Many pet owners are unsure if feeding their dog once a day is kind or inhumane.
One of them was myself, and I introduced the concept of “intermittent fasting” to my 100-pound Rottweiler.
Just so you know, the scientific community is still debating whether or not a once-daily feeding schedule is best. There have been some research conducted, but as of yet, no large-scale, peer-reviewed studies have been published in academic publications.
However, not all dogs are capable of learning to use the stairs.
If your dog is always sick after eating once a day, it’s obvious that this feeding plan isn’t right for him.
When there was too much time between meals, my Rottweiler occasionally threw up (then again, she always did love her food and rarely left a crump in her bowl).
Some dog owners, however, say that their pets have greatly improved after fasting.
How you and your vet determine if your dog qualifies is ultimately up to you.
On the one hand, an adult dog of a big breed in good condition could like this.
On the other side, you may need to reassess the feeding plan and keep to feeding twice or thrice a day if you have a puppy, senior tiny dog, or otherwise inappropriate dog.
Let’s have a look at how you may figure out if it’s worth it for you to attempt feeding your dog once a day.
Does It Hurt a Dog’s Feelings to Give It Only One Meal a Day?
Feeding a healthy adult dog once a day on occasion is not cruel if the meal is of sufficient quantity and nutritional balance. Many dogs don’t do well with a once-a-day feeding, so it’s important to notice any problems with that schedule early on.
Whether or whether your dog can get by on a once-daily feeding schedule depends largely on how old he or she is.
Because of their rapid growth, puppies can’t get the nutrients they require by eating just once or twice a day.
To begin with, your dog won’t be able to finish the full food in one sitting.
Second, your puppy won’t have the time to recharge between naps, which is normally the case before the next spurt of activity.
A senior dog may struggle with a once-daily feeding schedule since he will be lethargic for the better part of the day and unable to digest a hefty meal.
Same goes for canines who already have some sort of health problem.
While your vet is the best person to advise you, it’s safe to assume that feeding your dog twice daily will keep it healthy unless you have reason to believe otherwise.
If any of the following apply to your dog, you should probably avoid feeding him once a day:
- The dog is either very old or very sick.
- That dog of yours is adorable (needs feeding 3-4x per day)
- There have been numerous days in a row with once-daily feedings.
- Feeding your dog once a day seems to be a problem for him (vomiting, lethargic, gut issues)
- In any case, let’s go further for the benefit of people who wish to try out feeding once a day or who may have tried it in the past due to hectic schedules or other reasons and now question if it’s a smart idea.
There are both to and drawbacks to only feeding your dog once daily
There can be significant benefits to feeding your dog once per day, as reported by some pet owners, but there can also be significant drawbacks.
In contrast, most canines just regurgitate the frothy white liquid they’ve been choking on (the vomit color is actually essential to check the reason for the vomiting).
Here are some benefits of feeding your dog once daily:
- enhancement of intestinal health
- Increased resistance to illness Increased motivation to consume the remainder of the week Reduced likelihood of gastric distress, even on hectic days
- Similar to the way wolves eat
- Possibility of less effort for dog owner
- However, as was indicated above, there is not conclusive evidence that this improves gut health or the immune system.
However, because this feeding pattern is far more comparable to what they’d do in the wild, it may have a beneficial effect on your dog’s intestinal health.
Others counter that dogs are not wolves anymore and that their diets have changed significantly as a result of domestication.
The caloric demands of your dog may not decrease during a fast, but intermittent fasting can still have a beneficial effect even if the weekly nutritional supply remains the same.
Many people who are attempting to lose weight have found success with this method, and it may be just as useful for helping overweight dogs shed their extra pounds.
You shouldn’t overdo it by feeding more all at once than you normally would during the day.
Some pet owners even choose to fast their pets twice a day.
Neither I nor my Rottweiler could go without food for two days, and even if I did, I’d make sure she had anything other raw flesh to eat (still the benefit of having a reset for her gut).
That’s great and all, but it’s important to keep in mind that there might also be drawbacks.
There are a few drawbacks to only feeding your dog once a day.
- Long-term malnourishment due to an imbalance in diet
- Having a stomachache or throwing up might cause a variety of secondary health problems.
- Your dog may not be able to finish his or her meal (or will wolf it down too quickly)
The disruption it causes to the feeding schedule.
