How many times a day should I feed my dog?

by Dr. Tory Waxman, VMD

Adult dogs should eat twice a day - morning and night. Puppies under 6 months of age (especially small breed ones) must be fed more often.

Most veterinarians (including myself) recommend feeding adult dogs twice a day. Some people feed their dogs once a day, but dogs that are only fed once a day can get hungry and also sometimes can be prone to bilious vomiting (vomiting caused by an empty stomach). Puppies need to eat more frequently and should be fed four times per day at first, and can slowly be weaned down to twice daily feedings by about six months of age.

Most dog food includes instructions for total daily caloric requirements - therefore you will take that amount and divide it by the number of feedings.

Very small breed puppies (think Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Pomeranians, and any “teacup” varieties”) will require much more frequent feedings in the first few weeks as they are prone to hypoglycemic episodes (low blood sugar). Due to their small size, they do not have the energy reserves of larger and older pups and therefore can quickly become hypoglycemic. This can be a medical emergency. Therefore, it is very important to feed your tiny pup every 2-3 hours during the day in the beginning. If your puppy becomes profoundly lethargic at any time, they should be immediately evaluated by a veterinarian as this could be a life-threatening emergency.

About the author

Tory Waxman, VMD

Co-Founder & Chief Veterinary Officer

Dr. Waxman is a practicing small-animal veterinarian.

She received a BS in Animal Sciences with Distinction in Research from Cornell University and her vet degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she did original research at the Penn Working Dog Center. Tory completed her internship in veterinary medicine at the world-renowned Animal Medical Center in New York City where she treated an actual lame duck and saw a hungry snake that hadn’t eaten in a year.

Tory grew up outside of Chicago with chocolate labs. She’s not sure why she ever gave up her first job, which was as a dog beach attendant on Lake Michigan. About 5 years ago she rescued a mixed breed terrier named Mabel who is obsessed with tennis balls. Mabel is also her tireless running buddy who completed a 14-mile run while Tory was training for the Chicago Marathon. Tory enjoys dog training and competing in dog sports such as agility and dock diving.