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Dog food / feeding

August 12th, 2005, 04:46 PM
Hi people!
I've been hearing about people feeding their dogs at set times, like say 12 o'clock when they eat.
My dog is 12 now and we have never done that, all we do is put the food bowl down, when it gets low we top it up again.
The dog isn't overweight or underweight and he seems in perfect health, apart from a bad prostate at the moment (different thread).
So anyway, I was wondering what all this business about feeding times was about, it just seems like a fuss to me. :eek:

August 12th, 2005, 04:51 PM
Sadie's feeding schedule



Schedules keep things in order and keep your dogs digestive system healthy, also gives them something to look forward to and you control the feeding amounts.

Should never just leave a food bowl full of food, causes obesity and can cause food aggression.

August 12th, 2005, 04:56 PM
My dog is not obese in any way, and definatly not food aggresive. If he was I would of considered using schedules. He seems perfectly fine with just having food there.

August 12th, 2005, 04:57 PM
Free feeding works with a few dogs, but a lot of dogs would eat the whole bag of food in one sitting if you were to let them decide when enough is enough. With these dogs, you have to decide how much, how often and when they should eat such that they stay fit and healthy. If your next dog is a lab, you'll see what I mean. :D

August 12th, 2005, 04:59 PM
:D Yeh I guess I might be lucky with my dog (Standard Poodle) although I'm sure there has got to be other people who don't use schedules and get along fine . . .

doggy lover
August 12th, 2005, 04:59 PM
Tucker gets fed at 8am and 6pm sometimes the times change a little but I try and stay with those times.

August 12th, 2005, 05:48 PM
I don't use a schedule to feed my dog. She doesn't gorge. From the day I brought her home she has always been a nibbler. She eats a few pieces of kibble, goes and play, the goes back for a few more.

If I ever noticed her getting overwieght this would change really quickly.

August 12th, 2005, 07:46 PM
Monday to Friday Spencer eats at 7:00 am and again around 5:00 pm. He does get a kong before we leave for work in the morning and one before bed so I really don't know what time he eats the morning one.

Saturday and Sunday he eats breakfast when we drag ourselves out of bed, usually between 9:00 am and 10:00 am and dinner is usually between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm (depending what time he ate in the morning). Sometimes my bf gives him a little snack at lunch (usually some kibble or a kong) on the weekend because he hates to eat and not give Spencer anything.

The cats have food always available. They eat when they are hungry. They have always been like that and are not overweight at all.

August 12th, 2005, 08:01 PM
Willow is fed free choice. I put her daily requirement in the bowl before I head to work. When I get home usually 1/4 to 1/2 is gone. After we get back from out nightly walk, around 8 p.m. she eats most of what's left, sometimes in the middle of the night I hear her finishing it off. She usually doesn't eat all of her food, there is usally some left in the bowl the next morning. She definitely doesn't gorge.

August 12th, 2005, 08:14 PM
I do not feed my Dog on a schedule.
She is a 9lb female Chihuahua and is in peak shape.
We just leave the bowl and top it up when low.
She pretty much always eats around the same time though.
We are pretty busy people and would never be home at the right times to keep a schedule so why bother?

August 13th, 2005, 12:25 PM
I forgot to post my schedule... :D Jemma and Boo get fed when we wake up and before we go to sleep, whatever time that may be. :)

August 13th, 2005, 12:38 PM
Trons schedule is about the same as Sadies,give or take about a half hour.This scheduale is for his canned feeding.I also leave his dry out so he can munch on if he gets a bit hungry.He is still a pretty active dog at 9 years old.And is still in great shape.... :thumbs up

August 13th, 2005, 03:36 PM
Elmo's schedule is similar to Sadie's except dinner is later - whenever my husband gets home - shares my husband's food with him (my husband's dinner is based on things safe for Elmo to eat) and then he gets a bit of his own food. And of course the bed time snack - or else Elmo won't go to bed. If we free fed Elmo he would finish his day's allotment in 2 seconds. Same goes for hounds of all types.

August 13th, 2005, 04:03 PM
I use feeding scheduals but only because of my mother's dog. I could let Candi free feed, she bearly eats all her food at her meal times anyways. but with BJ around he will scarf her food in seconds if I let it down. BJ is one of those dogs that could eat the whole bad at once if you would let him. He is a bit overweight but we are working on it.

I usually feed her at 4:30am, then a snack at 12 and dinner at 5. But like I said she usually doesn't eat all her breakfast or snack so I use those left overs for dinner, she usually eats all the food at dinner though, guess she just isn't a breakfast or lunch eater, but she has the opportunity if she wants it.

Lucky for me because where I work I can bring my dog if she seems hungry throughout the day I can give her something. I usually have some of her food at work just for that reason lol. I guess she is kind of spoiled.

August 13th, 2005, 11:03 PM
Sam's food is always available for him. He is an erratic eater so it works better for him. He isn't overweight at all so I don't worry about it.

