If you want your dog to be healthy and happy, it’s vital to provide him with the proper diet and nutrition. This means choosing the right type of food and feeding him on a schedule that works for both of you. Follow these guidelines for how much and how often to feed your dog to ensure he maintains a healthy weight and receives all the nutrition he needs.
Experts Don’t Recommend Free-Choice Feeding for Dogs
While it’s a common practice for cat owners to leave a bowl of dry food out all the time, the same feeding method doesn’t work for most dogs. A meal schedule is important for many canines that can’t control themselves with a free-choice feeding option.
If you try this method and your dog starts putting on weight, switch to portioned feeding. This helps make housebreaking easier as well, since you can time bathroom trips 20 to 30 minutes after mealtime.
How Much & How Often to Feed a Dog
Your dog’s size and activity level determine how many calories he needs per day. Check the dog food label for a recommended serving size based on your pup’s weight. You can ask your vet for specific advice as well. Then, divide the serving size in half and offer your dog two meals per day spaced about eight to 12 hours apart.
Keep an eye on your dog’s weight. If you can’t feel his ribs when you run your hands down his torso, decrease his portion sizes a little to encourage a healthier waistline.
Meeting Your Dog’s Nutritional Requirements
Unlike humans, dogs can receive all the nutrients they require by eating the same high-quality food every day. There’s no reason to add variety to a canine’s diet, though dogs certainly enjoy the occasional treat.
If the need arises to change your dog’s food, make the switch gradually by mixing the old and new food together. Over the course of one to two weeks, increase the amount of new food in the mix until you phase out the old food completely. This is important for finicky eaters as well as to avoid potential digestive problems that can result from a dietary change.
What to Do if Your Dog Skips a Meal
Loss of appetite is an early sign of illness. However, if your dog only occasionally misses a meal and has no other signs of illness (such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy), there’s no need for concern. Of course, if your pup consistently refuses to eat, you may need a vet’s advice about changing the animal’s diet or addressing an underlying health condition.
Dog Feeding Tips from Germantown Vet
If your dog’s weight or eating habits concern you, find the suggestions you’re looking for at Germantown Vet. We can help you select the right food, serving size, and feeding method to help your dog thrive.
For answers to your questions, or to schedule an appointment, please call Germantown Vet Clinic at 240-252-7467.