Dog food bowls aren’t what they used to be and as the science behind dog behaviour and training continues to learn more about our companions, the more we realise the old mentality of bowl feeding your dog once a day on dried kibble might not be the best thing for them.
Here’s some interesting points to consider when setting your dogs feeding schedule:
Do they need set times for their dinner? Not always. Some dogs need established routine to help with emotional balance, however, if setting your dogs feeding regime very rigidly, be aware that when there are any changes this might be a major stressor for them. Ideally clear cues that tell the dog they are about to get fed are a better way to create predictability over just timing, as this allows for some sway in their routine. For example, always using a specific phrase just before you prep their food. This way if your timings change, your pooch won’t mind.
Should my dog be fed once or twice from a bowl each day? Dogs are naturally opportunistic scavengers and usually dinner time is a very big event in their day. Keeping your dog to being fed at least twice a day is much better for them both digestively and as far as mental stimulation goes. Be sure not to feed them big meals just before or after exercise as this can cause digestive problems.
Can I use lots of treats for my dog alongside their dinner? Ideally your dog should need to use their brain for all of their food everyday, this may mean portioning our part of their daily food ration to be used for training or using puzzle feeding systems to help them use their brains by working for their food. If you are doing lots of training with your dog we want to be sure not to over feed them so portion out part of the daily food ration specifically for training. If their dinner biscuits aren’t high enough value then you can store them in a sealed container with something super smelly to increase their value (like smoked sausage or cheese). If even this isn’t high enough value be sure to cut back dinner amounts if using high value training foods so as not to over feed them.
Is using a bowl to feed my dog ok? Ideally minimising or even eradicating bowl feeding is best for your dog. Most of us live with individuals that are highly bred to do a specific job and then they live with us in our pet homes. By researching your breed and finding out what job they are bred to do you can help them to work for their dinner by creating games with food dispensing devices and via training with them that will help them to exercise their natural and highly driven behaviours.
How do I puzzle feed? Puzzle feeding come in so many shapes or forms that basically if your dog has to earn their food - this is puzzle feeding. From scatter feeding to food dispensing weebles and balls to rummage boxes and go slow bowls that have ridges and knobbles in them. All of this is helping to enrich your dogs daily routine and will help to maintain a happy and healthy pooch.
If you’d like any more information on how to puzzle feed please do get in touch with us firstname.lastname@example.org