Should I Feed or Walk My Dog First in the Morning?

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Your dog’s morning routine is an important part of their health and well-being.

One question you may be asking is whether you should feed or walk your dog first in the morning. 

Some agree you should walk your dog first for weight loss, while others believe eating first will keep them energetic.

Find out what you need to know about your dog’s morning routine and what should come first.

feed or walk dog first in morning

Should I Feed or Walk My Dog First?

You should feed your dog first before walking so they can relieve themselves during the walk. 

When your dog eats first, they can then poop and pee later on while you’re taking them outside. It also gives them time to digest the meal while on a walk.

Every dog is different, and this will not apply to all dogs, but there are some valid reasons why you should feed your dog before taking them on a walk.

Feeding Your Dog First Makes Your Job Easier

Many dogs feel the urge to poop and pee the moment you head outside for a walk in the morning. 

If you then feed them after a walk, there’s a chance they will want to go out again after they’ve eaten.

That means you have twice the clean up in the morning, taking up more of your time. This is not ideal for busy fur parents who need to get to work.

Feeding them first in the morning can help avoid the double doody.

Once your dog has eaten, wait for a bit then take them out on a walk. 

You could give them their meal when you are getting your own breakfast ready, and then head outside once you have finished your breaky.

Keep the walk short and easy. Intense exercise after meals can be uncomfortable and even harmful to some dogs.

How far you walk your dog depends on their age. For example, a 12-week-old puppy should only walk 15 minutes max. Learn your dog’s limits and keep it short. 

It Sets a Healthy Habit for Your Dog

A puppy’s digestion process is so speedy they may need to defecate as soon as five minutes after eating. Adult dogs take longer, which is why you should feed them before taking them out on a walk.

Every dog thrives on consistent routines, especially when starting their day. They are inclined to eat, walk, and play at a specific time. 

Walking after feeding is a great routine because it can work for both of you. An early morning feeding schedule means you have to get up to ensure they don’t starve in the morning.

A scheduled meal and walk prepare your puppy for adulthood and help avoid indoor accidents.

But there are instances when you can break this routine. For example, you shouldn’t take your dog out when it’s too hot. Try indoor exercises instead to avoid heatstroke. 

It Normalizes Their Sleep Pattern

A consistent morning routine that consists of feeding and walking will affect the rest of your dog’s schedule, especially their sleeping patterns.

When your dog eats first thing in the morning and then goes for a walk, the excess energy they consume is quickly burned. So they get tired more quickly and will be more chill throughout the day.

Centering their routine around these morning rituals will ensure your dog won’t wake you up at night, ask to go out while you’re sleeping or look for food at midnight. 

Monitor their sleep patterns when developing a new meal schedule. Whatever works for you and your dog, do it. The important thing is that you take them for a walk after feeding in the morning.

Check out these dog walking tips to make morning walks easy and enjoyable for both of you.

It Helps Them Burn More Energy

Your dog might not have enough energy in the morning to go on a walk first before eating.

Although sleep keeps your dog energized and in a good mood, some dogs wake up tired with low energy levels. These include Bulldogs, Basset Hounds, Great Danes, and Chow Chows.

Your dog may need time to adjust before going out and being stimulated by their environment. 

Take this as a good moment to feed them. Give them their first meal of the day then take them on a walk. 

If you feed them after a walk there’s a chance they will have excess energy to burn. This might lead to destructive behavior or excessive barking. 

What Happens When I Walk My Dog Before Feeding Them?

Your dog may experience healthy weight loss and improved fitness when walking them before eating. But it can also cause extreme lethargy and a bad mood.

Dogs may experience some benefits when they exercise before eating in the morning. 

It’s ideal for overweight or obese dogs who need to lose weight or furry friends with digestive issues.

It can also improve their blood circulation since their heart rate rises when they get active before eating. Getting their blood pumping is beneficial for other organs as it cleanses and replenishes them.

However, the risks can outweigh the benefits. 

