It’s the overall daily amount of food that is important. Although, you might need to adjust the number of meals per day depending on your pet’s lifestyle.
It’s important to look at the guidelines for how much to feed your dog. This will depend on your pet’s life stage.
As puppies grow and develop rapidly, they need more food than adult dogs (per kg of body weight) to sustain this growth. However, their bowels are not yet strong enough to cope with larger amounts of food and so offer smaller meals 3-4 meals a day from weaning and reduce this as they get older.
We normally change from 3 meals to 2 meals at around 6 months old but it depends what suits you and your puppy the best. Another factor to consider is if your puppy has any dietary requirements or has been given feeding advice from a vet to help with their growth and behaviour.
At Burns Pet Nutrition, we have a range of puppy food that supports your puppy’s diet and ensure they are getting the right amount of nutrients.
Most adult dogs are fed once or twice a day. However, again there is no set rule here. For example, a working dog will need to be fed more than once in 24 hours for blood-sugar level control and to keep their energy up, whereas one meal a day is fine for a very fussy dog that isn’t food motivated. For larger, deep-chested breeds, at least two meals a day is recommended as one large meal is more difficult to digest and could cause bloating.
Smaller more frequent meals are recommended for certain disease conditions and digestive upset, as they are easier to digest. They also benefit dogs with liver disease and are more likely to be tolerated by dogs who are poorly and feeling nauseous. We have a selection of natural dog food that is suitable for adult dogs and cater for their special dietary requirements and health issues.
The times you feed your dog entirely depend on their health and your schedule. Ideally, a dog needs to be fed at least twice a day with a window of 8-12 hours in between the next feed. Therefore, feeding your dog at breakfast and dinner time – when they wake up and a few hours before bedtime – will make sure that your dog is eating enough and has enough time to digest their food before their next meal. That’s not to say that they are not allowed any treats throughout the day! Our range of natural dog treats is a healthy and natural way to reward your dog.
Free feeding means just that. The dog is able to eat as much as they want from a regularly topped up bowl, grazing throughout the day. As well as causing digestive upset and fussiness, dogs allowed to eat as much as they like can also become overweight which can lead to associated problems such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease.
However, some dogs (like people) seem to be able to eat and eat and never gain weight. It may appear that they are perfectly healthy but these dogs are often passing most of what they are eating resulting in huge, smelly (and often runny) stools that the owner has to pick up. Allowing your pet to pick all day means that at proper meal times when fresh food is offered, he or she is simply not hungry anymore.
In puppies, free feeding can allow the pup to eat much more than they need. Again, this may result in digestive problems but more seriously it can cause rapid growth. Growing too quickly can lead to joint problems later in life; this is especially a problem with larger breeds.
Free feeding is therefore usually only recommended for elderly underweight dogs that need to increase their calorie intake.