Why Does My Dog Only Eat Once a Day? (7 Common Reasons)

Categorized as Why Does My Dog
dog eating once a day

When your dog starts to eat less, it can be worrying. After all, food is essential for your dog’s health and well-being.

There are a number of reasons why your dog may be eating less, ranging from simple issues like a change in diet to more serious problems like illness.

Here are seven common reasons why your dog may only be eating once a day.

1. A Sign of Illness

If your dog suddenly stops eating more than once a day, it could be a sign that they are sick. While there are many potential causes of this symptom, some of the most common include:

Gastrointestinal Problems:

If your dog is experiencing stomach pain, they may not want to eat as frequently. This could be a sign of issues like gastritis (inflammation of the stomach), pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), or intestinal parasites.


Just like people, dogs can be allergic to certain ingredients in their food. The most common offenders are beef, dairy, wheat, and chicken. If your dog is allergic to something in their food, they may eat less often to avoid the pain and discomfort that comes with it.


Another potential cause of decreased appetite is infection. If your dog is suffering from an infection, they may not have the energy to eat as much as usual.

Kidney Disease:

One of the early signs of kidney disease is a loss of appetite. This is because the kidneys are responsible for filtering toxins from the blood, and when they’re not functioning properly, those toxins can build up and make your dog feel sick.


One of the most noticeable symptoms of cancer in dogs is a loss of appetite. This can be due to cancer itself, as well as the side effects of treatment, such as chemotherapy. As a result, dogs with cancer may lose weight, become lethargic, and have a decreased interest in food.

If your dog is showing other signs of illness, such as vomiting or lethargy, then it’s important to take them to the vet right away. However, even if they seem otherwise healthy, a sudden change in appetite can still be a cause for concern.

If your dog isn’t eating at all, it could lead to serious health problems, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution and have them examined by a professional.

2. They May Be Picky Eaters

Some dogs are simply pickier than others when it comes to food. If your dog turns up their nose at their kibble, it could be because they’re not a fan of the taste or texture.

There are a few things you can do to try to entice a picky eater to eat more, such as:

  • Adding wet food or canned food to their kibble
  • Mixing in some cooked chicken, beef, or other types of meat
  • Adding a small amount of broth to their food
  • Trying a different brand or flavor of kibble

3. They’re Getting Older

One of the most common changes that owners notice in their aging dogs is a decrease in appetite. There are a number of possible explanations for this change.

For one thing, aging can lead to a decrease in the sense of smell, which can make food seem less appealing. In addition, many older dogs suffer from dental problems that make eating painful.

Finally, older dogs may simply have less energy and be less active, leading to a decreased appetite.  

While it’s normal for senior dogs to eat less than they did when they were younger, it’s important to make sure they’re still getting the nutrients they need. Otherwise, they may lose weight or become malnourished.

4. They’re Stressed Out

A dog’s appetite is a good indicator of their overall health. Many things can cause a decrease in appetite, including stress. When a dog is stressed, their body releases hormones that can suppress their appetite.

This can be caused by many different things, such as changes in the home, separation anxiety, or even fear of thunderstorms.

In some cases, stress can also lead to gastrointestinal issues, which can further decrease a dog’s appetite. If your dog is eating less than usual, it’s important to take note of any changes in their environment or routine that may be causing them stress.

5. It’s an Old Habit

If you have a dog that only eats once per day, it could be simply that they are used to only eating once per day. This may be how they were fed as puppies, or it could be the way their previous owner always fed them.

6. A Change In Diet

Many dog owners are unaware of the fact that the food they feed their pets can have a significant impact on their appetite. Just like humans, dogs can become used to eating a certain type of food, and their bodies can become reliant on the nutrients it provides.

In some cases, a sudden change in diet can lead to an upset stomach or diarrhea, which can further reduce a dog’s appetite. For these reasons, it’s important to change your dog’s food gradually to avoid any stomach issues.

7. The Weather

When the weather gets warm, many people start to spend more time outside and become more active. However, our furry friends tend to spend less time running around and playing when the mercury starts to rise.

This decrease in activity level often leads to a decrease in appetite, and it’s perfectly normal for your pooch to eat less during the summer months.

When a dog’s intake decreases, it is important to make sure that they are still getting all the nutrients they need.

Energy-dense pet food can help to compensate for reduced intake, as it contains more calories per bite. Nutritional-balanced pet food is another option, as it provides all the nutrients a dog needs in one package.

There are also a number of treats you can make easily at home and give to your dog to help them stay hydrated during the summer months.

Frozen bananas coated in peanut butter make a delicious and healthy snack, while frozen chicken or beef broth is a refreshing way to hydrate on a hot day.

You can even make your own dog-friendly ice cream using ingredients like yogurt, mashed banana, and peanut butter.

Is It Ok To Feed Your Dog Once a Day?

It’s not recommended to feed your dog only once per day. Without enough food, your dog may start to become malnourished, which can cause muscle weakness, organ damage, and other impairments.

