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Feeding Dog After Exercise | Is It OK & How Long To Wait?

You probably heard that exercising after a meal is not good for your dog. And if you have already eaten before a workout in the past, you can understand why. So you might consider feeding your dog after exercise instead but have no idea if it’s better. 

Not a long time ago, I was in the same boat. I knew that eating before physical activity might be bad for dogs and humans. But is doing it afterward any better? That’s what I usually do, and I never had any problems. So I did some research on feeding a dog after exercise, and here are my findings!

Is It OK To Feed Your Dog After Exercise?

You shouldn’t feed a dog right after intense or extended exercise. It can lead to Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) or stomach distention, commonly referred to as bloat. However, it’s OK to feed your dog after exercise if there’s a pause before the meal long enough for the stomach to relax and get ready for eating.

Feed Dog After Exercise

Regardless of whether you feed your dog before or after exercise, it’s better to let the stomach digest or rest. In general, you should wait at least two hours to exercise your dog after a meal. But what about exercising before feeding your dog?

How Long Should You Wait To Feed Your Dog After Exercise?

You should generally wait between 30 and 60 minutes after exercise to feed your dog. That will give enough time for the stomach to relax and return to a normal state. After an hour or so of rest, your dog should be ready for a meal. But the longer you wait after exercise to feed him, the better.

You should at least let your dog cool down before eating. Don’t feed him when he’s still warm and panting. The closer the meal is to the exercise, the more likely your dog will experience digestion problems.

How long you should wait will also depend on a few elements. Not all dogs will need the same time to recover from exercise. They have different digestive systems too. Some might be more prone to bloating and GDV.

Besides that, the amount and type of exercise can also influence the rest time needed. Walking isn’t as physically demanding as running. So you should probably wait longer to feed your dog after a long run than a short walk.

How Long To Wait To Feed Your Dog After A Walk?

In general, you should wait at least 30 minutes to feed your dog after a walk. Since walking is a moderate physical activity, it will take less time for the body to cool down and for the stomach to recover. But it still counts as exercise, so don’t feed your dog right after a walk.

For more vigorous physical activity, you should probably wait closer to 1 hour. Your dog will need more time to rest and return to a normal state. The more intense and extended the exercise is, the longer you should wait to feed him.

Another factor to consider is the size of the meal you plan to give your dog. The more food, the more likely digestion problems will occur after exercise. So it’s better to feed your dog two small portions than a large one.

Why Is Feeding Your Dog Right After Exercise Bad?

Now let’s try to understand why it’s not a good idea to feed your dog too shortly after exercise. As I already told you, it can result in stomach distention and gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). Those two digestion problems may lead to more serious complications and even be fatal.

Feeding your dog after exercise can cause the stomach to fill with food, fluid, or gas and expand. That’s what we call a stomach distention or simple bloat. It may resolve on its own, but it can also progress to a GDV. 

A gastric dilatation-volvulus is when the stomach twists or flips, which can happen at any time. Then, it can interfere with blood flow and restrict the surrounding organs. That’s how the bloat becomes life-threatening for your dog. 

Therefore, you should avoid feeding him right after exercise. And if your dog shows signs of stomach distention or GDV, you should take him to the vet immediately. The symptoms include painful and swollen abdomen, restlessness, pacing, retching, excessive drooling, collapse, etc.

Bloat can happen to any dog. However, large breeds with deep chests are more likely to develop this digestive problem. Thus, you should be even more careful not to feed your dog shortly after exercise if you have a…

  • Great Dane.
  • Weimaraner.
  • Boxer.
  • Doberman Pinscher.
  • German Shepherd.
  • Standard Poodle.
  • Irish Setter.
  • Saint-Bernard.
  • Or any other similar dog.

I found most of the details about those digestive problems in this article from the Veterinary Medical Center of CNY. You can read it for more information on bloat in dogs. 

Is It Better To Feed Your Dog Before or After Exercise?

Feeding your dog right before or after exercise can both be harmful and cause digestive problems. However, it’s more likely to happen during strenuous physical activity on a full stomach. Therefore, it’s generally better to feed your dog after exercise. But you still have to wait at least 30 minutes.

Feeding your dog before exercising can also be OK. Just make sure to let him have enough time to digest and rest before doing any physical activity. In general, you should wait at least 2 hours to exercise your dog after a meal.

So you can feed him whenever you want as long as you plan enough time between exercise and eating. However, consistency is the key. You should always feed and exercise your dog around the same time every day.

Last Thoughts About Feeding Your Dog After Exercise!

Finally, feeding your dog after exercise can be an excellent idea. It will reduce the risks of digestive problems and probably be more convenient for your dog.

Feeding Dog

I exercise in the morning and eat a few hours later without any issue. So I will probably do the same with my Lab.

Let’s Exercise & Feed That Dog At The Right Time!