Why dogs should eat one to two healthy meals per day
If your dogs could speak and you asked them how often they should be fed, the answer would likely be: “Eight times a day and one treat every 10 to 15 minutes!”
Many dogs have insatiable appetites, however in nature, wild canines could go without a meal for several days. That is why feeding your dog once a day and a once a week fast is a common practice. Some people ask me if feeding in the evening or morning is better. I usually suggest doing it when it is convenient for you. However, if your dog has a tendency to pant and overheat at night, morning feeding may be better because digestion increases heat production.
If you can’t resist Fido’s sad puppy eyes and don't feel comfortable feeding once a day, twice a day feeding is just fine. Ideally, your dog should not eat more than twice a day, with the exception of puppies younger than four to five months of age. They are usually fed three times a day.
If your dog is fed more than twice a day and is otherwise healthy, he may be a victim of 'monkey love.'
I first heard this expression from my father. When my sister and I were little kids, our lovely and caring grandma would do anything for her grandchildren to be happy. She was definitely our favorite because whenever we stayed with her the mainstay of our diet was candies, chocolate, soda pop and a chewing gum, called Pedro.
I remember my sister refusing to eat any vegetables because she knew that if she didn’t, she would get chewy fruit toffee, called Si-Si, and Pedro instead. My preferences were slightly different. I was hooked on chocolate and artificially-colored soda pop in PVC pouches that were inflated like little cushions and you put a straw in a little port to drink it. Yes, those were the old days of not knowing any better.
So, getting back to monkey love. If you offer your loved one something other than wholesome food for the sake of pleasing them or making them love you, it is monkey love. Sound familiar? Join the club. Succumbing to monkey love is very human. My goal is to make sure that monkeys do not visit your home too often.
Recently, I visited my friends and family in the Czech Republic, where I learned that fighting monkey love can sometimes be a losing battle.
When I was a university student, I used to visit our long-time family friend, auntie Alena, a wonderful supporter of mine and an amazing cook. One of her most common phrases was: “Eat, eat, you look so thin, just have one more dumpling!”
This time, I came for a visit with my previous dog, Skai. Right after we arrived I decided to take a quick shower, leaving Skai in the kitchen with Alena. As I was coming back to join them, clean and refreshed, I stopped around a corner to hear Alena saying: “Poor little Skai, Daddy didn’t feed you, did he? Here is a piece of ham and a little bit of cheese and how about a little roll?” she baby talked. “That mean daddy would not give you any of this. Would you like one more piece?” At that moment, I could not resist laughing as I entered the kitchen. “Mean daddy? Am I a mean daddy?” I laughed. I guess even dogs deserve to have special days with aunties and grandmas.
Just keep in mind that if your dog’s physique resembles a little night table with four legs, it may mean trouble. Perhaps remind yourself of monkey love and do not forget to keep an eye on your family and friends.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM