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Monday, September 20, 2010

Fido's Bathroom Matters: Timing Meals Really Can Make a Difference

by Carrie Boyko

(c) Carrie Boyko
Is This My Spot?
Getting to know your dog's bathroom schedule may seem like a rather unimportant topic. Think again. If you're like many Americans, you leave Fido at home while you go off to make a living for 8 or 9 hours every day.  What would you do if Fido's schedule just naturally turned to being right in the middle of your workday? Oh my.

Not surprisingly, dog's schedules can be manipulated much like ours. It's all about when and how much they eat. If you're interested in modifying Rover's schedule to fit better into your days, here's a plan you can try. It worked great for Oliver (but don't tell him I said anything).

Once Daily Feeding Schedules

Many dog owners feed their dog on a once a day schedule. Some experts still believe this is fine, given the slower digestion of a dog's system. If you have chosen this schedule, you can shift his usual bathroom run by an hour or two at a time, simply by:

  • feeding an hour or two later to get a later result, or 
  • feeding an hour or two earlier to get an earlier result.
If you'd like more of a change than this, here's what to do:
  1. After taking the above action for a few days, let the new bathroom habits settle in for a week or so and then...
  2. modify his food amount. 
  3. In other words, if you want an earlier-still result, feed him a bit more to jump-kick his digestive system. 
  4. By doing this, you'll get a little quicker action--generally. Of course, this may take a few days, so be patient.
  5. If you're worried about Rover's waistline, use green beans as filler for the added volume. 
Twice Daily Feeding Schedules

Now you've got the idea and probably know what I'm going to recommend here. If you typically feed your dog the same amount morning and evening, you can easily adjust the ratio of food to jump start his digestive system. For instance, if you'd prefer some action in the early morning, give your dog his breakfast earlier, and add a little of his dinner to the bowl. He'll still get the same daily amount, just split up a bit differently.

If you're looking to move his bathroom run to evenings, switch this up to dinner and feed him as soon as is reasonable.

One final tip. Adding a brisk walk an hour or more before or after feeding will help to facilitate some back yard efforts. Be sure to give full hour's berth to the feeding/walking schedule, to assure no problems with bloat. Of course, it may happen on the walk, so be sure to bring a poop bag along. Either way, this plan is likely to accomplish your goal with a little vigilance on your part. Good luck!

P.S. Oliver is a bit miffed with me over this post. It certainly wasn't meant to embarrass him. Lucky for him, it isn't his picture up there on top!

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Patti said...

Good advice! Thanks, Carrie! Aw, poor Oliver ;)

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

As with all my advice.....nothing cures doggie troubles better than a long walk or run. Oliver and I took a great bike ride and he's over his attitude now, and enjoying a nice nap with Tanner.

Anonymous said...

What's the big deal about potty humor? Girls make just a fuss over this stuff.

Niki said...

What I use to tell my adoptee's new parents, 30 minutes after eating and nothing after 6 pm. Each dogis different, but thats a start. I always left them with the automatic food and water despencers, but with fosters I had to be careful, some never know about house rules. At the rescue we left food out all day but put it up after 4 pm, gave them time to pee and poo before bed time at 7. But some still had oopsies because they would be in their kennels from 7 or 730 to 7 the next morning. But the Parent has to be understandable, and try to watch for signs. We learn from each other, and need to learn what works best for us. Puppies and seiniors need to go out more, those who have had surgery need more liquids, so need to go more. If need be they have undies for boys and girls for oopppies.
Best of luck, practice doesnt always make perfect, but helps get doggone close.

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