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How to Feed Dogs in Multiple Dog Households

Feed your multiple dogs separately.

Do you have multiple dogs in your home and need to figure out a good feeding system? We have you covered.

Why Should I Feed My Dogs Separately?

There are a few different reasons why you should establish a dog feeding system that is separate and non-competitive:

  • When dogs feel like they might not get enough of the food resource in the home, it can lead to dangerous dogfights. This may not start until later in life, after many mealtimes where one or more dogs are feeling like they aren't getting enough.
  • Dogs that feel like they are competing for food might eat too fast, and that can result in choking or regurgitating.
  • Sometimes dogs in the same home need different types of food. This can occur when one or more of them has a medical issue requiring special food or if the dogs need different life stage diets.
  • Becoming agitated during or immediately following a meal increases a dog's chance of developing life-threatening bloat.
  • Feeding your dogs all together or having free choice food down all the time makes it much more difficult for you to notice when one of them isn't eating as much or seems more ravenous. These are big signs of illness that you'll need to be able to easily monitor.

How to Feed Dogs Separately

First, if you're not already, you will need to switch to meal feeding rather than free choice feeding. If you've already been feeding your dogs free choice, this will take a week or so for them to get used to. However, they will quickly learn that the food is available for a short time and then will come back later.

Next, think of separate areas in your home that you can use to feed your dogs. If you have large crates for your dogs, they work well as feeding areas. Otherwise, separate rooms with doors are a great option. If you don't have enough rooms, baby gates to create separate areas might work.

Give each dog their bowl of food once they are all separated.

Monitor the dogs to ensure they've all finished eating, and remove all of the empty dog bowls.

If possible, let the dogs rest separately for a bit before releasing them.

Divide your dogs' daily food allotments into at least two meals. This helps prevent them from becoming overly hungry and feeling more defensive about their food.

Try to keep mealtimes as pleasant as possible for all of your dogs. Stay calm yourself, and keep your voice light and cheerful. Don't encourage any belief that your dog might have that mealtimes are stressful and resources are scarce.

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