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Thread: Going from three meals a day to two

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    Rescue Volunteer cefe13's Avatar
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    Default Going from three meals a day to two

    Castor (nine, soon ten months old) is still eating three times a day. I would like to hear your suggestions on how to make a smooth transition to two meals. Is it better to slowly cut down on his lunch and increase breakfast and supper accordingly, or is it better to skip lunch from one day to the next and just up the remaining two meals (slowly)?

    Btw, do dogs past puppyhood do better on two meals per day or is it for practical reasons that most dogs eat only twice a day? I work from home a lot, and even if I have to be at work all day, I or my husband will need to go home and take Castor out by lunchtime, so feeding him three times per day is not a problem.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Default Re: Going from three meals a day to two

    Hi, and welcome, Castor is so cute. We switched our two guys from puppy food to adult dogfood when they were 7 months old. A good age to to do this is at 6 or 7 months old, and at the same time, we reduced their feedings from 1 cup 3 times a day, to 1 cup feedings twice a day. We just eliminated the lunchtime feeding, and they were fine, you don't need to increase their feedings, as this may cause him to become overweight as he gets older. Our two guys are both 23 months old, and they both weigh 45 lbs. my vet says she would like to see them weigh 40 lbs, as it's better for their joints. If you find that Castor needs more food, you can add "extras" to his kibble such as green beans, cooked carrots, broccoli, or cauliflower. We add one of these to their evening kibble, and we add 2 Tbsp. of plain unsweetened yogurt to their morning kibble. Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics, which is great for digestion, and it also boosts the Immune system.
    Last edited by Vikinggirl; 02-01-2014 at 03:47 PM.
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    Default Re: Going from three meals a day to two

    Not sure if it's better for them, but not being able to come home for lunch is the major factor I think.

    If you or your husband are still able to come home for lunch, I'd continue feeding him 3x a day. But if, for any reason, that you both can't make it (which would be once in a blue moon, I'm guessing), then it would be perfectly ok to skip lunch and divide the portion to his breakfast or dinner. I prefer to feed my boys bigger dinner, instead of a bigger breakfast, since I can watch them, ensuring that they take the time to relax after to digest.
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    Rescue Volunteer cefe13's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going from three meals a day to two

    Quote Originally Posted by Vikinggirl View Post
    Hi, and welcome, Castor is so cute. We switched our two guys from puppy food to adult dogfood when they were 7 months old. A good age to to do this is at 6 or 7 months old, and at the same time, we reduced their feedings from 1 cup 3 times a day, to 1 cup feedings twice a day. We just eliminated the lunchtime feeding, and they were fine, you don't need to increase their feedings, as this may cause him to become overweight as he gets older. Our two guys are both 23 months old, and they both weigh 45 lbs. my vet says she would like to see them weigh 40 lbs, as it's better for their joints. If you find that Castor needs more food, you can add "extras" to his kibble such as green beans, cooked carrots, broccoli, or cauliflower. We add one of these to their evening kibble, and we add 2 Tbsp. of plain unsweetened yogurt to their morning kibble. Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics, which is great for digestion, and it also boosts the Immune system.
    Thanks for your input! As Castor has been very slim (although starting to gain a bit after we changed food some time ago), reducing his food intake with a third is probably a bit drastic at this stage, but good to know that just eliminating lunch shouldn't be a problem.

    I do wonder about the veggies, though - any reason you add them instead of kibble (as I take it a good kibble will contain what is good in the vegetables)?

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    Default Re: Going from three meals a day to two

    Quote Originally Posted by savemejeebus View Post
    Not sure if it's better for them, but not being able to come home for lunch is the major factor I think.

    If you or your husband are still able to come home for lunch, I'd continue feeding him 3x a day. But if, for any reason, that you both can't make it (which would be once in a blue moon, I'm guessing), then it would be perfectly ok to skip lunch and divide the portion to his breakfast or dinner. I prefer to feed my boys bigger dinner, instead of a bigger breakfast, since I can watch them, ensuring that they take the time to relax after to digest.
    Thanks for your input! As I received different responses (Vikinggirl suggesting we cut down his food intake when reducing to two meals) could I just check with you if you have kept the same amount of food per day when going down to two meals or if you too reduced the daily intake?

