Survey Results: How Do You Feed Your Dog?

Dog Eating
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A third of the dog owners we surveyed said they free-feed their canines.

One of the most important aspects of owning a dog is making sure he gets properly fed and watered every day. But are you sure you're doing it the right way

Because mealtime is  so critical to a dog's health, we decided to find out exactly how our readers handle it with their pets. We surveyed 1,362 dog owners on the topic — and the results are illuminating. 

1. Feeding Style: Exactly How Does Your Dog Get His Food?

Many of us obsess over every aspect of feeding our dogs — from creating a custom eating area to finding the perfect stylish dog bowl. Others of us simply put a kibble-filled container on the kitchen floor at mealtime. Every pet owner is different. But when it comes to how often we feed our dogs, there is a clear pattern.

Seventy-seven percent of people surveyed said they feed their dogs by portioning out a certain amount of food at mealtime. The majority of this group, 79 percent, feed their dogs two meals a day. Just 15 percent said they feed their dogs one meal per day, and 6 percent feed their dogs three times or more each day.

To the consternation of some veterinarians, 23 percent of respondents said they practice free feeding, meaning they leave food out all day so their pets have continual access.

2. Type of Food: Do Your Serve Your Dog Dry Kibble or Wet Food?

Walking through the dog food aisles at your local big-box pet store can be overwhelming. You can find yourself completely surrounded by hundreds of kibble bags and canned foods to choose from. How do you know if you're choosing the right type of food for your pooch? Ever consider what other people give their pets?

To discover just that, we asked readers to share which type of food they choose. The majority of respondents — 57 percent — said they stick to dry kibble. But wet food also has its fans, with 43 percent selecting it for their pets.

3. Treat Tactics: How Often Do You Dole Out Extra Food?

Treats can be a great way to help train and motivate a dog, but we found a bit of variety in how our readers indulge their dogs.

Forty-five percent of those surveyed said they feed their dogs one or two treats a day, and 36 percent said they give their dogs three or four treats daily. Another 12 percent have a heavier hand with treats, saying they feed five or more treats throughout the day. Only 7 percent said they don't give their dogs any treats at all.

Of course, feeding treats can quickly add calories to your dog's diet, so it is particularly important that you give your pet healthy snacks. Learn the best fruits and vegetables to give your dog and even the safest ways to hand them over

Need help figuring out the best treat strategy, food type and meal frequency for your dog? Talk to your veterinarian to learn what's right for your pooch. 

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