When to Feed Your Dog: Before or After the Walk?

Many owners wonder when to feed the dog – in advance so that the pet gains energy before being active in the fresh air, or after a walk so that it replenishes the energy spent during it. We will tell you how to make the right choice.

How does dog digestion work?

The peculiarity of the digestive system of a dog as a carnivore is its adaptability to the processing of meat, bones, and the cartilaginous part connecting them.

The digestive process of a dog looks like this:

Food crushed by teeth (as well as whole pieces) enter the stomach through the esophagus;

Thanks to the special enzymes contained in the stomach, proteins are digested in it;

The contraction of the walls of the stomach helps the food that has entered it to mix, turning into a mushy mass (chyme), and move further to the small intestine;

In the duodenum, by means of enzymes secreted by the intestines (catalysts) and the pancreas (insulin, which enters the bloodstream and regulates sugar in it), the digestion of food is completed;

At the same time, the liver produces bile, which flows from the gallbladder into the intestines. Bile is what gives dog excrement its characteristic color;

During the above processes, nutrients from food are absorbed in the animal’s body;

In the large intestine, water is absorbed, and the remnants of undigested food and inorganic elements accumulate in the rectum, from where they are excreted in the form of feces by emptying.

It is noteworthy that the canine digestive process stimulates the abundant secretion of saliva, which contains a microbial-destroying substance – lysozyme. Thanks to him, the mucous membrane of the mouth inside will not become inflamed from bone cuts.

In open nature, the dog is a predator. The hunt for prey may not be successful for a long time; when lucky, the dog needs to eat properly so that the feeling of satiety does not leave as long as possible. The dog’s stomach is adapted to this, confirmation of this is its strong stretching and contraction.

Unlike herbivores and humans, the shorter canine intestines do not have time to digest the entire plant food. Despite this, the pet needs vegetables and fruits. Especially in the warm season. They are important both as an additional load for the intestine, as well as for enhancing its contractions (peristalsis). In addition, the fiber constituting the basis of plant feed is partially broken down in the blind section of the intestine.

For normal assimilation of feed, its passage through the digestive tract must be fast enough. Three peristaltic components are responsible for this:

Active form – is realized through strong stretching of the stomach and intestines;

The background form is inherent in the canine intestine even in the absence of food in it and if the dog is sleeping;

Reinforced form – carried out during the movement of the dog due to muscular work.

Consider how a predator feeds in its natural environment. The dog catches prey and eats it. Large swallowed food forces the stomach to stretch, after which an active contraction of the intestines begins. While these processes are taking place inside, the dog is at rest, almost motionless. Gradually, the proportion of digested food increases, while the dog’s stomach contracts and a large part of the intestinal contents is released. After that, the dog resumes physical activity, thanks to which the remaining food is absorbed. When the digestive tract was empty, the stomach contracted as much as possible and a feeling of hunger set in – the predator is again ready to hunt and absorb fresh prey.

Considering these features inherent in the digestive system of the dog, it is not necessary to feed it before the walk, it is better to do it after. It is very important to properly distribute the load: so, after feeding the dog, give him time to rest and digest food. Then complete rest should be replaced by an easy promenade in a calm mode after which, when the pet’s stomach is empty, it is time for physical activity and exertion.

It is important to understand that vigorous exercise and play immediately after meals are harmful to your dog’s health. It is lucky if the pet escaped with only regurgitation of food, in deplorable cases, there is a volvulus of the stomach and more serious consequences. At the same time, do not forget about exercise, without which food is absorbed worse and digestive upset is possible.

What happens to the dog’s body while walking?

Walking is important for both the physical and emotional health of your dog, so it is very important to walk your dog regularly. Let’s consider the most important processes that occur with the dog’s body during walks.

From the point of view of the physical health of the pet, the following can be noted:

oxygen saturation of the blood when it appears in the fresh air;

development and training of the muscular system and the whole body while running and playing;

stimulation of the gastrointestinal tract through the use of muscles;

strengthening the nervous system through muscle activity;

improving the work of joints and preventing their diseases through physical activity;

avoiding obesity and constipation by running and jumping in the fresh air;

emptying the bowels and bladder.

The benefits of walking for digestion begin after the food from the stomach has entered the intestines and the beneficial elements have begun to be actively absorbed into the bloodstream. This happens 3 or 4 hours after eating, then (until complete digestion) you can go for a walk with the dog. Be sure to start with a leisurely exercise and later move on to active games and training.

Walking is also an integral part of the psychoemotional state of a four-legged pet. During them, the dog interacts with the world around him, learns to perceive strangers, other animals, birds, objects, and smells. Socialization is an important aspect of your pet’s development and health.

When is the best time to walk the dog: before or after meals?

Given the peculiarities of the dog’s digestive system, we can conclude that it is better to arrange walks before starting to feed the animal. Several points speak in favor of this at once:

On walks, the dog loves to be active – to run, jump, play, and this cannot be done immediately after eating. Big stomach problems are possible, up to volvulus and severe pain.

