Is It Cruel To Feed a Dog Once a Day?

So, is it cruel to feed a dog once a day? What do the vets say?

Dog feeding routine is one of the biggest “headaches” for every dog owner. What dog food should we choose?

What schedule should we follow? How often should we feed them in a day? While some owners think feeding their furry friends once a day is enough, some consider it wrong.

Pros Of Feeding Your Dog Once Per Day


So, is it cruel to feed a dog once a day? Well, it’s not common and normal to keep your dog starving and fed only once in 24 hours. On average, vets recommend feeding our dogs twice or three times, an 8–12-hour distance.

However, there are many discussions over the internet about the subject, and some studies actually show that feeding the dog only once is not that cruel.

Before deciding the correct frequency of dogs’ feeding, we should all agree on one: Following the feeding routine and providing high-quality food is the most important part of our furry babies’ healthy life.

Even if you choose to feed your pet once a day, your pup will grow into a healthy dog if you get highly nutritious food and follow the feeding schedule.

So, let’s start by discussing the benefits of feeding dogs once a day.

These are the general pros of feeding your dog once per day:

  • Better cognitive function
  • Slow or reverse aspects of aging
  • Better memory
  • Spatial learning
  • Fewer health problems

According to studies, dogs fed one meal a day seem to have better cognitive function than dogs fed multiple times.

The researchers have examined over 47,000 pet dogs, and they actually found a connection between their health and calorie consumption.

Surprisingly, the study insists that reducing the food might slow all the aspects of aging.

It’s probably not a surprise that, in most cases, our brains work better when we’re hungry. With an empty stomach, your mind and thoughts feel fresher.

Interestingly, dogs are not that different from humans. These studies also proved that fasting could improve memory and spatial learning in our dogs.

After observing the dogs’ gender, age, and breed, the researchers found that dogs fed only once a day instead of multiple times seemed to have lower cognitive dysfunction scores.

One-time-fed dogs were also unlikely to develop dental, bone, kidney, or other kinds of diseases.

Therefore, according to these studies, feeding your dog once a day might actually develop a better cognition state and health.

However, even though the study showed some benefits of keeping the dog fed once a day, it still didn’t mention what these furry buddies had to go through before getting used to fasting.

So, we can say the research didn’t quite provide the accurate answer to our main question: “Is it cruel to feed a dog once a day?”

Cons Of Feeding Your Dog Once Per Day


Below, I will list the overall issues that keeping your dog fed only one time per day develops:

  • Anxiety
  • Aggression towards strangers and family members
  • Stress
  • Excessive chewing
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Boredom
  • Bilious vomiting

We can train our dogs to do and get used to many things, but training is practically impossible without treats. Treats work as magic tools while teaching our pup basic commands.

Yes, they will do anything for you if you award them with even a tiny crunchy treat, so can you imagine how hard it would be to take the food away from them? Doesn’t it sound cruel?

It might be partly beneficial for their physical health, but it definitely ruins their mental health, which we, the owners, should also care about.

Generally, young puppies should be fed much more often than adult dogs during the day, which means that you cannot actually train your dog to get used to eating only once during the day from a very young age.

So, you will need to go through strict and heavy training and a painful adjusting period before your dog gets used to the “empty” stomach.

According to experienced vets, fasting at the end of the day can cause the dog to feel more anxious and irritable. This will not help any dog ​​who tends to be aggressive to stay calm.

We know that dogs that feel uncomfortable or more anxious and irritable are more likely to be aggressive than dogs that are full and feel good.

Even dogs that are not inclined to exhibit aggressive behavior still may show other behavioral problems due to starvation.

Plus, anxiety is considered a potential factor for many different issues, such as excessive chewing and destruction.

Fasting might also cause biliary vomiting, which will lead to severe health issues.

Is It Cruel to Feed a Dog Once a Day: Vet



So, you might wonder, what is the correct answer? Actually, none of the vets recommend one-time feeding for our dogs. Mainly, they suggest feeding adult dogs twice a day.

However, puppies need to eat even more frequently. They should be fed four times a day initially, and they can be slowly weaned to twice a day when they are about six months old.

Most dog foods include a statement of total daily calorie requirements, so, you need to divide it by the number of feeds.

Tiny breed puppies, such as Yorkie, Chihuahua, and “teacup” breeds, need to be fed more frequently in the first few weeks because they are prone to hypoglycemic episodes. [1]

Due to their small size, they do not have the energy reserves like larger and older pups, so they will quickly become hypoglycemic if you don’t feed them enough.

This may be a medical emergency. Therefore, it is very important to feed your puppy every 2-3 hours a day in the beginning.

What If The Dogs Eat Once A Day On Their Will?


Dogs don’t think they need a diet even if they gain a few pounds like us. So, if your dog loses appetite and eats only one time a day, it might mean some severe health problems.

I have also faced the same problem with my adult dog recently. For some reason, lately, my dog only eats once a day at night.

I noticed how gradually he lost his appetite, started losing weight, stopped playing, and slept all day.

After the vet consultation and proper treatment, he is slowly becoming more joyful, but let’s discuss how you should act if you face the same issue.

First of all, once you find that your dog only eats once a day on their will, the first thing you need to do is take them to the vet.

In this way, your veterinarian will determine if they have any health problems due to their diet or any other potential health problems that caused them to eat very little.

You can also adjust or improve their diet so that they are in optimal health. Your vet will guide you through all these essential changes.

If necessary, you can change the food for the dog. Dogs thrive on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet.

Freshly cooked food made with high-quality animal protein and vegetables is the best. You can also choose high-quality wet dog food or cook on your own.

Also, vets might recommend changing your dog’s diet plan by adding another meal.

If your dog still doesn’t want to eat, try to blend the food with their favorite treats, or take them on a long walk. Play with them, and make them tired, this might raise their appetite and hunger.

You can also feed them after you and your family enjoy dinner as the smell will make your dog’s nose smell and stomach gurgle.

Read Also: Can Dogs Eat Quail Eggs

Wrapping Up

We discussed the pros and cons of the subject, and what do you think, is it cruel to feed a dog once a day?

From my subjective point of view, it is pretty cruel to feed your dog only one time a day. Of course, they won’t die, but they will struggle for a long to get used to it.

Imagine having three meals a day. Your dog is looking at you with sparkly baby eyes asking for food. How can you resist?

So, if there is a possibility, I suggest you feed your doggo several times a day. This way, your furry friend will stay livelier, have more energy, won’t become aggressive, and won’t develop any health disorders.

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