Free Feeding vs. Meal Feeding – The Age Old Debate

Does Your Dog live to Excess?

This is a seriously heated debate in the dog world!  People get emotional about WHY they think their way is better than the other and I must confess there are good reasons for both.

As devil’s advocate and to make sure I cover both sides before I give my opinion I will cover both ways.

Free Feeding Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Dogs don’t feel pressure to eat, they know there food will always be there.
  • Some dogs (not most) will eat only as much as they need more if they are hungry less when they are not.
  • Some say this lessens food aggression (although I am not convinced).

Cons

  • Free feeding delays potty training because it is harder for owners to determine when the puppy eats and therefore needs to go outside.
  • A lot of dogs eat out of boredom and some will literally eat themselves into obesity and oblivion.  Obesity leads to many diseases and kills dogs.
  • Dogs can be less likely to be food motivated for training.
  • One dog can over eat while other dogs are not getting enough.
  • Can add to the factors of bloat
  • Owners may not be home after the dog eats and bloats
  • Owners may not notice a sick dog that hasn’t eaten that day or even for a few days if the dog free feeds.

Meal Feeding Pros & Cons

Is Meal Feeding Better? free feeding dogs, puppy training, labrador training

Be careful how much you feed your Labrador RetrieverPro’s & Con’s

Pros

  • Can help with potty training puppies!  Food in = Food out
  • You will notice if your dog is sick and refuses to eat or doesn’t eat it all.
  • Food and life revolves around YOU his owner!
  • You control how much and when your dog eats and by doing so you can control his weight.
  • Lessens dog/dog aggression because you can separate dogs if you need to.
  • You can work together using his food as obedience treats!
  • Can lessen the chances of bloat
  • Owners are more likely be home if dog bloats

Cons

  • You could be feeding your dog too much or not enough, unknowingly.
  • You will have to carve out time in your schedule.
  • Some say this creates frantic dogs that can become food aggressive (although I am not convinced).
  • Dog may feel like he has to eat when he is not hungry.

My Opinion On Free Feeding Your Dog?

Overweight Dog, free feeding dogs, puppy training

I am a diehard meal feeder!  I feed my dogs twice a day and my puppies 3 times a day.  I wouldn’t want to go 24 hours in between meals, so I definitely recommend feeding twice a day, but I believe this to be the best plan!

I once had 6 cats and I meal fed each and every one of them.  If I didn’t I had one cat that ate so much she was on the fringe of becoming diabetic and other cats that weren’t getting enough.

Although it was difficult (some of them were even crate trained and would run into their crates), it was essential to my kitties’ and my doggies’ health to meal feed!

My oldest dog NIX is or was at one point perfectly capable of free feeding (I use to let him free feed while visiting my mother and her dog that free fed) but my other dog almost ate himself to death once.

Some dogs just don’t have an “off” switch when it comes to food and they can and some will eat themselves to the point of sickness.

AND, obesity is the #1 avoidable killer of dogs!

The Number 1 Reason I Meal Feed?

But, even though I knew all of this it didn’t really hit home until I was a vet tech.  Time after time I watched owners bring in dogs that were literally starving themselves because they were sick but their owners didn’t notice the weight loss until it was severe.

If my dogs miss a meal, I am calling the authorities!  My dogs rarely if ever miss a meal.  The illness would have to be severe if my male dogs refuse their food.

My female sometimes skips a meal after a long car ride or a long day, but I know that about her and if she missed 2 in a row there would be a problem.  But, if my boys missed a meal it would be a really bad sign.

Because I meal feed my dogs I notice if they are not eating!  If I allowed all three of them to eat as much as they wanted, whenever they wanted; even if they didn’t over eat, I might not notice if one of them was not eating due to illness!

This has made me a proponent of meal feeding, that and the fact I can keep my dogs svelte and healthy!

Do what you want with your best friend and maybe free feeding puppies is what you’ll choose but keep an eye out on his habits and his schedule and if he is getting overweight or underweight take notice he might need a different plan!

Let me know your thoughts and what you choose by leaving a comment below.

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Comments

  1. Peggy says:

    I feed my 6 month old Doberman 3 times a day equaling the total amount recommended by the amount on the dog food bag. She eats so fast that the cet said to break up her feedings. I like the idea of I couldnt wait 24 hours to eat so why should we make them?

    [Reply]

    Ann Reply:

    Peggy,
    I have a dog that eats too fast, also. I use a Bob-A-Lot. I put half of his food in his dish (so he can eat at the same time as our other dog) and put the rest in the Bob-A-Lot. Works great and he loves it.

    [Reply]

    Eddwina Reply:

    What is a Bob-a-lot?

    [Reply]

    sunny baine Reply:

    I don’t know what a Bob’s a lot is?

    Mary Reply:

    I feed 2 x daily. That way, I know who eats and who doesn’t (3 dogs). Also I have one that would eat all day.

    [Reply]

    Rhonda Reply:

    I feed my 40kg Rottyx and 35kg German Short Haired Pointer twice a day. Small amount of dry in the morning and then the main meal after our evening excercise. I try to vary the time of feeding, not always successful as they hassle me from about 6 on. I do this so if I am late they do not panick that a meal wont be coming.

    [Reply]

    Naomi Reply:

    I have a 8 year old Labridore Retreiver / Rottie named Mika. All her life she has been an extreem speed eater.. I tried everything to try & get her to slow down, water in the food, hand feeding, objects in the bowl (she would just take it out) …etc.. Hand feeding worked for a while until I had to put her in a kennel for a couple weeks… She does get fed twice a day.. But the best tip that has worked is I bought a cheap metal “anti-tip” bowl & flipped it upside down & placed the dry / wet food in the hallow area around the actual “bowl” it has worked amazing.

    [Reply]

  2. Kristen says:

    At what point do your dogs go from feeding 3x a day to 2x a day?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I switch my puppies at about 4-5 months old from 3x a day to 2 but it can depend on the breed. If I had a huge Mastiff breed puppy I would probably continue 3x a day for a year or so to make sure he was getting enough food for his bones to grow.

    [Reply]

    Zita Reply:

    Well, for BIG dogs they need to eat 3x a day for 8 months and then you feed then 2x a day and for small and medium dogs you should feed them 3x a day until 6 months and then you feed then 2x and then when they turn 1 you should feed them at least 1 1/2-2 cups of food once a day. Trust me your dog will do fine, but if you have a terrier you should feed it 1 1/2 cups in the morning and 1/2 cup at night.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    That is not what I have been told by the Veterinarians and each dog is different in amount do to it size, weight and activity level.

    Brenda Reply:

    6 months u can go to 2x a day.Sometimes with very little dogs they can get low blood sugar if they go too long between meals.so they may need to eat 3x a day forever.A lot of people say 1x a day after a year.but personally I don’t believe this is enough,but 1x a day beats letting them self feed.I have never seen a dog that self feed that did’nt get very over weight.

    [Reply]

  3. sharon says:

    pls tel me how many times should i feed my 9 week old pup… and wot times

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    9 week old puppies should eat three meals. Breakfast, lunch and dinner or as close to it as you can get. Let him eat as much as he would like for 20 mins. If he has eaten his fill you can take up his food.

    [Reply]

  4. allison says:

    I am currently in a house share situation and the lady i live with has two dogs and there are biscuits down all down, mine does only eat them when he hungry, although he will go and steal treats when he can see them lying around. He used to be meal fed and when we move out again this will become normal for him again but unfortunately circumstances dictate otherwise at the min.

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  5. Chris Page says:

    I like to feed my dogs twice a day. Once when they wake in the AM and then again around 5:30 PM. I’m sometimes hungry when I wake, and I don’t have the heart to eat if they don’t. LOL. I only give a small amount of the dry kibble in the morning, and in the evening I add a supplement (brown rice, sweet potato, carrots and pumpkin with Chicken stock) to the kibble and if I have meat on hand, I add a bit of meat (Lamb Chub) to their ‘dinner’ meal. They stay pretty happy with that meal. I also give a few treats prior to going to bed after “last Call” for potty.
    I have a yellow lab, a silky-maltese mix, and a yorkie-maltese mix. They gain a bit of weight so I cut back for a few days, then we work back up to the usual. They are all mature dogs, and I will not allow them to fight over food. The Morkie doesn’t like wet food, the silky doesn’t mind if it’s wet or dry, and the lab will eat any thing I give her….She loves lettuce, raw carrots, apples… thinks she’s a rabbit she does. LOL.

    [Reply]

  6. Kristine says:

    I think it depends on the dog. You have to learn what works best for your pup, you, and your situation. For instance, my puggle Madison and I. We had a good regimen going. I gave her a cup of food in the am for her to eat as she please and one cup mid afternoon/evening.this way, she was free to eat as she pleased kit I also knew how much she was given in one day and usually about how fast she would eat. So, if she didn’t eat or ate less, I still knew.
    As oh Nov. 18, she wa guy by a far. She suffered a spinal fracture with possible cord involvement and a right, back, femur fracture, among other injuries. She was given a 5% chance to ever walk again…and it was very subtly suggested we put her down. How dare that vet. She was 6mon old and fiesty as hell, other was no way I was giving up on her. Anyway, she is doing amazing and showing encouraging signs that walking is a possibility…even if it weren’t and she ends up with a cart…She is playing, and adapting to new situation but all the time progressing what we are with her back legs. I being this up b/c feedings have obviously changed…she can’t go eat when she wants. We are only about a month out and she is still supposed to Jr staying still! Haha…imagine..a puggle puppy being still…quite the challenge. With that vet order of her not walking around, we feed her about 3 times a day. Sorry…short story long! I guess I see both sides, like I said above, depends on dog, you, and situation.
    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  7. BHASKAR says:

    I feed my 21 month old GSD female thrice a day.Mostly she eats all the meals instantly.Some days she takes time to finish the meals.

    [Reply]

  8. Judy says:

    I leave dry food out all the time because I can’t bear to think of my litle Chihuahua being hungry. She seldom eats any of it, and waits patiently for the one meal I feed her in the evening at my own dinner time. I read once that a dog should be fed the amount that would fill their head if it were hollow (!) Is that reasonable? She likes her dry kibble moistened and nuked in the micro slightly. It contains no corn, by the way. (It is still chewey.) She’s 4, and likes to chew on her chew toys and chase them when thrown.

    However, I am concerned becuse she is obviously over weight. I am old, disabled and somewhat sedentary. She gets three small treats every night and we go to bed, and is very excited when I say ‘treat’. I am going to give some serious thought to your advice.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Judy,
    I would simply measure what you normally feed her and cut it back by 1/4. Add a little more throwing of the chew toy throughout the day and see if she can lose a little weight. Then if she is not losing in about 3 weeks cut her back just a little more because of her treats. If in doubt you can always take her to the vet and ask. We were thrilled when owners wanted their dogs to get more healthy and would give free weightloss advice and weighing whenever they wanted!

    [Reply]

    Phyllis Reply:

    Our Susie is a Jack Russel gets she gets a 1/2 a hot dog for breakfast and has a bowl of dry food always avialable. There is just the two of us at the table and Susie would like a place there too. She eats only those things she likes.She will only jumb through her loop if she can see the treat first.

    She ran away from home and went two doors away and came back to give us another chance.

    Phyllis

    [Reply]

    Gina Esquivel Reply:

    I have a GSD, she is 5 1\2 mounths old and 55 pounds. I feed her Royal Cabin rice and chicken 1 1\2 cups twice a day, it doesn’t seem enough. She is thin? I give her raw hide tweets and milk bones. She so active, so sometimes I give her a little more.. I love her she is spoiled and goes doggie day camp at PetSmart, she loves it, expensive but worth it.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Skinny puppies are healthier puppies (as long as they are not emaciated and getting the nutrition they need).

    Think of the damage over weight children do to their joints and their bodies… the same is true of dogs as well.

    A thinner dog is less likely to develop arthritis and dysplasia and less likely to incur physical damage while playing, etc.

    [Reply]

  9. Kerry says:

    I have 3 cats and 1 dog. The cats essentially free feed with dry food although they have a ‘meat’ meal in the evening. My dog has a very small amount of food each morning (couple of dog biscuits) and then is not fed again until the evening, when he comes home from doggy daycare. Sometimes he has a bone as well as his regular meat or dry food. He is often not hungry (even though I am assured he is not fed during the day with treats) so his dry food is there and he will eat later in the evening when he wants it. It’s usually gone by the morning.

    He is regular with his toileting – usually when we are on a walk to doggy daycare or early morning.

    He has been known to help himself to the cat’s dry food but when I’ve caught him and redirected him, he leaves it alone and won’t touch it again.

    I think it very much depends on the dog owner’s situation and because my dog is not left at home alone, he is not bored and therefore not looking for food. He is not ravenously hungry either after a full day’s play & some rest at doggy daycare.

    [Reply]

  10. Jan says:

    I feed my dogs 3 times a day. They don’t seem to gulp their food down as much as when you only feed them once. I could not last for 24 hours and would not expect my dogs to have to wait that long for food either!

    [Reply]

  11. Vivian Taggard says:

    Wahoo!!! Dogs owned by free-feeding humans are subjected to any and all possible ills as changes in eating habits are unlikely to be noticed. And, these ‘changes’ are the first indicator that something is wrong with a pet.
    Dogs are “meal-eaters” and cats are “grazers”. It’s a big difference and the two differences need to be respected.
    Cats need a very high protein diet — 40% is ideal! Dogs are not carnivoirs and need less protein.
    When choosing a dry dog food for a pet, read the list of ingredients and if “corn” is among the first few ingredients, look to the next choice. Corn makes a dog (and/or cat) poop a lot and lends little towards the optimum nutrition of either pet. Meat (not by-product meal) should be the first ingredient listed on the bag of dog/and/or cat food. Again, for cats….40% is ideal.
    Monitor the pet’s weight and adjust feeding accordingly.

    [Reply]

    sylvia Reply:

    totally disagree with this:-

    ……Dogs are “meal-eaters” and cats are “grazers”. It’s a big difference and the two differences need to be respected.
    Cats need a very high protein diet — 40% is ideal! Dogs are not carnivoirs and need less protein……

    [Reply]

  12. Gina says:

    We have 4 dogs each a different size. We feed them portions recommended for their weight and also feed them twice a day. Their bowls are put on the floor in their own space and one of us stands watching them eat. Sometimes they will nibble their breakfast but finish it for lunch.
    At dinner time, it’s the same ritual…… If they haven’t eaten all of their food in half an hour we take it off the floor and offer it again an hour later. This has worked well for us as they are all of good weight and are allowed one treat after their dinner which is just a rawhide (made in America only) which they truly enjoy to chew on while they lie by us when we’re watching TV in the evenings.
    We refuse to overfeed as we know this can cause many serious illnesses now or in the future. They are all happy but they would really like to eat more than they should, but it is not allowed in our home.
    Taking the time to sit or stand there while they eat is no bother to us as we know it is for their own good.

    [Reply]

    Peter Reply:

    I have owned and housed dogs for 35 years, often multiple dogs, although right now I only have one. Every time I hear of feeding issues I find on closer examination that the issue is usually related to treats or other extras.
    I have free fed every dog I’ve had with a 24 – 25% protein, 14 – 16% fat, high quality food. Almost all those dogs have preferred to eat in the evening (8 – 10pm) before bed and only once. Dogs don’t naturally eat breakfast. Zero problems in all that time.
    I now own a pet supply business and find it very interesting that the high quality foods are often refused by customers because their dog doesn’t seem to like the food. A dog will eat until its nutritional requirements are met, period. It likes food that meets its needs. The cheaper foods are often about as nutritious as kids breakfast cereal. Of course dogs “like” them more. Dogs prefer cat foods because they are quite high in protein, usually 30% or so but they will eat less.
    Conclusion: Feed your dog a high quality food. How you feed them, whether free or scheduled, is a much less important decision that is mostly about lifestyle issues!
    Note: If you are switching a dog to free feeding, it can take up to two months for them to settle down and schedule themselves normally. Leave a little extra kibble in their bowls gradually increasing the amount to about 2 – 3 days worth.

