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How many times a day should you feed your dog?

sal 60 Hanzlik
12 days ago

I've been giving a morning and night meal 1/2 cup with a little canned dog food mixed in. Purina pro with the same moist dog food. I just read on the bag that they should be fed once a day. Do you feed once a day? She only eats when she is hungry so each meal sits for awhile before she gets hungry. Should it be once a day? Thanks

Comments (45)

  • Suzieque
    12 days ago

    I don't know about "should", but I feed my small dog twice a day. I'll be interested in other responses. But twice seems to work well for my dog so I'll stick with it. She's 9 years old so not going to change it now.


  • ghoghunter
    12 days ago

    I think it al depends on the dog. Younger dogs get fed more frequently than older dogs. Also dogs with reflux need fed usually twice a day. My dogs seem fine with once a day feeding.

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  • eld6161
    12 days ago
    last modified: 12 days ago

    I've always felt it cruel to feed just once a day. We do breakfast and dinner. But....my dogs have always snacked with us, plus treats of their own through the day.

  • caflowerluver
    12 days ago

    We feed twice a day. We cut the recommended daily amount in half and split it between the two meals. Nala always knows when it is meal time.

  • likestonehomes
    12 days ago

    We have free fed, or leave food dish filled. Dogs never over ate, when hungry they ate. Never overweight etc. so much easier too.

  • blfenton
    12 days ago

    My son (and us when dog-sitting) feed his 2 1/2 year old golden retriever twice a day, morning and evening.

  • sushipup2
    12 days ago

    We've owned, bred, trained, shown dogs for many years. Everyone we know feeds twice a day, Some breeds are prone to a condition called bloat or twisted stomach, which is always fatal without emergency surgery. Large meals can be a cause.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    12 days ago

    I have a 13 week old puppy that gets fed twice a day. My 14 year old senior dog eats once a day and has ever since he was more than 6 months old. Both the breeder and the vet recommended just an evening feeding for adult dogs.

  • foodonastump
    12 days ago
    last modified: 12 days ago

    Glad to see this discussion as there was one recently on another forum and I think I was the only one who fed once a day. My dog has no interest in our meal prep nor does he hang by our feet when we eat breakfast or lunch, so I figure he’s good with it.

  • Judy Good
    12 days ago

    We always free fed also, never overeat. They know it is there and do not overeat. They never have to worry about it and do not gorge themselves.

  • cooper8828
    12 days ago

    I have a bowl of dry food available at all times, but feed canned food once a day. Honestly, my dog is a picky eater and I've never even met a picky eater dog. I'm just so happy she eats at all. She does go nuts if we have chicken, but not over anything else.

  • lily316
    12 days ago

    I have no food left on the floor for free feeding. I feed each elderly dog 1/2 cup Purina One in the morning and the same at night except then it's mixed with chicken stew wet food I get at Aldi which they love. I microwave it.

  • Kathsgrdn
    12 days ago

    Twice a day usually and sometimes he doesn't eat that. I don't give him a lot of water or food at one time because if he does gobble it all he will vomit it all up.

  • arkansas girl
    12 days ago

    My dog gets three meals a day, 2 cups divided by 3 with a little bit of water and turkey meat. She can't be free fed, she'd eat it all up. She's a rescue that was apparently starving, so she loves to eat. All of my past dogs were free fed and they ate what they ate and were never overweight.

  • wiscokid
    12 days ago

    We feed twice a day. If you free feed, you have to really pay very close attention to their appetite and eating habits - it's not necessarily about them eating too much, it's more that you don't always have a great frame of reference if they lose their appetite or adjust their eating habits due to unknown/unseen health issues. If you schedule feed, it's easier to notice these things.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    12 days ago

    When we had dogs, we used to feed them once a day unless they were pups and then more often. Our cats get fed twice a day.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    12 days ago
    last modified: 12 days ago

    Sushipup’s comment about the usually fatal condition bloat is right on. It’s a real risk for large and large chested dogs. Feeding smaller meals more than once a day and having a quiet, inactive period after eating can help avoid but not always prevent it.

    There’s a simple procedure called gastropexy to attach part of the digestive system to the abdominal wall that is very effective in preventing the problem. Often done when an animal is neutered but it can be done at any time.

    I understand horses can have the same issue of a twisted digestive system that can be fatal.

  • functionthenlook
    12 days ago

    We free feed all our dogs with no problems.

  • Sherry
    12 days ago

    Depends on the dog. We have had lab, lab mix, chihuahua, and German shepherd, that we just free fed dry with canned as a treat from time to time. The dry food bowl was just kept full and they ate when they wanted.

    We had a different German shepherd that had to have several small meals a day because of digestive problems with her throat.

