Having three Dogs we decided to implement a strict feeding policy for our Dogs. Life would just be too chaotic if we did not have strict control over all aspects of our Dogs feeding. The feeding of multiple Dogs may seem like a major chore but the routines are set and it runs, for the most part, quite smoothly.
I will try to answer many of the questions I had when it came to feeding my first Dog, and also some helpful tips I have learnt over the years.
How Much To Feed Your Dog?
The question of how much to feed your Dog is a very difficult one to answer. All Dogs need different amounts of food depending on any number of factors. From the size of your Dog to its body type, there are many factors to consider.
There are quite a dazzling array of tables and charts that can be consulted to determine how much you should feed a Dog, and to be honest I don’t put much store in any of them. They are way too generic, take little note of your Dogs body type and there are simply way too many discrepancies between them all.
As a starting point I would go by the recommendations on the labels of the Dog food you buy. This is as good a starting point as any. Adult Dogs will be eating very differently to Puppies. It is quite amazing how much a growing Puppy will eat. Our nine month old Dog is still eating 50 percent more than her Mother, even though she is still much smaller. She has boundless energy and is still growing so she gets fed plenty.
On the other hand, our Dog Faye, who is much heavier set than our other two Dogs, eats by far the least. She has a much heavier set to her and although a very active Dog she probably eats almost half of what our other Adult Dog eats. She just doesn’t need as much Food to maintain her body weight.
As Dog owners we need to evaluate our own Dogs needs. Start with the recommendations from the Labels on the Food and take it from there. You need to use your own judgement when it comes to feeding Dogs. The most sensible, and I believe the best advice when wondering how much to feed your Dog is:
If they look thin, feed them more. If they look fat, feed them less.
Read the post about how to stop Dogs begging for food as this is one easy way to have an overweight, and frankly, annoying Dog!
How Often To Feed Your Dog?
How often should we feed our Dogs? Well, when they are young Puppies they will be fed four times a day. Young Puppies need to be fed often to keep them with a constant supply of nutrients.
As Dogs become Adults the feeding regime will have changed. You gradually reduce their meals down to two a day until they are more or less fully grown. Feeding your Dog twice a day is the preferred way for many Dog owners. To feed a Dog more than twice a day is not really necessary unless there are some special circumstances.
Active and very energetic Dogs will probably always need feeding twice a day. All that activity means they will need a good and regular supply of Food. How often to feed your Dog is down to the owner and their choice. We always feed our Dogs twice a day because they are so active. More sedate Dogs will be absolutely fine on one Meal a day. There is nothing wrong with a Dog being fed once a day. Dogs that are not very active and energetic do not need feeding more. Make sure they are getting enough food though. As discussed earlier, this really is as simple as keeping an eye on their weight.
How To Feed My Dog?
When it comes to the feeding of Dogs I have learnt to have a strict regime when it comes to feeding time. A free for all will quickly get out of hand and if proper rules are not set then the Dogs can get completely out of hand when it comes to feeding time. If you have a Gassy Dog read the post to see how I solved our Dog flatulence problem.
Whether you are feeding multiple Dogs or feeding one Dog, it is good to have a feeding regime in place. It doesn’t take long at all for your Dog to understand the routine and life will be all the easier for it.
Here is how our Dogs are fed. It works great for multiple Dog feeding but applies just as well to feeding one Dog.
The Dog Bowls are filled according to how much food each Dog requires and the water is added. It is then left to sit for about ten minutes, which in a nutshell was the solution to the gassy Dog problem.
By now all the Dogs are very keen to eat. We put one bowl down and tell all the Dogs to sit. One Dog is then told to take. This is always changed so they all sit well, being on best behaviour as they never know if they will get to go first.
Then the next bowl is placed down and the next Dog is told to take. And so on.
A simple solution but it makes feeding the Dogs a much more tranquil affair. There is no scrambling for the food the minute it is placed on the floor. It can lead to aggression, especially with multiple Dog feeding. It is good if your Dog knows it has to wait for its feeding time. Life is much calmer if you approach it this way. How to feed my Dogs calmly was a question I am very glad I found the answer to. How to feed your Dog is an important part of training. It reinforces your command and give the Dog some boundaries to abide by.
What To Feed Your Dog?
Any regular followers of the site know that I am a firm advocate of at least feeding partially Raw. I have neither the time or the money to feed an all raw diet although many Dog owners swear by it. At least a partial policy of feeding raw, especially Bones, will have many advantages for Dogs. Raw Bones make teeth cleaning for Dogs much easier, and Dogs and Chicken are a match made in Heaven as far as most Dogs are concerned!
If you can, feed lots of Raw Meaty Bones to your Dog. Dogs really do thrive, for many, on plenty of Raw Meat. Bones work wonders for Dogs health in many ways. Dried Dog Food may have its critics but for many of us it is the realistic mainstay of their Diet. There are a literally thousands of brands out there. When deciding what to feed your Dog I have found there is a little bit of trial and error involved. Some brands none of our Dogs liked and others they loved.
It is not just a matter of price when it comes to finding what to feed your Dogs. Check that the nutrient content is good. Read the labels of a few brands and see what the difference really is. I am always amazed that there is such a vast difference in the price of many Dog foods. If one has a higher protein content but is twice the price then think about maybe spending that money on some Raw Meaty Bones or Chicken instead.
Try a few brands and see what your Dog prefers. One thing I will say though, especially if you have a fussy eater.
