When should You Fed Your Dog, Before or After a Walk?

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I am pretty sure that this is a major question you’ve always had. It’s one of the things dog lovers and owners are always getting confused about. The time at which you feed your dog can have a huge and significant impact on their health, especially with the larger breeds. You might have been risking your dog’s life, without even knowing.

That’s why you need to read on, so that you’d be better informed on what time is best to feed your dog. If you’re not aware of the risks associated with feeding your dog right before or after a walk, please read on and save a dog today.

Now the first question; should I feed the dog before or after taking it for a walk? The answer is NO. It’s a capital N O. You should not walk your dog just before or after feeding it as it can cause Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) or canine bloat. This condition is potentially fatal, and is much more prevalent in larger dogs than in smaller ones, and therefore intake of large amounts of food in the hour before and after any exercise should be discouraged.

To put it in simple terms, you can either feed your dog before or after taking it for a walk, but you should make sure of the fact that enough time had passed after the exercise. Either that, or there’s enough space of time before the exercise begins.

A lot of experts say that as a general rule of thumb, you should not feed your dog within the hour just before the exercise, or within the hour after the walk. Some dog owners even go as far as saying that you should make sure that there’s a two hour interval between the meal and the exercise, but this is most probably fconservative as it is mostly impractical.

If you’re not sure which is suitable for your dog or which plan to follow, please consult your veterinarian so he can go you with advice.

Should I feed my dog before or after taking it for it’s morning walk?

Going by what we know, you can feed your dog either before or after a morning walk. What matters is that you make the time interval to be extensive on either side of the exercise. For example, if you plan to walk your dog at 9am, you should feed your dog by 8am, or at least 60mins after you returned

This can help to reduce the risk of gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) also known as Canine Bloating.

What is canine bloat?

Canine bloat or Gastric dilatation-volvylus is said to be at the top of the list of the things that cause death in giant breed and large dogs, and if it is not quickly treated, it can be very fatal. Most of the time, canine bloat is reported to have happened two to three hours after the dog had taken a large meal. Walking and other forms of exercise have also been said to be a major causative factor in canine bloat.

Research has shown that large dogs who exercised within a sixty minutes both after and before a walk are more likely to, and actually do suffer more from canine bloat. In other words, don’t exercise your dog within a sixty minute window before or after a walk.

This happens when the dog suffers from a gastric dilation causing some gas to build up, filling up the stomach. The stomach may then twist about and cut-off the supply of blood to the gut. This is an extremely painful experience and can cause the death of your dog within just a couple of hours.

Now to the next Question.

Is it best to feed a dog before or after exercise?

So many veterinary experts have had their say in this intriguing and sometimes divisive issue.  One of such experts is Dr. Susan Nelson who is a clinical professor at the Kansas State University. In 2009 she commented on the argument on whether to feed a dog before or after an exercise, and she was quoted to have said the following;

“Don’t feed your dog right before or right after intense exercise. This may predispose the dog’s stomach to bloat or twist, especially for large breed or deep-chested dogs. A general rule of thumb is to not feed dogs an hour before or after exercising.”

Big Dogs with deep and narrow chests are more predisposed to come down with Canine Bloat.

What she says here about large breed dogs with narrow and deep chests is fascinating. This is because the opinion is also shared by the Blue Cross Animal Charity Society found in the UK. Going through their fact file where they wrote about blosting in dogs, we found the following comments from them, explaining the situation of dogs;

“Any dog can suffer bloat but larger breeds with deep chests, such as Great Danes, St Bernards, Weimaraners, German Shepherds and Labradors are particularly susceptible. In breeds at risk a preventative gastropexy is sometimes recommended at a young age.”

So the question remains which dog breeds are the ones most at risk of suffering from Canine Bloat when suffering at periods close to feeding?

We’ve done some research and found some studies into this subject. Our findings support the position of the Blue cross on a number of dog breeds. There are quite a number of breeds at risk, but we’ve made a list of those at the top of the at risk group. You should avoid exercising these dogs an hour before or after feeding them. These dogs include


Great Danes

Irish Setters


St Bernards

German shepherds

Irish Wolfhounds




As a matter of fact, the Great Dane was found to be 42.45% more likely to suffer from Canine Bloat in it’s lifetime than any of the other breeds, and so you need to be even more careful if you’re raising this dog. We don’t want you to cry from heartbreak now do we?

Now if you’re observant, you’ll notice that all the dogs mentioned have similar shapes, and are in fact narrow and deep chested dogs. However, it’s worthy of note that not only the larger breeds come down with Canine Bloat. Smaller dogs like Chihuahuas have been seen to come down with it too, though it’s way more prevalent in the larger breeds.

Another finding from our research showed that very temperamental dogs are even more likely to come down with Canine bloat. Dogs that are aggressive, afraid often, nervous or tensed, stressed or generally have behavioral problems are more likely to come down with Canine bloat. If you take your dog out and it gets scared shitless, and comes back to start stress eating, even more than normal, you should know that your dog is at risk of canine bloat as well. Stress and feeding do not go well together.

The age of your dog is also a major determinant of whether they’ll get Canine Bloat when they exercise an hour before or after feeding. In our research, we found out that after your dog hits it’s fifth year, it’s chances of getting Canine Bloat increases by 20% year after year. With Giant dogs, it’s even worse as the risk increases almost doubly.

Their chances of getting Canine Bloat increases from their third year, and adds on 20% year after year as they age. Also, it was discovered that dogs whose parents or ancestors came down with Canine Bloat are even more likely to come down with it with an increased 63% chance.

Signs and symptoms of canine Bloat.

If you have your suspicions that your dog has canine bloat, it’s advisable to act immediately and call your Veterinarian. If you delay, it can be fatal and consequently tragic for you. Here are the symptoms and signs you shod be looking out for in your dog to know if it has canine bloat:


If it has a swollen but hard belly.

If it feels pain in the abdomen when you touch if there.

If it’s retching but unable to vomit.

If it’s restless.

Unusual panting and sometimes heavied breathing.

Check your dog for Canine Bloat today. Do not take your dog for a walk or an exercise an hour before or after eating. Do not over exercise your dog, especially before or after taking it for a walk. Help other dog owners with information on Canine bloat, and save a dog’s life today..

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