    [Reply]

    Gina Reply:

    Peter, I hope you didn’t mean to imply that we are not feeding our dogs cheap dog food as it is just the opposite.
    We do not feed our dogs late at night as then they wake up and have to relieve themselves about 3 or 4am in the morning.
    Yes, we do feed them twice a day but the portions are measured and very small. We have a dog nutritionist who helps us in this area, sending us recipes to make our own dog food also, including the correct nutritional values for each ingredient. Nothing but the best for our dogs, but, no way will they go 24 hours without a meal as their meals are so small to begin with to keep their weight under control.
    They are all of perfect weight, healthy and happy. The rawhide treats are not eaten, but they keep their teeth clean and they love to just chew on them. I would never free feed a dog as I’ve seen some over the years that will eat until they get sick let alone fat !
    I think feeding a dog once a day is cruel as they truly enjoy their homemade food and look forward to breakfast AND dinner.

    [Reply]

    Peter Reply:

    Hi Gina,
    No, I am not implying that you are feeding cheap dog food. I was trying to point out that it is much more important to feed a quality food than the method by wich a dog is fed, and secondly that I have never seen any serious issue related to free feeding per se.
    In my experience, almost no dogs that have had time to settle in to a free feeding environment (with a quality food) gorge themselves or get overweight or food hoard or any other of the great fears that many dog people seem to have about free feeding.
    I might add that I admire your commitment to quality in your dog’s diet. That is great!
    On the other hand, your comment that I or any other free feeding individual is cruel is ridiculous. My dogs always have access to high quality food. When they choose to eat it is up to them.

  13. Wilma says:

    My Jack Russel/Doberman Pincher cross free feeds. It was not a conscious decision. We started with meal feed but Biscuit would from the start not eat all his food at once. I personally believe his eating habit has alot to do with the weather. We live in South Africa where the summers are extremely hot and he eats less when its very hot (+- 85 to 95 during the day) but drinks alot more water (same as us humans) and then on days when its raining and its abit cooler he eats alot more. We keep a close eye on the amounts he eats to make sure that he doesn’t skip days and we check his weight regularly.

    [Reply]

  14. Pam Parsons says:

    I feed twice a day…. I think 24ish hours between meals is too long, I work irregular shifts so meal times vary a bit, but when ever you mention ‘food’ in a sentence around meal times there is a definite positive response!!

    I have one dog who would eat herself silly…. she once ate 2kg (over 4lbs) of birdseed!!! She could hardly stand afterwards and pooped almost pure seed for 2 days!!! It is funny now… not so much at the time!! so grazing would definitely not be safe for her… and she would stop the others accessing their food too, even though no-one is food aggressive she would just munch until she couldn’t move… or burst!

    Also I use food for training which would be less motivational if they had constant access

    2 of my other dogs are lab crosses and one of them would have no idea when enough was enough!!!

    [Reply]

  15. Jesse O says:

    Good to hear different views on how to feed our pets ( dogs ). My candid opinion is that dogs should be given food according to their sizes/weights or ages. My german is almost 7months old, so he eats only once. But most of the time, the food is usually served early so he could take his time to consume – no rush! This does not stop me from giving him some appetit!!!

    [Reply]

  16. Janis says:

    We’re on our third dog. #1 & 2 died of cancer, after 14 & 8 yrs. with us. Our beloved Sandy died way too early. Now we are enjoying Panda in our family (just hubby & me). We always joke that our dogs are way healthier than we are, being morbidly obese ourselves. I start out by reading the dog food bag. I know from vet visits how much they weigh. I go by the age & recommended amount on the bag. We ALWAYS measure servings with a cup. A little more if they eat FAST & a little less if they leave a little. Twice a day. Due to crazy schedules, the times vary, but always twice a day. If we’re going on a car trip, we’ll just feed Panda a handfull to have something in her stomach for the ride. Then at night she hae a regular portion. Fresh water is always available, too. That’s VERY important. It seemed like we were always filling up her water dish, so we bought one of those with a big plastic jug on top. NICE! Everytime it empties, we thoroughly clean the whole dish, wipe it well with paper towels.

    [Reply]

  17. Johanna says:

    I have a puppy Tibetan Spaniel 6 months Old he has a allergy on fresh beef and I just feed him raw chicken mince now with veg And lots of other stuff added ,an raw chicken neck ones a day and some dry food Advance puppy plus Chicken He is a very fuzzy eater but he seems to do better now
    was feeding him 3 times a day should I now feed him twice a day ? or leave it till he is 12 months old ??
    I also train him with tits bits cooked chicken livers

    [Reply]

    Pat Reply:

    We have an 18 month old Tibby we switched to 2 times a day at 6 months and he has done very well. He can also be very picky, especially in the morning, so we feed him a little lessin the AM,and more in the PM. Our breeder says that they can refuse to eat for a day or so at a time and not to worry.

    [Reply]

  18. Sharon F says:

    I have a large GSD. I feed him twice a day, once in the morning before I go to work and then again when I sit down to eat my own meal in the evening. I weigh out his portions of food at each meal time which means I can monitor his weight. There are no other dogs in the home so he doesnt feel like he has to fight for his food, so if he doesnt feel like eating it straight away I leave it there for him for when he does feel hungry. If he hasnt eaten it by the next meal time then it is replaced with fresh food. I am also a dog trainer so he comes to classes with me. If I am training him then he has less food at his meal time as I train on a food reward basis.

    [Reply]

  19. Raymond Kashangaki says:

    I’m for meal feeding, but I only feed my dogs once a day, and they are very healthy AND food motivated when it comes to training (the meal is rather large, kibble with vegetables and leftovers from my food) but I can’t imagine feeding them twice a day- they’d definitely become obese!

    [Reply]

  20. Raymond Kashangaki says:

    I’m for meal feeding, but I only feed my dogs once a day, and they are very healthy AND food motivated when it comes to training (the meal is rather large, kibble with vegetables and leftovers from my food) but I can’t imagine feeding them twice a day- they’d definitely become obese.

    [Reply]

    Sharon F Reply:

    Your dogs would not become obese if you fed them twice a day. you just work out what amount of food they should be fed each day and split that into the two meals, if your dogs were to become obese then it would be because you were overfeeding them and for no other reason. that is why I weigh my dogs food out at each meal, my dog is allowed about 400g of complete dog food (biscuits) each day so he gets 180g twice a day, which then allows for treats in the day (esp when I am training him)….he is a perfect weight as I weigh him at my vets regularly to make sure.

    [Reply]

    Salesia Ramirez Reply:

    I think everyone on here is doing great with their dogs & there is no need to give critical advice as long as everyone is feeding their dogs. Let everyone feed their best friends the way they want to!

    [Reply]

  21. I have a 3-year-old ShihTzu. She is a very picky eater but I finally found a dog food that she likes after going through several brands. She eats canned dog food just as a treat (about three tablespoons a day) and then at night she eats dry dog food (the same brand), about 1/4 of a cup. She gets treats during the day, mostly carrots, broccoli or fruit. Her weight has been consistent (13 pounds). When she goes for her 6 month check-ups she has never gained weight and during her last checkup she had lost half a pound. If she is not hungry she will not eat and I do not force feed her. She has lots of energy and is the friendliest dog that I have ever had. Her vet is very pleased with her overall, particularly the fact that her weight remains constant. She is never fed from the table and does not beg for food when the family eats. I have a neighbor whose dog is 10 pounds overweight and no amount of pleading from her vet will make her stop overfeeding him. He eats dog food but she always “shares” her food with him. She claims she just gives him a “little bit” of table food and does not understand that a “little bit” is too much. Some dogs will beg for food all day long (as hers does) but overfeeding dogs is very unhealthy and he does not seem to understand this.

    [Reply]

  22. SarahAnne says:

    We have 2 puppies and we feed them once a day. The older one, who is 6 months, gets excited when he sees food, but he won’t eat when he’s not hungry, nor will the other puppy

    [Reply]

    Karolyn Reply:

    Young puppies shuld be fed 3x/day and then twice as they get older. I have heard that this way their bodies use the nutrition in a more efficient way. As a little puppy, my dog had to have special large breed puppy food because his body was growing faster than his joints, resulting in his ankles bowing out and his inability to walk well. In his case, it was especially important to feed three times a day.

    [Reply]

    pat kooyenga Reply:

    Hi,
    I thought puppies up to one year old, should be fed two to three times daily to provide enough nourishment, and for them to grow properly.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    yes, puppies should be fed 2 to 3 times daily

    [Reply]

    Doris Reply:

    Just wondering, SarahAnne,

    How many times a day do you eat, including snacks?

    Think about how a new baby is fed & how often the feedings are until it is safe to give them 3 meals a day.

    Think about how a little puppy feeds from it’s mother. They shouldn’t go from mommy to once a day feeding.

    Why don’t you try feeding them 3 times a day & see what happens?

    [Reply]

    SarahAnne Reply:

    The previous owner fed them twice a day, and the vet suggested that we only feed them once a day, because they were constantly going to the toilet in the laundry every night

    [Reply]

  23. SarahAnne says:

    Also, one meal a day satisfies them, so I think in some circumstances, leaving a 24-hour gap between meals doesn’t hurt

    [Reply]

    3of3with3 Reply:

    I also feed my black lab once a day. Sometimes he eats it all, sometimes he doesn’t. One thing people do forget is in the wild, sometimes they don’t find food for days. However, being vegan (no meat or dairy eater) we can healthfully give our dog our leftovers, which consists of whole grains & beans, and not risk worms. However, some days, Charley (our lab), won’t even eat the scraps. He gets plenty of exercise, and when we take him on a hike, he will return home, and be more likely to eat more. He is at a healthy weight. One thing people forget, your dog NEEDS exercise, EVERYDAY. That will make a difference in their food intake, too.

    [Reply]

  24. Gill says:

    I meal feed my dog twice a day and I use a kong feeder in the morning and give in bowl in the evening. I find this the best way for my dog and his weight is correct for his breed. I work my dog at a agility twice a week so I use a working dog food for him. He is only treat trained but will only have cheese or liver cake otherwise he is not interested in any other treats, he is though very squeaky ball orientated and will work for this as well.

    [Reply]

  25. Terasa says:

    I feed my Rhodesian ridgeback twice a day after walks, the reason why I do this is because dogs like routine. Although I do remember a few years ago he just stopped eating which concerned me, then I found out he was getting our leftovers, so he was hanging around for human food rather than eat his own… It took about two days for him to start eating again, after I stopped the human food.

    Terasa Uk

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  26. Emmie says:

    My Maltese cross Duschound (Bella) of 6 months eats free. We give her the recommended amount of a very good brand.

    Her meal is split into 2 with the larger portion given in the morning. She self regulates the amount that she eats and tend to leave a portion to eat when it is our mealtime.

    It seems she does not like to change brands as we tried to change to another and she ate so little that I was on the point to take her to the vet to find out if she was ill. (This time of the year ticks are aplenty in South Africa ,summertime and very hot, and Bella is a tick magnet.

    As soon as we changed back to the old brand she immediately ate regular. In our case we or I tend to keep a close look at the amount that she eats because of the measurements and pick up quickly if something seems amiss.

    Emmie RSA

    [Reply]

  27. Cheryl Australia says:

    Hi we have 7 months old Shit Zu/Maltese Cross and we feel him 4 times a day less than a handfull scrambled egg little bits of toast, Mydog food 1/2 plus small hand of dry food, dryfood. then if we have steak or chicken we share or he has the other 1/2 of the my dog usually beef and liver as this is his favourite if he doesn’t eat it we leave it in his bowl so if he doesn’t finish it that is his next feed (except breakfast because he will only eat scrambled eggs) he is a good weight and has treat’s (jerky) if he uses his poop mat. But he is a very good weight and doesn’t annoy us if we are eating. He drinks huge amount of water and that is all he has thru the night unless we give him a doggie treat to take to bed seems to be working

    [Reply]

  28. Cindy says:

    I feed my terrier crosses twice a day. I read a report some years ago where dogs were given prefernce tests and they universally prefered wet food to dry and warm to cold. i mix wet and dry and add some vegetables warmed in the microwave. They love this.

    [Reply]

  29. Kathy says:

    I feed my two dogs once a day in the evening. I feed the amount for their size and age but find they often leave some of the meal which they go back to later. During the day they have food treats during training and also dental sticks or rawhide chews so they do not go 24 hours without feeding. Both dogs will always leave food if too much is given to them but it certainly helped house training to feed set meals when they were puppies.

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  30. kevin says:

    i feed my 4 mth old shephead breakfast in the morning after walk also tea at night she is quiet content with this.

    [Reply]

  31. Billie says:

    have always had one dog over the last 35 years, though I did have two together one time, and back in the first years of being a devoted dog owner, I would feed them once a day. Then I got to thinking 24 hours is a long time to go, I would not like it, so why would they, hence I started about 18 years ago giving two feeds a day. So I find that the best way. When training them as puppies though, I would give them a certain time to eat, then pick it up and put in the frige, I did this because a prevous dog I had, had got very picky and choosey, so when the next came along after Miss Fussy Pots passed, I was determined not to let the new puppy get to particular. Basically I feed half an hour after my dog wakes up, say around 9:30am, then again at around 4:00pm when | see signs she is hungry and that works a treat. I only wish I had done that with the first two sets of dogs I’d had. I agree fully time feeding will allow you to see if they are unwell earlier, and of course that is of vital importance to their health. I measure food for the recommended amount, but do give tiny treats during the day too, mostly when playing and even the adult dog still needs to be reminded about its training, sit when you need them to do, etc. Life without a pet for me would be horrendous, my Westie now is to be my last, simple becasue of my age, I have been retired 3 years now, so it would be unfair and unkind on both of us if I got another after my Honey, that’s her name. But I am thinking of becoming a babysitter for dogs in older age, someone wants to have an afternoon out shopping, and they could bring their dog to my home, no charge, I’d do this out of the pleasure of having a dog around again.

    [Reply]

    fiona Reply:

    Your dog wakes up at 9 o’clock!!!! I wish!!!! No mine wake up early 5.30 -6- so we get out for an early morning toilet run and walk before i go off to work. I started once a day feeding, but have changed to twice a day. mainly ‘coz I thought a 24hour break was too long to go without food. There is a little food guarding between them but I pick up half full bowls, make them drop rawhide bones etc- just as discipline – they have to do what I say.

    [Reply]

  32. dawn Lane says:

    I am a dog sitter and according to the vets that use me, a medicine woman because I heal dogs with homeopathy, reiki plus good old common sense. I disagree with the ‘grazing’ system of dog feeding as in my 40 years exerience of dog ownership and dog care,I know that domestic dogs need the structure and regime of being feed at regular times twice a day and three times a day for puppies. Many dogs come to stay and because of what we call “lazy owner-ritis” who leave bows of dry food down when they are out at work,or simply cant be bothered to feed the dogs, we find that the animals have never been trained to have a ritual feeding time, wont eat with the pack and therefore become fussy eaters who want to eat at midnight or later. After 24 hours they get the hang of being with the pack and eating at the scheduled times. Are they unhappy at being made to eat at special times? Definitely not! In fact, they thrive and are much better behaved by not begging for human food or scavenging or rubbish when they get taken out for walks. Just as there are bad parents so there are bad owners of dogs.

    [Reply]

    Anne Wakelin Reply:

    I am not a “lazy owner”or a “bad owner”, but I do let my GSD ‘graze’. This has worked with all my dogs and cats, without ever having an overweight pet. I also know how much my girl eats because I put the food in the bowl and can eyeball it to see what she is consuming. My pup does not over eat. She is on a high protein dog food with no preservatives or filler and is thriving and maintaining a healthy weight. I did not experience any difficulty with house training even though she has always been allowed to ‘graze’. My pup is 7 months old and I don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to take her out. My beautiful girl gets lots of exercise every day. She is not possessive of her food and anyone can put their hand in her bowl when she is eating or even take a treat or bone out of her mouth. Even with more than one dog, the ‘grazing’ method has worked for me. Also my dog does not eat when I’m not at home even though she always has food available. My pup does not beg when we are eating because we have taught her manners (she usually eats her own food) but she does get healthy leftovers if there are any and because she is well fed she has no need to “scavenge for rubbish” when she is out. Please don’t judge others just because you do not believe in their methods. My theory is ‘if ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ and my method ain’t broke. Other people use this method and it works well for them as well. I’ve had happy healthy and sociable dogs and cats for over 50 years.

    [Reply]

    Donna2203 Reply:

    I also have an 8 month puppy who ‘grazes’. We put food down in a morning at breakfast time and she only eats a little (or sometimes nothing at all), so we leave her dry food in a bowl for her as we go out to work. Most days she doesn’t eat anything during the day, but I like to think she has the option to eat if she needs to. She doesn’t over-eat and just because she doesn’t have set meals, it doesn’t mean we can’t tell if she has eatten or not. She tends to eat when she is hungry and seems to know when it is our teatime and so chooses to eat when we do. She never begs for food when we are eatting, as she knows she doesn’t get any off our plates. The ‘grazing’ method works well for us also and puppy seems happy with it too.

