The number of times we feed our dogs It is important. It largely depends on the age of the dog and how active it is. Broadly speaking, however, a new study suggests that the key may lie in feed them once a day.
The study in question has been published in GeroSciencefrom the hand of scientists from several universities in the United States and with data extracted from the dog aging project. In it, it is concluded that dogs that only eat once a day seem to have better scores in cognitive tests and less likely to develop gastrointestinal disorders. As for other diseases, such as cancer and vascular, neurological and skin disorders, there were no significant differences.
It is the largest study carried out to date, with the intervention of more than 10,000 dogs. But it must be recognized that it has certain limitations. On the one hand, the data was reported the owners themselves, so they could have collection or interpretation errors. On the other hand, it was not taken into account if, for example, there were calorie restriction. Also, not all veterinarians agree with his conclusions. That’s why, before you run to remove the bowl from your dog, you should read this.
Dog feeding is complex
In fact, fasting has been widely studied in recent years, both as a method to lose weight and for health reasons. It has been seen that if the organism is deprived of food for many hours alternative metabolic pathways are activated that can bring benefits if done in a controlled way. This has been proven in both people and rodents. However, something like this had never been seen in dogs until the arrival of this study. And in reality it had not been seen because many veterinarians observe the opposite effect in their clinics.
“It depends a lot on each animal and you have to see the case many times individually to establish guidelines”, he points out to hypertextual Lucy, veterinarian at the Tomelloso Veterinary Clinic. “It is not the same Shepherd dog who is working in the field with the cattle and needs a lot of nutrients, which the yorkshire that he spends all day lying on the sofa, for example”. In addition, the veterinarian explains that it also depends on other factors, such as whether the dogs have any illness.
Another important parameter is age. “In puppies I usually recommend giving 3 to 4 shots a day, with a small amount, ”says the veterinarian. “Their stomachs are still very immature and they must get used to food to avoid gastrointestinal problems, especially.”
Once they are adults, they no longer need to eat as many times a day. However, she recommends that they be at least two. “I have seen many cases of dogs arriving at the emergency room with hypoglycemia for this case”, recalls Lucía. “In the clinic I see dogs that arrive very hungry and, when we put food on them after 24 hours, they don’t chew but gobble up the food. Then that gives rise to vomiting, diarrhea and even in more severe cases and large breeds, it usually occurs stomach torsion”.
This is an acute distension of the stomach, in which said organ can twist on itself. When this is generated, the stomach can generate pressure on the blood vessels, altering the normal blood supply. This can cause damage to other organs and, if not fixed in time, the death of the dog. There are many risk factors, from very sudden movements to gas accumulation due to the fermentation of some foods. In addition, according to Lucía, it can happen precisely because the dogs are fed only once a day.
“I have seen many cases of dogs that have not eaten for 24 hours and that have been working out“, exemplified. “They come home tired and hungry and suddenly they put all the food on them and, by eating so quickly and without chewing the food well, they suffer stomach torsion”.
For this reason, the veterinarian maintains that she will continue to recommend at least two doses a day as long as she does not see different cases in the clinical practice. And the truth is that this is also the recommendation of the authors of the study that has just been published. Yes, they have seen some benefits in feeding dogs every 24 hours, but so far their results are very preliminary. They hope to confirm them with more studies in the future. If so, perhaps the protocols could be changed. In the meantime, if you have a dog, listen to your vet. There is nothing like experience to know when it is best to feed them.