In addition, dogs who are fed only once a day are more likely to beg for food or steal scraps from the table, which can lead to obesity and other health problems.

Best Feeding Practice for Puppies

Puppies should be fed three to four meals per day until they reach adulthood. This frequent feeding helps them to maintain a healthy weight and develop properly.

Puppies also tend to eat more frequently but with smaller meals because their stomachs are smaller and their food is digested more quickly. For this reason, it’s important to use high-quality puppy food that is specifically designed to meet their nutritional needs.

When choosing a food, look for one that contains all the essential nutrients for puppies, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Puppies should also have access to fresh water at all times.

Best Feeding Practices for Adult Dogs

As any pet owner knows, a healthy diet is essential for keeping your furry friend happy and healthy. When it comes to adult dogs, the best feeding practice is to provide two meals per day.

This helps to keep their energy levels steady throughout the day and prevents them from becoming overweight.

In terms of portion size, a good rule of thumb is to offer 1/2 to 1 cup of food per meal for small breeds, 1 to 2 cups for medium breeds, and 2 to 4 cups for large breeds.

Of course, every dog is different, so be sure to consult with your veterinarian if you have any questions about your dog’s specific dietary needs.

What Should I Do If My Dog Only Eats Once a Day?

If you’re concerned about your dog only eating once a day and want to increase their intake, there are a few things you can do.

1. Rule Out Any Health Problems

If you notice that your dog is eating less than usual, it’s important to take action. A decrease in appetite can be a sign of a health problem, so it’s important to rule out any potential causes.

If your dog is eating only once a day, the first step is to check with your veterinarian. They will be able to assess your dog’s health and determine if there is a medical reason for the decrease in appetite

2. Adjust Their Feeding Times

One way to increase your dog’s food intake is to adjust their feeding times. For example, if your dog typically eats once a day, try splitting their food into two or three smaller meals.

This will help to stimulate their appetite and encourage them to eat more at each meal.

Additionally, you can try feeding them right before or after a walk or playtime. Exercise will help to increase their metabolism and make them more likely to be hungry when mealtime rolls around.

3. Make Sure They’re Getting Enough Exercise

A healthy dog will have a good appetite and will be more likely to eat their food.

So, if you’re worried about your dog’s food intake, make sure they’re getting plenty of exercises. Take them on long walks, play fetch with them in the yard, or sign them up for a dog agility class.

Not only will this help to improve their appetite, but it will also provide them with much-needed mental and physical stimulation.

4. Try a New Food

If your dog is not eating as much as they used to, it might be time to switch things up with their food. Trying a new food may help increase your dog’s appetite and help them get the nutrients they need.

When switching foods, it is important to start with a small amount and gradually increase the amount over time. You should also closely monitor your dog for any adverse reactions, such as vomiting or diarrhea

5. Add Some Wet Food

In some cases, adding wet food to your dog’s diet may help increase their appetite. Wet food has a higher moisture content than dry food, which can make it more appealing to dogs who don’t drink enough water.

Adding some canned pumpkins to your dog’s food is another great way to increase their intake. Pumpkin is packed with nutrients and fiber, and it’s also a natural laxative, which can help with any digestive issues your dog may be having.


There can be several reasons why your dog only eats once a day ranging from medical problems to simple old habits.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s appetite, the best thing to do is consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to assess your dog’s health and determine if there is a medical reason for the decrease in appetite.

There are also a few things you can do at home to help increase your dog’s food intake, such as adjusting their feeding times or adding wet food to their diet.

Related Questions

1. Why Does My Dog Lay Down To Eat?

There are actually a few different reasons why dogs may adopt this position when eating.

For some dogs, it is simply a matter of instinct. When dogs are in the wild, they often have to eat on the go. Laying down provides stability that makes it easier to eat quickly and efficiently.

For other dogs, laying down to eat maybe a way of feeling more comfortable. If a dog feels anxious or insecure, he may feel better if he is in a lower position.

Finally, some older dogs start to lay down to eat simply because it is easier than standing up. As dogs age, they may experience joint pain or muscle weakness that makes

2. Why Does My Dog Rub His Face After Eating?

After eating, my dog often rubs his face on the floor or with his paws. There are a few different reasons why he might do this.

One possibility is that he is trying to clean himself off. Another possibility is that he is excited and wants to spread the scent of his food around.

Finally, it could be that he is experiencing indigestion and is trying to relieve some of the discomforts. Regardless of the reason, it’s always amusing to watch him go through his little post-meal ritual.

3. Why Does My Dog Play With Their Treats?

If you’ve ever given your dog a treat and watched them play with it for a bit before finally eating it, you may have wondered why they do this. It turns out that there are a few reasons why dogs engage in this behavior.

For one thing, picking up the food’s scent helps them to understand what it is and whether or not it is something they want to eat. Guarding their food is another way of making sure that they get to eat it all before anyone else does.

And finally, boredom may also play a role in why dogs play with their food – after all, if there’s nothing else to do, playing with a treat can be a way to pass the time.

By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website TrainYourGSD.com - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.