    [Reply]

  33. Chris says:

    My old dog used to pig out, broke into a service station and ripped open a bag of dog food on the shelf! (I was sooooo embarrassed.) I used to feed him twice a day, as I went to work, and when I got home. That worked well for him, and I could keep en eye on his weight. My new dog is a grazer, it’s just they way he’s always been from a pup, he would eat a mouthful, and off he’d go, and come back 10minutes later for another mouthful. I was feeding him more than recommended, a friend told me he was fat so I cut back on the evening extra, and a week later the vet said he was too skinny. So, I let him graze, and he’s healthy and weight perfect. Food training still works with him cos I found his yummy thing, and he will do almost anything for something other than his puppy food lol. I still put food in his bowl twice, three times a day, just when his bowl is empty so I am aware of how much he’s eating.

    [Reply]

  34. Jana says:

    We have 9 dogs, 3 small pinchers, and 5 bigger dogs and one puppy. The pincher always have food in there bowl inside the house. The bigger dogs we feed once a day because if they have a self feeder they will eat till they cant walk anymore. The puppy from day one she was a slow eater and I feed her twice a day to keep her on weight.

    The pichers we have on close look to see if they are doing well. And the bigger dogs we also have to keep on close look for them to not go overweight.

    Regards,

    [Reply]

  35. BRAD says:

    I feed my lab twice,sometimes three times per day.she nibbles in the morning,lunch an dinner goes down quickly.
    I,m thinking of switching the brand I currently use,I am curious,about which brand of dog food is the best? If spending an extra 15 bucks on a specialty bag of food,to save me expensive vet bills in the future,then why not? So what’s a good brand for an energetic lab?

    [Reply]

  36. Grace says:

    I’ve had dogs who wouldn’t eat and so the food was left down for them…none became obese and none starved. Now our two dogs, a Lab and a Bernese Mtn Dog are on raw diets…meat and veggies ground together and served raw. Obviously the meat will go bad if it was left out all day; however there’s not a chance of that since they gobble their dinners quickly! They are fed twice a day. All of our dogs have been happy and healthy, but I have to say we’ll likely stick to a raw diet for future dogs since it seems like a more natural choice.

    [Reply]

  37. Sharon Blumenfeld says:

    We had a black pug who had to be euthanized due to pericardial effusions from a heart tumor. His last year he was diabetic. The only thing that helped him with his diabetes was that he had been used to eating (too much) but at regular times. I now have two Shih Tzu sisters who are 1 1/2 years old. Started them as puppies with three feedings /day. They are now basically 2x a day eaters. I have spoiled them usually sitting with them and hand feeding to get them started to eat their kibble and cooked chx breast. They are always good eaters at dinner time. Breakfast is so-so and sometimes what is not eaten for breakfast is put away and offered at lunch time. Each of them weighs about 10 pounds with WonTon always being the quieter, heavier one and MuShu the ball of energy and lighter weight. I am definitely in favor of regular meal times.

    [Reply]

  38. Gabriele says:

    When my dog was a puppy, I fed him 3 times a day. Then I fed him twice a day. Now he is almost 2 years old, he decided he wants one big meal a day. He gets it dinner time after his big exercise of the day. He likes his treats for training. Since he is raw fed, so he has to eat it in one go. You can’t let meat stand around. My neighbours dogs were free fed and I could see how obese they got, it was absolute terrible. He gets the recommended amount of food and is in perfect condition. Occasionally we go to the vet and get him weighed to be sure. By meal feeding I can see instantly if he is feeling off. All our previous dogs were meal fed too. Some breeds will only eat how much they need, but a lot of breeds will eat till they fall over, so I personally feel that meal feeding is best.

    [Reply]

  39. sondra says:

    I raise dogs and do it a certain time of day. They know when it is time and are even tuned in to the time changes I hand mix the food put down separate dishes and they all know the routine I do lerave dry food down that way I know if they are really hungry they will eat it I also go by the 10 minute rule whatever they eat in 10 minutes means that they are really hungry If they eat in less than 10 minutes I will give them a little bit more After 15 to 20 minutes I pick up the bowls if they have not eaten it by then they are done

    [Reply]

  40. Gill says:

    I feed my dog twice a day, once in the morning about 7.00am and then at about 18.00 which really works for him. In the morning he has his food in a Kong which helps to stimulate his mind, I keep some back for his kong ball which is filled with some of his food and mixed with cheese or liver cake, otherwise I would be able to leave the house with him crying. His evening meal is fed straight from his bowl. I treat him when training, as this needs to be continually instilled and I work him twice a week at agility, so I feed him a working dog food. He is not food orientated more squeaky ball orientated and being from working stock (border collie – parents working on farm) he needs plenty of activity to keep his mind occupied which I really enjoy. The only other treats he is interested in is cheese or liver cake.

    [Reply]

  41. Judy says:

    I have also heard you can run the risk of resource guarding with free feeding. I have quite a few friends that free feed and don’t necessarily have that issue, but I think it can make sense. The dog themselves may not want to eat, but they will still become possessive of their food and dish. We feed our dogs twice a day on schedule as one is a beagle. He would eat himself to death if he could.

    [Reply]

  42. Alan says:

    Feed my three large dogs twice a day. Morning & Evening. Do not over-feed and will reduce quanity if they routinely leave food. Have read that dogs have a natural gorge instinct. In the wild they do not know how much or how long between meals, so EAT IT NOW ! A constant source of food would not work in my case, because of this fact.

    [Reply]

  43. LouAnn says:

    My two dogs (11,7 years old) are fed 1/2 cup of (low residue) food twice a day in their own separate areas. The silky terrier is more agressive than the papillon, so feeding is a ritual. If there is anything left in the bowl, it is picked up after 15 minutes. They also have treats (kibble) each day, usually part of positive behavioral training.

    [Reply]

  44. Donna says:

    I “try” to feed 2 x per day (dry food w/tiny bit of canned mixed in), but if not possible, I give her some “special” canned. My wonderful GSD bloated 3 times, which I believe was due to the fact that I did not stand there to watch her eat. She wanted to be WITH me 24/7 ever since I was hospitalized the first time. 1st time she bloated, I did a sort of Heimlich maneuver on her, and it worked (and, yes, it was bloat!). Same 2nd time. Then I began spoon feeding her, and she was extremely gracious about it. I took the time every day for this, as she was definitely worth it! Then I got a little lazy, and missed a few times… had appointments, etc. Then she bloated the 3rd time, and I could not bring her out of it. I live too far from the vet to get her there in time. She paced, vomited the foamy stuff, and paced some more. She died at/on my feet.

    My vote goes for twice a day, but most importantly KNOW your dog. They are precious, and worth every second we can spend with them.

    [Reply]

  45. Free feeding doesn’t typically work with a raw diet, as the food is not dry and you would run the risk of spoilage. We feed twice daily and our dog is healthy and fit. The benefit we’ve seen is that, with our dog on a schedule, we can better monitor her overall health. A feeding schedules means she also has a bathroom schedule, so to speak. In any case, she enjoys her food so much that, if we were to give her entire daily intake all at once, she would likely stuff herself. One note of caution, though. Your dog’s stomach prepares for mealtime. If you are late, their stomach starts producing enzymes, etc. which can cause upset stomach if they don’t eat on schedule. If we’re running a bit behind with her meal, we give her a piece of dried meat while we’re preparing her food. That gives her stomach something to work on and she’s happy, since it’s a special treat.

    [Reply]

  46. Peggy says:

    I have had seven Toy Poodles over the the years and none have ever been overweight or ill. I feed only organic food and filtered water. I usually put out about 1/2 cup dry dog food in the morning and 1/3 cup canned organic. Sometimes my dog will eat early and sometimes later in the day. I eat organically and at supper my Poodle will share veggies with me. My different dogs have lived to be seventeen without any health problems.

    By the way, my current dog is two and he is super active, intelligent and weighs 8 1/2 lbs. His name is Fizzil and it really fits him. I walk him daily and put him through his regular routine of tricks that I have tought him. He is super responsive. Feeding is not an issue.
    Peggy

    [Reply]

  47. Gwen says:

    I have my dog on a self feeder. He eats what he needs-more in the winter and less in the summer. His weight remains constant. I fed my last dog and tended to feed her too much. We had a problem with her weight. I made a conscious decision to try another route with my current dog. He is relaxed and easy going with regard to food. He is very healthy. I’m very aware of how much he typically consumes. His food and water is monitored daily and replenished weekly.

    [Reply]

  48. Beck says:

    I have two Alaskan Malamutes right now, 9 1/2 and 5 yrs. I noticed several dogs ago that feeding once a day, the dogs were more jittery. Since then, I’ve always fed twice a day. There is no real time table. The closest they get to that is work day mornings. We go downstairs, I feed them in their own spaces. After I get ready for work, we go for a short walk to “prime thier pumps” so to speak. The evening meal can come anywhere from 5:30 to 10pm. Mom had a GS that was so regimented to time that if she didnt’ eat at 4pm, she threw up! I dont’ want my girls that dependent on time! They do get snacks of course. Niether one is obese by any means! I can easily feel their ribs.
    Puppies, when I’m blessed with them, get fed three times a day, maybe more. They learn early that food guarding and gulping is not rewarded. Zeevie had to be fed one kibble at a time until she finally caught on that she would get to eat and didn’t need to inhale it! LOL! I beleive that food issues are training issues. But hten, isn’t most things with dogs?? 🙂

    [Reply]

  49. Anne says:

    My Border Collie (2 years old now) is fed twice daily. This, of course, does not include his treats, that are home baked. He is fed on home cooked, so I don’t like the food to stay out of the fridge for a long period of time. He gets no kibble.
    He seems very healthy and he is very high energy. He has a good weight, though Borders tend to be on the light side. He does go to agility, rally and fly ball. This seems to keep his weight in check.
    I am not strict about the amount. I usually feed the recommended amount per day, but if I notice he is dropping weight, I just add more to his meals.
    I must admit that he does get some small amount of table scraps -lean meat, veggies, but it certainly doesn’t make him gain weight.

    [Reply]

  50. Jan says:

    I have 2 small dogs. I feed them 3X a day, their recommended amount of food. I find that 3X keeps the gas & weight factor in check. Happy, healthy dogs.

    [Reply]

  51. valerie says:

    I agree. I also feed my dogs twice a day. Though, my two hyper dogs are in the same kennel I built one is the stingiest thing ever he eats both his food and my other dogs food. I kinda would need help on that. I’ve tried to train him too just easy from his but its kinda hard with home bring hyper and stuff…

    [Reply]

  52. Beth Moore says:

    Thanks for the valuable information and ensuing comments. This is an interesting topic. I used to say my first three Shepherds [consecutive – got as puppies] ate to live. They grazed and seemed quite capable of managing their own weight. For them grazing worked. However, I must say they were very food indifferent in training and from your comments, now I know why. My current three-year old girl whom I got as a two-and-a-half years old lives to eat. If I put down a day’s supply she would eat it all in one sitting; consequently I control her feeding. The breeder from whom I got her recommended feeding once a day, preferably at night, but I felt 24 hours was too long a span, particularly for one with an affection for food. I feed her one cup of dry food in the morning and two cups at night, plus DOG treats, no human food. This came about by trial and error. She is VERY active and athletic; we play active games, frisbee, chasing her ball, chucking [chucking her Kong with a beaver-produced stick which I found and which is ideal for the purpose – we live rurally]. Because of her high energy level I found if she didn’t get enough she leaned right down to skinny in a short time; on the other hand if she get too much she developed runny stools – ugh. Now we seem to have the happy medium.
    From my experience I found it a matter of tailoring the feeding system to the dog’s individuality.

    [Reply]

  53. Alice Abbley says:

    My dogs are on a strict schedule. When they wake up each morning, they immediately want to go outside and poop and urinate. After we return inside, they want breakfast.

    My min pin is 8 months old and I feed him 1/4 cup at breakfast, 1/4 cup for lunch and 1/4 cup for dinner. I watch him eat…but he gobbles his food down, so I put a smaller bowl (upside down) inside his food bowl to slow him down a bit. He has great energy and really looks forward to eating.

    My poodle mix is about 6 years old and eats very slowly and really seems to enjoy meals. I feed him the same amount as I feed the min pin. I’m very strict about the time I feed them because I know after they eat, they will want to go outside and poop. This has helped with potty training (although the min pin being young still has accidents). When the older dog wants to go out he will ring the bell at the front door to let me know…so I’m hoping the min pin will catch on and eventually do the same thing (ring the bell).

    [Reply]

  54. Susan Thomson says:

    I feed my dogs 2X per day.

    [Reply]

  55. Anne says:

    I have three dogs and they are fed twice a day. I feed them in separate areas as two of the dogs will steal the others’ food. I think that it is so easy to keep dogs at their correct weight because of feeding in this manner. My cats are free fed because I have eight of them and it would be difficult to meal feed them as often as they need to eat.And, unfortunately, some of my cats are overweight. But my dogs are at good weights.

    [Reply]

  56. Anne says:

    When we had our first Labradors we used to leave them with a bowl of dry food when we left for work in the morning and gave them tinned food when we came home in the evening. The male put on a lot of weight but the female not so much. The male must have done most of the eating during the day.

    Then we had a German Shepherd whom we left dry food out for all day, he was about 50kgs towards the end and had HD which of course being overweight would not have helped. Before he passed on we went to a German Shepherd breeder and bought ourselves a beautiful girl. This breeder insisted that a good weight on a Shepherd is when you can see at least the last two ribs on either side of their body. This we found was about 28.5kilos. With our shepherd girl we were given a different diet, half raw and half dry food. This seemed to work with feeding at breakfast and a late lunch so that she had time to work off some of the lunch before evening. She was kept between 28.5 and 33 kilo’s.

    Next we had a beautiful Labrador girl, whom we brought home at 5 1/2 weeks old. We still had our Shepherd girl at this stage who looked after the Lab pup as though she was hers. Then the Shepherd had a litter of her own.
    About 6 months after our Shepherd had her litter our Lab had a litter of 11. (She was 20 months at this stage).

    Once we had purchased pups from breeders we became more concious of weight gain and trying to keep the dogs weight at a good level. So breakfast of dry food and chicken necks and then a late lunch of chicken wings or frames. Breakfast can vary for the fresh food, cottage cheese, yoghurt, sardines, eggs they love them all.

    Our current two Labradors still get breakfast followed by a late lunch. I’m sure the male can tell the time because when 1.30pm comes around if I’m not getting food out of the fridge he trys to send me in that direction with his longing look. After our evening meal and they have checked that we haven’t left any food on our plates they check the back yard for Strawberrys, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Peas, Beans, Tomatoes or any other vegetable that they may be able find in the Vegy Patch.
    The vet gave them the all clear today and said they are very healthy and at a good weight.

    So yes to twice a day, Breakfast and a late Lunch.

    [Reply]

  57. Tina says:

    We feed our dog twice a day, but it depends on how much exercise she gets as to whether she eats it all or not. Couldn’t imagine feeding them only once a day.

    [Reply]

  58. Eileen says:

    I feed my dog 2x day because she can’t wait 24 hours for her next meal. When I fed her once a day, she would puke around 5-ish and the vet suggested it was due to stomach secretions. When I fed her 2x a day, that stopped and she doesn’t constantly look for food. In fact during training, she is not food motivated except during the early evening when she is starting to get hungry.

    [Reply]

  59. Witz says:

    I have had GSd’d all my life and they are a breed that can have a propensity for bloat. As a result I have always fed twice a day with a high quality kibble soaked in water. I add water not because of any evidence that it helps to reduce bloat but because of how dry it is and the time it takes to breakdown. I did have one of my GSD’s bloat but it was late at night and not related to feeding. He survived after an emergency surgery and gastroplexy (tacking the stomach, to avoid future stomach flipping). I plan on having the procedure done on my new pup as I feel it is a reasonable cost to avoid a future event.

    The other aspect of this, which may factor into the bloat discussion is feeding an hour after exercise and two hours following a meal. I have also read that there is some “loose” correlation to genetic’s and bloat, but not conclusive. Deep chested dogs are clearly more vulnerable to bloat.

    [Reply]

  60. david says:

    feed my german sheps once a day never before excercise and mainly evening time my long haired german shep put on fair bit of weight when fed twice day, so its down to one meal a day they seem to be looking better for it to and there not as fussy about what they eat there so hungary and ready for there meal they just eat and there weight is pretty good to.

