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How Many Times a Day Do Dogs Eat?

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Dogs should be fed at least twice a day with 12 hours in between to prevent hyper acidity and nausea.
  • Small breeds should be fed three to four times a day due to their faster metabolism.
  • Large breeds should be fed several times a day in small portions to prevent gastric issues and bloating.
  • Dogs with medical issues should be fed four to six times a day to cause less stimulation to the stomach.
  • Puppies should be fed three to four times a day for the first four months to keep up with their energy levels and metabolism.
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Licensed veterinarian and animal behaviorist with over three years of experience and a Ph.D. in Poultry Science.
Published on
Monday 20 June 2022
Last updated on
Wednesday 26 July 2023
How Many Times a Day Do Dogs Eat?
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Whether you are a new dog owner or a long-time pet lover, it’s always a question as to how many times a day dogs should eat. However, there’s no particular answer to that, as all dogs are different and have various needs. Still, this is some advice that might help.

How Many Times Should Dogs Eat a Day?

A dog’s feeding schedule depends on the family they belong to. It is recommended to feed them at least twice a day with 12 hours in between. Lasting for more than 12 hours without eating can cause their stomach to be hyper acidic, and this may cause nausea in dogs.

Three times a day is a good option, and you can schedule it by breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Small Breeds

Small breeds usually have faster metabolisms compared to larger breeds. They burn energy quickly, making them sensitive to low blood sugar levels. In this case, it’s best to feed them three (3) to four (4) times a day at max. The same frequency of feeding is recommended for toy breeds and lap dogs. 

Large Breeds

Big dogs need more energy and nutrition than small breeds, but they are more susceptible to gastric issues and bloating. It would be best to feed them several times a day in small portions to deal with this issue. It can be equivalent to two to three times a day of the meal.

As much as possible, do not feed large dogs immediately after a walk or a run. Wait at least an hour for their body to adjust before serving up. You can also take specific measures to prevent the dog from swallowing too much air due to eating too fast.

Medical Issues

For dogs with medical issues, it still depends on the severity of the condition as to how many times a day should you feed a dog. However, four to six times a day is the best frequency because it causes less stimulation to the stomach, resulting in less muscular contractions. 

Dietary Needs

If your dog is on a particular diet they must follow, feeding them twice a day at 8 to 12 hours intervals is acceptable. Still, it would be best to ask a trusted veterinarian and follow what they recommend is best for your pup. The size of the dog may also be a factor in this one. Seasons may also affect your dog’s dietary needs.


When a dog gets older, you should also reduce the frequency of their meals. Their calorie intake changes with age, and they are in a less active phase of life. You should feed them twice a day–one for breakfast and one for dinner in the evening. 

How Often Should Adult Dogs Eat

Adult dogs should eat a minimum of two times a day on a normal basis. This doesn’t count occasional healthy treats. Do not give in to their adorable puppy eyes when they are asking for more than the meal you gave them.

There is no considered best time to feed dogs, as proven by studies, but mornings and late in the afternoon are typically the ideal time of the day to do so.

Regarding “how much should a dog eat”, you should consider their weight and age. You can estimate the number of calories they will need depending on their energy usage and daily activity. Large breeds usually weigh around 50 to 150 lbs, while small and toy breeds only weigh no more than 20 lbs.

Do not feed your dog more than what is recommended for their breed and size, as this may result in various complications. 

How Often Should Puppies Eat

Due to their size, puppies require a more frequent feeding schedule. Give them small meals throughout the day for the first four months, especially around their transition from their mother’s milk to solid meals. 

Others may find it tricky figuring out how many times a day a puppy should eat but starting at three to four times daily is all fine. This allows them to keep up with their energy levels and metabolism at such a young age. Do not overfeed them as they may grow into overweight dogs if they carry this habit to adulthood. 

Puppies grow up quickly, so you need to keep up with their feeding needs. Considering the calorie intake four to a year after they are born is best for their physical development. 

Benefits of Feeding Your Dog On Schedule

After figuring out the answer to “how often should I feed my dog,” it’s time to tackle the benefits of feeding schedules. Here are some of those:

Prevents Obesity and Other Health Issues

Although others might say that fat dogs are cute, it is not a good thing to be happy about. Some breeds are especially prone to overeating, so you should be there to guide them on how much they can eat. As a pet owner, you can control their weight and health by managing their meals.

Obesity is a large factor in the development of various diseases as well. Studies state that overweight dogs tend to have a shorter lifespan, despite their breed and size. Administering a strict feeding schedule can help them regulate their weight, therefore resulting in a much healthier body. 

Helps Avoid Grazing

Although leaving an ample amount of food on the feeder for your dog too much when they are hungry is more convenient, it can cause grazing. Eventually, grazing may cause diarrhea or vomiting. Setting out fixed portions of meals per day allows the dog to get the nutrients they need and prevents this problem.

When a dog is grazing, you won’t be able to control its food intake. If not resolved earlier, this may cause obesity, upset stomach, and intestinal problems. 

Helps Owner Identify a Change in Appetite

When a dog has a feeding schedule, you will be able to track its appetite. This is important, especially when managing their health and weight. As humans, our appetite is a large indication of whether or not there is something wrong with us.

If your pet used to have a healthy appetite but suddenly started eating less or more than usual, you can report this to your vet. You wouldn’t be able to observe this if you don’t have a feeding schedule for your dog, right?

Establish Healthy Eating Habits

People always seek a healthier lifestyle, so why not let your dogs have it as well? You can train dogs to acquire habits, so it would be best to guide them to develop the ones that will benefit them in the long run.

Besides that, feeding them at certain times of the day can help develop a strong bond between you and your beloved dog. It will make them feel well taken care of and improve your pet-owner relationship. 

Avoids Wasting Dog Food

Lastly, setting out a feeding schedule helps prevent wasted dog food. Free feeding may make your dog lose appetite in the middle of a meal, causing them to leave extra food on the plate. This is not good for you as an owner money-wise alone, and it is also not a good habit to nurture.

If your main question is “what times should I feed my dog” we hope that this article was able to help you. It would still be better to consult a veterinarian regarding this issue, and they will guide you to come up with a plan according to what your pup needs specifically.

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