    We had a Min Pin that ate twice a day. Dry with canned treat from time to time.

    The one we have now, Min Pin/Chihuahua mix. we had to take completely off dry kibble. He would inhale any amount and choke on it. He would eat, throw up, hyperventilate, and seem like he was choking. I think he may of been getting some of it in his lungs. He is a rescue that must have had to fight for food and the older, larger dogs were getting all the food. When we first got him at 5 months, he would eat sticks and rocks.

    He gets 1/2 of a 5.5oz can at 7am, 1/4 can at 12pm, and 1/2 can at 4pm. No problems at all now. Thank goodness we both are retired.

  • wildchild2x2
    12 days ago

    Most adult dogs do quite well on once a day. However we now feed twice a day. We had to change over to twice a day for a past dog with diabetes so we could keep him on the proper insulin schedule. So now we feed twice a day so we don't have to go through retraining the dog to eat on a different schedule should the need ever arise again.

  • yeonassky
    12 days ago

    We have always fed our dogs twice a day. They love their meals so we will continue to do it that way.

  • graywings123
    11 days ago

    I am surprised that is printed on the package of dry dog food. This article on the purina website says for most dogs, twice a day is appropriate.


    How much should I feed my dog




  • joann_fl
    11 days ago

    I feed my dog at 6:30 and 4 pm, twice a day. Only a 1/3 cup each time. She is about 14 LBS and on the chunky side


  • Judy Good
    11 days ago

    Seems cruel to only feed once or twice a day. I never understood that, our dogs lived long healthy lives. Would you only want to eat once or twice a day?


  • amylou321
    11 days ago

    Most of ours get free fed. Never an issue with it and I prefer that my pets feel secure because they always have food available. The ones that are primarily outside have feeders that hold 25 pounds of dog food at a time. We have 3 of them and keep them full.

    Leo gets fed 3 or 4 times a day though. He will throw up if he eats too much at once, and even though we tried to free feed him from the start, he always ate too much at once and then threw up.

    I would not feed anything just once a day. That seems pretty mean to me.

  • likestonehomes
    11 days ago

    What about treats in addition to food? Our dog loves doggie treats, we try not to give him too many.


  • nickel_kg
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    When DH and I first got dogs, we did what his folks and everyone we knew did -- fed adult dogs once, in the evening, with table scraps to round out their kibble. As they aged, our vet said that senior dogs would get more nutrition from two small meals, so we switched to morning and evening meals for the whole pack (with a can of wet food instead of leftover 'people' food). I don't think most dogs mind one meal a day, but I didn't want the younger ones getting jealous of the older ones.

    We've always had medium/large dogs. I've heard that small dogs require multiple meals. I don't know if that is true, but it makes sense that a 10 pound animal would have less reserve than a 75 pound animal.

  • Annegriet
    11 days ago

    All my dogs have been grazers. I put out the food, they eat until they are full, and leave the rest. So, I guess I put out food once per day.

  • wiscokid
    11 days ago

    Oh good grief, it’s not cruel to feed dogs twice a day.

  • lucillle
    11 days ago

    I used to free feed. But Duchess was doing what some small dogs do and taking a piece of kibble from her dish. running off with it, then eating it. That was fine until she started taking two or three kibbles at a time and leaving some uneaten so by the time she finished the area was a mess. Now I feed her in her crate twice a day.

  • sal 60 Hanzlik
    Original Author
    11 days ago

    I just rechecked the bag of dog food and it does say once a day. I am still going to do it morning and night.

  • yeonassky
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago
  • arkansas girl
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    The vet isn't going to tell you once, twice or three times a day. Every dog is different and you just have to play it by ear. With my dog, she cannot be free fed so I had to give her meals at a set time. Dogs like ROUTINE so stick to it whatever you choose to do. When I realized that she would eat all the food up, I had to feed her in meals. I fed her in the morning around 8 and then she acted like she was starving by noon so I decided to break it up in three meals so she wouldn't ever seem to be starving. I even give her a little bit of her food as treats when she goes to bed because I noticed that she would sometimes vomit during the night which some dogs do on an empty stomach.

  • Ninapearl
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    mine get fed twice a day and you can set your watch by their mealtimes. they let me know, in no uncertain terms, when i'm more than 5 minutes late. 😁

    There’s a simple procedure called gastropexy to attach part of the digestive system to the abdominal wall that is very effective in preventing the problem.

    commonly known as "stomach tacking", this procedure is absolutely vital for giant breed dogs as well as most large breeds. while it sounds simple, anyone considering having it done should be sure to use a vet who is familiar with and has done many of them successfully. i know many great dane owners who have had vets perform this surgery and ended up with lifelong problems or dead dogs because it wasn't done properly.

    and just an fyi, gastropexy does not prevent bloat but in most cases, it will prevent torsion. it's meant to give an owner extra time to get their bloating dog to the vet or e.r. for treatment before it's too late. boat doesn't necessarily kill but left untreated and it proceeds to torsion, you'll have a dead dog.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    "Seems cruel to only feed once or twice a day. I never understood that, our dogs lived long healthy lives. Would you only want to eat once or twice a day?"

