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Dog Feeding Schedule Guidelines

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Dog Feeding Schedule Guidelines

Creating a dog feeding schedule can help keep your dog trim and healthy. While many people are advocates for free feeding, many dogs do not do well having unlimited access to food and require the control a feeding schedule provides.

Variables in Creating a Dog Feeding Schedule

There are several variables that must be taken into consideration when creating the feeding schedule for your dog. This will allow your dog to receive the appropriate amount of food during the day, at appropriate intervals.

Age must be considered when establishing a feeding schedule for your dog. A puppy up to a year old should be fed 3 times a day. Leave the bowl available to him for about 20 minutes and then put it away. Feeding three times daily allows the nutrition he needs for his growing body to be more evenly available throughout the day and taking the food away after 20 minutes prevents him from potentially overeating. Adult dogs should have their daily food broken up into 2 meals, again removing the bowl after 20 minutes. Senior dogs should again return to 3 meals daily.

Health issues can determine how frequently you must feed your dog. Conditions such as diabetes or hypoglycemia typically require that your dog be fed 3 to 4 smaller meals each day in order that his blood sugars remain at a fairly stable level.

Activity levels also determine how frequently your dog needs to be fed. A dog that is involved in activities such as dog sledding or herding, or is actively training for events such as agility may require being fed 3 times daily in order to maintain his energy level and body weight.

A pregnant or nursing female dog may require additional meals during the day. The puppies create additional nutritional demands on her body and require additional food to support nourishing the puppies.

Benefits of Having Your Dog on a Feeding Schedule

  • Control how much he eats Most dogs will eat as much as you put in front of them. A feeding schedule will allow you to control how much your dog eats.
  • Regulate his digestive tract and bowel movements Feeding on a schedule helps to put your dogs body on a schedule as well.
  • Helps with potty training Because you know when your puppy is eating, you can estimate how long it will be before you need to get him outside to have a bowel movement.
  • Manage his weight If your dog has started gaining weight, feeding on a schedule can help regulate what hes eating and allow his calories to burn more efficiently.
  • Can help track his health Scheduled feedings can help you see when your dog isnt eating normally, tipping you off to potential health issues.

While wild dogs eat what they can, when they can, domesticated dogs typically have food readily accessible to them and lack the self control to stop eating when they are full. Implementing a feeding schedule can help maintain your dogs weight and keep him healthy for a long time.

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