Determining how often you should be feeding your pet can be confusing, especially for new pet parents. Many pet parents are tempted to adopt a feeding schedule similar to their own, with meals being given to their pets at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, most pets donâ€™t need to eat three large meals a day. Whatâ€™s more, there is no â€˜one size fits allâ€™ formula with regards to how often you should be feeding your pet. Much will depend on their age, size, breed, and overall health.
How Frequently Should Pets Be Fed?
Most veterinarians recommend that dogs should be fed twice a day â€“ once in the morning and once in the evening. Cats on the other hand may prefer to have smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. This however, will not apply to all pets. It is intended to be seen as a general guideline only.
Puppies & Kittens
Puppies and kittens will need to be fed more frequently in order to meet all of their nutritional needs. During this phase of their lives, their bodies will be growing and developing rapidly and so they will need a good amount of food which is wholesome, nutritious, and enough to satisfy the needs of their growing bodies.
Veterinarians recommend puppies and kittens be fed anywhere between 4-6 times a day. Their meals should be slowly decreased by the time they reach about 50 percent of their adult body weight. At this point, they should be fed three meals a day until they reach their maximum body weight.
For active pets, you will need to take into account all those extra calories that they burn throughout the day. In order to ensure that they are getting the energy and nutrition that they need, youâ€™ll need to feed them more meals to meet their energy requirements.
Pets with Health Concerns
For pets that have certain health problems or concerns, it may be more beneficial to feed them smaller more frequent meals. Many health problems and concerns in pets can make them lose their appetite. By feeding them smaller meals at frequent intervals, youâ€™ll be able to ensure that theyâ€™re eating something and getting some energy and nutrition.
What Works in Most Cases
In most cases, veterinarians recommend that dogs should be fed two times a day. In the morning to jump start their system, they should be given breakfast. The next meal should be given in the evening at dinner time. This type of feeding arrangement may not work for cats though; cats may prefer to eat smaller more frequent meals throughout the day. In any case, feeding times should be regulated. This will help to regulate your petsâ€™ digestive tract and also form a schedule for them where they know when to expect their food.
Snacks and Treats
Many pet parents give their pets snacks and treats throughout the day. Unless your petsâ€™ meals are not meeting their nutritional needs, snacks are not something that your pets need. In some instances they have been used as a positive reinforcement when training pets. If youâ€™re planning to use treats as training tools, here are a few things to keep in mind:
It is better to choose treats which are specifically designed for your pet
Donâ€™t overdo it
Stick to low calorie treat options to prevent weight gain
Avoid using certain human foods as treats because they could cause health problems for your pet
In some cases, pet parents opt to feed their pets two smaller meals in the morning and evening, and give them some snacks in the afternoon. When giving pet treats, make sure you donâ€™t overdo it and provide them with healthy snacks as opposed to low quality ones. This will ensure that they get the nutrients they need.
Provide them with Adequate Water
Another important aspect of feeding your pets is providing them with adequate water, or else theyâ€™ll get dehydrated. Your pets need to have access to clean and fresh water at all times. In some cases, you can try to add a certain amount of water to your petsâ€™ food. In some canned pet foods there is a high water content which is very beneficial for them.
If youâ€™re looking for strict guidelines on how often you should be feeding your pets, youâ€™re not going to find it. There is no set rule by which pets should be fed. Each pet parent will have to take into consideration numerous factors which are unique to their pet such as their age, health concerns, breed, and age. Accordingly, youâ€™ll be able to decide how much to feed your pets and how frequently.