    No, but I'm not a dog. They aren't humans. If we think of what their natural lifestyle was like, it was to run in packs all day and to make a kill which all would feast on and then not eat until the next kill. So their system was designed for less frequent and larger meals. As long as the animal is thriving without significant health issues, then it's probably not an issue. But given that obesity rates among dogs is over 50%, it would suggest that the problem is "killing them with kindness" rather than "cruelty" of feeding them "only" once or twice a day.


    I also get concerned with *what* dogs are being fed as so many foods are now full of fruits and vegetable over animal products and high-quality protein. With diets that are higher in carbs than dog's systems call for, it's no wonder that obesity and diabetes are an issue for them...cats too. (One study says the incidence of diabetes in dogs is up 80% over 10 years.)

  • Claudesmom
    10 days ago

    We feed twice a day. I personally think it's cruel to only feed once a day. They get high quality kibble with organic broth and chicken chunks. Treats are organic carrots, blueberries and watermelon. Primal goat milk a few times a week for gut health.

  • Jasdip
    10 days ago

    Most dogs get fed once or twice/day. They can self-fast and will eat only when they're hungry. Some people are concerned if their dog turns their nose up at the food, but they may just not be hungry.

    Dogs can also get 'hunger-pukes" which is a foamy bile, no food, thru the night. An easy way of fixing this is giving them something small to eat before bed-time.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    10 days ago

    "while it sounds simple, anyone considering having it done should be sure to use a vet who is familiar with and has done many of them successfully. i know many great dane owners who have had vets perform this surgery and ended up with lifelong problems or dead dogs because it wasn't done properly."

    Here's a public service announcement. Unlike human doctors who at I would estimate to be a greater than 95%+ rate go through added years of training after medical school to develop focused capabilities (even including those with internal medicine or family medicine specialties, the basic primary care ones, spend an added 3 years), the same is not true for veterinarians. I don't have a reference but from the experiences of those I know well, I think more than 50% do no more further training and something less than 15% do residencies to become boarded specialists (at a minimum of 4 extra years) in areas like surgery, internal medicine, oncology, neurology, and several others.

    A vet school graduate who passes licensing exams (most all do) can go to work and do anything they want though the profession regards them as being general practitioners. A general practitioner can do dentistry (though not trained or as knowledgeable as a boarded vet dentist), surgery (though not trained or capable as boarded surgeons), etc. If the notion of "I had my primary care physician remove my appendix, it's a simple procedure" sounds wrong to you, so too should "I had my general practitioner vet do surgery on my dog or cat" when it's anything beyond a simple spay or neuter.

    I suspect for the "many Great Dane owners" referred to above whose animals had recurring problems, the procedures likely were done by vets without advanced surgical training and board certification. For an animal needing surgery, there's no need to look far for "a vet who is familiar with and has done many......"


    Such vets are designated, they're board certified surgeons who have completed years of residency training and passed rigorous tests. Yes, they're usually more expensive than having procedures done by vets in general practice. Having your appendix removed by a physician in general practice, if such a thing were done, or having a condition treated by a primary care doc when a specialist should be consulted, would also likely cost less. Would you do it?

  • Ninapearl
    9 days ago

    I suspect for the "many Great Dane owners" referred to above whose animals had recurring problems, the procedures likely were done by vets without advanced surgical training and board certification. For an animal needing surgery, there's no need to look far for "a vet who is familiar with and has done many......"

    this comment doesn't even make sense to me. "a vet who is familiar with and has done many" IS a vet with at least some advanced training and is familiar with the procedure having done his/her share of them. many vets are doing laparoscopic spay/neuter/pexi surgeries which takes at least some extra training. you're right about one thing, a vet in general practice is the last one i'd go to with something like this. i am having my new dane boy neutered/pexied in august and will be traveling too st. louis to a specialty clinic for it.

    having a condition treated by a primary care doc when a specialist should be consulted, would also likely cost less. Would you do it?

    of course, hands down, a specialist. i have and i did, and i have done, and will continue too do, the same for my dogs. this is a perfect example of "you get what you pay for".

