By Joel Monroe &
Please direct any questions or comments
to Joel Monroe firstname.lastname@example.org
The idea of a feeding schedule is
to have a dog eating at regular scheduled meal times with specific
amounts of food. Young puppies under 6 months, can be fed 3 times
a day. From 6 months to 1 year, a dog can be feed twice a day and
after 1 year, one meal a day is sufficient.
As far as how much to a feed a dog,
it is recommend to follow the instructions provided on the particular
brand of dog food purchased. Most of the charts will determine the
number of cups a day the dog should eat based on its age and weight.
Take the total number of cups recommend and divide that by the number
of meals the dog is being fed. Of course, that recommended amount
can be adjusted slightly based on the dogs individual needs. For
example, dogs that spend most of the day outdoors tend to need more
food during the winter to maintain their ideal weight since they
are burning more energy just to maintain their body heat in the
During the dog's schedule meal time,
give them 3-4 minutes to eat its food. If the dog begins to lose
interest and focus, take the food away after the three minutes is
up and do not feed the dog until the next scheduled meal time. A
dog in the wild quickly learns that food is a precious commodity.
When a dog in the wild loses interest, the other dogs in the pack
do not save parts of their kill for that dog to eat at a later time.
The dogs will stay focused on eating because they don't know when
their next meal is going to be. This develops what is referred to
as "food drive". The same type of drive can be established
in the domesticated dog through scheduled feedings.
Free feeding (keeping the your dog's
bowl filled with food and letting it eat whenever it wants to, in
whatever volume) seems easy and convenient to many owners, however,
p lacing your dog on a feeding schedule has numerous benefits over
First, it is much easier to help a
dog maintain its ideal weight with a feeding schedule. Dogs that
are free fed often become overweight. Just like in humans, obesity
in dogs can lead to numerous health issues such as hip problems.
Second, a dog that is on a feeding
schedule always eats its entire meal very quickly. This is an excellent
way to gauge the health of the dog. When a dog has a health problem
such as intestinal worms or some other parasite, one symptom is
often a loss of appetite. If a dog that is on a feeding schedule
suddenly shows a lack of interest in its meal, it is an immediate
sign that there is something wrong.
Third, food is a wonderful tool when
rewarding a dog for a desired behavior during obedience training.
When food is used as a reward with a dog with strong food drives,
the dog becomes very eager and happy to train.
Lastly, feeding schedules make housebreaking
much easier. A dog that eats at the same time every day will tend
to have bowel movements at approximately the same time every day.
When an owner knows roughly when to expect a bowel movement, it
decreases the chances of an unexpected accident.