When is the best time to feed your dog?

Jun 20, 2019 | Health

In the past when I had my last three, Bear, Bella, and Lady, I worked full time but always made sure they ate in the morning at 6:00 am and then when I got home at 5:30 pm.  Our schedule was that I would let them out first thing when we got up, fed them as soon a they came in, and let them out again before I left in the morning and then when I got home, I would let them out and then feed them dinner.  This worked well because I had them on a schedule and dogs love schedules.  Sometimes they didn’t finish all their kibble and I just left it there for them to nibble on during the day if needed.  If I was running late, my dad would come over and let them out for me which was a big help.  

But what is the best time to feed your dog?  If you have a normal, healthy dog, the recommendation is that you feed your dog twice a day at 7:00 am and at 6:00 pm.  The reason is that the anatomy and physiology of the canine digestive system requires about 4 to 6 hours for the food to fully digest and absorb into the system.  After about 8 to 10 hours the receptors in the dogs stomach will send hunger signals to its brain.  

The feeding schedule is different if you have a puppy, an older dog, or one who is highly active they should be fed 4 times a day.  Or if your vet wants you to be on a certain feeding schedule, you should follow that.  I have to admit that when I was younger, I had no idea my dogs needed fed 4 times a day but there was typically food left out all day long.  Jake and Maggie are on a twice-a-day feeding schedule but do leave food in their bowl for later.  I do not work full-time anymore and it’s a stress taken off of me not to have to worry about them being alone during the day.  

If you are one of those who prefer feeding your pet once a day, its is recommended that they get fed in the evening to allow them time to absorb the nutrients through the night and to last until the following evening.  In my research, I found one article saying you should never leave food in the bowl for them to graze on as they please.  I found another that said it was ok.  I guess it is up to you and your dog.  When my dogs were puppies, I would feed them on a schedule and make sure that I picked up any food that was left but as the dogs got older, I became more relaxed about that.  My dogs have always lived to very old ages, so I guess I’m doing something right. 

Let me know your thoughts on what feeding schedule you and your dog prefer.  It would be interesting to hear what others think.  Do they paw at the bowl when it’s empty like Jake does?  LOL!  

Hope you enjoyed this post!

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