Which Feeding Routine is Ideal for My Dog?

dog feeding routine

by Brenda Leary


Similar to feeding children, finding the right food for your dog is essential in fostering health and proper development. While many tips on how to choose the best feeding method for a dog abound, the choice depends on what works for your pet.

This article discusses the two primary methods of feeding dogs, outlining the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.

With free feeding, dog owners put enough food and drink in the feeding bowl to last the entire day. This method is particularly helpful when juggling errands that require you to be away for most parts of the day.

If you work from the home office or are likely to return home after a couple of hours, you can replenish the food and drink ration throughout the day so that the bowl is never empty. Dog owners enjoy the convenience of not having to be physically present at feeding times. It also helps ease the mind of rescue or shelter dogs who may have suffered from the short food supply in their previous abode.

Pets that have gone through this ordeal tend to guard food in fear of depletion. Constant access to food of a guarding-prone dog only makes its job harder as it feels the need to be on guard.

An obvious benefit of unscheduled meals time is that your pet never goes hungry. Whether you are physically present or if someone is watching the puppy, the dog will not experience hunger at all. Round-the-clock feeding is particularly helpful when your puppy has an insatiable appetite.

Dr. Jules Benson, a veterinarian, explains that the ingrained habit of eating just because the food is present traces back to the dogs’ wild ancestry. He compares domestic dogs to the gray wolf that lives by the feast-or-famine way of eating where the animal can go for days on end without eating, then eat to their fill when food is available again.

Some dog breeds love to eat all. If you have a golden retriever, Norwegian Elkhound, Rottweiler, or a Bull Terrier, be prepared to avail food throughout the day and night. This method of feeding also works in homes with different animals. Keeping up with the feeding regimen of each pet is a daunting task that may require you to stay home or hire a pet sitter.

Leaving food out at different feeding stations is the best option to ensure that all your pets eat irrespective of their individual preferences.

Even though leaving out food all day seems like the most plausible option, this routine has various shortcomings such as pets becoming overweight from uncontrolled eating. An overweight dog is likely to suffer from breathing difficulty, heat intolerance, and osteoarthritis.

In homes with multiple dogs or several animal pets, free feeding can lead to bullying of some animals while the most aggressive ones consume large portions of the feast. When this happens, you will end up with some emaciated puppies. Also, this regimen makes it difficult to pay attention to each animal’s eating habits, and you may fail to notice ailments.

This method of feeding follows a strict timing and controlled portions of food for each meal. Scheduled feeding is ideal in situations where the pet owner has a regular day routine and can, therefore, be home at a pre-determined time.

The most prominent benefit of establishing a timed feeding routine is that your animal stays healthy. Limiting food portions consumed per meal is vital in negating common ailments associated with free meal times such as obesity, high blood pressure, or hypothyroidism.

When feeding the puppy, observe the right number of calorie servings per diet as indicated on the food bag. For older dogs, you can use a dog food calculator to guide you in estimating the proper servings for each meal.

Scheduled feeding also helps to potty train the animal. Science dictates that animals relieve themselves about thirty minutes after feeding. If the puppy has a steady feeding routine, it will become accustomed to a potty routine as well. In contrast with the free meal plans, this method will help you notice signs of illness if the animal turns down a meal.

Timed feedings are nearly impossible if you run a tight schedule at work, school or home. Running late translates to changing meal times and this may upset the animal’s stomach. Finally, timed feeding encourages snacking in between meals which can lead to weight gain.

The choice of feeding routine mainly depends on the schedule of the owner and the breed of dog. Once you settle into a routine, strive for consistency to avoid confusing the animal. If the method fails to work, introduce change gradually. And remember to avoid food which may be harmful to your little buddy


I’m Brenda Leary. I have passion for dogs. My ambition has been to be a founder of a community for dogaholics where everyone may share useful knowledge about dogs.

I’m here to break down all the complex dog’s tips/advices and try my best to give you the stuff that actually useful and works!

Follow my steps at Cuddle Your Dogs to discover dogs’ daily routines, tips and advices on caring a dog/puppy and many many things about this wonderful world.