How Often Should Adult Dogs Be Fed?


Feeding an adult dog twice a day is generally optimal. Divide your dog's recommended food intake into two and feed him in two separate sessions. His food packaging should indicate a suitable daily amount. Once you give your dog his first meal of the day, aim to feed him for the second time between 8 and 12 hours later. Morning and night meals usually are a good idea.

Feeding Frequency Options

You have a couple popular options in the frequency of feeding their dogs, which are

  • Limited time feeding
  • Free choice feeding

Free choice feeding can bring on obesity and associated medical conditions, but limited time feeding trains a dog to eat his meals within a designated time span and therefore helps prevent overeating.

The Transition to an Adult Feeding Routine

Puppies typically require between two and five meals per day. As your puppy gets older, you should slowly cut down on meal frequency. A young dog should be eating twice per day -- like an adult -- when he's between 12 and 18 months old. Ask your veterinarian if you're unsure when to transition your young dog to an adult eating schedule.

Veterinary Consultation

If you're uncertain exactly how much to feed your dog for each meal, consult your veterinarian. Caloric requirements in dogs depend largely on factors such as:

  • Physical activity
  • Age
  • Size 

Your vet can assess your dog and determine what amounts are optimal for him. Although dog food labels provide suggestions, only a veterinarian can tell you what's appropriate for your pooch.

Note that there's no unwavering rule regarding the frequency of feeding adult dogs. Although most adult dogs do well on two meals a day, there are some exceptions. If your dog is of a small breed, three daily meals can be beneficial for keeping hypoglycemia at bay, for example.


    • Avoid feeding your dog just a single meal per day. Single daily meals
      cause maximal stomach distention, which in turn makes a dog moresusceptible to bloat, a potentially life-threatening condition. 
    • Twice-daily meals reduce a dog's chances of getting bloat. Minimize
      your dog's risk of bloat by refraining from feeding him too close tostrenuous exercise sessions, too. 
    • Separate exercise from eating by at
      least an hour.

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