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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ask the Vet: Timing of Feeding

by Mark Nunez, DVM 
© Carrie Boyko
Dr. Mark Recommends
Twice Daily Feedings
Dear Dr. Mark:
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question: I really hope you can help me figure this out.
Being a college student and working makes my life a little crazy....especially with my 2 energetic toy poodles. They exercise a little over a mile a day and each 1/2 cup of their favorite (AND Tanner and Oliver's favorite) chow-- Organix, along with just a "few" treats!
Because they only eat 1/2 cup of food once a day, I'm wondering when the ideal time to feed them is. Should I split it up and let them eat 2 X a day? Only eat breakfast when we get up? Does this even affect them?
Thank you so much, Dr. Mark.

Elizabeth, Cocoa and Oreo
Hello Elizabeth,

College life can be very demanding and I remember it well.  I would like to commend you on the amount of exercise they get, great job!  I know it's not easy to find that time with a busy school schedule.  

I always recommend twice a day feedings (3 times a day for small breed puppies).  There a few reasons, #1 It helps to keep their metabolism going at a higher rate.  When humans want to loose weight it is recommended that they eat many small meals vs. only 3 large ones, same concept here.  With a canine overweight/obesity rate that parallels the human population, this is very important.  #2 Feeding after the morning walk helps to set the stage for relaxation after you leave and while you are gone for the day.  Better for your dogs to sleep and rest rather than get into mischief or be anxious about your departure or being left alone.  #3 Depending on a dogs' breed, one large meal a day can lead to bloat and gastric dilation and volvulous, which can be life threatening and require surgery.  And #4 I would want more than one meal per day :-).  The amount you are feeding sounds appropriate, just feed 1/4 cup in the morning and a 1/4 cup in the evening.  Thanks for the question!

Dr. Mark
© courtesy m.n.
Dr. Nunez
Dr. Nunez is a practicing veterinarian while also assisting patients through The Balanced Canine blog and his own online veterinary pharmacyHave a question for Dr. Mark? Send it to You can also follow Mark on Twitter.

Want to read more from Dr. Mark? Try these, or visit his archives:

Arthritis Treatment and Prevention
Safe Dog Chews
The Toughest Decision

Dr. Nunez's advice does not necessarily replace an actual medical examination.


bichonpawz said...

This is very useful information! Thanks so much for sharing it with us!
xoxo Chloe and LadyBug

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