What is the best daily feeding strategy for my dog?
Written by Zoe Russell, BSc (Hons)
Nutrition Officer, Skinner’s
Feeding our dogs can be a bit of a minefield; knowing what to feed, when to feed, how to feed and the list goes on!
By now you may already know what diet is right for your dog, so we are here to answer the other what, when and how questions…
How many meals should I feed my dog each day?
For puppies and young dogs, our general rule of thumb is to follow your breeder’s advice in the first instance. However, if your breeder has not provided any specific guidance, then we normally suggest feeding 4 meals per day until 4 months of age, then move onto 3 meals per day until 6 months of age, followed by 2 meals per day from then on. Please note that this is a guideline and may need adjusting to suit your dog’s individual needs.
For adult dogs we normally suggest remaining with a two meal per-day feeding strategy. This works well with most owners’ daily routines and helps ensure a more consistent level of nutrients in the blood. An exception to this is perhaps a pregnant bitch, as she may require smaller, more frequent meals.
This is because her stomach capacity will start to be impacted by the presence of growing puppies, so a feeding strategy of ‘little and often’ usually works well.
When should I feed my dog?
We normally suggest feeding at least 1 hour before activity, although ideally longer. A good strategy to use is to feed a morning meal (perhaps between 6am-9am depending on your routine) and an evening meal.
Most owners will choose to split their dog’s daily intake equally between both meals and have great success with this. Although if you find your dog has firm stools in the morning, but looser stools as the day goes on, then you may find another technique more beneficial.
For some owners, feeding 1/3rd of their dog’s daily intake in the morning and 2/3rds of their daily intake in the evening before a period of rest, is a beneficial method as it gives the dog all night to digest the majority.
It is also important to be mindful of the volume you are feeding, especially with breeds prone to bloat or gastric torsion.
What amount should I feed my dog?
The amount of food a dog needs on a daily basis will depend on their individual needs and will be influenced by factors such as their activity levels, their life stage and if they are neutered or not.
If you want a more specific recommendation for your dog, then take a look at our online feeding guide, or drop our nutrition team an email and we would be happy to help.
When portioning your dog’s daily meals, we do suggest weighing their food using accurate, calibrated scales. Often equipment such as feeding cups and measuring scoops can be highly inaccurate and can lead to over-feeding or even under-feeding.
Furthermore, it’s important that treats and titbits don’t make up any more than 10% of their daily calorie intake.
If you need any further nutrition advice, then please contact our team at email@example.com and we would be more than happy to help.