    [Reply]

  61. Maggie says:

    Good to see most of the responses are pro regimented feeding schedules. This definitely helps when you have more than one dog in the house. I have always had more than one dog at a time. My first set of 3 dogs (gotten one at a time, not all together) were graze fed. This led to me having one very fat dog and two too skinny dogs. Then I learned a thing or two about dogs (various books, word of mouth, etc.) and taught myself how to feed the dogs properly, twice a day. Not only did my chubby dog drop all his unwanted fat, but I became more in tune with their overall care. I now have four different dogs, three lab mixes and a chihuahua. All four eat at the exact time each day, in the same room, wait for all four meals to be laid out BEFORE eating (at my command). Sometimes the wait time is as short as 30 seconds, other times as long as 2 minutes…I vary this on purpose. When I got the chihuahua, she would not eat at all. She was a rescue dog who had been crated all her life. It took quite a few weeks to teach her how to eat twice a day and as she was very nervous when we first got her, she would often skip a meal, sometimes only eating once a day. I would not let this throw off the schedule…if she did not eat within 15 minutes, she did not get the food offered again until the next day. As it was offered 2x a day, I did not feel “bad” about this, just persevered. If she was going to learn the schedule, I had to stick to it. She never skipped more than one meal in a row, and finally got the hang of it. Now she is part of the pack and has a regular meal and poop/pee schedule, making it very easy to train her. All the dogs are a healthy weight and are willing to work for treats. Can’t have it any better than that!

    [Reply]

  62. Barbara Yarbrough says:

    I feed my Doxie twice a day. I have to control his diet because many Doxies will have a back problem. Diet control and exercise help me do that. My Sofie would eat everything in a bowl and more if I let the food down all day. She is fed before I go to work, about 7am and at our dinner time around 7pm. A lunchtime treat, bisquit, peanut butter near noon.

    It seems to work for us.

    [Reply]

  63. valda says:

    I have 2 dogs a pug named Hutch and a 57 variety little girl named Looloo,I give them a small bone or chicken neck in the morning,and a product here in Australia called 4 legs-meat and veg,plus a dob of yogurt,they are overweight ,mainly due to my not being able to walk them ,I am going to cut the quantity down as I know it is very bad for them to be overweight,I don’t give them canned food as you know that is mainly water and dead animals.

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  64. Kathy says:

    I have a seven month old miniature Schnauzar. I feed her the recomended amount for her age. She will not eat it all at once. I give her a half cup of food in the mornings and 1/4 cup in the late afternoon. This seems to be working out fine.

    [Reply]

  65. gemma says:

    I have a 6mth old akita who i feed twice a day 1st thing in the morning i feed the children then my baby
    Then again at t time when we all sit down for a family meal. He doesn’t get human food but at supper I
    do give him a treat. He is walked 3 times a day and currently weighs around 5st which my vet assures me that is healthy for his breed and size( at the momment he is about the size of a full grown lab) he is healthy and happy i know he would over feed if i let him graze, meal times r the way to go .

    [Reply]

  66. Warren says:

    Mollyis an 11 year old Collie Retriever mix that gets fed the best food we can give her 2X a day. Sometimes she cleans her bowl and other times she doesn’t but might return later to finish. She does get table scraps becuase we can’t resist.

    I agree that dogs like to be regimented and get confused if there feeding schedule is changed.

    Molly’s weight is right on target. She gets walked 4X a day and everyone says she doesn’t look her age. We will continue her feeding schedule, it works for Molly and us.

    [Reply]

  67. Debbie says:

    My vote is twice a day feeding. We have 3 dogs. Old English Sheep(Rescue),Bull Terrier Beagle Mix(Rescue) and a Corgi. When one of my pups doesn’t eat. I know to be on guard in case a vet needs to be called. Sometimes are female Crogi doesn’t eat one of her meals. If she doesn’t eat the next meal then we really watch her. They can become dehydrated very quickly and you can lose them. By feeding twice a day you see the warning signs alot quicker.

    [Reply]

  68. christine cullen says:

    We actually worried about our female Golden not getting enough food, but we leave it out and she eats whenever she feels like it, and I noticed after exercise outdoors, she comes to the dish immediately then, I guess we will leave it like this as she is happy and not overweight, she is eating what she needs I guess.

    [Reply]

    jess Reply:

    goldens r the. best! i have a golden named lucy and she is the best dog ever

    [Reply]

  69. simone says:

    I feed my dogs twice a day. A light breakfast at around 9.am and a heavier meal in the evening at 7.pm. Sometimes, they don’t want breakfast. Sometimes, they need more than a light one. I never leave unfinished food in their plates.

    [Reply]

  70. Pam says:

    Years ago I had a lab/shepherd mix, Molly, that I’d meal feed twice a day. That worked great for her. Once, she stopped eating and was drinking a lot of water. I found out that the cat had chewed a hole in the dog food bag and both of them were self-feeding. Of course I only noticed this after a $200 vet bill for tests! I now have a pure german shepherd, Mischa, 11 months old. I tried meal feeding her from the start but she only eats a few small bites at a time and chews every bite. (Molly used to inhale her food). Now I put a certain amount of food in the bowl and keep an eye on when she eats. She grazes all day. When the bowl is empty I refill it. I work at home so I have the ability to monitor her eating since her bowl is in the same room as my office. Mischa’s reward is natural biscuits and play. She loves to play! But she still can be taught using small treats. I say, whatever works for your dog and you is what you should do. Mischa’s best friend, Sophia, a golden retriever/lab mix, same age, inhales her food and my friend has to feed her 3 times a day a small bit at a time so she digests it properly.

    [Reply]

  71. Helen says:

    We feed raw so wouldn’t leave that out all day! It would be gone anyway. Our 10 year old golden retriever gets two meals per day. We follow Dr. Karen Becker’s recommended feeding guide. Raw muscle meat, liver, heart, pureed fresh vegetables, raw eggs, can sardines and some supplements. Works beautifully!

    [Reply]

  72. Debbie says:

    My 4 1/2-year-old, 45-lb Golden Doodle eats twice//day, roughly on the schedule of 7:30 & 5:30. I say roughly, because life often gets in the way of maintaining a rigid schedule 🙂 She is flexible, however, and cleans her bowl thoroughly at each feeding. Elimination is almost immediate after eating.

    I’ve found that the recommended amounts on food packages are a little too generous, and she’s fed 1 c per feeding. In the morning, I add warm water and a powdered dietary supplement. She’s never fed people food, with the occasional exception of fruits & vegetables (never anything known to be toxic to dogs!). Treats are given with discrimination, such as for training. She is, however, a “counter-surfer,” and we have to be diligent in keeping human goodies out of her reach.

    Our new puppy will receive his 3 meals/day until he’s fully grown, then get on the same schedule as his big sister. Unless there’s no food guarding in evidence, they’ll be fed separately. The kibble I’ve chosen to feed is appropriate for both puppies & adults (recommended and used by the breeder from which both dogs come), a great convenience.

    [Reply]

  73. Elaine says:

    I’m with you on feeding two times a day. If given the right quantity at each meal, I can measure my dog’s enthusiasm for food,which gives me assurance of my dog’s good health. You are also right about properly determining her output timing.

    [Reply]

  74. Tom says:

    I have a German Shepard/Ausssie Shepard mix, about 7 months old. We put the recommended daily allowance in her bowl at about 9:00 am. She usually eats about 1/2 of it then. She’ll go potty about 1/2 hour later. She’ll eat the rest when I get home about 5:00 pm. She’s very athletic, I built an agility course in the back yard so she gets LOTS of exercise, and so do I. She’s only gained 3 pounds in a month, but is getting taller and her legs are very muscular. The vet and I feel she’ll maybe get about 40-45 pounds full grown, and she’ll keep that lean, lanky look.

    [Reply]

  75. Judy Stutts says:

    We have two male cockers and feed twice a day,small portions as they also get treats during the day for good behavior and training purposes. We use all natural dry food with the natural balance log mixed in. All food is 6% crude fat or less. We definitiely do not follow the diet recommendations on the dry dog food or log as we find they are way out of proportion to what they need. They both are trained to lie down beside their filled food bowls and when we give the signal they are allowed to partake. They eat side by side. One finishes earlier than the other and stands by incase the other leaves a nibble or two. We also watch so that if the finicky one doesn’t eat for some reason we can remove his food before the other one decides he wants more. My husband works from home and they follow him up to his office to receive their after meal dog biscuit treat. Meals times are usually around 8 am and 5 pm.

    [Reply]

  76. Lisa Miller says:

    I feed my dogs twice a day as I have cats and dogs and they all try to graze on eachother’s foods. I also like that fact that by feeding twice a day I am able to observe their eating habbits and know early if one of them are not feeding well due to a possible problem.

    [Reply]

  77. Rutheb says:

    I am in agreement with the majority here. I have two canines right now, Lilbit is a pom,six years old and
    very spoiled.

    Ginger is pound rescue, probably about a year old and extremely energetic! She is a mixed breed, with maybe some retriever and a bit of GS in the mix.

    I feed them twice a day, early morning, and late afternoon. They get canned Pedigree in the morning and kibble in the afternoon.

    I walk them both once a day for about two miles, though the pom only walks half that distance. I am
    disabled and use an electric cart, so Lilbit gets to ride in the front basket for half the trip!

    They do get treats throughout the day, mostly tidbits of people food, sometimes doggy treats.

    They are both in good health, happy to be alive and the joy of my life, though I also have four birds in the mix.

    [Reply]

  78. Jodi says:

    I have 2 St. Bernards who like some of the comments i’ve seen tend to eat more in the winter when they are more active than in the summer when its hot. Plus they just turned 2 years so they have been growing like weeds. I feed them 2 times a day, sometimes 3 if they have had a busy day. However they don’t eat if they are not hungry and some days will graze, but always seem to eat at the same time in the evening even if its leftover from breakfast. I guess I got lucky that I have particular pups because they rarely eat out of each others bowls so I can almost always tell who’s eaten and who hasn’t. We have been working on some behavior issues and this is one debate that surfaced graze vs scheduled). I don’t like my dogs being without food and water when I am not home, but I have noticed a difference since I have been pulling in the food dish after an hour or so whether its eaten or not. ( found this by accident because they like to share with the birds and squirrels who only give them an hour before they steal it)

    [Reply]

  79. I’ve had nine dogs over the past 52 years. Sometimes there was one, sometimes there were two at a time. If the dog is a “chow hound” we fed it two times a day. If it wasn’t, which was most of my dogs, they were free fed. None of my dogs were ever over weight. In general, they were all healthy and lived appropriately on lives. My present dog is a rescued greyhound. She has dry food in her bowl all day and gets one can of food once while I have dinner. She gets some treats after dinner. Sometimes she finishes the canned food, and sometimes she doesn’t. I believe that after the dog is housetrained, free feeding dry food such as kibble will let the dog know that it doesn’t have to scarf the food because it’s already there. As long as the dog doesn’t gain too much weight, it’s a great way to go. All of your dog’s actions, not just missing a meal, will tell you when your dog is sick. My greyhound is now 12 and in perfect health.

    [Reply]

  80. Candace says:

    I believe that puppies should be fed 3-4 meals when really young and then backed off to no more then 3 meals as they get older.
    Then depending on the size of the dog they should be fed once or twice a day with a morning snack and a bed time snack. If it one of the really large breed dogs then they should get 2 meals and take away a snack. I’m not talking about the little bite size snacks either. Those don’t count.

    I have a shepard/lab x and she is given an x large dog biscuit in the morning, fed at 5pm, and then given another x large dog biscuit at night around 11 or 12 pm when they are brought in for the last time.
    My Shiba inu, gets half an xlarge biscuit at snack time with her meal at 5pm.
    My 5.5 month puppy, half Yorkie half Cairn, gets breakfast, which HE is weening off of, his supper at 5pm and he gets a medium dog biscuit for his bed time snack.

    my big dog would be really fat if she were allowed to feed herself. So would the Shiba was 40 lbs over weight so she is not allowed to self feed either. Thus, the little dog will not be allowed either.

    [Reply]

  81. Peggy says:

    We have 4 dogs – 2 small, 2 larger labradoodles. We feed 2x/day – morning and evening. I can hear their stomachs grumble with hunger if it goes too long … and that makes me really sad! We portion out and then stay & monitor feeding time for many reasons – 1 dog will eat herself into a coma if not watched & so that we can make sure everyone is healthy & eager. We feed a good quality food and based on our vet’s recommendation we took the bag recommended daily portion for each size, and then reduced it by a third and then divide that into 2 feedings each day. Our dogs have some physical activity but not tons. Feeding this amount in this way we have 4 healthy weight dogs. Morning feeding usually has a little canned food & water mixed in, but evening is dry kibble. If anyone does not finish, we remove the bowls. We do not feed table food. We provide a little snack with training reinforcement/fun (sit, down, stay, handshake, kiss) at bedtime. Several times a week they get a rawhide or other appropriate chewy. Oh, and we got the holders that raise the bowls higher for the larger dogs (also at our vet’s recommendation). Aids eating posture, digestion, etc.

    [Reply]

  82. Paula Rindal says:

    Is there anyone out there that self feeds their Berner? OMG! I have always self fed my dogs until now. What a difference a breed makes. I feed my one year old twice a day. There is no doubt in my mind that given the chance my Bernese Mountain dog would eat herself into bloat induced grave. I know the breed is very prone to obesity and due to their size and short life span I want to be very careful. I often wonder if she is getting enough to eat though. My wonderful pup ate an entire maple pecan pie from Costco yesterday! Can’t leave anything on the kitchen counter! Any other Berner owners with similar stories?

    [Reply]

  83. Ellen G says:

    I have a 17 month old beagle and he is fed half of his daily portion in the morning and the other half around 5-6 pm. He does get small treats during the day. If he was allowed to free feed, he would be like a little sofa! The vet is amazed that he has ” a good shape” cause most of the beagles she sees are too chunky. Our previous dog was also meal fed, but would not overeat. I think it depends on the appetite of the pooch. We also have a cat and she is allowed to munch thru the day on dry, but gets a small portion of wet food am and pm.

    [Reply]

  84. Rafee'a says:

    I feed my GSD dog 3 times a day. He’s been quite the fussy eater and we’ve finally settled on meals consisting of chicken and meat products and rarely some dog junks (justto add variety). I feel that feeding him 3 times works well because I am able to give him smaller meals and he can exercise himself during the day so he doesn’t get fat. It also ensures that your dog is reminded that your are is care-giver and that he needs to obey you and recognize you as the authorative figure in his life. Feeding many meals also promotes food safety as your dogs food is not left exposed to flies and germs. Im sure none of us would like eating sometthing that’s been left open for hours on end……………. My dog is my son, my little baby and his health, safety and happiness are most important to me 🙂

    [Reply]

  85. Simone says:

    I don’t feel there is any special feeding set in stone. I think every dog is different.

    I have a Labradoodle that will be 3 years old on 1/1/12 and she was a crate trained puppy and I did not leave food in her crate with her during the day. I have always left her food out for her at all times when she’s out of her crate. She always eats at night when we eat our dinner and then I fill her bowl back up after she is done and it’s always there when I get home the following day for the next nights dinner.

    I also have a 15 year old Dachshund and leave her food out all day as well. She likes to nibble through out the day but seldom will eat more then a bowl a day.

    They never take food from the other dogs bowl

    Like I said…. whatever works for you and your dog. I just got lucky with both dogs!!

    [Reply]

  86. lysette says:

    I have a 2 year old female german shepherd (rescue dog) I feed her once a day a supper but \i find she is always ravished…so now \i give her a little at breakfast and a few treats……..she did nit know what a treat was at the beginning would not eat them……..now she can’t get enough.

    [Reply]

  87. I feed my 10 lb. six year old Shih Tzu 1/2 cup of moistened dry food for sensative stomach in the morning and again about 5 p.m. Once in awhile she will go up to 2 days not eating anything, then she goes back to normal eating schedule. Must be her own K9 diet to keep her weight down. Very common with that breed. Even though she has irritable bowel syndrome I’ve been able to switch flavors from chicken and rice to beef and rice and now venison and brown rice. The change seems very welcome, I’d get mighty tired of eating the same thing day in and day out. She sure notices the difference.

