficult for their bodies to handle.

It’s recommended to feed puppies even more frequently than you would feed adults, with three meals being the lowest frequency. Ideally, you would spread out your puppy’s meals four times a day. You can decrease the times you feed your dog as your pup matures into adulthood, somewhere around 12 months.

Dog Feeding Methods

feeding a dog with fixed amount of food
Image by PourquoiPas from Pixabay

There are a couple of ways to feed a dog. Most canines have set meals per day, meaning you feed them a fixed amount of food at specific times of the day. The other method is free-feeding, or grazing, where you would leave all the food your dog should eat a day in his bowl and let him eat at his own pace.

Free feeding only works with dry food, as it can be unsanitary to leave fresh or raw food out for the entire day. Grazing won’t work if you have more than one dog in the house. Although free-feeding could sometimes work if the dogs are not very food-driven, it is rarely the case.

The benefit of free-feeding really only applies to the owner, because it’s much more convenient. You won’t need to worry about making it home so your dog can eat breakfast or dinner, the way you would if your dog eats two meals or more.

To avoid obesity, you will have to measure the portion of food exactly to avoid overfeeding. Many dogs eat more than their necessary share and don’t know to stop when they are full. Pair this tendency with more food than they need, then you have the recipe for overeating.

The other method is portion-controlled feeding, which requires more effort on your part, but there are more health benefits in doing so. You have more control over how much your dog is eating and it teaches your dog to appreciate food. However, this method presents a lot of opposite downsides to free-feeding.

For starters, if you have one dog that is a slow eater, there is a good chance the other one will take advantage of that and go after the bowl of food when he is done with his. This could also lead to overeating for one dog and an empty stomach for the other. We would suggest feeding dogs in separate spaces and monitoring them until they are done.

If you are feeding raw or fresh food, having set meals a day twice a day is the recommended option.

Portion control is also necessary when your dog’s health is concerned. Some canines are on special diets or require medication after meals, and feeding times that are set give owners more control.

The best method for you is one that works for your dog and your schedule. It could be one way or the other, or a combination of the two such as leaving the food out for longer than normal feeding times.

Providing Snacks and Treats

providing snacks and treats
Image by Nicooografie from Pixabay

There is a chance that your dog will have low blood sugar levels or other issues when you’re starting him on a different feeding routine. If this is the case, snacks and treats are important to tide him over until the next meal. Yes, treats are used as rewards since most dogs are food-motivated, but they can also be used for supplementation.

There are some healthy snacks out there that can be used for this purpose, but we suggest talking to your vet about it before taking matters into your own hands.

Treats and snacks also need to be portion-controlled and factored into your dog’s daily caloric intake. We also do not recommend feeding less food and more treats in an effort to keep your dog occupied during the day. You can consider your dog’s activity level on a specific day to decide if you can give him more treats than usual.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to feed dogs once per day?

There is a suggestion that feeding dogs once a day is healthier for them. There have been a few studies going around suggesting that dogs fed once a day have better cognitive function than the alternative. Some other experts still believe that feeding a dog once a day can leave them hungry a lot, which can lead to vomiting and gorging once the food is available.

What are the best times to feed a dog?

The best times to feed a dog are once during the day and once in the evening if feeding twice a day. The best times would really depend on your schedule, but we suggest about 6 to 8 hours between each meal.


Data is still being observed about feeding your dog once a day. There will always be arguments for the other side of any debate, so we suggest doing what works for your dog and you. You have people who believe free-feeding is the way to go because of what dogs’ canine ancestors do, but you won’t have any trouble finding people who believe in portion control and those that believe once per day is enough.

Similar Posts