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Creating a Feeding Routine for Your Dog

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Creating a Feeding Routine for Your Dog

Establishing A Regular Eating Routine For Your Dog

As the common saying goes, "what goes in must come out". To help you figure out the best times to get your dog to go to the bathroom it is important to feed your dog at the same times every day. For your dog's comfort, it is also a good idea to feed your dog in the same place every day, a place that he/she will identify as his/her eating spot.

With your puppy, there is a very short time between eating and eliminating. Puppies eliminate around 15 to 20 minutes after they eat. When feeding your dog, give her 15 to 20 minutes and then pick up the uneaten portion, if any. This will also teach your dog to eat when fed and not when he/she wants to. Again, these rules can be relaxed once your dog is housebroken but for now it is key to establish a routine.

I recommend avoiding treats and in-between meal snacks until your dog is housebroken. The idea is to feed your dog, observe him/her constantly for the 15 to 20 minutes after he/she eats and then take your puppy to the place designated for elimination. Do it like clockwork and you will be putting your puppy in a position to succeed. It is all about setting expectations and teaching your dear friend to do what you want. And when your dog does it, praise him/her wildly. Make it seem like that little pee or poop that they did is the greatest and most magnificent thing you have ever seen in your entire life. Your friends and neighbors may think that you are crazy, but I cannot stress enough the power of praise. It is what your puppy wants. Give it to him/her in generous amounts.

Since every dog is unique, it is impossible to predict the serving size that is perfect for each pet. You can start with these guidelines or package’s feeding instructions. You can also use this “Dog Food Calculator” from DogFoodAdvisor.com and then modify the amount of food that you give to your dog until he/she reaches an ideal weight.

You can use this guide by Purina to determine your dog’s ideal weight.

The more a dog eats and drinks, the more often she will relieve herself. Therefore, it is important to feed your dog the right amount of food to start with. Breed, size, age, temperament, environment, climate, and activity level influence the amount of food required by any dog. The quantity will vary, even among dogs of the same breed. Most dog food companies list the caloric content of a food and the recommended feeding amounts by weight on their packages. These may be used as guidelines. Start with the package recommendations and adjust your dog's intake if he/she seems hungry all the time.

Dogs are creatures of habit so try and feed them in the same place and at the same times every day. Choose an area without a lot of traffic so your dog can eat in peace. Give them about 15 to 20 minutes to eat and then pick up the bowl even if there's anything left in the bowl. This will keep your housetraining regimen on schedule since most dogs usually relieve themselves shortly after eating and drinking. Puppies, especially, will eliminate shortly after eating.

Look at feeding time as the beginning of the housetraining process. Now that your puppy has eaten, you will have something to work with. Within a couple of minutes of eating and drinking, take him/her to the "spot" where you want them to go and wait until they do something. Then praise them wildly. That's basically the essence of the whole process. Put them in a position where they do the right thing (even accidentally) and then praise them enthusiastically. They'll quickly associate the two and you will be on your way. It is a good habit to stay into as you constantly reinforce good behavior throughout your dog's life. And this goes for all types of training, not just housetraining.

Recommended Feeding Schedule:

Dog's Age
Number of Meals
Time Of Day
Weaning to 3 months
Morning, noon, late afternoon and evening
3 to 6 months
Morning, afternoon and evening
6 months and over
Morning and late afternoon or early evening

About the author

Dr. Stephanie Flansburg-Cruz practices mixed animal veterinary medicine and she has a special interest in shelter medicine and animal welfare. Stephanie enjoys volunteering at local animal shelters, reading, writing and traveling.

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