  • Elmer J Fudd
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    "this comment doesn't even make sense to me. "a vet who is familiar with and has done many" IS a vet with at least some advanced training"

    I think my misjudgment of where to start a new paragraph perhaps led to your misunderstanding what I was saying. Finding a vet with the right qualifications and experience to properly do a gastropexy with no complications isn't like trying to find a mechanic who can change a tire while a car is moving. Boarded surgeons don't have "some" advanced training, unless you consider another 4 years after vet school to be "some". That's who to look for, they're not hard to find.

    Clinical practice as a vet can be emotionally draining, as if the rest of the professional demands aren't hard enough. I have a close relative who's a boarded specialist who has told me many times that many of the most heartbreaking cases faced are patients treated by this doc and their colleagues in the referral-only practice after their conditions were misdiagnosed or ineptly treated by vets in general practice. And that this is a high percentage, less than half but well into double digits.

    Why does this happen, why do generalists hold back on referring patients to specialists when that's in the patient's best interest? And stretch themselves into areas they're unqualified for? Because of the dollar impact. Medical problems beyond the ordinary command higher price tags and more expensive care - referring a patient away to a specialist means they lose the fee opportunity.

    I heard an awful story from a neighbor who had told me in advance about a procedure their generalist was going to do on their dog. I shuddered at what I heard, suggested that the procedure would better be done by a surgeon, but of course everyone makes their own decisions.. This general vet did the surgical procedure, botched it and took the dog to an emergency practice because, she said, the general vet didn't have staff or equipment to provide post-surgical or critical care services and her office closes at 5pm(!). The dog spent a week in critical care (at a cost that exceeded what would have been paid to have the procedure done by a qualified surgeon) and sadly was maimed with lasting damage.

    General vets handle day in, day out matters. When a pet has issues beyond these, not just surgery but even including that which concerns an internal medicine boarded specilist (another specialty requiring 4 added years), see a boarded specialist.

  • sprtphntc7a
    9 days ago

    twice a day

    Leo is 53lbs, and gets 1 cup in the morning and 1 cup at dinner time.

    we also have a weather-tech elevated feed station, so he is not 'gulping' his food down. we upgraded to the SS bowls. love it.

    any extras through out the day is his food or Crunchers from K-9 Granola Factory, he loves the blueberry flavored ones but of course he would eat all the flavors!!

    K-9 Granola Factory

  • Ninapearl
    9 days ago

    @Elmer J Fudd i have an acquaintance who is a vet tech. she had her dane neutered at the age of 7 months. neither she nor her boss who did the surgery was aware of the standard notion of not neutering before growth plates are closed, typically between 18 months an 2 years for giant breeds unless there are unusual circumstances. i asked her if he did a pexi. she said yes, it was actually his first one and she insisted he "learn how to do it" because she wanted it. i only learned many months later that the pexi was botched and had to be re-done at great cost by a specialist. 🙄

  • Elmer J Fudd
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    That is a disgusting and heart-breaking tale. This kind of thing happens far too often.

    Part of the ethical inculcation that my vet relative received is that vets have a solemn duty to protect, provide compassionate care, and prevent suffering of animals who aren't able to communicate about or understand health problems. It's a slightly different responsibility than medical doctors have, it's almost a fiduciary duty but much more than that.

    Hacks that do this kind of thing betray the trust and responsibility they accept in pursuing this profession and should have their licenses revoked. At a minimum.

  • jane__ny
    9 days ago

    I've always had large dogs. Dobermans and Rottweilers. We were very involved with our dogs, training, showing and breeding two litters with our Rottweiler. We were very involved with dog people who had very expensive dogs who won some of the biggest dog shows.


    I know people don't understand dog showing, but there is a reason, and protects the breed.


    We were always told to feed dogs twice a day by our Vet who we had the highest regard for. He would never do a procedure he felt he wasn't qualified for nor comfortable with a diagnosis. He always sent us to specialists for surgery or a second opinion on a condition.


    Our Doberman, bloated and we had to rush her to emergency Vet in the middle of the night. They would not do the procedure necessary to save her life. They gave her care until morning when they contacted our Vet who told us to take her to a specialist in NYC. We did and she was saved.


    That story was years ago, but at that Veterinary Hospital in NYC, we were told it was caused by gulping down food rapidly. We should feed her small amounts 3x a day so she doesn't gulp down food on an empty stomach.


    Years later, we started with Rottweilers and we were told the same thing. Large breeds should be fed 3x a day, in small amounts. The idea being that the dog should not have an empty stomach and very hungry where they gulp down the food too quickly.


    These stories were years ago but stay in my mind. The experience with our Doberman was very upsetting and scary. We fed our Rotts 3x a day when young. As they aged, it was cut back to twice a day. I believe that is what Veterinary doctors always recommend for large breeds.


    In my mind, it would make sense for all dogs no matter what size.


    Jane