Keeping your dog on a schedule

by Richmond Petlover on November 4, 2009 · 0 comments

dog-on-schedule

Guest Blogger—Dr. Susan Wright, Dog Fence DIY’s Staff Veterinarian

Dogs are creatures of habit. They certainly let you know when it’s dinner time, and you’ll often find them patiently waiting at the door when it’s time to go for a walk. There are two ways in which you can take advantage of this characteristic—you can easily create a feeding schedule and a toileting schedule for them, and it won’t take them long at all to get used to them.

When I refer to feeding schedules in this article, I’m discussing feeding your dog at set times of the day, as distinct from “ad lib” feeding where you leave a bowl of food out for your dog all the time. Ad lib feeding is not a good idea.

Your dog’s feeding schedule will vary with different life stages. Puppies need more frequent meals, because their little stomachs can’t hold much food, yet they need lots of energy while they grow. Depending on their age, puppies need to eat up to 5 times a day. Adult dogs can be fed twice daily, unless they have excessive energy requirements, such as a bitch feeding a litter of pups.

There are several benefits to a regular feeding schedule for your dog.

If you have a feeding schedule for your dog and you know when and how much he eats, you’ll be very quick to notice if he’s off his food. This can help you get on top of any illnesses very quickly, and prevent them becoming more serious. If he snacks all day, you’re less likely to see any changes to his eating habits.

A feeding schedule is also helpful for those who train their dogs in obedience. If you plan a training session for just before he’s due to eat, he’ll be quite hungry, and more willing to work for treats.

With over 40% of dogs being overweight, scheduling your dog’s meals and how much he eats at a time can help you keep his weight under control. It’s not easy to monitor how many calories he’s taking in if he eats at any time of the day. In my experience, ad lib feeding often results in your dog eating much more than he needs, and has a direct effect on his waistline.

Managing when your dog takes food into his body also helps you manage when he needs to eliminate, and is a very important part of toilet training young pups. If you feed your pup at certain times, you can start to predict when he will need to go to the toilet, and take him outside at that time. This gives him the best chance of going to the toilet in the right spot, and being rewarded for it. Potty training will therefore progress much quicker if you schedule his meals. If your dog is an adult, it’s still useful to be able to tell when he’s likely to need to empty his bowels.

There are so many advantages to having your dog on a schedule. The only disadvantage is that there may be occasions when, for various reasons, you can’t quite keep to that schedule. That’s okay, our dogs are also very adaptable!

This guest article is brought especially to you by Dog Fence DIY’s staff veterinarian Dr. Susan Wright. Dog fence DIY will show you the proper steps of how to lay down your electric dog fence, how to select the best system for your dog, and how to train your pet to use the system. Dog Fence DIY offers a wide variety of pet containment systems at the best available prices to you.

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—Photo by Pizzo

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