What to do if You Forgot to Feed Your Dog

If you forgot to feed your dog, don’t stress over it. Mistakes happen from time to time, just don’t make a habit out of it. Remember, dogs in the wild often go days without eating. If you forgot to feed them in the morning, just feed them later in the afternoon when you remember. Continue their regular feeding schedule the following day. 

Sometimes life happens, and you forget to feed your dog. Maybe you got stuck in traffic, left their meal at home while traveling elsewhere for dinner, or simply forgot. It happens to the best of us, so we are here to provide you with some practical advice about what to do when you find yourself in this position.

Is it ok if My Dog Misses a Meal?

Think back to a time when you got caught up at work or in traffic and forgot to eat lunch or dinner. Was this detrimental? No. Was it enjoyable or something you did on purpose? Probably not. 

You may have experienced some moodiness or hunger, but it likely wasn’t the end of the world. Of course, as dog owners, we all work to prioritize our furry pets, and since they don’t have thumbs, that means we are in charge of feeding them the right amount per day. 

We would never suggest that your dog should miss a meal unless your vet recommends it, but sometimes it happens. 

What should you expect when it does happen? Your dog will probably experience symptoms similar to the symptoms you would have if you hadn’t eaten – irritability and hunger. 

How to Fix This Mistake

Many scenarios can result in you forgetting to feed your pup, all of which call for a slightly different response. We will walk through a few of the scenarios here and what you can expect. 

If your dog misses their breakfast, and you remember around lunchtime, then feed them right away and just know that you may have to feed them a later dinner than you typically do. It’s also possible that they may not be as hungry come dinnertime. 

If you forget to feed them dinner and don’t realize until the next day, they are likely extra hungry but not incredibly uncomfortable or hurt. In this case, just forget it happened and continue with their normal feeding schedule.

If you recognize that same night, but you find its way past dinner time – should you feed them anyway? Or should you wait until the next day? We will dive into this predicament below.

Should You Feed Your Dog Late at Night If You Forgot to Feed During The Day?

If a dog misses a meal and is left hungry, they will likely let you know one way or another. What this looks like varies on a dog-by-dog basis. They may spend extra time looking at their bowl, pawing at your leg, barking at you, or simply acting strange until you notice. 

We may not speak the same language, but there are many ways for your dog to communicate with you. 

It’s your job as their owner to know what their various communication cues mean. This odd behavior may be how you realize you forgot to feed them their meal in the first place. It may leave you sitting there thinking “why are they acting so funny?” before realizing you forgot to feed them dinner. 

So, if you are picking up on your dog acting strange or hungry, then yes, provide them their missed meal, even if it’s later in the night. It comes down to knowing your dog’s cues and needs because not every dog is the same. Some dogs may fall asleep on the couch at 7 pm and not even think twice about food until the next morning, and that’s okay too. 

Will Feeding My Dog Late Affect Their Stomach or Sleep Schedule?

You should try to avoid consistently feeding your dog right before bed. However, if this is a one-off circumstance, it is perfectly fine to feed your dog late at night if they are hungry because of a missed meal. 

Be prepared for the late-night bathroom trip that may accompany this meal, as eating late in the night could cause your dog to wake you up to go outside. Consider this the price you have to pay for forgetting to feed your dog. 

Is There Harm in Completely Skipping a Meal?

If you forgot to feed your dog at suppertime and are debating whether or not to feed them late at night, it is best just to feed them. If they choose not to eat, then you can just go back to the normal routine the next morning. 

Think about how you would feel in that situation. While skipping the meal would not harm your dog unless it were a repeated behavior, it may cause duress for your dog that night when they try to sleep on an empty stomach. Their restlessness will probably wake you up, and neither you nor your dog wants that. 

If there is an option between feeding your dog or not, it’s important that we as caretakers do our duties, and that means feeding your dog since they can’t feed themselves.

Should You Feed Your Dog an Extra Meal The Next Day?

Once again, a routine is critical to a happy and healthy pup. Changing the size or number of meals for your dog can alter their expectations and create further confusion for your dog down the line. 

If you forget to feed your dog a meal, it’s best to take every step possible to revert to a normal routine and schedule as soon as possible. 

If your dog is extra hungry the next day because of a missed meal, give them a few extra treats or an extra scoop. Adding in a 3rd separate meal altogether is not an ideal solution. 

Don’t Feel Guilty About Missing a Meal

As dog owners, we are responsible for taking care of our furry friends since they can’t take care of themselves. If they could feed themselves, they would. Although, maybe they love being pampered too much… 

It’s important to remember to feed your dog the right amount based on their size and breed. Sometimes you may miss a meal. Skipping a meal is not something that you should feel too guilty about because mistakes happen. There are many steps you can take to fix this mistake, and the best advice is to pick up on your dog’s cues and simply feed them when they are hungry. 

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