We feed our weaned German Shepherd Dog puppies twice a day approximately 12 hours apart from between 7:00 and 8:00 am and then again between 6:00 and 7:00 pm. Once our German Shepherd Dog puppies become six-months-old, we have noticed that they will not finish one of the twice daily feedings. When this happens we switch to once a day in the evenings. This decrease in appetite usually corresponds to a decrease in their rapid growth rate. Young puppies seem to grow significantly fast from weaning until six-months-of-age. All one has to do to observe this is to go out-of-town for a few days, and upon returning it is almost unimaginable how much larger the German Shepherd Dog puppies have become in only a couple of days.
For our adult German Shepherd Dogs, we feed once a day in the evenings. They seem well adapted to this and rarely appear to act like they are starving. We have tried morning feedings only, but our German Shepherds appear to be extremely hungry the rest of the day and act famished by the time we have fed them again the next morning. Anecdotally, I am quite comfortable skipping breakfast and even lunch sometimes, however, if I eat a large breakfast it seems as though I am hungry all-day-long, and actually will eat more through the day.
I also, believe that since, we feed in the evenings and our German Shepherd Dogs are less active after feeding that this allows them to digest their food better and may actually help prevent bloat also known as torsion. Bloat is where the stomach twists over itself and becomes a life or death situation requiring immediate medical care from a veterinarian. Albeit, some German Shepherd Dog nutritionists and veterinarians recommend feeding two smaller meals twice a day to decrease the potential for bloating.
In the wild, a more natural situation for a pack of wild dogs may be to eat every other day or third day depending on when the pack makes a kill or finds a carcass. Upon feeding they gorge themselves, thus eating several pounds of food at a given feeding. Then the pack would lounge for a day or two around the kill site to digest their meals.
Nobody is positively sure about the best way and the correct timing to feed German Shepherd Dogs, and more research is needed in this area not only to reduce the risk of bloat, but to maximize the health of our German Shepherd Dogs. Until we learn differently, we at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels will continue to feed once a day in the evenings.
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