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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Free Feeding vs Meals

Hi everyone,

I tried to see if I couldn't find a thread about free feeding, but perhaps I am using the wrong search tool because I didn't find much. Right now the boys have 3 times a day feeding and when they finish food comes up off the floor, I have done a bit of research and it seems a lot of people recommend free feeding for toy breeds. I am not necessarily against it, but it comes with it's own issues. SO my question is for you have owners should I stick with meal times or is it really better to let them begin free feeding once potty training is finished?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 06:10 PM
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here's a quote on this that I have posted before from Sabine and no. six is mine .

From experience I can tell you that free feeding is NOT a good idea. Several reasons:

1. Free feeding only works with kibble, which is simply the least ideal type of food to feed, due to its highly processed nature.
2. Very few dogs actually self-regulate well enough to just eat enough to maintain a healthy weight. Sure, such individuals do exist (I've had one of my own), but they are very rare exceptions. Also, see #1.
3. If you don't feed scheduled meals, it's much harder to realize when an animal is off their feed due to stress, discomfort, pain, illness.
4. In our times, with many dogs being couch potatoes and not even getting the mental stimulation of regular walks (let alone more vigorous exercise, like performing in dog sports or doing actual work), meal times are a major highlight of their day, something they very much look forward to. Why take away one more of the few major stimulants?
5. House training. If you control when food goes into your dog, you can reasonably predict when it's going to come out the other end. Not so with free feeding.

And 6. which I throw in...The biggest thing with free feeding is that your dog is not as motivated for food rewards when training. Nearly all trainers want you to bring your dog in HUNGRY when coming in for classes. It's the number one motivator with dogs,some definitely more than others. Kibble is the least motivating generally. And depending on the type of training situations ,it's better to use something more enticing than kibble

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot. As you can probably already tell free feeding is not my favorite idea, but with little to no experience with toy breeds I would rather ask than assume.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PotatoHeads View Post
Thanks a lot. As you can probably already tell free feeding is not my favorite idea, but with little to no experience with toy breeds I would rather ask than assume.
Good stuff, if in doubt ask. The only difference in toy breeds is that when they are puppies they can be prone to hypoglycemia. Therefore it is recommended to feed at least three meals a day or more. But not free feeding. When puppies , a good portion of their daily food should come from training and by hand. Get rid of the bowl for a while.

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