With activity on a full stomach, the load on the pet’s cardiovascular system increases, since, in a full state, the usual manipulations are harder and require more energy for implementation.

The walk, which usually brings joy and satisfaction to the pet, will become painful for the dog himself if you arrange it after a meal. The dog will get tired more than usual, will feel heaviness, and not pleasure from walking.

Walking on an empty stomach will allow the dog to release the accumulated energy as much as possible, run and jump around and, of course, work up an appetite. Having realized all its walking potential, the dog will quickly hurry home, pretty hungry. So both the owner and the pet will be satisfied.

Accordingly, you do not need to feed the dog before walking. An exception may be individuals suffering from diseases such as diabetes or hypoglycemia.

When to walk your puppy?

Walking with an adult dog is correct before feeding, which is usually two times a day (morning and evening), as well as in the afternoon, 4-6 hours after breakfast. During walks, the pet goes to the toilet – normal bowel movements also occur twice a day.

With young dogs, the situation is a little different: depending on the age of the baby, the number of feedings can vary from two to six. Let’s try to figure out when to walk the puppy – before or after eating.

The new owner should know that the dog is taught from childhood to go to the toilet in the fresh air during walks. Gradually, the puppy should get used to two bowel movements – in the morning and in the evening. However, unlike an adult, the baby at first cannot restrain the desire to defecate, and it is impossible to force him to endure for a long time – otherwise, the colon may become inflamed and cystitis may develop. Therefore, it is worth observing the behavior of the puppy and walking him both before and after eating, when he needs it.

In very young puppies, just starting to go out, after eating, the urge to go to the toilet is quickly triggered. This is facilitated by frequent meals in small portions (4-6 times a day). Since the time between feedings can be 4 hours or less, it is not possible to walk the puppy a few hours after a meal (as with an adult dog).

To summarize, you can take walks before or after it’s time to feed your puppy. After eating, he will be able to go to the toilet outside the house, not endure for a long time and not harm his health. The main thing is to follow a few simple rules: choose a quieter place for a walk and do not start running and active games on a full stomach. However, on an empty stomach, in addition to going to the toilet, the baby will be able to enjoy plenty of time in the fresh air, run, jump and adapt to the world around him. Therefore, it is worth gradually accustoming the baby to the adult schedule: morning and evening walk with a trip to the toilet.

Basic rules for walking dogs

For a four-legged pet, walks and outdoor activities are essential. Let’s take a look at the basic rules that dog owners should follow.

Mode formation

One of the important components of a healthy pet’s lifestyle is a regimen. This also applies to food, and walking, and going to the toilet. In order for the ward to be in excellent physical shape and stay in a good mood, the owner needs to accustom him to the daily routine from the first days.

Most often, breeders choose morning and evening hours for walking and feeding – upon waking and before leaving for work or training, as well as upon returning home. The duration of walks and their number increases on weekends when the owner can physically devote more time to his ward.

Unlike an adult, the baby requires more frequent walks due to the habit of going to the toilet on the street. It is enough to give them 15-20 minutes. Over time, the young pet is transferred to an adult mode and walked twice a day. During these walks, he must empty the bowels and bladder.

The procedure for walking and feeding

The formation of a daily routine is a must in the life of a four-legged friend. According to the recommendations of veterinarians and experienced breeders, the dog’s daily routine should look like this:

In the morning – half an hour or an hour (if possible) walk. At this time, the pet gets rid of the remnants of the dinner (overcooked food) – goes to the toilet “in a big way.”

Morning feeding after a walk (with standard meals twice a day).

15-20 minute afternoon walk to empty your bladder.

In the evening – exercise, as well as active games and physical activity, training. Longer stay in the fresh air with accompanying pet training.

Evening feeding upon returning from the street.

Length of stay on the street

In the morning, you can take a shorter walk – 30-60 minutes is enough, and in the evening you should devote more time to it – from an hour or more (the longer the better).

Adding three more short trips to the yard (for 10-15 minutes) to the two main ones (morning and evening), you will give your pet the opportunity to stretch a little in the fresh air and empty the bladder. Unlike two bowel movements, the normal urination of four-legged pets can be up to five times a day.

The saturation of the walking program

The activity of a walk is influenced by the characteristics of the animal – its breed, age, and state of health.

For example, individuals of hunting and fighting breeds need longer walks. To maintain their shape and health, they need at least four hours in the fresh air, during which they must exercise and be involved in active games.

Young animals need to spend about the same amount of time outdoors. In addition to games, running, and jumping, their owners should not forget about training.

As for the elderly and ornamental breeds, you can limit yourself to a two-hour exercise. With age, it becomes more difficult for animals to show physical activity for a long time, so you should not overwork them.

If there is a risk of overheating or frostbite, it is better to return home immediately as soon as the pet has retired. In cold weather, it is recommended to put on special clothes for your pet to make him feel comfortable.

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