    [Reply]

  88. Dave Magnus says:

    I have a Pom/shitzu 6 months old
    i feed him three times a day as a puppy
    now that he is about his full size i notice his eating habits have changed
    so i will switch to two feedings a day with a treat in between
    because he is teething he gets a lot of chew “bones” for lack of a better word (no leather all organic) and he seems to get some nutritional value from them
    also he does get a few treats during the day and night no human food
    thanks Dave

    [Reply]

  89. Christine Bennett says:

    I have always free fed my dogs and have never had an obese or even slightly fat dog. I have a 7 month old shepherd right now and his bowl is always empty so I feed him like a teenager – often- but I use his hunger as an opportunity to do a little training 5 minutes or so. One quick note about the heel page. Sorry I’m blonde but I found it confusing (the Description). I take Harley for a walk without a leash most of the time as I live in the country and have been really focusing on the “come” with lots of treats and demonstrative body language.Now I would like to add “heel”. I am trying to speak “Doginese” so I can cross the species-barrier but I’m still stuggling. It makes life interesting though to look at the world through a dog’s eyes so I’ll keep trying.

    [Reply]

  90. Margaret says:

    My 1 1/2 year old boxer is the least food motivated dog I have ever had. I feed him twice a day but literally have to stand there and watch him eat, if not he will leave the food so he he can play and get attention. I have tried every brand of food thinking he was just picky and didn’t like it and I’ve tried doctoring up the flavor with various things but he would just as soon leave any food you put in front him for play and affection. If I leave it and walk away it only serves to feed the birds. He will eat treats when I’m trying to train him put some time he even spits those out. I wish I had the same attitude towards food I’d look like a super model!

    [Reply]

  91. maureen says:

    I have 2 labs, a 4year old & a 1year old. I feed them 2x a day, 7:30 am & 5:30pm. They eat the same amount of food, 2 1/2 cups in the am , 1 cup in the pm. The am meal is mixed with a touch of wet canned food to spice it up , & the pm meal is just dry. This has been working out well for me. I give them a treat after their last walk of the day.

    [Reply]

  92. Val says:

    I’ve been feeding my two dogs (10 yrs and 1 yr) breakfast so they poop in the morning. They also get chews (the pup is still pretty mouthy) during the day, and in the evening there are some treats, usually with training exercises. There’s no time for training in the morning. This way, they get about two meals, depending on how hard we train, and they are always motivated to train. And there is no pooping during the training.

    Free feeding is just not in the plan for my dogs. But the cats free feed. And as I monitor the cat boxes, I do know when something is amiss with their eating. I even know with which cat, as they will each choose certain spots to poop.

    [Reply]

  93. peggy jaynes says:

    I had a rescue puppy at the age of four and a half months old at first he just about ate every thing in sight he is six months now and enjoys three meals a day. is very active so I will continue too feed three meals a day.This way I can keep tabs on what he is eating .he also did not know what a treat was but being a passive way of traing he knows what a treat is now

    [Reply]

  94. Margaret. says:

    Hi,
    I have a five year old Rottweiler called Rupert and he is fed three times a day on dry food.

    [Reply]

  95. Patrice says:

    We feed our dog in the morning (with the prepare soft food)but she always have a bowl of hard food and she eats when she wants (She never have eaten as if there was no tomorrow) I really think it depends with each dog as i have seen friends dogs eat whatever was in a bowl at anytime right away

    [Reply]

  96. Lexi says:

    I have been feeding my 22 month old GSD Kirkland brand (from Costco), since he was a puppy. After he turned 8 months I changed him from three meals to two meals daily. He is at an awesome weight, for his size, however he recently has shown signs of allergies to his food. I have (slowly), tried to switch his brand, but he seems to be more allergic to the new food than the previous. The poor boy is constantly itchy, so I am very glad I am home most days to distract him from scratching. I think the kibble route isn’t working out for him, so I would like to switch him to raw, however I really have no idea what or how much of what would keep him as healthy in size and weight as he is now. D’Artagnon is 105 lbs, and I think any drop in weight would make him too skinny so I need to be very careful. Any advice?

    [Reply]

    witz Reply:

    I am not familar with the Kirkland brand, but it might be worse trying a grain free kibble, especially for the skin issues. Some dogs have some reactions to foods with grains in them. They range in price, but if you go to Doggiefood.com, you can check out a number of options at a good prices and very low shipping cost. I have used Acana with my pup and have been very happy.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I suggest talking to your vet first.

    [Reply]

    Deb Wood Reply:

    after 14 years of food allergies and the ultra zd gold food AND prescription allergy meds….i finally switched to feeding raw. the allergies just disappeared. no more licking,itching,and being miserable. that old dog will turn 17 this january. i buy my food on line from SitStay.com. They have an entire line of only the best foods. They also have a very knowledgable staff to answer your questions. Try raw…your dog will love you for it.
    Have you ruled out a yeast infection? Remember when you ask your vet about a raw diet, you will most probably be told no way….but remember, they don’t sell raw food…they do sell science diet/etc…and those prescription foods have nothing that is prescription….it is marketing.
    Tuesdays at sitstay.com have a gooddog discount of 10%. try them…talk to them….tell Deb and Miles and Louie sent you.

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Have an 11 month old GSD. Tried to switch to adult food too soon and caused itching and hair loss. Went back to puppy food and have since found out that my dog will not be full grown until 2 years old.
    Now only buy food with meat as first ingredient & no corn or corn byproducts on list. She now is happy and coat is wonderful.

    [Reply]

  97. Doreen says:

    I feed our 3 year old Fox Terrier twice a day. She isn’t a big eater and even though I give her a small protion – about 1/2 cup of canned or home-cooked meat and vegetables, she often leaves a bit of it. The vet says she is getting fat but I disagree. I also put down some dry food after she finishes her wet food. Sometimes she eats a bit of it. I wish she preferred the dry food but she is fussy.
    Twice a day feeding suits my schedule. I work from a home office so take her for a “potty walk” three times a day – after breakfast, lunch, and after her dinner. She is very regular and does both her potties on the walk – never in the house.

    [Reply]

  98. Richard says:

    I have always fed my Beagles twice a day. Their main meal is breakfast, between 7 am and 9 am. I give them each 1 cup of dry dog food (Iams or Dog Chow) with one tablespoon of Alpo canned dog food as an appetizing topping. Then, at around 2 pm, I give them each 1/2 cup of either Iams or Dog Chow along with a biscuit treat. I always keep my Beagles a little bit on the hungry side. This way, they will not gain weight. As you all know, Beagles are food driven and prone to weight gain (obesity) if their food intake is not controlled. They also get plenty of exercise in their large outdoor fenced pen.
    By keeping them a little hungry, they respond very well to obedience training using treats to reward them when they do well.
    My 4 year old Beagle, Jack, was trained to sit on command before I would give him a treat. Now, when he sees a treat, he sits without any command, wagging his tail excitedly, fully expecting to be rewarded.
    The two meal a day plan has always worked well for my Beagles.

    [Reply]

  99. Irene says:

    I feed once per day, but will put kibble in their treat dispensing toys on some days. I also do not feed at the same time every day, so they never know when it’s coming. I found if I did it too regularly they would pester, whine and get overly excited (leading to vomiting occasionally after). They love their food (two Dachshunds a supremely food motivated breed) and would have obesity and the therefore back problems if I did not meal feed. They are svelt and their coats are super shiny. Occasionally I will skip a day. I know some will think this shocking but if you look at the dog packs in the wild – they definitely do not eat on a daily basis, more like weekly. So just like we ‘fast’ for a day here and there, so do my dogs. I have a miniature Dacchy and a standard, I feed the miniature more as he is more energetic and seems to burn his food faster, he is a slower eater than the standard who, if she could, would steal his food and everybody elses!

    [Reply]

  100. Patti Simon says:

    I have 2 dogs from the same litter, Hercules a German shepard/yellow lab mix who weighs around 100 lbs. and his sister, Xena, a German shepard/collie (of some sort, I think) mix who weighs about 60 lbs. They are 12 1/2 yrs. old and I feed them once in the morning when I get up and again in the afternoon from about 2:30 up to 5:00, depending on when I am home. If I’m home in the afternoon, they will start nudging my arm at about 2:30 to let me know it’s time to feed them. They will both eat their bowl of food within a few minutes. When Hercules is finished, he waits for Xena to finish, then he goes over and licks out her bowl. Hercules gets 2 cups of dry dog food at each feeding and Xena gets one.

    At times, Hercules has edged up to 120 lbs. and when he starts looking thick through the middle, I take away 1 cup of food and replace it with a can of green beans. I put just a few green beans in Xena’s bowl because she seems to like them too. Within a few weeks, Hercules will be back down to 100 lbs. and we go back to the regular feeding. This year I switched them to the Senior version of Iams. My husband likes to give them treats, so I buy the small Milk Bone treats even though they are large dogs.

    We also walk them twice a day on a leash, and sometimes off the leash (after they’ve pooped) because Xena loves to run. Hercules simply walks beside me off-leash. They also get to go outside numerous times throughout the day, although other than chasing squirrels up in the trees when they first go outside, they mostly just lie in the grass and watch things going on around them. (My yard is not fenced, so they have a very wide view of things.)

    [Reply]

  101. PETER says:

    wE HAVE A 10 MONTH OLD ENGLISH SPRINGER SPANIEL BITCH CALLED “LILY”. AS A REALLY YOUNG PUPPY, SHE WAS FED 4 TIMES A DAY, THEN AT 6MONTHS, DOWNTO 3, NOW DOWN TO 2 FEEDS A DAY. HER 1ST FEED IS BETWEEN 8.30-9.30 DEPENDING ON WHEN SHE’S HAD HER 1ST WALK, AND SHE’S FED ON REUTN. HER 2ND MEAL IS AROUND 6.30, AFTER WE’VE EATEN. HER FOOD ALLOWANCE IS DIVIDED INTO 2 PORTIONS, S WE KNOW EXACTLY HOW MUCH SHE’S EATEN. sHE TOO HAS ALLERGIES, MOSTLY RELATED TO WHEAT PRODUCTS, BUT ALSO FINDS IT HARD TO TOLERATE BEEF AND PORK. HER DRIED FOOD IS NOW A LAMB AND RICE MIX, LOW IN PROTEIN WHICH IS A FORM OF LOW RESIDUE FOODSTUFF. SINCE ADOPTING THIS REGIME (2 FEEDS AND LOW PROTEIN) WE HAVE HAD NO FURTHER INCIDENCES OF BOUTS OF DIARRHOEA AND HER SKIN PROBLEMS HAVE DISAPPEARED. wE KNOW IF SHE’S “OUT OF SORTS” AS HER FEEDS ARE MONITORED.

    [Reply]

  102. Judith says:

    I feed my puggle twice a day unless she doesn’t eat in the morning. Her food is in her dish until she is ready to eat it. If she is real hungry in the morning she will eat her food and then I won’t feed her again until evening. Many days she will go with just one meal. It is her choice not mine. She is actually a couple of pounds over weight and this is her way of eating. However; there are some treats during the day and I believe she passes up her good food for the treats and then when evening comes and she doesn’t get anything else she will eat her food in her dish. She really doesn’t get too many treats that she couldn’t eat her meal, but chooses not to eat it many days.

    [Reply]

  103. Christine says:

    I have always fed my foxie twice a day since she was old enough as she will steal anything edible from anywhere and is very prone to putting on weight. She is inclined to be a little over weight at the moment so have to look out for her. She is eleven years old and very fit and active as are all foxies.
    I always get a freindly welcome when I get home at eleven at night and an escort to where the food is kept just so I don’t forget.

    [Reply]

  104. Lori says:

    I have 3 small rescued pomeranians and we used to feed them twice a day but they were just impossible to housebreak and our schedules change constantly. The one constant is that one of us is always home between 4 and 5 pm. So, they get one meal at that time. In the morning they get biscuits or part of our breakfast-we DO give them human food. Meat, eggs, cheese, etc. Then they get fed a regular meal of high quality dog food-dry and canned mixed that they finish or come close to finishing-then they go out for potty. They go out again after our dinner-usually 8pm-because they usually get some of our food. And then they go out around midnight for the last time. None of them are food aggressive, but they also know their places. They each have their own bowls, with their own place mats, in 3 far corners of the kitchen and we’ve trained them to not interrupt each other while eating. Free feeding would be glorious, but when you have 3 tiny dogs where weight can be an issue, I just don’t see how it’s possible. We’ve always had multiple dogs and have always had to feed 1-3x a day depending on their health needs.

    [Reply]

  105. Belinda says:

    I feed my golden once a day and try to walk her at least 2-3 times a week. She is 8 months now. She will only eat at night. We tried to feed her twice a day but she prefered just being fed at night.

    [Reply]

  106. Doug says:

    We have a 13 year old Sheltie that eats a main meal in the morning and gets a snack in the evening and we have a 1 year old Puggle that eats twice a day. which is the reason the Sheltie gets a snack in the evening.

    [Reply]

  107. Elaine says:

    I vote for two meals a day.

    [Reply]

  108. Morgan says:

    Dear Peggy,

    I am eleven years old and own two miniature dachshunds. They are six years old, and I feed them two cups of food a day: one in the morning and one at night. Each get a half a cup. One of my dogs eats to fast, so we put his in one of those dishes divided into four sections. They don’t seem to want to eat more than that, so I think that a dog should eat in the morning and at night. The amount of food depends on the dog. I’d say a half a cup for small dogs and a whole cup for big cups.

    I hope you read this!!

    P.S- sorry if that’s not your real name. I got it off the first post I read 🙂

    [Reply]

  109. Deb Wood says:

    I feed twice daily. Light meal of kibble in am and raw meat/kibble at night. I want my dogs to know where their food is coming from…..me. When I am training, I want to know just how hungry my little student is. Click and treat learning is much faster if you have a hungry student.

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  110. Arnold says:

    I have a 7 month old Aust Terrier, which I feed once a day, however he gets treats during the day while training, or just as rewards. This seems to work fine with him, and I am sure he is never hungry as he is slow to eat his evening meal
    Take care Arnold

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  111. Susan says:

    I feed my two rescued greyhounds, the foster greyhounds and the cats 2x a day, about 6am and 6pm. The greys eat like vacuum cleaners, and lick each other’s dishes. On cat is on medication (prednizone) and gets very hungry, and tells me so, while the other eats the dry kibble one kibble at a time, and sometimes I have to put the dish awaay because he hasn’t finished before his hungry brother.
    Daylight savings time has been a problem, as their stomachs do not have a clock to trun badk. Everyone is here at my feet and on my computer as I write this….at 5:30pm.
    I feed the dogs about 1/4 to 1/2 cup more now that it is cold, because they go outside, the cats don’t.

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  112. Lestine Byars says:

    We have four little ankle nippers all rescued. We fed as you suggested 2x daily. The poodle spaniard mix was badly abused. At first he would only eat on the run from the food dish that we left out all day. He would snatch a piece of dry food and run under the table or a chair, wait for a opportunity to snatch another piece. The other dogs would eat when they were hungry, while Malcolm would spend most of his time eating and running. If I had treats, he get his first put, it where he thought it to be safe and come back for another. In the meantime, Kwanzaa, the poodle would eat his treat then get in line to get her treat, he would return and franticly look for the first treat to no avail. They are funny, I call the little darling my destressers. I love them, but they only eat breakfast is served from 6:00am – 7:30am dinner is 6:00pm – 7:30pm. Their food of coice is Wellness.

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  113. corky says:

    My 13 lb coton de tulear only eats at dinner time when we eat. I use food for training 2 times a day so I ensure that the measurements are controlled. He will not eat in the morning or mid-day. I get a kick out of it. He will just walk away. So I settled on the dinner time and he seems very content.

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  114. lynn riddle says:

    PLEASE GIVE MORE INFO REGARDING RAW CHICKEN NECKS. I WOULD BE
    TERRIFIED OF SOME ILLNESS IN UNCOOKED CHICKEN. I ALSO THOUGHT
    REAL CHICKEN BONES WERE TO BE AVOIDED BECAUSE THEY CAN SPLINTER.

    COULD YOU GET A VET TO COMMENT ON THIS PLEASE.

    I FEED LATE MORNING AND LATE EVENING. MY PUG LIKES TO EAT WHEN
    HER HUMANS ARE EATING. IF YOU TRIED TO FREE FEED HER SHE WOULD
    “BUST A GUT” IN A MATTER OF MINUTES.

