Should I Feed My Dog Before or After A Walk?— A Dog’s Health Guide

Should I feed my dog before or after a walk? It’s one of the few questions that still haunt dog owners up to this day. As we know, walking is a form of exercise for both dogs, similar to playing with dog exercise toys. In the case of humans, working out before a meal benefits them by increasing their metabolism, resulting in better calorie burn up.

However, the case may be different with dogs. Therefore, let’s dive in together and find out the answer to the age-old question— should I feed my dog before or after a walk?

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Which is Better? Walking your Dog Before or After Eating?

should i feed my dog before or after a walk

According to Veterinarians, walking your dog before or after eating has its benefits and risks depending on the context. Therefore, it is fine to walk your dog either way. However, nothing beats a quick consultation with the vet to keep your dogs safe.

Still, we aim to provide you with objective information on the specific effects of walking your dog before they munch on their favorite metal dog bowls. Without further adieu, let’s answer the question “should I feed my dog before or after a walk?” Just a friendly reminder, always consult a professional when your dog exhibits symptoms stated in this article.

Pros and Cons of Walking Your Dog Before Eating

should i feed my dog before or after a walk

The Pros of Walking your Dog Before Eating

When walking dogs, owners sometimes let their dog walk before eating— which is a good decision, especially for overweight dogs. Having dogs walk provides the following benefits:

Excellent For Losing Weight

Studies suggest that a typical dog has a walking pace of around 4 miles an hour. According to PetMD.com, dogs burn 0.8 calories per wile walked; therefore, allowing a 20-pound dog to burn 64 calories in an hour.

By allowing dogs to walk before eating, their bodies provide a better calorie burn per mile. As a result, allowing them to lose more calories efficiently and subsequently lose more weight. Moreover, allowing dogs to fast before a walk allows them to enter ketosis. Thus, enabling them to efficiently lose weight.

Health Benefits

Walking your dog before feeding them provides various health benefits for them. For instance, dogs who walk before feeding allows their liver to cleanse waste, decreasing a dog’s overall toxic load.

Furthermore, a walk before a meal helps dogs pump blood into their organs. Since their organs aren’t tasked to digest nutrients and chemicals, dogs’ organs experience a break. Consequently, restoring them as they exercise.

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Helps Fight Digestive Problems

As stated, walking your dog before a meal helps them pump blood on their organs. As a result, allowing their organs to recover. This phenomenon doesn’t exclude the digestive organs of dogs; therefore, allowing them to recover from upset stomachs and diarrhea.

The Cons of Walking your Dog Before Eating

On the other hand, walking your dog before eating has its risks too. Similar to humans, dogs need fuel before engaging in physical activities. Therefore, walking your dog before feeding them may provide them with negative impacts such as:

Lethargic Feel

As stated, dogs require fuel before diving into strenuous physical activities. Failure to do so, in this case walking before eating, could leave them in a lethargic feel. As a result, dogs could feel light-headedness and provide a sluggish performance during exercise. However, the risk for this occurring is minimal but possible.

Possible Weight Gain

Some of us walk our dogs first thing in the morning for them to lose weight. However, walking your dog before feeding could produce the inverse of your desired results. Hungry dogs sometimes don’t put effort into physical activities, reducing the effects of exercise and walking. In addition, famished fur babies often eat more after a strenuous exercise, which may lead to a sudden weight gain.

Low Energy

When you don’t eat, your body can’t have the needed calories required for a workout. The same concept applies to our furry friends. Therefore, we advise owners to limit the amount of activity to a short walk when walking their dogs before feeding. In the case dogs show signs of fatigue after walking, it’s advisable to wait for 1-2 hours before feeding them.

Pros and Cons of Walking Your Dog After Eating

should i feed my dog before or after a walk

The Pros of Walking your Dog After Eating

Your dog is pure of joy and energy after a scrumptious meal, showing signs that they are ready for a walk. However, the question “should I feed my dog before or after a walk?” rings on your head; what do you do? According to studies, walking your dog after eating can be beneficial given that they rest for at least 30 minutes. Here are some of the benefits of letting your dog eat before walking:

Better Food Digestion

Walking your dog after a meal helps pump blood on their organ. Thus, allowing them to digest their food efficiently. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to walk your dog every time they finish a meal.

