I have a confession to make: I’m a pet person. I’ve been a pet person my whole life. At one time or another, I’ve had anywhere from just one dog to two dogs and three parrots in my home. While it can be exhausting, it is also very rewarding!
If you own more than one dog, you may want to keep things simple and feed them all the same food. Or, you may choose out different foods for each dog. But what is the best way to divide their diets to ensure that each dog is eating well without causing competition over food?
Let’s break down the basics of feeding all of your pets in a multi-dog home. It doesn’t have to be stressful any longer!
Number One Rule: Feed Each Dog The Appropriate Diet
If you have a Chihuahua and a Great Dane, each of these dogs needs different sized kibble, different levels of proteins, and may even have different allergies. As their owner, it is up to you to make sure that they each get the nutrition that they need.
While your dog might still eat food that isn’t customized for their particular nutritional needs, feeding them the wrong amounts of macronutrients and vitamins can lead to long-term health problems that can be prevented by choosing their diet more carefully.
Choose the right food for each dog based on their needs, as follows:
- Breed type
- Activity level
- Taste preferences
If your dogs are similar in nutritional needs, size, and activity levels, you can feed them all the same food, but you should not force the same food on all of your dogs just to simplify your life. This guide covers the best dog food for different breeds, ages, and sizes.
Number Two Rule: Prevent Competition Over Food
The biggest problem with having multiple dogs eating the same (or different!) food is that they may become possessive and jealous about the food that they are eating. Food is a resource to dogs, and they will often try to protect and hoard as much of it as possible.
In multi-dog households, there will often be one dog that is the bully and tries to eat the other dogs’ foods, regardless of whether or not it is the same food as their own. If your dogs eat too closely together or are not supervised, a dog fight could occur.
How Do I Do This?
The best way to prevent competition over food is to give each dog a designated food area and train them to eat in that area. Give each dog their own bowl, and take the bowl away after 15 or 20 minutes.
The food area for each dog can be in different areas of one room, or they can be in separate areas. The important part is that every dog has their own safe space where they can eat.
If you feed dogs in the same spot, they may become jealous or confused. Feeding dogs at the same time in different places is the best way to show them that they are getting equal treatment, even if they are eating different foods.
Look For Signs Of Food Hoarding Or Aggression
While raising your dogs, you should also keep an eye out for any signs of food hoarding or aggression.
If your dog hunches their shoulders while eating, this is a sign that they are possessive and territorial of their food. You will want to work with them to lower this aggression so that it does not lead to a fight with your other pets.
If your dog eats slowly and is constantly looking at your other dogs eating, this dog may be nervous or defensive about their food. They may feel unsafe eating in the same room as the other dogs. If this is happening, try moving their food station to another food where they can eat without fear.
Feed Your Dogs What They Need!
In the end, whether or not you choose to feed your dogs the same food or not is up to how you want to handle your diets. Remember, however, that every dog has their own dietary needs and their own taste preferences. Feed each dog accordingly!
To prevent any potential fights, split them up so that every one of your special pets can have a special, stress-free mealtime. While it may be difficult to establish these routines at first, you will have a happier, multi-dog household if you make sure that mealtime is a good time for every dog.