Time change feeding schedule for dogI recently had a conversation with a friend in California about an older dog now in her care. The situation was not unusual so I am sharing it here. If you have wondered how to change your dog’s feeding schedule (due to time change or household routine changes) this may interest you.

This is in Q&A format so you can follow the conversation. You are warmly invited to contribute to the conversation with questions or your ideas as well.

Time Change Feeding Adjustment Q & A — My Dog’s Internal Clock

Q.  Dear Wisteria Goldens, How can I change our dog’s breakfast time without waking up the neighbors? Our dog seems to have an internal clock telling him it is 5am and 5pm every morning and evening. His bark is a bit like having an alarm going off at those times. With the time change coming around again I don’t want the household woke up at 4am by barking. -DB/CA
A. Before the time changes in the fall set up a gradual time change chart. Optimally if you start 4 weeks ahead of the time change you can gradually change your dog’s breakfast and dinner feeding by a few minutes each day until you are at 6am/6pm. Here is one example of a 4 week time change feeding schedule. -WG

Note: Adjust the following feeding time chart to the time you normally feed your dog. The chart is an example based on the Q&A discussion. The dog was expecting breakfast and dinner at exactly 5:00 and barked right on time every morning and evening.

Change time in increments of 15 minutes each week for four weeks. In week one instead of feeding at 5am/5pm provide a dog treat and go for a walk. Then feed at 5:15.

Treat Treat Treat Treat
5:00 5:15 5:30 5:45
Food Food Food Food
5:15 5:30 5:45 6:00

The above chart is an example of how to gradually change your dog’s feeding schedule.

  • In week one instead of feeding at 5am/5pm provide a dog treat and go for a walk. Then feed at 5:15.
  • In week two give a treat at 5:15am/5:15pm and provide food at 5:30am/5:30pm
  • During week three you will provide a treat and go out for a walk at 5:30am/5:30pm and provide breakfast/dinner at 5:45
  • Finally in the fourth week you will provide a treat at 5:45am/5:45pm and dinner at 6:00am and 6:00pm.

Continue to feed at 6pm until the time changes. For example: In the U.S. in 2015, Daylight Saving Time ends at 2am on November 1, so beginning on November 1st your dog’s feeding time will fall back to 5:00am/5:00pm when the clocks are turned back one hour.

Time Change Feeding — Follow-Up Message

Dear Wisteria Goldens. Thank You! Thank You! The first day we changed dinner time without any barking. The next morning was just as effortless. I cannot thank you enough. We are beginning week two now. To help the family adjust we have a note by our dog’s food with the current feeding time written on it. We use the 15 minutes for extra playtime to occupy our dog. He hasn’t fussed a bit. -DB/CA

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