A regular feeding schedule helps with house training puppies, as well as adult rescue dogs who have not been taught household manners. Puppies generally need to relieve themselves within 10 to 15 minutes of eating a meal. By linking a ‘potty stop’ with a meal we not only allow ourselves to predict when the pup needs a trip outside, we allow the puppy to learn to associate the urges to urinate and defecate with being in the appropriate location. This is a very important step in the house-training process.
Feeding an adult dog at regular times provides the security and predictability of a routine. Meals become a cornerstone event of the day around which other activities are added. A feeding routine helps your dog cope when there are changes in the household (e.g., a child moves away to college, a new baby arrives, or a vacation during which a house-sitter is in charge).
Dogs have a simple stomach anatomy, just like humans. Because dogs have a simple stomach structure, once the stomach is filled with food, it will empty within a few hours as food moves into the small intestine. After 8 to 10 hours, an empty stomach begins to send signals to the brain stimulating a hunger response. For this reason, at least two meals per day are best for your dog. Imagine if you only got to eat breakfast each day, and that was it! Regular, routine feeding times allow your dog’s body to be prepared for the food it will receive. It is not recommended to keep the bowl filled and allow grazing.
Your veterinarian remains the best source of nutritional guidance for your dog, answering important questions like what to feed, how much to feed, and how frequently to feed. Feeding time can be an important bonding time. Creating routine and regular feeding times builds fun into everyday activities.