Should I Feed My Dog Before or After a Walk?

Do you always question what time is best to feed your pup, especially when walkies are involved? It’s a common conundrum, and even more so if you’re a busy dog parent.

So, when should you feed your dog, before or after a walk? Walk this way for the lowdown!

Meals and walks

Taking your pup for a dog walk is one of life’s great pleasures as a dog parent. Seeing them excitedly bouncing and running about when they realise what they’re about to do is heartwarming. But planning a meal around the walk can be tricky.

Dogs are inclined to relieve themselves around 15 to 20 minutes after a meal, so you can feed them before a walk. However, many dogs - especially bigger ones - are likely to experience some bloating (just like us humans), so consider a smaller meal pre-walk. If you’re giving them a normal portion, leave it for an hour before you head out of the front door. Otherwise, your pup could be at risk of canine bloat, which is also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV).

Feeding your dog an hour or so before your walk means they’ll be full of healthy nutrients and won’t be starving before walkies, helping them feel energised and ready to take on the park!

(Just be sure to mix up your dog’s walkies routine now and again to avoid them getting bored of the same walk.)

What is canine bloat?

Canine bloat is classified as one of the main reasons behind the deaths of large dog breeds. In many cases, GDV is reported as happening two to three hours after the dog has eaten a large meal.

Exercise can also be a major factor in canine bloat, with research finding that dogs that exercised within the 60-minute window before and after a walk were more likely to suffer from bloat.

GDV occurs when dogs suffer gastric dilation which results in the build-up of gas in the stomach, which can then twist and cut off the blood supply to the gut. It’s an extremely painful condition and can lead to a dog’s death in just a couple of hours.

The dogs at most risk of suffering from canine bloat are:

  • Great Danes

  • St. Bernards

  • Weimaraners

  • Bloodhounds

  • Irish Wolfhounds

  • Irish Setters

  • Poodles

  • Akitas

  • Boxers

  • German Shepherds

What other factors dictate feeding times?

It’s not only canine bloat that’s a major factor in feeding times for pups and walkies. To avoid bloat, you should hold off on exercise for more than an hour before or after a meal, but the type of meal and your dog’s age also come into play too.

It’s been found that dogs who eat only dry food or just a single daily meal can also suffer from bloating if taken for a walk too close to meal times. If their food is mixed between wet and dry substances, their risk of bloat decreases.

Also, age can be a factor to consider. The risk of canine bloat increases by 20% year on year after a pup reaches five years of age in large breeds. That risk increases further in giant breeds, with a 20% yearly risk increase from the age of three.

Should I feed my dog before or after a walk?

So, what are the key factors to consider when feeding your pup? You can feed them before or after a walk, but you have to ensure that the walk or exercise takes place at least one hour before or after the meal is eaten.

Plus, ideally, it’s a good idea to feed your pup twice a day with 10 to 12 hours between meals.

Any exercise performed within that hour can result in an increased risk of gastric dilatation-volvulus, which is something just not worth risking for your pup.

Walkies with Yappy

Make sure you’re fully kitted out for your next walkies session with the pup! At Yappy, we have a wide selection of dog walk essentials, including leads and collars, poop bags and walking bags. Or why not keep yourself hydrated while out exercising with your own water bottle or travel mug?


We hope you found this post helpful! For more walkies advice, check out our blog post on how often to walk your dog and find out why your dog stops walking and lays down on walks.

If you’d like to know more about what Yappy offers, don’t hesitate to contact us at is a personalised pet product shop for dog and cat lovers, simply select a breed and icon and add your pet’s name to create a personalised shop just for you and your pet.

Share this article


My Dog Is Always Hungry! Should I Be Worried?


What Dog Breed Sleeps the Most?