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How Often Should You Feed Your Dog?
Posted on : 07/01/2015 12:41:58 PM

If dogs had their way, the Canine Cafeteria would no doubt be open 24/7. Like many of their human companions, most dogs do love to eat. Experts generally recommend feeding adult dogs twice daily - once in the morning and once in the evening. Puppies under five months of age should be fed three or four times per day, or as directed by your veterinarian.

It’s a good idea to start out feeding puppies by hand, so they identify you as the food provider. It is also a bonding mechanism, and helps prevent future development of problems such as food possessiveness and aggression.

Adult dogs need sufficient nutrients to meet their energy needs, and the amount you feed your dog should be based on his size and energy output. While dogs do like occasional treats, unlike humans, they are content to eat the same food every day. It’s not necessary to make changes in their diet to add variety, and in fact, doing so may cause digestive problems.

Leaving food out for a dog to eat whenever he wishes is known as free feeding. Most experts advise against it because it can lead to obesity. Some adult dogs can handle food being out all day, and it might be okay to leave it out if you keep tabs on how much food you’re giving him. However, other dogs won’t stop eating, and many owners don’t measure - even refilling the bowl throughout the day - resulting in overfeeding.

Especially when starting out with a puppy, it’s a good idea to feed on a regular schedule. You should feed the dog at the same time every day, and only leave the food out for 20 minutes. Then, you should remove the bowl regardless of whether the dog has eaten or not. At the next scheduled feeding, put the bowl back down, again for only 20 minutes. Your dog will quickly learn that he needs to eat when food is being offered.

Having regularly-scheduled feeding times establishes a routine, and allows you to monitor your dog’s health. If your dog only picks at his food throughout the day, it may not be obvious that he’s not eating well. But, if he typically digs in as soon as you put the bowl down, you will immediately notice his sudden lack of appetite, which is frequently an indication that he isn’t feeling well. If his appetite fails to improve in a few days, have your veterinarian check him out.

Help your dog stay healthy with regular feedings that keep him at his proper weight.

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