    [Reply]

  115. Julie says:

    I believe it is the temperment of the dog as well as the environment of the household that determines the best way to feed. We have a 13 year old Lab/English Setter and a 8 month old Maltipoo. They have their own food and water dishes that are refilled as they are emptied. Both dogs eat when they are hungry. They do not over eat, nor are they over weight, according to our Vet. Neither one of them begs for food when we are eating, and the puppy will even sleep curled up aside my knee on the recliner when I have a plate on my lap or burger in my hand. Although, both of them will look and wait to lick the yogurt cup when they hear the spoon scrape the cup! We also have two cats. One is a regal, sleek cat while his brother is a brick! We found that it is not their eating habits that make the one cat so large, it is heredity. Other grown kittens from the same mother are either petite or huge in each of her four litters. The siblings that are double pawed tend to turn into the large size cats in this family. We can easily see changes in our pets health as they are usually within feet of one of us. Both dogs, and often even the cats, will ring the bells hanging on the back door to go out. They do their thing, then come right in unless we are out with them. We love all of them!

    [Reply]

  116. Louise says:

    I have 2 Golden Retrievers. Both female. The oldest one is 2 yrs and the younger one is 16 months. I feed both twice a day. If I Fed them 10 times a day they would eat. They have both been neutered so I’m conscious they will be over weight if i over feed. They are happy and healthy with lots of energy so I reckon its working for them. My vet is happy with their weight.

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  117. Diana says:

    I’ve got three cats which are obviously free feeders and two chihuahua which are somewhere between both methods. I measure out their daily amount of food and have it on the floor all day but they are only able to eat when someone is home due to crating them when we’re out. I tried switching to pure meal feeding due to my difficulty in house breaking but found that they would devour the cat food it they don’t have food in their bowels. With that being said only my male seems to have an actual schedule for himself on eating. He seems to like first thing in the morning and sometime between 8 and 10 pm. I don’t have much issue with his bathroom habits. My girl on the other hand seems to be more of a grazer and more problematic with appropriate bathroom habits. Now I do feel that with a breed as small as the chihuahua that it is important to allow access to food all the time until they are a minimum of 16 weeks. By this age they are normally big enough to hold their sugar levels to switch to two meals a day.

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  118. ingrid says:

    We feed our dogs 2xday. They are both trim. They get a snack midday. They go to the dog park 2x day. We do lots of walking during the week. On the beach, and on trails.

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  119. Jeff H says:

    I meal feed my dogs once a day. They do get a treat in the morning but it is a small treat after they go out and do their business. They seem to do fine. I do notice one dog goes around and sneaks food from the other’s bowls when she thinks I am not looking though.

    [Reply]

  120. Ina Ellsworth says:

    There is always food in my pup’s bowl, and she eats a little bit several times a day. She is a very active 9-months-old, and this systems suits us both fine.

    [Reply]

  121. Glenn says:

    When we got our rescue dog, our vet said to feed him 3 1/2 cups of dry food a day (he’s a 1 1/2 yr. old black Lab) and to just put it in his bowl in the morning and let him eat when he wanted to. He ate so fast that by ‘dinner’ time, he was roaming around. So we now feed him 2 cups in the morning, and 1 1/2 cups at night and that is the perfect formula..at least for our dog. He scarfs it down, but has a healthy appetite, and is maintaining a perfect weight. I definitely feel that meal feeding rather than free feeding is the way to go. You have so much more control……plus you are the Alpha and he looks to you for his food.

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  122. Zoe says:

    I have lost one of my dogs to cancer which promped me to do a lot of research in finding the reson behind his illness….the main 2 big killers are: Diet and too many vaccinations.
    Now I have 2 dogs, 3 years and 1 year young. One of them was a rescued dog, very sick. I used alternative medicine; herbs, homeopathic,supplements and the proper Diet…..She is good now.
    Their feeding program is: main meal in the morning ( between 7am-9am)which is 60% RAW meat( beef or chicken or Kangaroo etc..-DO NOT combine the meats!!) + 15% Organs( liver+hearts+kidney etc..- from the same animal you feed the meat) +25% Veggies( broccoli,cos lettuce,kale,zucchini,pumpkin,cauliflower,asparagus…)and I give them supplements: Calcium carbonate( MCHA) +Magnesium carbonate+ MSM+ COQ10+ VitE+ VitC( Camu Camu)
    The second meal is between 1pm-3pm….just few pieces of raw meat or 1-2 salmon cut small pieces( depends how big is the dog)
    Around 5pm-6pm….1 capsule Cod Liver Oil+ pinch of butter for better absorbtion.
    This works wonders for the health of the animal….they come back to life in weeks….just incredible!
    A great website that has got a lot of free information about dog nutrition is : http://www.essentials4all.org

    [Reply]

  123. Traci says:

    In nature animals often can and will go days without eating. I think it is important to remember this in keeping a dog healthy. Dogs are not humans and especially Americans we are very spoiled, hence our animals are spoiled. I think it’s ok for a dog to go 24hrs without eating. I think it’s beneficial for a person to go 24hrs without eating. We love our animals, but we are not obsessed with them. We feed them twice a day and sometimes once on rare busy occasions. They get their check ups and lots of love, but they absolutely do not run the house. They live with us, not the other way around.

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  124. Kat says:

    I have a 5 month old Heeler mix. She is fed twice a day, BUT I don’t put the bowl down & pick it up ten minutes later. Since she was 8 weeks old, Kailee has only eaten when she’s hungry. I’d put her bowl down, she’d sniff it, and come back two hours later to eat it. So even though her food bowl is in her crate until it is empty, she is only fed a certain amount a day. At night, if she hasn’t finished her dinner, I pick the bowl up and use it towards her breakfast. She was never one of those puppies who devoured their meal in 30 seconds, and because of it, she has never been fed three times a day. I actually have a really hard time keeping weight on her, because if we go anywhere, she won’t eat as much and drops weight almost instantly; which then takes a few days to come back up. She gets a walk daily, unless she has other dogs to play with, and burn off her excess energy, and we play fetch down the long hallway in the house through out the day. I live in the mountains, and the snow is always fun to play with.

    She doesn’t pester if I lose track of time and feed her a bit late. The only time I notice is if I’m sitting in my bed, and she glances up at her food bowl, which is kept on top of her crate. She also does this when she’s sitting at the edge of the kitchen, and glances at her treat box on top of the fridge. She only gets those when she’s good and stays out of the kitchen. Also, if I know I’m going to be gone and leave her food early, [like tonight] often times I’ll come home and there will still be some in it.

    [Reply]

  125. Droopy Dogg says:

    I have sit here for the past hour or so reading all these comments on how often to feed dogs and puppies and stuff and I just had to say that ALL dogs and ALL puppies are different. My puppy’s name is Droopy and we call him Droop Dogg most of the time. That’s what he responds to…lol. He is just over 8 weeks and he’s my baby. I love him very much!!! I feed him 3 times a day plus potty treats all throughout the day so he learns not to pee on mommy’s floor. He’s very active and healthy. My point is though that not all puppies should eat 3 times a day. Some should eat more and some should eat less. It all really depends on the dogs body. I mean think about it. Dogs are just like people (I think, anyway). I myself have a high metabolism and HAVE to eat at least 3 times a day (sometimes 4 or 5, but don’t tell my hubby…lol). Speaking of my hubby, he can live on 1 meal a day. Don’t ask me how cause I can’t even grasp the idea of it. But anyway I think it’s a matter of when and what the dog/puppy’s mommy/daddy wants to give them as long as they are healthy.

    [Reply]

  126. Ferdinand says:

    Meal feeding is best. Age determines number of feeding times. Young < 1 year feed 3 times, 1 year and older: Feed once a day to satisfaction.

    [Reply]

  127. Virginia says:

    Babette, our Boston/Rat Terrier is a year old now. When I got her at 4 months she was only 3.5 lbs. Went to the vet right away and they said she was healthy and they helped me develop a good schedule…now she is a year old, 14 lbs, very good looking dog…was at vet yesterday they are very happy….so she gets half cup dry in the morning, 1 or 2 spoons of wet at mid day, and half cup dry in the evenings….makes it clear when she needs to go out. We have 30 acres and she has complete run of the property….out to see the horses everyday, chase squirrels, and dig holes….thats what rat terriers do…
    Awsome little girl, doing clicker training with some liver treats and she works on something new every week….so happy I found this site it has helped us alot!

    [Reply]

  128. Dabs says:

    I now have a 6 month American Pitbull, I started her out feeding her 3x’s a day@ 7 weeks, now it is 2x’s and I may have to start her up again at 3x’s as she loves to play and run a lot, but she has a new attraction that she demands me to allow her to do and that is to run on my treadmill. YES I did say Treadmill!!! I get up and let her out of her crate and she walks into the kitchen and jumps on the treadmill and sits and waits till I get in and turn it on for her, so I am figuring she may need more food to burn because she is being so active. I don’t want to take the treadmill away from her because she loves it so much. Can anyone tell me if this is a good idea?

    Oh by the way “I HIGHLY RECOMMEND” Rachael Ray’s dog food and cookies. It’s all natural and it’s healthy for your dogs!

    [Reply]

  129. Laurie says:

    I have 2 cats, 2 rats, and 1 14 month dog. 1 cat, 1 rat, and the dog are overweight. The cats and rats are free fed all day. Like Chet said, 1 cat eats too much, the other doesn’t get enough. One rat eats too much, the other is fine. I give the dog too many treats. I’m working on a solution, as my dog will also steal the cat food when I’m not looking. I feed the cats in a closet/storage room but the dog still sneaks in there. My one cat who is quite slim is always hungry. So to satisfy him I sneak him food when the others are not around. It is hard when you have more than one pet to get the feeding down. The male thin cat will only eat a very small amount each time, but then the next time he goes to get something to eat the other cat or dog ate it. I feed my dog twice a day. 1/3 of his daily ration for breakfast as I give him a Kong with the remaining morning ration in his kennel when I go to work.The last of his ration at supper time. Buuutttt……I give him treats in between as well. We cut out all treats made for dogs and he only gets real food for other treats, like lean chicken/meat, broccoli (he likes it), frozen peas, cheese(mostly for training) or whatever I might be eating as long as it is not fatty, salty, consist of grains or on the taboo list of dangerous foods for dogs(he likes watermelon). I think he is slowly losing some weight. We will be weighing him at the vet next time we need to buy food. I could not even imagine only feeding my dog once a day. He is always hungry after a walk/run/playtime, so I time his walks before his meals. And then there are our training sessions, again he is getting food for rewards. I agree that meal feeding is best, it is how I tell if my animals are sick. If my dog doesn’t eat his meal then I know something is wrong. Just last weekend he didn’t touch his breakfast, so I was watching his stools to see what that looked like, and yup, he had diarrhea, and he was moping around all day. So I just kept a close eye on him, watched his food intake, and his output and by the second day he was back to normal. I think he got into something outside. I base the state of my animals by what they eat and drink. The minute they change their usual habits I’m momma eagle eye.

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  130. steve says:

    I prefer 2 times, largely because i have to go to work.My dogs enjoy feeding time with me.
    it also helps with cleaning their ‘bathroom’

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  131. Stephanie says:

    I am a meal feeder feeding my two males in their crates. I feed twice a day. Doors to crates are open. This way I can make sure each dog is eating amd getting the proper amount of food.

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  132. Kathy says:

    I feed twice a day very siccessfully

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  133. William says:

    I feed my 6 year old Brittany mix dog once a day. I feed her senior dry dog food like I have fed several of the dogs we have had. None of them ever had a weight problem. She came out of a dog pound in Shreveport when the hurricane Katrina went through. She was not in the storm but just in the dog pound. My daughter, who lives in Idaho, went down went with a group of volunteers for the Humane Society and took just under 200 dogs and cats back to make room for the animals that were in the hurricane. My daughter picked out a dog and said we should adopt it. So we did. We named her Katrina. It ended up that she had a bad hip and an X-ray showed the ball was shattered. Probably hit by a car before she was picked up and put in the dog pound. A vet operated and used muscle in place of a new ball. He said to keep her under 35 pounds. So I weight her quite often and adjust her food. About 5 PM or after, she comes up to me and jumps up and puts her front feet on me about at my belt line and looks up at me. She wants her dinner. So I feed her. She never jumps up on me at any other time. To me, the best way to control the weight of a dog is to weight the dog every month or two and then adjust the food if necessary. An easy way to weight a dog is to stand on a normal scale with and without the dog in your arms, and do the math.

    [Reply]

  134. Adriana says:

    I have a very active 18 months old male border collie/husky. I feed him twice a day: early morning and late afternoon. I mix his kibble with a spoon of yogourt or 1/2 cup of homemade soup (with beef and some veggies). Because he gets treats throughout the day and gets extra food with his meals, I always give him a little less than the recommended daily intake.

    According with his vet and his trainer, he is not only in good heath but also he has high energy.

    I agree with some of you guys. Feeding him twice a day helps me to control his weight, to control his potty time, to give him always fresh foods, to reduce risk of bacteria in his food ( leaving fresh foods sit for longer periods of time out of the fridge, it is not recommended AT ALL) and, to be the BOSS. I’m the one who tells him when to eat !!!!!

    [Reply]

  135. Rhonda says:

    This has been very interesting indeed!
    In all the years I have had animals, many different kinds at that, I have tried all different ways to feed, and what I have discovered is each species seems to have their own peculiar, or is it “normal” way they would eat if out in the wild!
    Kind of second nature, or an instinct still innately deep within even though domesticated right down from horses to cats!

    We have domesticated our dogs, but as Tracy above and a few others mentioned, Dogs being closely related to their wild ancestors, the wolves and coyotes ate when they had food, but we have spoiled our pets and some are fed constantly, and some way too much, and of the wrong foods at that.
    True, in the wild, they eat when they have something to eat, and then they gorge themselves into oblivion not knowing when or where their next meal is going to be. Our beloved pets need not worry about that, but if Free Fed, that instinct could still be deeply rooted in some, and then you see obesity if they are a glutton!

    If you have more than one, as I do with 5 German Shepherds, I have been raising them for years now, I would be crazy to Free Feed! When I had only one, I used to Free feed until I realized it was only causing
    some premature issues to slowly arise, and stopped doing it that way.

    I must monitor what each one gets so I know what is happening in each Shepherd as far as eating habits as well as being able to monitor their weight as well. My 16 Yr old would more than likely over eat and kill herself!

    I have a Dry Dog food that I swear by (on my website, FoundTheBest) and I will feed NO other brand…and trust me, I have tried every brand on the market!
    They get that portion in the AM with Dr. Beckers Pet Enzymes.
    IN the Early Afternoon, they get a good portion of a raw meat mix. This gives them a nice balance of an excellent man made, and raw. Later, as treats or rewards, we do apple chunks or baby carrots, but in moderation. Too much of a good thing can be just as detrimental to your pets health.
    That’s my two cents for what it’s worth! It’s been enjoyable! Thank You!

    [Reply]

  136. david says:

    Please tell me how much i should be feeding my 4 month old siberian husky

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  137. Tony says:

    our dog is a golden retriever.3years old(sorry,3years young)we feed her twice a day 1 and a 1/2 cups of kibble biscuits a meal.if we add 4 raw chicken necks, we leave out the 1/2 cup.which brings the common point. we are able to control what she eats and how much. we can also observe her eating habbits(which are pretty discusting)we can change her diet, meat, fish, vegatables, whole raw egg.meal times vary, it is always after the humans then the cats then our wonderful dog Darning.she is healthy, extremely powerful for a retriever and weighs 31 kilo’s of pure lean muscle
    We supply plenty of water and allow her to drink out of the fish pond,its clean?chuck in ice cubes in summer for her to paddle in and catch the cubes(it also excersises the goldfish somewhat!!free feeding could teach your dog to eat anything it feels like, even bad food from a stranger,and then your opertunistic dog is a very sick dog and who taught it to eat whenever wherever…….you did.our dog is self taught not to eat from a stranger and will not eat off of strange ground,she only eats from our hands so to speak.it keeps her safe. she will eat at the vets
    if she needs to stay over.show your dog there is a time to eat, it keeps them stress free regarding hunger verses eating.cheers Tony

    [Reply]

  138. Tony says:

    yup me again ?
    never feed your dog cooked bones, they splinter. our dog has raw chicken necks ’cause she won’t eat any other “bones”.the vertabrae seperate with some powerful crunching and she grinds them up to suit herself.helps to keep her teeth healthy.cheers,Tony(chatterbox)

    [Reply]

  139. tony says:

    My one yr old Staffie bitch doesnt like ANY dog OR cat biscuis !
    Her appetite is fine and she loves the food from 150kg pouches.

