Is It Cruel To Feed a Dog Once a Day? (Facts)

Almost all dogs love food, and some are downright gluttons! We love our dogs and want them to be happy, but continually giving them food is not only unsustainable but overfeeding can be simply unhealthy.

On the other side of the coin, maybe dog parents might wonder if they can get away with feeding their dogs once a day. In this blog post, we’ll look more closely at the recommended feeding routines and the pros and cons of limited feeding.

is it cruel to feed a dog once a day
Is it cruel to feed a dog once a day? (Facts)

How Many Times A Day Should You Feed Your Dog?

You might be able to get away with feeding a healthy adult dog once a day. However, if you have a puppy, you’ll need to feed a young pup at least three times a day, and an older pup twice.

Senior dogs should also be fed two to three times a day. While it is not cruel to feed a healthy adult dog once a day on occasion, the meal should be suitably proportioned and balanced for maximum nutrition. 

In addition, many dogs that have high energy levels will need two meals a day to sustain their activities. 

The age of your dog has a significant role in determining whether feeding once a day is appropriate. Puppies have shorter nutritional power windows and feeding a puppy once a day is bad for their health and growth. In addition, a puppy gets depleted of energy fast and needs frequent meals to replenish. 

In short, dogs that need more frequent meals include:

  • Elderly dogs 
  • Dogs with preexisting medical conditions
  • Puppies under 12 months 
  • Dogs with sensitive digestive systems 
  • Dogs that get lethargic and nauseous after a large meal
Labrador with dog food
Labrador Retriever eats dog food on the floor.

Benefits of Once-Daily Meals

Your dog’s once-daily feeding might be more comparable to the diet of their wild cousin, the wolf. However, some say that dogs are no longer wolves and that domestication has changed their dietary patterns.

Once-daily feeding does not necessarily imply your dog needs fewer calories, but even if your dog’s weekly nutritional supply remains the same, intermittent fasting can have beneficial consequences.

When it comes to the health of our canine companions, there is always room for improvement. One area that is often overlooked is diet. Most of us simply feed our dogs whatever is convenient, without giving much thought to nutrition. 

However, what we feed our dogs can have a profound impact on their health. One new trend that is gaining popularity is intermittent fasting. Also known as time-restricted feeding, this involves feeding your dog only during certain hours of the day.

For example, you might choose to feed your dog only between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm. 

This allows the dog’s digestive system to rest during the night and early morning hours. Time-restricted feeding has been shown to improve digestion, increase energy levels, and reduce inflammation. It can also help to regulate blood sugar levels and promote weight loss.

Samoyed and empty bowl
Samoyed looks like asking the owner to fill in the empty bowl with food.

Drawbacks of Once-A-Day Meals

Feeding your dog constantly only once a day can have a profound impact on their health. They might struggle to finish their entire day’s food in a single sitting, and overeating can also lead to other problems like vomiting or diarrhea. 

Your dog might also lack nutritional support from a once-daily meal, or feel lethargic, tired, and drowsy after a big meal. Think, doggy food coma! 

Keep in mind that a once-daily feed doesn’t mean that your dog eats any less, but rather, that they eat their total calories in a single sitting. Could you imagine yourself only eating one meal a day, like say, a big breakfast? You’ll be hungry by noon! 

Some people equate dogs to wild animals such as wolves, believing that they, too, will require only one meal each day. Dogs’ digestive processes, on the other hand, are more similar to ours, therefore your dog’s stomach will be empty again six to eight hours after a meal. As a result, feeding them only once a day leaves them hungry for the rest of the day.

A dog may become accustomed to eating only once a day, and maintaining this routine may not be considered cruel. An empty stomach, on the other hand, has far-reaching negative consequences. For example, if your dog is hungry and has no control over when the next food will arrive, it may become agitated.

With nervousness and impatience comes the risk of your dog being violent and exhibiting other behavioral issues like destructing chewing.

Yorkiepoo puppy feels tired
Yorkiepoos can have different color patterns.

Ideal Time To Feed Your Dog 

Along with the food, you must also make mealtimes work for your personal schedule and what is ideal for your dog’s digestive system.

The optimal time to feed your dog once a day is when the previous meal was 12 hours before and the next meal was 24 hours after, or vice versa (most likely morning or evening), or divide the time between meals evenly and feed mid-day.

This routine implies you’ve been feeding your dog twice a day prior to and after the day when you only feed once.

If you just feed your dog once a day as part of your normal feeding routine, pick a time, such as noon, and adhere to it every day.

owner feeding Dalmatian
The owner is feeding her Dalmatian dog.

How to Alter a Dog’s Feeding Routine?

Every nutritional adjustment, including the eating schedule, should be implemented gradually and thoroughly monitored. If your dog isn’t doing so well, take a break.

Going from three meals a day to one the next day is not a good idea since your dog may likely vomit or exhibit other indications of starvation.

Provide two meals instead, and after your dog is comfortable with that (a few days or weeks), make the second meal smaller.

You’d eventually be able to feed only a snack as the second meal, and you’d soon be able to convert to just once a day feeding.

It is entirely up to you whether or not one meal a day is best for your dog, and if you are doubtful, ask your veterinarian. 

owner pouring dog food
The owner pouring dog food in a bowl.

I Can’t Feed My Dog Twice! 

Perhaps your busy schedule is preventing you from feeding your dog twice daily meals? In that case, there are a few options that you can consider.

You can get a trusted friend or petsitter to feed your dog in your absence. 

You can purchase an automated food dispenser and program the dispenser to release your dog’s meal at a certain time. 

Dogs can be greedy creatures and will eat anything you put in front of them, leaving them vulnerable to overeating, obesity, bloat, and all kinds of gastrointestinal upsets. 

Samoyed with tongue out
The Samoyed with tongue out is getting hungry.

How Much To Feed My Dog?

Deciding how much to feed your dog can be a tricky task. On the one hand, you want to make sure that your furry friend is getting enough nutrition to stay healthy. On the other hand, you don’t want to overfeed them and end up with an overweight pup. 

A good starting point is to consult with your veterinarian. They can give you tailored advice based on your dog’s breed, age, and activity level. In general, however, most dogs need between 20 and 30 calories per pound of body weight each day

For example, a 10-pound dog would need 200-300 calories per day. Once you have a general idea of how much food your dog needs, you can begin to experiment with different brands and types of food until you find one that they enjoy and that provides the right nutrition for their needs. With a little trial and error, you’ll soon find the perfect amount to keep your best friend healthy and happy.

chocolate toy poodle eats food from a bowl
A chocolate Toy Poodle eating from a ceramic bowl

What To Feed My Dog?

When it comes to choosing dog food, there are a lot of factors to consider. With so many brands and formulas on the market, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting food for your furry friend:

The first thing to consider is your dog’s age. Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs, so it’s important to choose a food that is specifically formulated for their age group. 

For adult dogs, you’ll want to look for a food that is balanced in terms of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Older dogs may need food that is easier to digest, as they may have trouble absorbing nutrients from their food as they age.

Next, take into account your dog’s activity level. Active dogs need more calories than sedentary dogs, so you’ll want to make sure their food reflects that. If your dog is particularly active, you may also want to look for food that contains additional joint support or other supplements.

Finally, consider your dog’s personal preferences. Some dogs prefer dry food while others prefer wet food, and some formulas contain grains while others are grain-free. 

Final Thoughts 

If you can spare the time, multiple meals a day is always better for dogs. They’ll digest smaller meals more efficiently and get the maximum amount of nutrition from their food!