Is It Bad to Feed a Dog Late at Night?

This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Are you a fur parent on call? Do you finish your work late at night?

This can make you feel guilty, especially when you have no choice but to feed your dog late at night.

Learn why you should not feed your dog late at night and what is the best time to give them their meal instead. Having a regular feeding schedule will keep your pup happy and healthy. 

feed dog late at night

Is It Bad to Feed a Dog Late at Night?

Yes, feeding your dog late at night is not ideal because it can upset their daily routine, create excess energy at night, and even cause weight gain.

Dogs thrive in stable routines, from waking up to potty time and bedtime. They may experience boredom, anxiety, and other behavioral issues if you cannot give them a regular schedule.

Feeding your dog late at night can also make them sluggish and lethargic the next day.

Why You Should Not Feed Your Dog Late at Night

Excessive Energy

The most frustrating experience you might have after feeding your dog late at night is them waking you up for playtime.

After being hungry and lethargic the whole day, your dog now has enough energy to play, run around the house, and perhaps chew on your furniture. 

Instead of heading to bed you’ll end up having to entertain them until they expend their excess energy. 

Feed your dog at the right time so their sleeping schedule will complement yours.

Morning Lethargy

If your dog is fed late at night, there’s a chance they will be tired in the morning due to lack of sleep.

Some dogs develop boredom and depression because of unstable routines and a lack of energy.

Exercising your dog at the right time can also be tricky since they do not have enough energy to walk in the park or play fetch with you.

To avoid this you can feed your dog twice a day, with the last meal at around 6 PM, to keep their energy consistent. 

Weight Gain

If your dog can’t burn off their energy after eating late at night, this fuel translates into stored body fat. 

It will be much easier for them to gain more pounds because they do not get enough exercise after eating. 

Breaking the habit is also challenging once they get used to eating late at night. 

Canine obesity accounts for up to 30% of the general dog population. This condition shortens your pup’s life and can cause other complications because of excess fat. 

Aside from being unable to burn off the energy, your dog’s body naturally stops processing food during this time.

A dog’s circadian rhythm is similar to ours. They respond primarily to light and dark. 

For instance, their body believes daytime is for eating and nighttime is for sleeping. But once this pattern is altered, the body will have a hard time digesting the food at the appropriate time.

Do not disrupt your dog’s schedule. Remember that a healthy body weight helps prevent a wide range of diseases in dogs, including heart and kidney problems.

Midnight Poops

A late night feed also will likely come with an even later potty break for your pup.

Expect your furry friend to want to go for a bathroom break while you’re sleeping since this is likely the time their dinner is digested.

You are better off feeding them at around 6 PM, so they have time to poop and pee before bedtime. 

Senior Dogs are More Vulnerable

Poor feeding habits can double your senior dog’s pain if they already have a condition. 

Leaving them hungry the whole day and suddenly feeding them a large amount of food can cause stress to their stomachs.

Senior dogs with heart diseases can also suffer from high blood pressure due to late-night meals. 

Some dogs only survive two days without eating food, especially if they are already old and sick. But healthy adult dogs can go up to five days without food intake. 

Learn more about how long a dog can live without food

How Late Can My Dog Eat at Night?

The latest possible time you should feed your dog is around 7 PM.

It’s understandable that you may come home late occasionally because of work. In these situations, you can still feed your dog late at night.

Around 6 PM is the best time to give your dog dinner because your dog’s digestive system needs at least four hours to digest and absorb food. 

Aim to give them their last meal at around 6 PM. Doing so will give them more time to digest their food and go to the toilet before bedtime. 

Some dogs take too long to eat their food at night because they do not like what is served. You may consider feeding your dog other foods besides dog food so they will enjoy their meal. 

Is 8 PM too Late to Feed Dogs?

8 PM is too late to feed dogs. However, it’s much better to feed them late than let them sleep starving.

Feeding your dog at 8 PM is also better than waking up early to feed them the next day. 

If possible, stick to a schedule when giving your dog meals to avoid altering their potty time and sleeping routine. 

What Should I Do If My Dog Only Eats in the Middle of the Night?

Try gradually changing the schedule back to normal. 

If your four-legged friend is used to eating at 10 PM, suddenly feeding them at 5 PM the next day can be difficult. 

Try feeding them at 9 PM the next day, then 8 PM the other day. Continue doing this until you reach an ideal time that works.

It also helps to stop giving your dog midnight snacks so you won’t return to the old feeding schedule.

Can I Feed My Dog Once a Day?

No. Feeding your dog once a day can lead to malnutrition, pain, and cancer.

Even if you feed them a large amount of food at once, it can still leave them hungry later. This is primarily true for dogs with high blood sugar levels.

Around 25% of vet trips involve problems with skin and fur related to poor nutrition. Aside from sparse areas and dull coat, other signs of canine malnutrition include:

  • dandruff
  • flatulence
  • body odor
  • inconsistent bowel movement
  • excessive shedding
  • extreme weight loss. 

Other Dog Feeding Tips

  • Feed your old dog more protein and less fiber. This will compensate for their muscle loss and help them stay strong and mobile. 
  • Do not let your dog sleep immediately after eating because it can lead to indigestion. Take them on a short, gentle walk after eating so they can poop and pee. 
  • Don’t forget to let your dog drink water after eating. This step will help with digestion and cleansing. 
  • Control the portions of your dog’s food, especially if they are experiencing rapid weight gain. 
  • Do not give your dog a treat before bedtime because it can lead to obesity. 

Can Dogs Eat Bread Crust?

Bread crust is safe for dogs as long as they are not allergic to wheat. You can give them your leftover bread crust as a treat whenever they are a good dog.

Make sure the bread does not have raisins, garlic, nuts, or xylitol. 

But do not over-indulge your dog. Bread crust is still high in calories but low in nutrients. 

Don’t depend on bread crust as a whole meal for your dog. Keep their meals balanced and free from toxic ingredients.

Learn more about dogs eating bread crust

Is it Dangerous for Dogs to Eat Puppy Pads?

It is dangerous for dogs to eat puppy pads because these items are absorbent and can catch the fluids in their stomach. 

Your dog’s tummy may expand because the pads are stuck in the intestines. These products also contain ammonia, pheromones, and grass scent that can be toxic to your furry friends.

Some signs of poisoning include lack of balance, rapid breathing, stomach problems, and hypersalivation. 

Tape puppy pads to the floor so you can stop your puppy from ingesting them. Learn other ways to stop your dog from eating puppy pads.

Can Dogs Eat Uncooked Rice?

Raw rice is dangerous to dogs because it absorbs moisture even after entering your dog’s tummy. It can cause them to have diarrhea or constipation. 

Some dogs also experience indigestion, which lasts for days.

Your dog may also experience poisoning from uncooked rice because it contains lectins, a type of protein that is a natural insecticide. One potential long-term effect is damage to the gut wall.

Cooked rice is much better and more nutritious for your dog because it gives them energy. 

Find out more about why your dog should not eat raw rice. 

Feed Your Dog at the Right Time

It’s not a huge deal if you have to feed your dog late at night when you come home late from work. But don’t let them get used to this routine.

Letting your dog sleep late at night can alter their digestion patterns and bowel movement. It can also lead to obesity, heart problems, and other conditions because they can’t burn the excess energy.

Aim to give your dog their last meal at around 6 PM. This will give them time to digest, poop, pee, and play before bedtime.  

Another feeding concern you might have with your dog is whether they can eat human food or not. Learn why you should not feed your dog human food every day.