A healthy Dog will never starve itself to Death. If your Dog is very fussy then it needs to get over it to some extent. Don’t let your life be dictasted to by a fussy Dog. Stick with a brand for a week or so and you will find even the fussiest of eaters will gradually start to be less fussy. It may seem tough but many Dogs are fussy eaters because we let them get away with it.
Why not try making Food at home for your Dog. Try the 245 Homemade Recipes that you can buy cheaply for your Dog.
Do Not Feed Dogs
There are a vast number of things we should never feed Dogs. To learn what we do not feed Dogs read the dangerous foods for Dogs post.
You may also think about the other aspects of Dog training. Do you use a Dog Cage or a Dog Kennel and Run to help train your Dog when it comes to feeding time? There are many different ways that you can help train your Dog to know when it is feeding time and how it should respond.
Do you have tips on how to feed Dogs?
Any advice you want to share on the best ways to feed Dogs?
I would love to hear them.
May the Doggie Force be with you all.
I think you are pretty brave to take on this topic. I delved into it a couple of years ago and got some comments and emails telling me that I was poisoning my dogs if I didn’t do it their way. And of course their ways were contradictory. Feeding a dog is almost like a religion to some dog owners.
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Your definitely right about the feeding scales. There is a no “One size fits all” when it comes to feeding your dog.
We usually try to feed our dogs once in the mourning and once at night. It seems to work pretty well, and its also good for our schedule.
Raw Feeding is your best bet as far as a diet goes but there are some really good brands of dog food including:
Those are a little expensive, if you are looking for something a little cheaper I suggest taking a look at Kirkland dog food sold at Costco.
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Jan, strangely it seems very quiet on this one.
Black Labradoes, hi. Thanks for all your comments. You will be on the Top Commenters list in no time 😉
Raw feeding is definitely a good way to go if you have the time and money.
The Duck Toller is actually pretty good about food. We leave more than enough out all day. She’s pretty smart about it…she only eats what she needs, when she feels like it. She’ll leave food in the bowl if she’s had enough. She’s very fit and probably could even stand to eat MORE (she just choses not to).
Unlike other dogs (like some cement-head Labs), which will just gobble down whatever is put in front of them, regardless of the amount.
Though we make a point to occasionally remind the Toller who’s boss. With her dog dish, or any treats, we’ll make her stand back, and say “Leave it…leave it…..leave it……”, and then…”OKAY!!!”. Only then is she allowed to eat.
“Leave it” is actually very useful command. It also comes in handy, if they find something toxic or bad for them, and you want them to stay away from it.
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Friar, the Duck Toller sounds like a very controlled Dog. She can pace Her eating, which our three just cannot do.
A very good point about the “leave it” command.Something I should use a lot more;)
I guess I am basically lazy when it comes to feeding my dogs. You make it sound like it is something that should be carefully thought out and planned. My dogs are good eaters for Yorkies. They eat what I put before them and we keep the food available all the time. None of them have a weight problem and since several are fairly tiny we feel they should be able to grab a bite whenever they need to and not have to wait for feeding time. It works for us anyway.
The other day I went to buy dog food and was told that the brand was being discontinued. Sigh. Eight years ago, we settled on this particular brand after a LOT of experimenting to find a food that our dogs would do well with.
Through the years, I would occasionally buy a different brand and switch the dogs over to see if I could find anything better. But the results were never as satisfactory.
I am sooo not looking forward to a new round of food testing to find another suitable brand. The only good thing, I suppose, is that the pet food scares have led to a wider variety of “premium” and “natural” types of foods. So there are a lot of new brands out there that I can try.
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Carlars Cuties, it sounds like you feed like Friar. I could not imagine leaving food out all the time. It would be chaos and the Dogs would be overweight in a week!
Jennifer, that is a shame. When you know they get along really well with a food you don’t want to change it. Don’t you find the problem is just tooo much choice now though?
I have a 9 month old golden retriever. I feed him 3 times a day. He seems to do very well on this regime… and it makes sense to me to feed him 3 times instead of only twice a day, since he is so active and has a good appetite..spaces out the amount of food he consumes at one time. Is three times a day a bad idea?
I don’t think it is a bad idea. I just don’t think that feeding more than twice a day at that age is needed. If he is an energetic Dog then just give him the same amount of food but in two meals. Of course, it is up to the owner. I find that 3 meals equals more poop though. Yours may be different but more meals nomally odes more more poop to clear.
IMHO most dogs don’t do well when allowed to eat when they feel like it. They tend to over eat. It is better to train them to a set feeding schedule. Also, use caution if following measurements on bags of dry kibble. Dry food is more fattening than raw or wet food and the manufacturers tend to have you over feeding your animals to sell more dog food.
It is very important to learn to read the labels of the food and know what the ingredients mean before choosing a manufactured dog food.
Feeding your dog is definately an individual thing and there is no set standard as they all have individual metabolisms.
Bear in mind that there are many determining factors such as how much exercise your dog gets and also, what you are feeding him.
Personally, I go with letting them graze little and often as this keeps their metabolism up.
Great article! I too, have three dogs and feed them similar to what you do. It does make it easier if your dogs sit and don’t eat until the are released to. No rushing to the bowl, no fighting over a bowl. I also place each dogs bowl in the same location so they have become accustomed to which bowl is theirs. You are spot on about the looking at the individual dog. There is not “one amount fits all” for dogs.
Thank you, I really enjoyed reading your article. I guess you have to training your dog to eat the right foods.
great info thanks a lot for sharing. I really learned a lot. I think feeding your dog is just like feeding your baby. there are many right ways to do it as long as you know what not to do you will be fine.
Thanks again for the valuable guide.