- Dietary inconsistencies and failure to finish meals are two problems that have simple solutions.
In terms of nutrition, your dog is probably OK if you observe his eating habits and see that he consumes the food without any problems (might still not be the best solution for you though).
However, vomiting is more difficult to manage, and while it may just be part of the pet’s adjustment process, it’s still something you should keep an eye on and discuss with your doctor.
Finally, your dog will likely be perplexed.
Take into account the fact that you have no idea what’s going on and an entire day has passed with no sustenance. When will we next eat? Can you survive without food? Wondering whether you’ve fallen through the cracks of our collective memory.
Even if I skip one meal, my Rottweiler’s eyes tell me she’s not happy about it.
Also, it’s not uncommon for there to be no time for two meals while I’m traveling with my dog.
Not just the meal itself, but the opportunity for her to enjoy it in peace and quiet and relax afterward also counts.
If you had to pick, I would recommend not feeding your dog or feeding it a very little meal before exercising it, as the worst case scenario is bloat.
Time of Day When It Is Ideal to Give a Daily Meal to the Dog
If you just want to feed your dog once a day, the ideal schedule is as follows: the previous meal was given 12 hours before, the next meal is given 24 hours after, or vice versa (most likely morning or evening), or feed midday to keep the time between meals consistent.
Before and after the one-day gap in the program, the dog will be fed twice daily as per the previous schedule.
Choose a time of day, like noon, and stick to it as part of your dog’s normal feeding plan if you just feed him once a day.
Here are a handful of instances:
- Your dog gets fed at 8 o’clock on Monday night, 8 a.m. on Tuesday, and 8 a.m. on Wednesday.
- On Monday at 8 p.m., Tuesday at 8 p.m., and Wednesday at 8 a.m., you feed your dog.
- It’s Monday night at 8, Tuesday at 2, and Wednesday morning at 8.
- A daily feeding schedule can involve consistently feeding at 2 p.m.
- The particular feeding regimen for your dog will vary greatly.
Not everyone can afford to feed their dog in the middle of the day, so it’s important to consider when you go to bed and when you get up when planning meals.
May I Give My Dog Three Meals A Day?
Of course, you may give your dog three meals a day; in fact, this is the ideal feeding plan for puppies, older dogs, and dogs with certain health concerns.
If your adult dog thrives on that schedule, you can continue to do so even if your dog is otherwise healthy.
My Rottweiler is one of those dogs that gets agitated if left without food for too long, so I’ve taken to giving her a snack about noon.
It’s important to keep in mind that there is a danger of bloat if you give your pet a huge meal in the middle of the day.
Also, despite the cuteness of the puppy, you shouldn’t cave in and feed it a third time if it isn’t hungry. Especially not if it’s a bonus lunch on top of everything else.
When Is the Best Time to Feed a Dog?
When you should feed your dog is completely up to you, but you shouldn’t let too much time go by between meals (no more than 12-24 hours).
You can use the above-mentioned feeding regimens as a guide.
The best times to feed a dog are first thing in the morning and before bed.
Give your dog an opportunity to use the restroom before you go to sleep, but not too early.
When walking your dog, which meal should you give it?
Avoid feeding your dog within an hour of going for a walk, and give it some time to rest and digest following walks.
Personally, I think it’s best to feed your dog after a walk rather than before, due to the increased risk of bloat and other problems associated with feeding before walks.
The Best Ways To Modify Your Dog’s Feeding Routine
Changing the food or the feeding schedule should be done gradually and under strict observation. If your dog isn’t doing well, slow down.
Avoid cutting back from three meals to one the next day; doing so might cause your dog to become unwell.
Instead of feeding your dog once a day, try feeding it twice a day, with the lighter meal coming after your dog has become used to the change (which might take many days or weeks).
Eventually, you’ll be able to reduce your baby to a single feeding by eliminating the second meal altogether.
It is up to you to decide whether or not feeding your dog once daily is best; if you have any doubts, talk to your vet.
It’s up to you, since the research is divided, but as long as your dog is getting enough of everything in his diet, it’s not cruel.
I can assure you that my Rottweiler would not overlook such a violation, and maybe your dog would give you indications as to when he eats best.
In no way is this article meant to replace professional veterinarian care. Please don’t ask me about pet nutrition or vet care because none of those are my specialties. Any hint of disease in your dog warrants an immediate trip to the clinic.