My Dog Will Only Eat Once A Day?

A common worry that we hear from our readers is: “My dog will only eat once a day, no matter how hard I try or how good the food is. What should I do? So how can you increase its diet and make it healthier? The answer is simple, it doesn’t matter as long as your dog is happy! 

Dogs are one of those animals who enjoy eating food. So, it can be a matter of concern if your dog doesn’t eat more than one meal in a day. However, dogs, just like their human parents, can have very different diet patterns. Some might be happy with a single meal a day, while others might need feeding every 3 hours and still seem to be hungry.

It has been observed that dogs who take a single meal in a day seem to have better health and cognitive function than those who have more than one. So it is normal for your dog to have less food than expected from him you don’t have to worry. 

However, if your dog is facing health issues or doesn’t like the food and the lack of a proper diet is hampering its growth, it is time for you to step in and take some action. Read on to find out why this might be happening and how you can help your dog.

Why Does My Dog Only Eat Once a Day?

It is not usual for a dog to eat only once a day, however, most veterinarians recommend at least two meals per day for their health. So, what might be causing your pup to eat just once a day? We have compiled some reasons below:

An underlying health problem 

When your dog is not following his usual meal routine, it could be because he has an upset stomach, constipation or other health issues. It is important to visit your vet for a thorough examination if this is the case. 

He dislikes the food

Dogs love a high-protein diet, and if he refuses to have his meals at least two times a day, we might infer that he is not satisfied with his current diet or food. So, you should consider changing the diet and finding if his food intake increases.

He is sticking to a routine

Often, we offer them meals once and then go by our day, which sends them a signal that they are supposed to eat one meal during the whole day. Slowly, it becomes a routine because most dog owners stay at work for the entire day. So, try changing this schedule, train it to have two meals a day, and see if it makes a difference. 

How Often Should Dogs Be Fed?

Ideally, dogs should be fed every 12 hours, which means they should have two meals in a day. A three-meal per day option is also good for most dogs. 

However, not all dogs can follow the same schedule. Thus, you should take your dog to a good dietician who creates meal plans for the dogs. Depending on your dog’s individuality, you will be able to get an idea of how much your dog should be fed. You will also get a chart of what nutrients should be added or subtracted from their diet. 

One other thing that decides their diet and the number of times they should be fed is their breed. If your dog weighs less than 100 pounds, the chances are that his diet would be less, and he won’t need to be fed again and again during the day. 

On the other hand, if your dog weighs more than 100 pounds, he should be fed twice a day, if not more. Thus, different factors decide how many times your dog should be provided. 

What Happens if a Dog Eats Only Once a Day?

Different dogs might have different dietary needs, so unless you see signs of an illness, don’t be too worried about it.

As mentioned already, different dogs have different eating schedules. They might be as healthy as ever even with a single meal or feel weak with several meals every single day.

Increased aggression

The dog owners who feed their pups once a day mostly do it in the morning before leaving for work. Once they are back home, they expect their dogs to have either eaten already or don’t feed them again, not knowing that an empty stomach can generate feelings of anxiety and irritability. 

So, it is possible that these feelings can increase aggression in dogs, and they might bark for no reason, and in extreme cases, they might start biting people.

Dogs who aren’t satiated or eat well also destroy furniture, pottery, tables, laptops, sofas etc. Even though it is normal for many people to feed their dog a big portion of a meal once a day, they must understand that dogs get hungry every 6-8 hours a day, and thus, eating just once a day can take a toll on not just their mood but also health. 

Overeating can cause obesity, bloating and diabetes

However, you must also understand that while not feeding your dog with enough food might leave them malnourished and weak; overeating can also lead to several health issues in them, such as an upset stomach, bloating, slow digestion, diabetes, and vomiting. 

Thus, it is important to maintain a balance between your dog’s eating habits. For this reason, it is important to consult a good dietician for your dog while also learning about the effects of over and under-eating with the help of your vet. 

My Dog Will Only Eat Once a Day – What Can I Do To Help?

Even though many dogs eat only once a day, it is important to ensure that they are getting all the necessary nutrients in their body. So, there are some tips that you can follow to increase their meals in a day like many dog owners want to. 

Change their everyday meal. 

The simplest way to help your dog eat more meals during the day is to change their food. You can focus on dog food that is better in quality, has high-protein value and intake of different nutrients, and of course, makes your pup happy. 

You might have to try other brands until you find the one that matches and fulfills your dog’s specific choice or preferences. 

Increase the physical exercise 

Many dogs restrict themselves to a single diet because they do not burn enough calories and thus, are stuffed and full from their last meal. The pent-up energy doesn’t let their body crave more food, so they do not enjoy having more meals.

To increase their physical activity, you can add 15 minutes more to their regular walks, run with them a distance, play physical sports like throw and catch, etc. All of this will eventually contribute a good number of calories, and they will soon increase their meals. 

Try to feed them in a quiet place

Many dogs do not enjoy eating in an environment that feels unsafe, such as being close to a vacuum cleaner or washing machine. 

Some dogs are scared to eat around other people for inexplicable reasons. Thus, it is important to feed them in a quiet place, away from household activities. See if this works well with them, or is there another reason to skip their meals. 

Try to stick to a new routine

Many dogs eat once throughout the day because they have been following the same routine repeatedly without knowing that they can have more meals. 

So, it is highly recommended that you gradually change his meal time and adjust it so that there is a good amount of time for his next meal. Train him well so that he starts doing the got-to-it dance when the clock closes to a second meal. 

Give controlled portions 

You must consult your vet to learn about your dog’s ideal weight and then use the amount printed on your dog’s food packet to give him controlled or small portions of the meal. In most dog food packets, the recommended amount is usually more than what your dog needs. 

Thus, it is important to consult your vet and then decide the optimum quantity for a single meal for your dog. In fact, in any case, if you feel confused, it is best to have a thorough discussion followed by a full check-up of your furry friend. 

Final Words

It would help if you always put the health and interest of your dog before any other chore in your house. So, if your dog isn’t eating meals as he used to before or has created a routine to have one meal per day, it is important to see a vet to address the underlying issue and find a solution. 

However, you must not get worried either if your dog doesn’t take more than one meal in a day since there is usually a normal explanation behind it. In any case, bringing a professional opinion is important to keep your furry friend healthy and happy for a long time. 

Thank you for reading, we hope we have been able to help you understand what to do and when to do it if your dog is eating less than the appropriate amount of food.

Do read about other food oddities in dogs such as Why Does My Dog Cover His Food? And What Food Do Dogs Hate? Read about them and learn more about why your dog treats certain foods in a peculiar way.