It is in our nature as humans to eat three times a day. Sometimes we eat even more than what our diet needs. When it comes to our dogs though, we feed them like how we feed ourselves. Unfortunately, there is conflicting advice about the right way to feed our dogs.
Some say their diet is similar to average humans - eating three times a day. Others say dogs can be fed twice a day. So the real question is: How many times a day is a right amount to feed your dog? To answer this, we must first need to know how fast our dogs can digest their meals before we can determine what the right amount even is.
How long does our dog take to digest the meals we feed them?
First, we need to identify the following details about our dog.
Their size, age, and breed
2. Their diet and exercise routine
We must also profoundly understand our dog's digestive cycle. Their canine digestive system is not the most delightful topic to be discussed, yet it can help us better understand our dog's health. It can also give us insights into what we should do to enrich their overall wellbeing.
Here are some interesting facts about our dog's gastrointestinal tract:
1. Dogs can experience indigestion, too!
Did you know that dogs produce more acid than we do, particularly after eating? Dogs and humans can benefit from the same antacids, yet it is still important to talk with your veterinarian before giving your dog medicine.
2. A Dog's Gastrointestinal tract food moves three times faster than ours
Omnivores have small intestines - including both humans and dogs. Dr. Bummer, who is board-certified in internal medicine, says that food moves slower through a canine stomach yet faster through the intestines. This is why dogs have six to eight hours of gastrointestinal transit time, while humans have twenty to thirty hours.
3. Dog's can only chew up and down
Be attentive whenever your dog is eating. You will notice that they chew their food up and down. This comes from their wolf descendants and their historical diets.
4. Diarrhea and Vomiting is a clinical sign
Your dogs' abnormal stool can say a lot about diseases in their kidneys and liver. As pet owners, we should keep an eye on our dog's health and behavior, especially when they experience these symptoms.
Humans take approximately 6 hours to fully digest foods. For our dogs, it is quite different.
The size of the dog is a significant factor in their food digestion. For example, an average adult human compared to a full-grown chihuahua. The human and the dog digest their food at a different rate. The dog's breed and age also play an essential role in this. Notice that puppies use the bathroom more frequently rather than when they are an adult. This is because their metabolism slows down over time.
After learning these health facts about our dogs, we can now fully understand the appropriate amount of time we should be feeding our dogs and why.
For puppies: A regular feeding schedule can help, which is a little more frequent. The best times to feed them should be around 7:00 a.m for breakfast, noon for lunch, and 5:00 p.m. for dinner. Their last meal gives them enough time to fully digest their food and poop one last time before bed. It is advised to stick to this kind of feeding schedule until the puppy reaches 14 to 18 weeks old.
For adults: When the dog is over 18 weeks old, it is okay to start feeding them twice a day. Feeding them at regular times could help them gain security and predictability of routine. This may also vary depending on your veterinarian's specific recommendations and other factors regarding your dog's health.
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