A dog feeding schedule helps give your dog structure and, for some dogs, it eliminates the stress of not knowing what is happening next…
Dogs like routine and structure in their lives. Knowing what to expect next, is comforting and helps a dog feel secure and in control.
Just like other routine activities, feeding your dog should be on a predictable schedule, and that will make life easier for both you and your dog!
Getting your new puppy onto a routine puppy feeding schedule will actually help you housetrain your dog. And they need to eat often, usually three times a day. Here’s how it works…
By feeding your puppy a specific amount of food at regular times during the day, you actually are setting his biological clock for when he eats, digests and eliminates. This makes everything more predictable. And, once established, this routine will be in place for the rest of your dog’s life.
So, how does this help you with housebreaking? If you take your puppy outside immediately after feeding and watering him, you will trigger a digestive response called peristalsis.
Food is moved along in his intestines. The pattern becomes eat, drink, exercise (go outside) and poop. This is a pattern that you can expect for the rest of your dog’s life. And, if you stick to the schedule, it will make housebreaking a lot easier!
Dogs are creatures of habit. Because of this, it is best to feed your dog at very specific times. He will be fine with this, and his body will adjust to your dog feeding schedule.
In fact, when mealtime rolls around, your dog will eagerly let you know that it is time—as accurately as a Swiss watch!
An easy dog feeding schedule for you, and one that is common, is to feed your adult dog twice a day. Usually dog owners feed their dogs early in the morning, then again at lunchtime or late afternoon. This seems to work out well for both owners and dogs.
Your adult dog will need to go outside approximately ½ hour after eating. A dog's digestive system is fast working and predictable. And when you take your dog outside after eating, she will be less likely to have an accident inside.
The opposite of a dog feeding schedule is free feeding or self-feeding. If you think that you might like this method of feeding, there are a couple of things that you should consider.
Free feeding is definitely easier for the owner. It is used by kennels, breeders and people who can't be home during the day to give their dogs a second meal.
Here's how it works: You simply fill a dish or feed hopper and keep it filled, so that your dog can help himself when he feels like eating. That's for dry food.
If you use moist or canned food, you need to use less and add to the bowl more frequently, as it will have a tendency to dry out or get spoiled.
When you use self-feeding instead of a dog feeding schedule, you miss out on the excitement of feeding your dog. Feeding becomes impersonal.
Housetraining your dog can be more difficult, because your dog's digestive system is not on a predictable schedule. In addition, dogs don’t necessarily know when to quit eating, so your dog could gain unwanted weight.
So, when you are considering how to feed your dog, consider carefully what will be best for both you and your dog. Does a dog feeding schedule work best for you or will you do better with self-feeding?
Whatever you decide, be consistent with feeding your dog, and stick with your decision, so your dog won't be confused by inconsistency.