Post # 1
FI and I have been debating free-feeding vs. a meal schedule for our dog. He just turned 12 months and we’ve begun to feed him full adult dog food over the last couple of months. From the start we have fed him 3x a day (as a puppy) at the advice of our vet. She informed us that this would help him to steadily grow and would be easiest on his stomach. Now that he is considered an adult dog she told us we can feed him 2x a day or try out free-feeding.
What have you done with your dog? What works or doesn’t work? Have any of you noticed a change in attitude once you started free-feeding? Our dog is currently only aggressive around food. He doesn’t bite, but he does get protective while he’s eating. we’ve had someone suggest that free-feeding might help to stop this.
Post # 3
We’ve free fed since he was a puppy. He was so small that our breeder advised us to free-feed so his blood sugar wouldn’t drop. Now he just eats whenever he feels like it. It’s nice b/c we can leave over the meal hour and still trust that he will eat. Also, on vacations and stuff, we can just put out food and not worry about him.
Now, our cat free-feeding out of the dog’s dish is a whole other issue…
Post # 4
Twice a day he eats his food. He scarfs it down-can’t imagine the free feeding thing? My dog would LOVE that, I’m sure!
Aggressive behavior during eating is not a good thing as you know. There are ways to combat it, but I’m not sure on the particulars. I know I’ve heard in the past ways to combat that and dogs who become aggressive with their bones. Hopefully, people on here have ideas! Good luck. 🙂
Post # 5
We’ve always free-fed our 2 dogs. They were so little when we got them from the pound, they were both under weight. Now they’re both at a healthy weight but the vet recommended leaving their food out because they like to graze.
Post # 6
well we kind of do a mixture.. basically just free-feed. we only serve her bowl in the morning and she usually eats it during diff times a day… but she has the bowl out for her all day.. when she is done.. she is done until the next day. shes a small dog. sometimes she wont even touch her bowl until the night time close to bed time.
Post # 7
We have a feeding schedule – our lab mix eats breakfast and dinner each day. Breakfast is at around 7:30am (slightly later on weekends) and dinner is between 6 and 7pm. And really – with her being a lab – free feeding would look exactly the same as she gobbles up everything as soon as we give it to her and would keep eating and keep eating and keep eating if we supplied her with more food. Labs have one unsatiable appatite!
ETA: Our dog gets a heaping cup full of food at each mealtime.
Post # 8
- Wedding: October 2010 - Ladder 15 Restaurant
Every morning we give our dogs a quarter of a cup. We make them sit down and wait for us to give the command that it’s okay to eat. Whenever we get home (sometime between 3:30 and 5:30) we will feed them 3/4 of a cup and make them wait again. The practice of making them wait and do a command just reminds them that they have to listen to us, and then they are rewarded!
Post # 9
I just googled the dog and food aggression. This particular article said the opposite of your vet….worth a read.
“Many dog owners choose to leave food available to their dogs throughout the day. This is an excellent idea, especially if you are away during the day but still want to allow your dog a source of food. However, if your dog is experiencing food aggression, this practice should be stopped and your dog should be fed on a schedule.”
Post # 10
I don’t currently have a pet, but growing up we free-fed our Yorkie. She was always really tiny, and we often had problems getting her to eat rather than just play with her food, so free-feeding tended to be the best option for her.
Post # 11
@mssocks: We do the same thing with our dog! She is trained to “Leave It” when we set her food down and will sit there and wait until we tell her “OK” to begin eating.
Post # 12
Both our dogs were pound puppies, and neither of them can handle free-feeding. We tried it when we got our first dog, and poor Louie ate until he puked. 🙁 We thought Louie might have moved past it several years later when we got George, but both of them became very aggressive toward each other around the food dishes and would overeat to extremes. It was like some kind of doggy eating contest. Instead, we feed them twice a day (5 am and 5 pm). Because they are both fed at the same time (and basically finish at the same time) they are no longer aggressive during meals and I don’t have to worry about overeating and dog puke all over my house.
Post # 13
We do a schedule for our cavaliers. The minute I say “are you hungry?” my two dogs start doing a dance. Their food lasts less than 3 minutes in their bowls…..I swear they are part cavalier and part pig!! But sooooooo cute 🙂
Post # 14
we feed our dog 2x a day and he scarfs it all down right away. my parents’ dog though free feeds–she usually doesn’t finish it until right before bed, if at all. it’s like she’s been holding out for something better all day 😉
Post # 15
@mssocks: & @Mrs.KMM: We do the same thing!
We have a lab… There is no such thing as free feeding! Whatever food is put down is gone in 15 seconds. So we feed him 1 cup in the morning and 1 cup in the evening.
Post # 16
@Jenn23: Very interesting. I wonder if it’s different because we’ve never free-fed him? It was a friend who suggested the free-feeding for agression, not the vet. I think I will need to call and discuss this with her more.
Thanks for everyone’s input. I’d like to hear more for you all 🙂
Just a side note: Our dog is a Boarder Collie/Husky mix so he is a big boy. He likes to scarf his food down as well so free feeding worries me.