How Many Meals Is Enough for Your Dog?


When we get a new dog, whether it is a puppy or an adopted older dog, it can be a worry to make sure you don’t over or under feed your pet.

Overfeeding

The problem with over feeding is that it contributes to health problems.  The main problem is obesity and other issues then branch out from there.  An obese dog cannot exercise properly and this creates a vicious circle of becoming even more obese. As with humans, obesity in dogs can cause other health problems such as heart disease, breathing problems as well as skin conditions, bad breath and tooth decay.

Underfeeding

The guide on all dog foods by manufacturers is only a guide.  If you have an extremely over active or hungry dog and your furry friend seems to be losing body weight rather than gaining or maintaining a healthy balance, you should either increase the recommended amount or change to a better brand that may suit your friend better.  Rib cages should not be portraying and you should not be able to pick up large bits of loose skin all over the body.

How many feeds per day is enough?

  • Dogs should be fed small meals 3-5 times a day when they are young puppies.  This is because their tummies are small and they are use to suckling on their mothers often.  Small pups can experience a drop in blood sugar levels if left unfed for too long.
  • At three months of age, 3 meal times a day is more than sufficient.
  • As your dog gets older their feeds should be continuously but gradually decreased to one meal a day by the time they reach the age of 12 months.

A dog is considered adult from the age of 9 months and will rarely grow any more past that age bracket.  Some people feel guilty for only feeding one feed a day.  If it suits you better you may divide the amount for the day in two portions and feed a morning and dinner feed.

What should l feed?

Dogs should be fed a well balanced diet, preferably sourced from a reputable dog food manufacturer.  The key word is balance.  Most dog foods that are from a good brand have all the nutrients in that are required, but the odd treat is a welcome addition.  Some love raw fruits and vegetables and snacks such as rawhide bones and meaty chews brings great relieve from boredom

Milk and dog beer…

Fresh water must be available at all times, preferably stored in a place easily accessible but away from direct sunlight.  A dog can go without food for a time if need be, but never without water.  They will dehydrate and become seriously ill.   The importance of freely available fresh water cannot be stated highly enough.

Some people believe that giving milk is a direct source of infecting your dog with worms and that it should not be given at any cost.  While this is a highly ongoing debate, we stick to the rule of thumb that you can’t go wrong with a good varied diet.  As long as fresh water is readily available the odd drop of milk will not do any harm unless your pet has lactose allergies.

Pet Shops and health care providers stock something called dog beer.  It does not actually have any alcohol in it.  It is filled with minerals and vitamins and makes for a treat that everyone can have a laugh about.  No harm in that!

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