In the case that you’d like to walk your dog after eating, we advise you to wait before heading out. Typically, dog owners should wait for at least 30 minutes after a snack, 1 hour after a light meal, and 2 hours after heavy meals.

Stable Glucose Levels

According to studies, dog muscles utilize glucose as energy when moving. After eating, dogs tend to have an increase in glucose levels. Therefore, walking after a meal helps dogs level their glucose level by converting it to energy. Consequently, stabilizing the glucose count of dogs within a safe level, avoiding diabetes in the long run.

Easier Weight Control

As stated, letting your dog walk after a meal enables them to stabilize their glucose level healthily! In addition, the burning of excess glucose means that dogs will have less sugar in their blood. Thus, safely controlling their weight more naturally.

The Cons of Walking Your Dog After Eating

Of course, walking your dog after eating has its risks too. However, these risks are not that severe when owners observe our suggestion about waiting after a meal before walking. Without further adieu, let’s look at the different risks that may come when you walk a dog after a meal.

Improper Food Digestion

Immediately walking your dog after eating may interrupt their food digestion. By participating in strenuous exercises after a large meal, dogs pump blood across various muscle groups. Therefore, removing much-needed blood from the digestive tract when digesting large quantities of food. As a result, dogs may experience abdominal pain and discomfort.

However, dog owners can avoid facing this problem by providing their dogs with a break before walking. Dog owners should wait at least 30 minutes for snacks, 1 hour for small meals, and 2 hours for heavy meals before walking their dog.

Vomiting

Walking after a heavy meal may lead to a dog vomiting. As we know, vomiting, although not severe, may pose as a sign of digestive problems among dogs. In addition, vomiting may be a dog’s reaction to relieve the pain felt from indigestion or abdominal pain. In this light, letting your dog immediately walk after a heavy meal may cause various digestive problems that may lead to vomiting.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) or Gastric Torsion is a medical condition caused by vast amounts of gas that stretch the stomach past its capacity. Thus, providing dogs with a bloated sensation that may become life-threatening if not treated right away.

GDV is caused by a multitude of factors such as overeating, age, and excessive water intake. Moreover, GDV can occur in dogs that run immediately after a meal. Although walking is not as intensive, dogs may become overwhelmed with joy and start jumping around. Consequently, causing their stomach to twist and swell, hence leading to GDV.

Conclusion

In conclusion, walking is one of the least strenuous exercises our four-legged friends can partake in. In addition, spending quality time with our furry friends is one of the 5 ways to tell a dog you love them. Therefore, it’s alright to become concerned about their well-being during your walks. The question “should I feed my dog before or after a walk?” has no definite answer. Both instances have their benefits and risks. However, dog owners can further minimize these risks by providing their dogs with ample breaks between walking and eating.

Lastly, we recommend dog owners design their dog’s eating and exercise habits depending on their needs. For instance, we advise overweight dogs to walk before eating to maximize their calorie rate per mile. On the other hand, we advise dogs with conditions such as diabetes to eat first before walking. Specifying feeding and walking order according to your dog’s needs will surely provide them with a healthier and happier life.

Hopefully, this article helped you answer the age-old question “should I feed my dog before or after a walk?”. Just a gentle reminder, this article poses as a guide to owners and should not be used as a substitute for professional consultations with a vet.

Frequently Asked Questions about Dog Feeding and Walking

Can you walk a dog on an empty stomach?

According to studies, walking a dog before eating has no major risks. In addition, this method is excellent for dog owners looking to shave some weight off their dogs. However, walking your dog with an empty stomach may cause them to become lethargic and lightheaded.

How long should you leave a dog after feed before walking?

Typically, dogs should wait at least 30 minutes for snacks, 1 hour for light meals, and 2 hours for heavy meals before walking.

Should I walk my dog first thing in the morning?

Allowing your dog to walk first thing in the morning allows them to potty in the morning. Furthermore, this allows dogs to utilize their stored energy. Consequently, allowing them to behave better during the rest of the day.

How long after eating do dogs poop?

After eating, younger dogs tend to poop within 20 minutes. However, this figure changes depending on their age. For instance, puppies poop every after a meal. Conversely, older dogs poop less after a meal.

What is the best time to feed your dog?

Feeding your dog has no time requirement. However, professionals recommend owners feed their dogs twice a day. Therefore, we recommend dog owners feed their dogs once in the morning and afternoon.

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