When you see a family with a lot of dogs, you may think to yourself: how do they feed multiple dogs at the same time? Many dogs struggle with food guarding or steal their siblings’ food. It’s common behavior, but can cause chaos and fear in a household. Here are some tips and tricks to share with your canines so mealtime goes more smoothly. 

Barriers

There are many different types of barriers used to separate dogs during feeding time. Barriers are the safest and most effective way to make sure every dog gets their meal. When each dog has their own room, crate, or space behind a gate, you can rest easily and know that your dogs are secure. Regardless of where the dogs are, it is important to make sure each one has clean, fresh water near their food. 

Gated Area: Gates are a fairly inexpensive option to isolate each dog during mealtime. Make sure adjustable gates are secure and stable. This is so no other dogs can push through or jump over into the other one’s space while eating. Every dog needs space to choose how and when to eat their food. Gates are also great temporary barriers, because you can remove them right after and continue living in the same space.  Shop Carlson gates.

Puppy with head in food bowl asleep in front of pet gate
@Alska_wild

Crates or Kennels: Crates and kennels may be expensive to build or buy, but they serve many other purposes too. Dogs appreciate having their own “den” to eat and sleep in. Feeding a dog in a new kennel will also train them to love their space even faster! Crate training and feeding a dog in the crate go hand in hand. When a dog is fed in their crate it also gives them plenty of time and space to eat if they are grazers. This keeps them away from people and other animals too. Shop Carlson crates.

Rooms: Another tip on how to feed multiple dogs at the same time is to give each dog a room they can completely de-stress and take their time in. No one can watch them or get near them, which is perfect for dogs with aggressive tendencies. If you have multiple dogs, you may not have enough rooms, so think about letting each dog take a turn in a designated feeding room. 

Training

You can also have a stress-free feeding time when your dogs are given cues and taught good mealtime habits. These techniques may not work with a dog that gets extremely protective over its food. However, it can work great with many other dogs. I have seen this work with five little dogs in the same room!

Option #1 “Place”: Dogs that respond to the “come” or “here” cue will do very well with this easy training option. Dogs eat their food at different speeds and often one or more finish before the others are done. Feed each dog a couple of feet away from each other, with their noses facing out towards a wall or structure. Grab some treats or high rewards and wait for each one to finish. Call them over once they are done and reward them while the others finish. The dogs will learn to leave the “scene” and give others room while waiting patiently. A bed or designated spot is the perfect place for dogs to learn the cue “place”. You may need another set of hands to help give out treats after everyone is done eating. 

large dog chewing on bone while laying on dog cot
@k9adventuresquad

Option #2 “Leave it”: Instead of placing the dogs that are finished with their meals in a designated area, you can simply reward them for leaving the rest of them alone. This trick works well with laid back dogs that are generally easy to direct. Once finished, reward them every couple of seconds that they are not going back to bother their siblings’ food. If you are worried they might not listen, stand between the dog that finishes first and the ones who are eating and start there. Each meal is another opportunity to go further, so don’t feel like you need to accomplish this in one hour!

Mealtime can be a high-energy time of day, but utilizing one of these barriers or training ideas will make it much easier to feel confident in your dogs. Once you find a system that works for two dogs, you can open your home to even more!

For more dog training tips visit our other articles here.

Now that you have learned how to feed multiple dogs at the same time why not make your own homemade dog food and treats? We’ve got all the info here!

Author

Caitlin is originally from Vermont and has been working with animals since she can remember. She studied Behavioral Neuroscience and is now Mastering in Animal Shelter Management in Colorado. Her hobbies include horseback riding, fostering animals, and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. She has volunteered at five different animal shelters and worked in three different vet hospitals. Her passions include animal health, behavior, and enrichment. Caitlin also spends time taking high-quality photos of shelter animals to help them get adopted faster.

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