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    Default Re: Going from three meals a day to two

    We switch ours from three times a day to two times a day around 7 months of age. Take the total amount from the three feedings and divide it into two feedings, morning and night. You can just switch to the two feeding without a transition if you want. That's what we do. When he gets older, you will need to cut down on the amount so he will not get too fat, but for now a pup needs plenty of food.
    Last edited by Davidh; 02-03-2014 at 03:53 PM.
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    Rescue Volunteer cefe13's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going from three meals a day to two

    Quote Originally Posted by Davidh View Post
    We switch ours from three times a day to two times a day around 7 months of age. That the total amount from the three feedings and divide it into two feedings, morning and night. You can just switch to the two feeding without a transition if you want. That's what we do. When he gets older, you will need to cut down on the amount so he will not get too fat, but for know a pup needs plenty of food.
    Thanks for your reply and for your comment about amount of food!

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    Default Re: Going from three meals a day to two

    Quote Originally Posted by cefe13 View Post
    Thanks for your input! As I received different responses (Vikinggirl suggesting we cut down his food intake when reducing to two meals) could I just check with you if you have kept the same amount of food per day when going down to two meals or if you too reduced the daily intake?
    I reduced their total food intake after a certain age. I can't recall exactly, but most likely around 6 to 7 months.
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    Default Re: Going from three meals a day to two

    Quote Originally Posted by savemejeebus View Post
    I reduced their total food intake after a certain age. I can't recall exactly, but most likely around 6 to 7 months.
    Thanks!

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    Default Re: Going from three meals a day to two

    I believe I read somewhere here that it takes up to 10 hours or so for dogs to digest a meal. so cutting out the afternoon feeding shouldn't make any difference.

    What I did was, reduce from 3 cups per day total, to 2 cups per day total when he was around 6-7 months.
    But I did it slowly by cutting his lunch portion and phasing it out. That was also around the time I took him off of puppy food. He's now 14 months and 60 lbs. So for us, cutting back on his food intake was a plus, or he'd be a fatty right now. Remember, you don't want a chubby bulldog no matter how cute they are. The extra weight is terrible on their joints.


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    Default Re: Going from three meals a day to two

    Feeding schedules (either once a day or twice a day or thrice a day or whatever schedule) is dependent on the dog. Some dogs can gorge on big meals without problems while other dogs can't. Some dogs can digest their food faster while others can't. Feeding kibble poses a bit of a challenge when gorging as it expands in the stomach and the amount of carbs it contains can overload the pancreas and it takes a long while to digest. Whereas feeding wet food or home-prepared meals can digest and metabolize much quicker.

    In any case, what you want is for the dog to eat until he is full to put his digestive system up to fully function as it was designed to do then have time to digest all his food and have a period of digestive rest before he eats again.

    That said, how often to feed your dog is first and foremost decided by your dog and what you feed him. Then whatever he does okay with, you can tailor with your own convenience - if your dog is fine eating X times a day, then you get to choose how often you feed him at your convenience.

    Some signs that the frequency of feeding is a problem for the dog:
    1.) Skipping meals - reduce frequency
    2.) Diarrhea - increase frequency to make individual meals smaller

    In any case, the amount of food a dog needs per day is dictated by his condition - too fat - reduce the amount, too skinny - increase the amount. It doesn't have any relationship with how often you feed your dog.

    As far as transitioning from 3x a day to twice a day, I would simply take the total serving for the day and divide by 2 and start him off on the bigger meal the very next day and see how he does.
    Last edited by anatess; 02-04-2014 at 11:19 AM.

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    Default Re: Going from three meals a day to two

    Quote Originally Posted by Blueberrys Mom View Post
    I believe I read somewhere here that it takes up to 10 hours or so for dogs to digest a meal. so cutting out the afternoon feeding shouldn't make any difference.

    What I did was, reduce from 3 cups per day total, to 2 cups per day total when he was around 6-7 months.
    But I did it slowly by cutting his lunch portion and phasing it out. That was also around the time I took him off of puppy food. He's now 14 months and 60 lbs. So for us, cutting back on his food intake was a plus, or he'd be a fatty right now. Remember, you don't want a chubby bulldog no matter how cute they are. The extra weight is terrible on their joints.
    Thanks for your reply! You're right that we don't want to overfeed him, but as he's been really slim up until a month ago or so that is hopefully not going to be a problem. At ten months he is something like 18 kilos (38-39 pounds or so).

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