    If I mix meat with biscuits, she seperates them and leaves biscuits everywhere !

    Should I be worrying?

    rsvp Tony

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  140. Alan says:

    We have always fed our dogs twice a day for(30 years) all the reasons mentioned,training to sit and wait,checking health,mannerisms and because we have children around we have to desensitise the dogs whilst they are eating (putting hands into their food and not being growled at)

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  141. Barry says:

    I free feed our Australia Shepherd mix. She doesn’t overeat. When we fed on meal plan, she became overly food aggressive. Having the food available all the time has been easier on all of us,(including the 2cats!) She gets regular exercise 4-5 days a week, usually a 5 mile walk and run. Any changes in her appetite show up, as she consumes roughly the same amount of food each day. Dish is only filled once a day.

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  142. Shawna says:

    Anyone know, exactly how much should a black lab eat if fed twice a day? How is it different if she is 5 weeks postpartum and in the process of weaning her pups. How much should 5 week old black lab pups be fed if fed 3 times daily. Also, what time of day? With the puppies, do they need to be fed really early and really late for their morning and night feedings, or is normal 7am and 6 pm ok for those?

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  143. Nita says:

    My little mini dachshund that I rescued eats only once a day. He was starved as a puppy with his first owner. I overheard Zach’s daddy say that he was going to put Zach to sleep because Zach is just in the way… daddy was not able to join the boys after work for Happy Hour because he had to check on Zach. When I overheard daddy saying this I asked him if he was actually going to do it, put Zach to sleep. I said no, I will take him without even knowing what kind of dog he was. So, daddy and I made arrangements to meet so that I could pick up Zach. When I did get him he looked so so bad. All you say was his ribs, looks as though daddy didn’t feed him. I took Zach to the vet the next day to get him checked out and he didn’t quite weigh 2 pounds. I asked the vet about how much should he weigh and she said between 9-11 pounds. The vet asked me to big Zach back in to see her in two weeks. After two weeks Zach weighed 8 pounds. This was back in 2005, I still have him and today I took him to the vet for shots and he weighed 9 1/2 pounds. I guess what I am getting at is that I put food down for him but he only eats if I am at home. If I am away he will not eat. I feed him in the kitchen and he will grab several morsels of food and come into the living room to see if I am still there, he does this about three times and when he figures out that I am staying at home and he will stay in the kitchen and eat.

    [Reply]

  144. sheyi says:

    for how long can i feed my 15mnt old GSD same type of food? i like feeding her rice, hope thats normal?

    [Reply]

    diana Reply:

    as long as it is brown rice and not white. white rice is good if your doggy has diahrea. i hope you feed your dog more than just rice. the dog needs good nutrition like a human.

    [Reply]

  145. Clare Murray says:

    Hi. I feed my 8 month lab/collie cross four smallish meals a day. It was 3 times, but she started to be sick in the early morning -a light supper was suggested to help with this, and it seems to have worked!
    She’s a very fast eater, and extremely lively and this routine seems to suit her metabolism well.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    My dogs also vomit if they are too long in between feedings! Just another reason for 2x daily scheduled feedings!

    [Reply]

  146. sheyi says:

    for how long can i feed my GSD same type of food? i like feeding her rice twice a day.

    [Reply]

  147. Eleeanor Weinstein says:

    I have an 8 1/2 year old toy poodle who has had cancer – remission and then twice recurrence. He has other physical problems and so eats certain foods for his liver and also ND for the cancer. I fill his bowl in the AM with dry dog food and cold water and at evening time, add a tablespoon of wet food used for cancer. My dog has a history of normal growth and for all his years has had normal weight. Additionally I foster puppies and newborn kitens from birth to 8 weeks at which time I return them to the shelter for which I volunteer, to get their shots and be put up for adoption. For newborns it is required to syringe feed them every 2-3 hours – graduate to a small bottle of powdered milk with water and then on to regular feeding with wet and dry food. The pets I foster are on a schedule and usually consume whatever food I lay out for them at the time that I feed them. They have always been robust and healthy. animals.

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  148. Jenny says:

    My choc labrador’s mother must have been crossed with a pig. He is the greediest dog. Free feeding would be fatal as he has no idea when to stop. He once escaped down to a nearby busy BBQ, and when I found him after he had been fed by everyone, and stolen a huge bag of raw sausages, he could hardly waddle. He is fed a good dry food twice daily and as he just inhales his food without stopping for a breath, I add some water to slow him down. Once a week he gets a raw egg, and another day he gets a tin of oily fish. As lond as he does not escape, this suits him just fine, The vet is ecstatic about seeing a slim labrador, and reward training is good as long as I dont use a reward too often, as he just rushes up to snatch the treat then races off again. I keep him guessing when he will be rewarded.

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  149. Linda says:

    My husband and I have owned 13 dogs in our 41 years of marriage. All were different when it came to eating habits. Some would eat all the time if you let them and others were not good eaters and didn’t like most foods. We fed them in the morning after going out and at 5:00 pm. Treats were interspersed throughout the day. We did not have any weight problems. We now have an 11th month old Yorky puppy who is 5 lbs. She eats a spoon of canned in the morning and a spoon at supper time. I leave a bowl of Kibble out all the time and the only time she grabs a piece or two is when we are eating or snacking. She does not get table scraps and does not beg or bother us during meals. She loves her walks, plays constantly, and is not over weight. Each dog is so different, learn the dog, what works and cut back if they seem to be gaining and give a little more if they start to lose weight. Once a day is not enough. Take the same portion and divide it in two.

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  150. Lynne says:

    I feed my dog, a Golden Retriever, Maggie 2 x a day.
    I used to feed her by putting down a whole bowl of her food and letting
    her eat when she wanted. I started to watch her and see she would eat it
    all then proceed over to the cat’s dish and finish her(Murphy’s) food.
    I didn’t catch on at first, but soon realized what Maggie was doing.
    I like feeding her 2 x a day now so I know she has eaten and won’t be
    hungry through the night.
    Maggie’s weight soared and she gained 10 lbs. which is a lot for a dog.
    She is now down to a great weight and she is able to walk better, stairs
    are better climbed and she has more energy.
    The cat Murphy’s food is now put up on the kitchen table where she has
    axcess to it and not Maggie.
    Do what works for you and your pets. You know them better than anyone else.
    Lynne
    x0

    [Reply]

  151. Hanah says:

    I have a 7 month old pure breed GSD.the information you have givin about feeding is a little confusing??he is a little over 60 pounds,and the vet says he looks great,not over or under weight.but i feed him 3 times a day,and have been doing that since he was 8 weeks.the only thing i have changed is the amount i feed him at a time.my question is,i keep reading that you feed your dogs 2 times a day,other people 3 times,some 1,but how much at a time?i am giving my puppy what the chart recommends,and the vet told us that the chart is what your supposed to be feeding them according to how big they will be,and not how big they are at the time.so my puppy gets 1 1/2 cups at a time,and to me,for how big he is,doesnt seem like enough at one time?am i under feeding him,or am i feeding him too much at a time,or just enough?

    [Reply]

  152. Jqne Campbell-Hoff says:

    I feed Brandi in the morning before I go to work and feed her at night before we have dinner.

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  153. steephen says:

    My dog RINTU LABRADOR takes food 3 times per day.Her favourites food pedigree&chicken fish is also ok .IF I offer other food items she relactant to take it .IF I force she will give SHAKE HAND Actually she learned herself

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  154. MOIRA says:

    HI I HAVE A CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIEL PUP (6MNTHS) JUST LATELY HE WILL NOT USE PUPPY PADS TO RELIEVE HIMSELF BUT MESSES ON FLOOR AND SHREDS PUPPY PADS
    ANY ADVISE WOULD BE MUCH APPRECIATED

    [Reply]

    Dori Reply:

    You may not like my answer. My puppy did the same thing to her puppy pads. I started taking her outside more often and she never went near the pads again. She was old enough to be house broken and she was telling me by tearing the pads. She has never messed in the house again. She can go 11 hrs at night without taking her outside now. They should be house broken by 6 to 8 months. The rule is drink, wee wee in 10 min. Eat, poo in 1/2 hr.

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  155. Jessi says:

    The reality is(in my opinion), after reading much of the other responses, and comparing them to my own experiences, it all will depend on the dog, it’s breed, temperment, age, quality of dog food etc. Personally, I would NEVER free feed my dog, but it doesnt mean I’m against it. I choose not to because my dogs (and fosters, rescues, etc) would gain weight. They all need to stay fit because they all get worked,(trained, etc) and also with MOST dogs, if I free fed them they wouldnt be motivated enough to take a treat(unless they truly aren’t food motivated). So if they wouldnt take treats or they didnt like toys, training would be more stressful. Don’t get me wrong,some dogs can be rewarded from our own praise alone, but not all of them can. But with the specific brand of higher quality food that I use, I feed mine once a day.

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  156. Nicole Turner says:

    I free feed my red healer puppy because no one is usually home to give regular meals. I also believe that unless a dog starts out with a rather large eating disorder it does help to prevent future eating disorders. As for noticing if they don’t eat, training them to eat only out of their own bowl is a help!

    [Reply]

  157. Dominique says:

    I have a morkie of 6 mths. I feed her 2x a day, one in the am before leaving home, and one at dinner time. However, i noted that, on some days, she does not eat all her morning meal. she is quite tall for a morkie of her age, but yet, she weighs only 3.5 lbs. should i consider that she is under fed?

    [Reply]

  158. Coralie Nellhard says:

    I feed our rescue dog 3 times a day. He is 5 years old. When he came to us, he ate so fast that he threw up his meal directly after eating!

    He was obese and lazy. Now after 9 months with us he plays, goes for long walks and has lost weight.

    He eats calmly, never vomits after his meal and takes a napp after eating. His stool looks better and is regular.

    He is also calm and waits patiently until I give him the okay command to start eating, instead of throwing himself over his bowl growling.

    Also noted a great improvement during training sessions, more attentive!

    I have divided his total food amount into these 3 regular meals and it works very well for us.
    He eats canine approved homemade dog food,Origen kibble, fruit, veggies and sometimes some left overs,also supplements.

    [Reply]

  159. heide says:

    hi i have a 10mth old husky she gets fed onca a day but has dry food out all the time as we found out huskys eat when hungry some days they wont eat at all and other days they cant get enough depending on weather but we keep an eye on here weight

    [Reply]

  160. Sheila says:

    I believe it is an individual choice. Most of the dogs I have owned were on self feeding and did great. I have yet to see food aggression with this method, but again it would depend on the dog, and most of all the owner.

    Right now I have an eleven year old Siberian Husky that was on self feeding, but I believe she ended up with a thyroid problem from the dog food. She was living with my son out in the bush, and was becoming sedentary. In 2004 she was being chased by a wolf that was trying to bring her down, one of our other dogs was killed that morning. She decided venturing out in the bush wasn’t a safe thing to do. Consequently she wasn’t getting as much exercise as she should, and as she was getting older she started putting on weight. She came to live with me in September of this year, and was having difficulty getting up the three steps onto the deck. When I noticed how badly she was doing, I started feeding her raw, and would vary the times and types of raw food she eats. She has lost about 10 pounds, has more energy, and is doing great. If a person can afford to feed raw, I would suggest at least trying to do so. Dogs were not made to eat grain, and I believe that many of the health problems they get now days are due to eating what they, in the wild, would not eat.

    I also agree that I wouldn’t want to wait 24 hours between meals, but there again in the wild they might have to wait that long. So that is why I try to vary the times and types of food that she eats. Sometimes she eats twice a day, never less, but sometimes it is three times. Always the portions change. Oh and she gets a good broad spectrum multi-vitamin and mineral per day.

    [Reply]

  161. danielle says:

    i have a blue heler asuse mix her name is lucy i feed her 2 a day once in the morning i put in her kong toy and she has to work to get it out or i put in her bowl with hot whatar then at night she get a little bit and a cople treats and that is all

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  162. I have raised Airedales for 40 years and believe in meal times for both puppies and adults. Main reasons are easier to housebreak puppies and I know how much each puppy, dog eats and when they are “off” their food. I use biscuits as treats and for training – only the puppy size (and I break them in half) so that they don’t get too much as great for getting them to go into crate when I ask, and as reward for good behavior.

    [Reply]

  163. PupJoy says:

    I don’t free feed. I used to when I only had one dog, but now that I have three it gives me a way to monitor what is going on. Who is eating, who’s not. If anyone decides to keep someone away from the food I’m there to make sure all get to eat. There are pros and cons to everything in life and I believe you need to decide what works best for you and your situation.

    [Reply]

  164. My dog is a pitbull cross (one year old).

    I feed her two main meals a day and she sometimes has a snack in the
    afternoon if she’s hungry. Sometimes I free feed her small amounts to
    discover her likes and dislikes.

    I always ensure that her meals are nutritious and balanced – that includes small amounts of fruit and vegetables (the ones that are good for dogs)and I always like to add a few drops of cod liver oil or salad oil to her meals.

    She is a healthy, happy, active and affectionate dog!!!

    Destiny singer

    [Reply]

  165. Minerva says:

    I have 4 dogs and I feed them twice a day, for the moment I thik is working good.

    [Reply]

  166. Paige says:

    I free feed my pekingese and my ex boyfriend’s dog is free fed because that is how I prefer to raise my dogs. I don’t think it is “better” than anything. It’s just how I do it and how my dogs are. My family dog is an Aussie who would eat himself to bursting if he were free fed.

    My pekingese was VERY VERY VERY food and resource aggressive and she would even bite ME if she thought I was too close to her food. Since she was a rescue I thought that I had no choice but to live with that. Well I decided since I started working at home, that I would instead of feeding in separate rooms, I would supervise meals. I found both of the dogs were willing to walk away from their bowls if I was keeping the other from it. Meaning they didn’t see any need to eat in one sitting if they thought there were boundaries. Eventually they just kept to eating out of their own bowls and I would fill them up every time I heard one of them eating. It really did help with her aggression BECAUSE of the type of aggression it was and my ex’s dog eats enough now whereas before he was underweight because he didn’t like to eat that fast and since my ex wasn’t home and he’d pick up the bowl, the dog wasn’t eating much.

    There are a few cons, such as the actual protection of the individual bowls (which I find to be essential for my dogs to be comfortable in free feeding). I also don’t know how much my girl eats, but since I work from home, I do note if she has an appetite. As far as her willingness to be treated. If you want to give her a piece of dog food out of hand for a trick she’d do it.

    I don’t find my way “better” I just think for myself and my dog it works because of our lifestyle.

    [Reply]

  167. Allyson says:

    I have kind of a problem with feeding. I have a three year old pom that free eats. She only will eat a few kibbles at a time throughout the day and never over eats. We just got a new 9 week old pom puppy that will eat until she throws up. Right now we feed the little one three times a day and have her in a kennel, but eventually we would like her to roam the apartment like the big one. How can I make sure the older dog gets enough but the little one doesn’t get too much?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Start meal feeding separately and stop free feeding!

    Puppy food can be really bad for adult dogs!

    [Reply]

  168. John says:

    This article seems very biased towards scheduled feeding. Surely the pros and cons shouldn’t have your own opinion. It obviously lessens food aggression having free feed because the dog knows that it can have food whenever it wants whereas a scheduled feed dog knows it only gets it at certain times so it is more precious. An example of humans is to give a child a toy for as long as they want and eventually they will get bored of it and you could easily remove it. Restrict the time a child has a toy for and the child will be more ‘aggressive’ when you remove it or if it thinks you will remove it as well as being more possessive over it. This is obviously not the case in all dogs but it neither is it the case that all dogs that are free fed will just eat and eat into ‘oblivion’ as you put it.

    My 2 dogs happily free feed and all the dogs I have ever had in the past do too. Recently we brought our dogs into a house with a dog that is on a schedule. We gave our dogs a chewy bone and within 10 mins the other dog had it and was growling whenever one of our dogs went near it and then when one got too close it attacked it and drew blood! Otherwise the other dog is a lovely dog but not around food.

    If you intend to write an article like this by all means have your own opinion at the bottom but express the pros and cons without such obvious bias and instead allow people to make their own judgements.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Dogs are animals and some have possessive traits no matter what their feeding style.

    Some dogs will protect their beds or a rock if they desire.

    I related the facts.

    I shared my opinion at the end.

    It is true that many dogs will eat until they are quite obese and that shortens their lives and causes health problems!

    Some dogs are quite successful with free feeding, many are not.

