Appropriate Eating Times for Dogs

Choosing how to best feed your dog depends on many factors, such as activity level.
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When and how you feed your dog depends on a variety of factors including age, breed, weather and activity level. Growing puppies, nursing mothers and active dogs may require more frequent feedings, while non-active or older dogs may only need one feeding a day. Temperature changes, both hot and cold, can affect the energy your dog requires, often leading to increased food needs. Talk with your veterinarian to determine the best feeding schedule for your dog.

Regular Meals or Grazing

When it comes to feeding, there are two main options. Portion-controlled or timed feeding works by serving regular, measured meals to your dog at a specific time or times. The ASPCA recommends twice-daily feedings, with each meal spaced out by eight to 12 hours, such as at 6 a.m and 6 p.m. For portion-controlled feedings, the amount is measured out and left out for your dog for a determined time, such as 30 minutes. Free-feeding provides an unlimited amount of food at all times, with fresh food being provided as needed or each morning for the entire day. This feeding method is good for highly active dogs and nursing dogs. Free-feeding is not recommended with moist food, as the food can spoil if left out too long.