With tours of the resort now underway, the topic of scheduled feedings for dogs has been coming up quite often. There are many differing opinions and methods when it comes to this topic. To many, free feeding is probably the easiest and simplest way to go: fill a bowl, wait until it’s empty, fill again.
One of the issues with this method is that you can never easily gauge how much your pup is eating or when. With scheduled feedings, however, you always know exactly how much Rover is eating. This can be extremely beneficial with weight loss or gain as well as health issues in general. After a scheduled feeding you can monitor your pup for an upset tummy, softer stool, etc. As an added bonus, this helps enormously with house training for puppies, as you’ll have more of a grasp on when bathroom breaks are needed!
Scheduled feeding also provides consistency. Your dog (just like you!) thrives off a schedule and will learn to eat consistently when you are showing him/her when exact meal times are. If your dog is a grazer or a finicky eater, getting them set on a schedule will teach them that they have two options to eat in a day - most dogs are likely to take those opportunities! These regularly scheduled meals can affect your dog's sleeping and play habits in a positive way. It’s similar to kids eating too much sugar before bed or being cranky when they miss a meal.
A dog adhering to a feeding schedule also gives them a very easy way to show you if something is wrong with their health. If my pup skips breakfast, I know that something is brewing in their tummy and I can take the necessary steps to get things back on track ASAP. If your four legged family member is taking medications or supplements with their food - which is likely to happen at some point in time - you can rest assured they are taking their meds as necessary when they have a feeding routine.
If you board your pup, scheduled feedings will likely be the way it works at the facility they are staying at - like how we do things at Niagara Pet Resort! Two meals are fed every day, one between 7:30am-8:00am and the other between 5:00pm-5:30pm. When your pup is used to a meal schedule at home, it makes them more likely to eat consistently when they are away, and that is a win win for everyone!