How Many Times a Day Should You Feed Your Dog

How Many Times a Day Should You Feed Your Dog

Author WDF Staff


One of the first things new dog owners have to do is come up with a feeding plan for their dog. One of the most important questions they have to answer correctly is, “How many times a day should you feed your dog?” - a general answer to that question might 2 times a day. However, the number of times your dog eats during a day will depend on a few different things. Here is what you should know about a dog feeding schedule.

Establish a schedule

For most adult dogs, two feedings a day are usually the best scenario. Healthy adult dogs should eat once in the morning and once in the afternoon. However, there are things that can influence and change the ideal feeding schedule. Things like age, breed, health, and nutritional restrictions might require you to feed your dog more often, and here are some things you should account for;


Puppies have different needs than adult or senior dogs. They will require more feedings in a day. Puppies are rapidly developing and growing, so it is normal you feed them more than your adult dog. Proper puppy nutrition is absolutely essential for their future health and wellbeing. You should talk to the breeder and your vet about the best possible puppy feeding schedule. On average, small breed puppies, like the Yorkshire Terrier, should eat 4 - 6 times a day in the first three months of their lives. Large breed puppies, like the Great Dane, typically eat 3 - 4 times a day in the first three months of their lives.

beagle and pug puppies sitting in front of food

Adult dogs usually thrive on 2 meals a day. It can be confusing if you read dog food labels, and they are often confusing. You should know your dog’s estimated weight when they reach adulthood, and calculate how many calories they might need in a day. If you are not sure how heavy your dog should be, check out this helpful dog weight chart. Your dog will do anything to get a bit more food, so make sure you resist their puppy eyes and stick to the best feeding schedule.

Senior dogs will probably have different nutritional needs than puppies or adults. Make sure your dog’s health is checked and discuss your senior dog’s nutritional needs with your vet. If your dog is diabetic, you might need to feed them specialized dog food 3 times a day. In most cases, senior dogs need fewer calories, but they should still eat 2 times a day.


Dog breeds can be very different, and Chihuahua’s nutritional needs are different than those of a Mastiff. Active breeds need more calories than companion dogs, so it is possible that you’d have to adapt the feeding schedule according to your dog’s breed. Toy breeds will need three meals a day, and medium, large, and giant breeds will thrive on a 2-meals-per-day schedule.

dog looking at food bowl


Your dog’s health will greatly affect their ideal feeding schedule. Their needs will be completely different, and your vet might advise you to adjust your dog’s food and the number of times you feed them during the day. Sick dogs might refuse to eat, but their bodies need the energy to fight against the thing that is bugging them. You should feed them on the same schedule they had before, but add something to “sweeten” their meal. You can add bone broths or chicken to their kibble.

Generally speaking, you should stick to the recommended feeding schedule your vet advises. There are many possible situations where you might have to adjust, so it is best to talk to your vet and make a tailor-made feeding schedule for your unhealthy dog.

Nutritional restrictions

Some dogs might have food allergies or simply cannot eat certain ingredients. That might affect the overall nutritional value of their food, which will, in turn, affect the number of meals they should have during the day. Luckily, many dog food brands deal with this problem and have limited ingredients in their recipe. Even if your dog has nutritional restrictions or allergies, they should stick to the recommended feeding schedule. Just because your dog cannot eat chicken or any other ingredient doesn’t mean you should overfeed them. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health issues that will significantly impact your dog’s health and wellbeing.

In conclusion

The ideal number of times your dog should eat in a day will be determined by their breed, health, age, and nutritional restrictions. If you are not sure how many times a day you should feed your dog, you should talk to the breeder you bought your dog from or your vet. They can tell you what your dog will need. Puppies eat more often, and adult and senior dogs should have at least 2 meals a day. You must choose the best dog food for your dog because healthy nutrition is the most important part of your dog’s health.

World Dog Finder team

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