Taking care of a dog is a big responsibility. You want to do everything you can to assure he is healthy. But sometimes you worry if you’re doing everything right.
One question that trainers are often asked is: How often and how much should I feed my dog?
You don’t want them to eat too much and get over-weight. But no one likes to think their dog is starving between feedings.
What’s the answer? The first thing to consider is…
Puppies are full of energy and burn up calories quickly. They also have small tummies, so they can only eat so much at one time. Up to three months they can eat three or four times a day.
When a dog is a year old twice a day feedings are fine. First thing in the morning and then at dinner time works best. For most situations a schedule of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p. is ideal.
Always take your dog out thirty minutes after eating. Like humans, it’s best for a dog not to go to bed on a full stomach.
Treats can also be given throughout the day and at training time. But not so often that your dog doesn’t eat his regular meals.
A Great Dane is obviously going to need to eat more than a Yorkie. Most dog food packages have a guide as to how much you should feed your dog based on his weight. If you are unsure, ask your vet for suggestions.
When your dog goes for his annual vet visit they will tell you if your dog’s weight is within the guidelines. If he’s over weight you may need to start feeding less or change to a food that designed for overweight dogs. You can also increase the length or amount of his walks.
Always read the ingredients of the dog food you’re buying. A dog should not be eating food made with lots of grain or corn. It will cause them to gain excess weight. Purchase food that’s primary ingredient it meat. If you can’t find good quality food at your grocery store; try a local pet store. The food will cost more but will help your dog stay healthy.
A pregnant or nursing dog will need to eat more often and larger quantities than normal.
Health problems, such as diabetes or heart problems, will often require a special diet and feeding times.
Though it’s tempting, resist the urge to feed your dog while you’re eating. It will teach him that begging for food is acceptable. Plus, most human food is not the best for your dog and some things, like chocolate and artificial sweeteners, is dangerous.