Diet problems

Why Does My Dog Only Eat Once a Day?

Anaëlle Laurent
By Anaëlle Laurent. Updated: March 21, 2024
Why Does My Dog Only Eat Once a Day?

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Is your dog only eating once per day? You may be asking yourself if that's normal or even healthy. In this AnimalWised article, we're going to explain why your dog only eats once a day.

We'll also tell you how much a dog should be eating as they grow from puppies to adults and how many meals per day they should have according to veterinarians. Continue reading to learn more!

You may also be interested in: Why My Dog Only Eats From My Hands?
  1. Why your dog is only eating once per day
  2. What you can do to help
  3. How many meals should a dog have per day?

Why your dog is only eating once per day

There are a couple of reasons as to why a dog may only eat once per day. Here are the most common reasons:

  • Underlying health issue: certain health issues will make a dog stop eating or eat very little. It's always a good idea to take your dog to the veterinarian when they exhibit abnormal behaviour.
  • Doesn't like the food: another reason is that they simply do not enjoy the food. Try changing up the food you offer them and see if it helps them eat at least two meals a day. Remember that dogs thrive on a high-quality and high-protein canine diet.
  • Routine: the last reason is simply that they are used to only eating once per day. As long as you continue to offer them another meal of delicious food later in the day, with time, they will get used to the new routine.

Is it normal for dogs to eat once per day?

No, it isn't. Most veterinarians recommend at least two meals per day for an adult dog and at least three meals for a puppy. But, don't worry! Keep reading to learn what you can do to help your dog get all the energy and nutrients they need by eating another meal.

Why Does My Dog Only Eat Once a Day? - Why your dog is only eating once per day

What you can do to help

We've determined that it isn't normal for a dog to eat once a day and that we should encourage them to eat at least two meals a day in order to be healthy. So now, it's time to see how you can help them get there. Here are our tips for you if your dog is only eating once a day:

Take them to the veterinarian

The first thing you'll want to do is to take them to the veterinarian. This way, your veterinarian will be able to determine if they have any health issues due to their diet, or any other underlying health issue that is making them eat little.

You can then adjust or improve their diet so they are at an optimal health. Your veterinarian will guide you through the new changes.

Change their food

If necessary, you can change what food you give your dog. Dogs thrive on a high-protein low-carbohydrate diet. Freshly cooked food made with high quality animal protein and some vegetables is best. You can also opt for high quality wet dog food.

We need to make sure that the food we choose for our dog gives them the necessary energy and nutrients they need for a happy and healthy life. We also need to make sure that they enjoy eating that food.

Add another meal

Lastly, try changing their eating schedule by adding another meal. If your dog doesn't want to eat, try offering them a high quality meal after their walk. They will normally be more hungry after doing exercise. You can also feed them once you and your family have eaten as the smell will get your dog's nose sniffing and stomach gurgling.

Please keep in mind that if your dog isn't eating, it is usually due to an underlying health problem. Don't forget to take them to the veterinarian for a check-up.

How many meals should a dog have per day?

Feeding a puppy and a dog are a little different. This is because a puppy is just starting to eat solid food and learning to detect when they need to relieve themselves. For a dog, on another hand, they are used to a certain routine and a certain type of food. So, let's take a look on how many meals a puppy and an adult dog should have per day:

Feeding a puppy

Veterinarians usually recommend puppies be fed 3-4 meals a day. They also recommend against free feeding, which is when a bag of food is left open for them to eat whenever they desire, as this can lead them to obesity or eating disorders. As dogs are animals of routine, it's best we get them settled on a routine from an early age so they feel calm and comfortable.

Nevertheless, this usually depends on the household they live in and their nutritional needs depending on their lifestyle and breed. The best thing to do is to ask your veterinarian about your puppy's diet and nutritional needs on their next check-up. You can also learn more in our article about how much puppies should eat.

Remember that puppies normally need to relieve themselves 10-15min after eating. Therefore, it's best to keep that in mind when setting their meal times and then taking them to their potty area or even outside so they can relieve themselves. This will help them associate the feeling with that place and then, they'll be potty trained in no time! Learn more in our article on paper training for puppies.

Feeding an adult dog

When it comes to an adult dog, veterinarians recommend they are given at least two meals a day. Three meals a day seem to be the most common amongst families as it would be similar to our breakfast, lunch and dinner eating schedule. Simply make sure the food they're eating is of high quality and that they are eating the amount of calories they need to maintain a healthy weight.

For further information, consult your veterinarian as they will know more about your dog's specific condition and needs. We also invite you to watch our video on how much you should be feeding your dog!

If you want to read similar articles to Why Does My Dog Only Eat Once a Day?, we recommend you visit our Diet problems category.

    • National Research Council of the National Academies. (2006). Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats. National Academy of Sciences.
    • De Wever, Eeckhout, Hellemans. (1978). Disruptive effect of test meals on interdigestive motor complex in dogs.
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Why Does My Dog Only Eat Once a Day?