    [Reply]

  169. Ranjana Datta Sur says:

    I am having a 2months and 28 days old spitz puppy called “Jazzy”. Till date i hv fed him 4times a day..n i m supposed to make it 3times as soon he completes his 3months..i want to know the timings of feeding. what will be the minimum and maximum gaps? and most importantly how much(the amount)should i feed him? as he shows that he is hungry all the time altough his weight is perfect. and he used to go for potty for about 4-5times a day. is it normal?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Yes that is normal.

    I feed my puppies three times a day until they are about 4 months old.

    I put down the food and let them eat as much as they want for about 5 minutes. What they don’t eat I pick up. When they get older I will measure what they eat, but when they are puppies I allow them to eat until they are full so that they can grow.

    [Reply]

  170. Diane G says:

    You can’t free fed a raw or homemade diet.

    [Reply]

  171. Carol says:

    I free feed our Westie, who is almost a year old. I tried to meal feed twice a day, but she is a picker, but by the end of the day, most of the time, the food is gone. She is active and gets distracted very easily, like the cat passing by when she eats…. so free feeding works better for her.

    [Reply]

  172. Rachel says:

    When I got my lab-mix puppy at 8 wks old, my vet (who was wonderful!), recommended just keeping her bowl full and letting her eat when she was hungry. So that’s what I did. Maybe Bella was “special,” but it worked for us. She usually ate when I was cooking in the kitchen and didn’t go nuts whenever I pulled out the dog food. She weighed the exact same her entire adult life (50 lbs) and increased her food with more active days and ate less when she was less active. Training her with other treats, like carrots, was easy. I can certainly see where this would not work with some breeds, but I’m so happy I made the choice of “open bowl” for Bella. Again, maybe I just got lucky, but I ended up with a very happy, healthy, and well-behaved dog.

    [Reply]

  173. Teresa K. says:

    I free feed my Jack Russell. She is the only pet in our home; therefore, I do know if she doesn’t eat. She doesn’t ever over-eat, and she gets daily exercise. I weigh her often. I take notice of her water AND food intake. She does have days where she doesn’t eat at all and other days when she eats twice during the day. Her normal feeding time, when she eats whatever is left in the bowl, is midnight. I tried meal feeding, and she went for 3 days without eating. I think that, for her, free feeding is much better. She is training to be my service dog (I use a wheelchair, and she has now learned to pick up things that I drop and put them in my lap), and I withhold food when we are traveling by air. She handles this well and doesn’t eat well when we are gone, but she is getting better about that, too, as she learns the routine.

    [Reply]

  174. Fan of Free Feeding says:

    We have owned 5 dogs of various breeds over the last 30 years. All have been free fed. Over that time, we have used a large food dispenser with a swinging door with tremendous success. None of our dogs have been over weight or under weight even until old age. None have shown food aggression towards each other. Our mixed breed lived to be 20 years old with good body weight until the last 6 months of his life. Our keeshond is 12 years old and weighs a perfect 45 lbs. Our golden retriever, a breed notorious for obesity, is free fed and he is a rock solid muscular boy.

    Perhaps the manner in which our dogs have been free fed is important. They have been introduced to this style of feeding as soon as we bring them to our home. The food is in a large dispenser with a swinging door rather than out in a bowl. Perhaps the effort of standing over the door and pushing it open to eat resulted in the dog eating when he was hungry enough to feel motivated rather than when he was bored.

    I think that making food available at only certain times of the day leads to feast or faminine conditions for the dog, and this promotes swings of insulin and then hunger just as it does in humans, and encourages gorging when food becomes available. If the human measures out just a little bit too much food when the dog is in a gorging mode, then over time the dog becomes fat. The dog is likely to gobble up everything put before him even if he didn’t need it.

    I truly believe in the wisdom of a dog’s own physiology to regulate his food intake provided the food is presented to him in a utilitarian way–behind a door that he must stand and push with his head in order to access it.

    We also rarely feed our dogs peole food unless it is something of high value like meat scraps. Otherwise, the dogs get only premium dry food, in the dispenser behind the swinging door.

    [Reply]

  175. Ingrid says:

    I have a mini and a toy poodle. They are fed in the am a set amount of food. That food is left out all day and put up at the last potty break. I’ve always done with them (since puppies). When they were pups and being crate trained they had a small bowl of food and water in the crate.

    I had zero issues housebreaking them because I was diligent with the potty schedule. 1st thing in the morning and an hour for every month until the were 8 months. At 1 month they went out every hour. 2 months every 2 hours and so forth. It was tedious but we didn’t have many accidents.

    No they free feed until I got to bed at night and are able to play, sleep, and eat for the 8 hours I’m at work with no marking or mishaps in the house. Neither are fat or under weight and both are generally well adjusted.

    Occasionally one dog my feel under the weather and I can tell if they aren’t eating by how much food is left at night. I also cuddle them a lot ant I notice any weight loss that way. Pumpkin and peanut butter usually go a long way to perking their taste buds and helping any tummy upset. But if its more than a day or 2 to the vet we go.

    Free feeding is an individual choice. Of course if you see your dog becoming obese you should rethink what you are doing, but if everyone is eating then and healthy let sleeping dogs lie.

    [Reply]

  176. Andy says:

    This article does not really seem like a debate. You clearly chose a side and provide more positive information for your side than the other. This seems just a bit biased. Just a tip the title should be more like reasons for meal feeding. But I did enjoy the information, thank you.

    [Reply]

  177. Kelly says:

    Thanks for all the feedback everyone. As a newbie – so interesting to hear various methods & especially, some of the raw diet and supplemental nutrition.

    My Buddy is 11-month large male brindle pitbull mix (likely lab?) but we joke he is part equine – he is tall and lopes, pulls his “lead,” snorts & paws around like a horse! (He was neutered at 7 months – so that may contribute to why he is bigger.)

    He was dumped on my street – a very cheerful and plump 10-week puppy – and has always been hale & hearty. Wish I knew what combination. People stop me often to ask. He truly came out gorgeous: tall, muscled w/ not an ounce of fat. Despite his breed, he is not food aggressive but of course very “enthusiastic” & will inhale anything put in front of him instantly as well as kitty food so that is separated, out of his reach. While I do not free feed (I work from home) & give him meals 3x daily. AM – 7:00-8:00, snack like peanut butter in a Kong around 10:30am, Light kibble again around Noon-1pm and light dinner anywhere from 5:30-7pm. (Probably 2 – 2 1/2 cups total.) When he was a puppy, I think the vet-advised portions actually too low. He was so active and growing so rapidly, you began to see his spine and ribs – the bit of lunch did the trick nicely and he stopped acting like he was starving. Poor guy!

    He gets Nutro Natural Lamb & Brown Rice adult kibble. Sometimes I add a spoon of natural Greek yogurt & for evening am interested in adding canned pumpkin & green beens as my family does for their dogs. I also occasionally give him pulverized dessicated liver tablets in his food.
    I do not feed him table scraps (don’t want a beggar) but for the occasional treats he gets Nutro chicken & brown rice natural tartar control biscuits or Blue Buffalo chicken & liver treats. I DO NOT let him have any artificial treats or bad grade pet food – even when traveling – I bring his own stuff or he will get sick. He is terrible for being a gross ground feeder & wanting to get into all sorts of things & we are really trying to train him out of it. Dangerous!

    He was trained w/ food (natural cooked turkey) which seemed to work quite well. I typically feed him outside & leave him there. He has always been very regular and does his business w/in 15-20 minutes of any meal. He may be unusual too in that he is one dog who goes in his OWN yard, rather than on walks where he is more interested in smelling, etc.
    I have heard pitbulls are very sensitive digestively and can develop allergies. He seems to have a bit of a reaction which shows up in a bit of eye goob (I’m guessing it’s peanut butter) so I’m looking into other options but that is hands down his favorite treat!

    If I was not able to be home, I would likely feed only 2 x daily. He would definitely never have the self control to pace himself – would definitely eat himself sick & worry about it later – lol!

    [Reply]

  178. shyann says:

    My puppy slept through his dinner meal I give his dinner at 5:30….its now do I refuse his meal because its late or do I give it2

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You can try to feed again

    [Reply]

  179. Salesia Ramirez says:

    Sharon F.–Everyone on here is doing great with their dogs & there is no need to give critical advice as long as everyone is feeding their dogs. Let everyone feed their best friends the way they want to!

    [Reply]

  180. kim says:

    I free feed my aussie mix, he only eats a little here a little there. Even though he free feeds he is still highly food motivated with treats. He eats high quality food and gets high quality treats. He was easy to train with treats. Even with a bowl of dog food right next to him. To me, it was easy because the treats were just that a treat. Nothing like his dog food. He only gets dry, and he gets different flavors of the same brand. But the treats are different, soft moist and meaty. So In my opinion, free feeding does not inhibit treat training and food motivation. But that’s just me and my experience.
    My dog is 4 years old,
    6 weeks ago i git a great Pyrenees puply, she is 13 weeks, she so far is the same. Free feed, still actively seeks treats for reward training.

    I don’t think meal feeding is bad, I think that the style of feeding Strickland depends on the dog and you. But I say do what works best for everyone who is involved! 🙂

    [Reply]

  181. Xavier Cook says:

    Thanks for sharing your opinion. 🙂

    I feed my Shih Tzu twice in a day. I think it is up to you how you are going to take care of your dog. The main point in this is that you have to take extra care while feeding your lovely dog.

    The food should be of good quality.

    [Reply]

  182. Heather says:

    You’re also ignoring a third option, amount limited. I schedule feed wet and dry, but they come back to graze. They never receive more than the daily amount, I do “up to” if they hadn’t finished the day before. I put up the food only if there are less well behaved dogs around or a problem with mice. There’s no substitute for keeping a close eye on your dogs, either way.

    [Reply]

  183. Kabony says:

    I have a 10 year old rescue carin terrier mix 12 lbs i feed him. At 8 am and five pm he seems hungry all the time am i feeding him enoug hwhat should i do.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    A normal dog should be hungry all the time, this is what keeps them alive if they are on their own in the wild.

    If you want to add fiber and bulk to help him feel fuller fresh or frozen green beans. No canned because of the high salt intake!

    [Reply]

  184. Danny says:

    Have a 90% wolf and I feed him when ever he wants me too. {just kidding, he’s a sweetheart and loves girls-“Whose that I see walking in these woods?”}
    I feed him about twice a day, but sometimes another small serving an hour later. I think the serving size was a little too big(he left food behind) Now I “starve” him a bit.

    [Reply]

  185. Miss Cellany says:

    Free feeding definitely reduces or eliminates food guarding. That’s why dog pounds and shelters use free feeding here where there are multiple dogs in a cage and shelter workers are only there for a few hours a day to refresh food and clean the cages (if the dogs know there is ALWAYS food there is no need to guard it, it will still be there even after everyone else has had their fill). My border collie was free fed and never had an issue with guarding his food.

    Certain breeds prone to obesity (labradors for example) shouldn’t be free fed as they will overeat.

    My cats are free fed because I go away for weekends and don’t always have someone available to feed them for me. My current dog is meal fed only because she now refuses to eat most dry food and only eats wet food (which goes bad if left out too long).

    I think it’s a matter of what your dog (or cat) can handle and personal preference whether to free feed or not.

    [Reply]

  186. Jen says:

    I let my dogs free feed…but i only put in the recommended amount of food for the whole day in the bowl and sometines there are leftovers the next day. They eat when they are hungry 2-3xs a day but never eat it all at once. I notice they eat when I leave because I look in the bowl and there is either less or the same but never gone it takes them all day to eat it I just start again the next day

    [Reply]

  187. Bob says:

    I had two Standard Poodles. Both were raised as free feeders. They never ate out of the others food bowl. They were so good about what food was theirs, I could leave a plate of food on a low coffee table, leave the room for an extended time and neither do would touch the food. They would not eat people food unless I gave them the ok.

    [Reply]

  188. Bruce says:

    I strongly believe in feeding my pets several well spaced times a day with the total amount being what is recommended for the dog based upon their breed, size and weight!. This is how they ate in the wild more or less. Feeding them several times a day keeps their body chemistry and sugar levels at a healthy steady level without Hills and Valleys that occur in a 24 hour cycle compared to only gulping their food down once a day. It also keeps their body weight healthier. Like humans, dogs tend to gain weight if they only eat once or twice a day. The body, man and beast alike, tends to Hoard and Store the food as fat if it only gets fed once or twice a day. A not so commonly known fact is if you eat a certain amount of food a day in just 2 or 3 settings your body tends to store it as fat and can cause weight gain in many people. If the same amount of daily food eaten is spread out over 5 or 6 meals your sugar level stays pretty level which is best for you. But more importantly your body gets regulated from the more frequent feeding and stops storing the food as fat on your body! I discovered by accident several years ago that eating several times a day caused me to lose weight! I was in a busy time of my life and didn’t have time to sit down and eat a full meal so I would eat several small quick meals a day. Being slightly obese at the time I was surprised when I started losing weight! At first I thought that I was probably eating less… not the case as I soon discovered! I started to monitor how often I ate and how much I ate… when all was said and done I discovered that I was eating about the same amount on a daily basis! Wow!!! I discovered by accident how to lose weight by eating several times a day! I would eat a modest breakfast and eat a small snack midway between breakfast and lunch. I would then eat a modest lunch and and then a small snack between lunch and supper. I would then eat a light snack midway between supper and bedtime but no later than two hours before bedtime. Try it… you will like it! I went from 245 pounds to 200 pounds in about 3 months! Every time I fall off the wagon I start gaining weight again… the same works for your pets too… it also worked with my over weight cat!

    [Reply]

  189. Mel says:

    I also feel this article is biased, with different tones underlying each option and opinions throughout.

    I have a 4 month old miniature dachshund who is fed biscuits and warm milk in the morning and a homemade diet of raw meat, some cooked rice, egg, and 2-3 vegetables at night. During the day biscuits are freely available to him and our 6 year old miniature cattle. Neither of them have ever shown any signs of overeating or eating out of boredom. They don’t eat many biscuits. When they do it’s generally when dinner time is approaching. Because they get night time meals we are aware of when/if either of them aren’t feeding. The puppy gets an extra meal of biscuits and warm milk in the morning and snacks on them during the day so he is getting the extra fat he needs. The adult lightly grazes on them during the day. She hasn’t shown any fluctuation in weight- which I believe is the only risk associated with adult dogs eating foods intended for puppies. Her weight is so stable that she has been the same weight since reaching adulthood- with less than 100 grams fluctuation either way- and this hasn’t changed since the free feed biscuits changed to puppy biscuits. We have been monitoring her closely to ensure this. The dogs show no food aggression and will even eat biscuits together from the same bowl. When it comes to night dinners, they finish their own, stand back and wait for the other to finish, then inspect their bowl for scraps. This is in contrast to my sister’s pug who was not introduced to free feeding as a puppy. He instead will get into any food he can reach and eat until he is sick. He is fed twice a day and both times becomes excessively frantic and overexcited. He also rushes to finish his meals and shows aggression toward dogs who approach his bowl, to the extent where other dogs have to be fed in separate rooms behind closed doors. He and her other pug have drawn blood from fights at meal time.

    Some dogs may not adjust but I am a firm believer in attempting to introduce puppies to free feeding as early as possible.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Dogs are lactose intolerant

    [Reply]

  190. P.Woods says:

    This is a personal choice, and up to the owner and his/her dog(s)/pets’ individual needs, but yes there is a little bias to the article. Personally, I do and have always free fed. I’ve had GSDs, a Husky, and 3 dobermans, all of which were rescues. Some of them came to us with food issues – food aggression and/or gorging until the point vomiting. But with proper and consistent training, each of them learned to free feed, and because we typically have 2 Dogs at a time, they have free fed together for the most part. Key point: WITH PROPER AND CONSISTENT TRAINING. It’s been my experience that once they understood that food would always be available and there’d be no need to fight for it, their food agressiveness went away. Can they over eat? Possibly. But as their caretakers it is up to us to not only keep an eye on their eating habits (thus negating the argument that we wouldn’t know if they hadn’t eaten for days. Definitely not a true statement in my house), but on their exercise as well so that both are balanced. Also, all my dogs have always responded happily and well to treats in general, and to training with treats. The treats are something different from their kibble. They’re not stupid, they know a special food when they taste it. So I’d have to discount that argument as well. Look, bottom line is that you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to your dogs that you would to two legged children. If you’re in tune with your dogs, feeding them a quality food, and keeping up with their exercise, self feeding can be successfully done. I know. I’ve done it for years.

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