When do you stop "free feeding"? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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When do you stop "free feeding"?

Blitz is 13 weeks old now - 25lbs. We have been feeding him 3-4 cups of Blue a day. Usually 2 cups in the AM and 1.5-2 cups at night.

Sometimes he won't eat all of the food in the bowl; and we were told they only eat when hungry, so no overeating. At what age does this change to "I eat everything in sight?" Today he has wolfed down the 2 cups in the AM and PM, so I gave him one last cup just now which he also downed. He is now sitting in front of our pantry staring at the door - of course where we keep the dog food! Serious growth spurt happening, I think!

He is not fat, by any means. We were feeding 3 cups a day and our vet told us he looked a bit thin so we increased to 4 cups.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 11:29 PM
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I don't ever free feed. They learn real quick when food time is. They either eat or they don't.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 11:40 PM
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We feed Riley twice a day. He just turned 6 months today and eats 4 to 5 cups a day.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 11:57 PM
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i fed my pup 1 cup in the am, 1 cup noonish and 1 cup
in the pm. he had snacks throughout the day and training
treats.. i didn't feed him more because he sat in front of the
cabinet door begging.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-06-2013, 12:02 AM
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I put slightly less then the recommended amount in the bowls and they pick at it, sometimes they finish it and sometimes they don't. They do not eat when I'm not home..the same food will be sitting there when I come home. They will finish that when I get home and if one of them is still hungry they will sit in front of the bag of food and I will give them a little bit more(this rarely happens). I just got my fourth dog and he seems to have the same eating patterns. None of mine gobble up the food or ever act like they have never seen food, they are very slow, calm eaters. I like that they are like that, its definitely better for them not to gobble up the food. They eat slow and actually digest it. They get one treat in the am before I leave and 1 at night before bed. New dogs will get more treats for training, but trained dogs don't get as much in training.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-07-2013, 02:32 PM
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You don't have to stop free feeding if you don't want to. I prefer FF over SF (schedule feeding); he eats only when hungry and he doesn't over eat or scarf down meals. It cuts down on throwing up after meals and, I know this sounds silly, but if anything ever happens and he needs emergency surgery, I know he doesn't have a belly full of food that he could aspirate on and it, to me, cuts down on the risk of bloat related to having a full belly.

But this is all just my opinion.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-07-2013, 02:34 PM
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I never free feed.

Even the 4 week old fosters I've had have scheduled meal times. I can't have food left around for anyone to eat.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-07-2013, 02:40 PM
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In the veterinary field we almost always recommend control feeding. One of the biggest problems with free feeding is people then just dont know if their pet is eating or not. And an animal not eating is often the first indication to an owner that a pet is sick.

Also most pets simply dont self control properly. Some do, dont get me wrong, but the majority dont and they end up overweight. And then because so many pets in our society are overweight people dont know what a healhy weight really looks like. They will tell you their pet self regulates fine and isnt overweight but it usually is.

People to this day argue with me that zeke is a perfect weight (he needs to lose 15 lbs!) And that Berlin is too skinny! (Granted berlin is a lanky pup but he's a perfect weight even for an adult to look like him). How many people on here even post pictures saying their dog is too skinny how to fatten it up, and the dog looks like an ideal weight.

As far as puppies, I put down the desired amount I want them to eat. If the dont eat it all I pick it up after 20 minutes and include it in their next meal. Berlin was hit and miss if he would eat everything but by the time he hit 13-14 weeks he was inhaling his food down. He could easily eat double or triple the amount he should if I let him.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-07-2013, 02:48 PM
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I don't ever free feed. My dog would not stop, she would eat until she exploded. Free feeding would increase vomiting in her case, not decrease it (it actually is never an issue unless it is an empty stomach)

Plus I like that my dog is on a schedule. I know when she last ate so I know if it has been long enough to where we can play and run without the risk of bloat. Also if my dog ever stops eating, or shows less interest in her food I know that there might be something wrong and that a vet visit might be needed. I would not know if there was an issue if I let her free feed.

Some people like free feeding, but honestly I don't really see a reason to do it, while there are several not to. JMHO

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-07-2013, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Abby142 View Post
I don't ever free feed. My dog would not stop, she would eat until she exploded.

Mine, also. One day she got into the food while I wasn't at home and did explode. It all came back up where it went in, fortunately. Since then the dog food back is stored in a safe place.

If you are free feeding, you also can't easily tell if your dog is eating properly. Good to know if she's ill.

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