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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
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Eating Schedule

Ok I have a question for you guy's. I am currently free feeding my dogs. This is what i have done all my life.. My Mom always said, it prevents over eating and aggression. And I have always seen this to be true.. the dishes almost never get empty, and anyone can eat out of any dish, including the cats.

I see on this site alot of people feed their dogs on a schedule. I presume this means they put the food down for an allotted amount of time, and then pick up nthe food?? I can see how this helps with potty training. And to be honest the trainer I was taking Cooper to, told me i'm teaching him to be a "Snacker"(which she said will make it hard to train him, cause he wont be hungry).. lol.. anyway, I'm wondering how you guys feel about this? Both of my dogs are at a healthy weight. and seems like they eat when they are hungry. Cooper is 1year9months old, and Grizzly is almost 4 months.

Just curious to see how you all feel about this.

thanks a bunch!!
Cristina
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 12:43 AM
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Ok I have a question for you guy's. I am currently free feeding my dogs. This is what i have done all my life.. My Mom always said, it prevents over eating and aggression. And I have always seen this to be true.. the dishes almost never get empty, and anyone can eat out of any dish, including the cats.

I see on this site alot of people feed their dogs on a schedule. I presume this means they put the food down for an allotted amount of time, and then pick up the food?? I can see how this helps with potty training. And to be honest the trainer I was taking Cooper to, told me i'm teaching him to be a "Snacker"(which she said will make it hard to train him, cause he wont be hungry).. lol.. anyway, I'm wondering how you guys feel about this? Both of my dogs are at a healthy weight. and seems like they eat when they are hungry. Cooper is 1year9months old, and Grizzly is almost 4 months.

Just curious to see how you all feel about this.

thanks a bunch!!
Cristina
We free-fed our Chihuahua Paco for the first 11+ years of his life and he struggled with his weight for much of the past five years or so. When we got Lucy last July, we had to switch him to being fed twice a day and he's finally approaching a normal weight. Lucy is a total food gobbler and will eat every bite of food that we leave for her, so she is most definitely fed on a schedule and portioned amounts too. I feed the two dogs on opposite ends of the kitchen to avoid any food aggression and it's worked well.

Paco gets 1/4 cup twice a day, plus a small treat when I get home from work. Lucy gets just under 1/2 cup twice a day and a small treat at lunch and at the same time as Paco when we get home. By treats I mean one dog biscuit, no more.

They are fed around 8am after peeing and pooping outside first. They get dinner around 7pm.

Hope this helps!

Sandy
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 08:34 AM
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Pixie is free fed kibble, but I do cook chicken, turkey or beef for her 1x daily. Her breeder free feeds her dogs, and this is why I adopted it too. She is extremely active, so no weight issues. As far as training-I can always rely on either tiny shreds of cheddar, or even small pieces of her chicken and she is eager to do what I want to get it.

Beth, Pixie Puff and MiG too
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 09:28 AM
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I free feed Stella too. She's at a perfect weight and was potty trained quite easily. It works well for us.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 11:05 AM
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If it’s not broke don’t fix it, if your dogs are getting along, good weight and healthy, why change? I assume you are feeding a dry kibble. If so, using real meat for training treats or maybe the treats on Amanda’s thread will do the trick. Hungry or not something new and tasty will get their attention.

Sandi, taking a new road with Smarty and Galen
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 03:36 PM
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Ollie and Austin both have always free fed....they are slender as can be...and i have a food bowl that has 3 dishes....food on one side water in middle food on the other side...

they eat when they want....usually different times...unless i put some chicken broth on it....then it's gobbled down......

they also eat carrots thru out the day!! Ollie is 3.5 years Austin 3...

OLLIE & AUSTIN'S MOM
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 03:53 PM
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I think it really depends on the dog. Our first dog was an english setter that we free fed with no problem. A few years later we got our german shepherd who would eat all of her food and then eat Shelby's food. By the time she was 5yrs old she was 113 lbs with hip problems. The vet suggested 2 feedings a day, leaving the food down for 10 minutes so they learned to eat in the alloted time. Now at 11yrs she is 75 lbs and very lean, with no more hip problems.
Ellie prefers to snack so we put her bowl in her crate, which Callie can't fit into, and Ellie is allowed to eat when she wants. If Callie could fit in and reach Ellie's food, she would eat it every chance she could! It just depends on the dog.

Carrie
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-27-2010, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by graciesmum View Post
I think it really depends on the dog. Our first dog was an english setter that we free fed with no problem. A few years later we got our german shepherd who would eat all of her food and then eat Shelby's food. By the time she was 5yrs old she was 113 lbs with hip problems. The vet suggested 2 feedings a day, leaving the food down for 10 minutes so they learned to eat in the alloted time. Now at 11yrs she is 75 lbs and very lean, with no more hip problems.
Ellie prefers to snack so we put her bowl in her crate, which Callie can't fit into, and Ellie is allowed to eat when she wants. If Callie could fit in and reach Ellie's food, she would eat it every chance she could! It just depends on the dog.
there are a couple of nice things about having a dog finish their food in one sitting:
1. If you are going somewhere with your dog you know your dog has been fed and will not need food until the next scheduled feeding
2. You know when your dog is sick as you are monitoring the food intake twice a day
3. You don't have to keep a food dish down on the floor all day for kids or other pets to get into or tip over.
4. I think it is easier to house-train
5 I have found that it actually creates more interest in the food and gives the dog something to look forward to. When our dogs were free fed they ate less, as food was not as interesting. But I think this really depends on the dog.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-28-2010, 12:19 AM
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Well, what works for one dog may not work for another AT ALL.

There is no way free feeding would work with Roscoe. He gets excited for his meals now, which is amazing because for a little while he was very picky and would only have a couple of bites and the rest would just sit there.

Maddie gets fed two meals every day, but my mom also leaves her a cup of kibble per day. She snacks on that throughout the day, sometimes she finishes it, sometimes she doesn't.

My concern with totally free feeding especially when you have more than one dog would be determining how much each dog is eating. Just because the dog is at a healthy weight does not necessarily mean it is eating enough or getting the proper nutrition. It's uncommon but still possible that the dog's metabolism could adjust to the amount of food it is getting every day, thus slowing its metabolism.

Natalie - Roscoe and Stella's mom, Maddie's part-time mom
"Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot about little puppies." - Gene Hill
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