Your dog may get tired after exercising, which shouldn’t be the case when they have just woken up. 

If your dog wakes up starving and you immediately take them on a walk, they might get light-headed or even faint.

Make sure you keep a good eye on your dog when walking them to help them if this happens.

At What Time Should My Dog’s First Meal Be?

Your dog’s first meal should be in the morning as soon as you get up.

There is no best time for your dog’s first meal as the number of mealtimes and the amount of food they eat affect their health more. And your dog probably gets up at the same time that you do.

So if you feed them when you get up in the morning, whatever time that is, then they will adapt to that routine.

Do not be afraid to adjust your dog’s meal time according to your schedule. The routine should not be a problem as long as you stay consistent.

Give your dog a healthy balanced diet in the morning, so they get all the nutrients they need for the day.

How Long Should I Wait Before I Can Take My Dog Out?

You should wait for about an hour after eating before you can take your dog out for a walk.

If you take your dog out immediately after eating, they can have trouble digesting their food and experience life-threatening conditions.

Your dog might experience vomiting and stomach pain because they might run and jump during the walk while their tummy is still full of food.

That is why we stress the importance of a gentle walk after eating. Keep the energetic play for later in the day.

What is the Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus?

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus, also known as GDV, is a medical condition that results from your dog’s stomach twisting. 

This is typically caused by our canine friends engaging in strenuous exercise after meals. Some dogs develop GDV when they feel stressed and anxious after eating.

One symptom of GDV in dogs is bloating, which includes the expansion of their stomach. 

Feel your dog’s large tummy. If it’s too hard, it can be the air or food accumulated inside.

This can lead to harsh breathing, increased heartbeat, and excessive drooling. 

Other symptoms of GDV include:

  • vomiting
  • retching
  • drooling
  • pale gums
  • collapse.

Once your dog’s stomach twists, their life is in danger. The only cure for this disease is an operation, with uncertain results. 

If your dog is showing signs of GDV, contact your vet immediately. They will provide the appropriate treatments, including x-rays, fluid drips, and pain relief to alleviate the condition.

Find out more in this video.

Do Dogs Get Hungry When They Wake Up?

Yes, dogs get hungry when they wake up. 

Like humans, dogs get hungry after eight to ten hours without food. Even if they didn’t expend much energy in the past few hours.

If your dog is doing any of the following, they may be hungry.

  • Waking you up in the morning.
  • Licking their lips.
  • Whining or barking.
  • Scratching at the ground.
  • Walking around the house sniffing for food.

There’s also a chance your dog is thirsty. Remember that dogs can live longer without food than water, so rehydrate them when you wake up. 

What Can I Feed My Picky Eater Dog?

Meat, eggs, vegetables, and fruits are tasty foods for a picky eater dog. 

But it can be challenging to choose which ones your dog likes and which they don’t. The best solution for a picky eater is to solve the cause of their picky eating.

Picky eaters might have health problems and or lack training. For example, they like overeating treats or human foods.

Reducing this behavior will help them enjoy regular dog food, whether commercial or homemade. 

Find out our picks for tasty dog food ideas for picky eaters.

Can My Puppy Eat Dry Food?

Your puppy can only eat dry food at about twelve weeks, a few weeks after being fully weaned from their mother dog.

Within a month, your puppy should learn how to eat dog food. Start with moist dog food in cans, then gradually transition to dry kibble.

Do not reduce the water content too quickly because your puppy won’t enjoy eating harder food.

Learn when you can start feeding dry dog food to your puppy.

Feed Your Dog Before Walking

Your pup should always eat first thing in the morning before walking. Doing so will keep them livelier during exercise and will help you establish a practical routine for them.

But you must wait thirty minutes to an hour before walking them to avoid stomach problems like GDV. GDV is a life-threatening condition where your dog’s tummy gets twisted due to physical activities after eating.

Another morning habit your dog might have is hyperactivity.

Do you wonder why they bark, walk in circles, and seek attention during the daytime? Find out why your dog is so hyper in the morning.