August 14th, 2005, 06:20 AM
Monday to Friday Sprint usually gets fed at around 630am and 6pm. On the weekends it is usually pushed back a couple hours. But on more than one occasion he has me up at 6 to take him out for his walk and then feed him. But sometimes I put the food down and he isn't hungry, and I just leave it there. Those timings are just when I put the food down, it depends on his activity, to when he eats.

August 14th, 2005, 11:23 AM
I free feed my 2 dogs. They just nibble. Usually their bowl has food leftover. Neither are overweight at all. And when the bowl is empty it gets refilled.

August 14th, 2005, 11:31 AM
My dogs are fed at relatively the same time in the morning and late afternoon. I refuse to do it at exactly the same time because a relative has a cat that gets sick if it isn't fed at 5:00 each evening. This has meant making arrangements for someone to feed him if they are going somewhere too far away and leaving family gatherings to feed the cat and then come back.

August 15th, 2005, 07:12 AM
All three of mine tend to get fed between 7 and 730am (on weekdays) and between 5 and 530pm. Sat and Sun they are sometimes 8 or 9 am before getting fed, depending on how long they decide to sleep.

August 15th, 2005, 08:29 AM
I stick to a schedule too, but my pup only eats once a day. around 7pm. I know, it doesn't sound very good, but he simply won't eat any breakfast or lunch. I was worried for a while, but my vet assured me he's right on target, not underweight by any means.

August 15th, 2005, 11:05 AM
Hazel gets fed at about 5:30 am, again at lunch (between 11-12) and then she eats dinner at about 7 or so each evening. Even though she eats on a schedule, her bowl at home is always full. When she finishes eating her dinner, I always fill her bowl back up in case she wants a snack later. She very rarely eats much of a snack during the night - but sometimes she does. The only reason she is fed on a schedule during the day is because she goes to work with my hubby and then my son drops his newf at the shop (hubby watches him during the day too). If he didn't feed Hazel before Parker got there, she wouldn't let Parker eat. On the weekends, I try to keep the bowl full and she eats when she wants. She is still a pup (almost 6 months) so I'm not worried about obesity right now. She never eats everything in her bowl at one sitting so I don't think she'll be one who would eat the whole bag.

August 15th, 2005, 11:10 AM
My dogs are fed at relatively the same time in the morning and late afternoon. I refuse to do it at exactly the same time because a relative has a cat that gets sick if it isn't fed at 5:00 each evening. This has meant making arrangements for someone to feed him if they are going somewhere too far away and leaving family gatherings to feed the cat and then come back.

My friends cats do the same thing, they CRY and Cry and run laps around the kitchen at 5:00 until she feeds them....yikes!!! Our cats get topped up at night before we go to bed & that lasts them until the next day! They aren't overweight either!

We feed Brick in the Morning, and at our Supper time - somedays there is food still in his bowl by supper, other times he eats it all up. If there is still food, we top it up a bit. We do have to put up his food if he's been for a run or heavy playing, because he is a deep chested dog, and will puke it all up after!! Ugh! SO I guess it is semi-scheduled feeding time, but we leave his bowl down most of the day. He won't eat until we get home anyways!

Dog Dancer
August 15th, 2005, 11:45 AM
I feed Shadow and Halo in the morning after their walk and at evening meal time as well so about 5:30 p.m. Halo being a lab will eat her up always, Shadow will often take herself off food for a day or two at a time. If she doesn't eat her food after 15 minutes it gets taken up. Halo does not touch Shadows food dish but I don't think it's fair to leave it there and temp her either. Shadow will not go back for it unless I encourage her to eat and try to get her started. If I can entice her to nibble on a treat that's on the kibble she'll eat the whole bowl, but otherwise it goes back in the fridge until the next feeding time (or until she seems to be looking for it).

August 15th, 2005, 09:35 PM
I have what is commonly referred to as a zoo. I have 2 female ~ 8 yr old moogies (mixed breed cats), one 2-yr old male tabby cat, and a 1.5 yr old male Maltese X.
Both the girls (cats) have always had free access to food. I have both of them trained to use a magnetic cat door into a large wire kennel to get their food. One of them is a muncher, and it took me a long time to get her to eat anything if I wasn't standing next to her and petting her (she used to have a fear of being abandoned, sort of like separation anxiety but not really). The other one eats more "meals"; that is, when she eats, it's probably enough to fill her belly. She eats less often than the other girl. Both girls are in good health and I've never had a problem with them being overweight.

Now the boys are a bit of a different situation. The dog is a muncher, but he's also been struggling with house-training. So he gets free access to his food bowl for the hour in the morning that I'm home and awake, and free access again to the bowl in the evening when I get home from work. During the day he doesn't have access to his food except on rare ocassions when I chuck a handful into his kennel. I measure his food, and generally it takes him longer to finish his daily rations that a day. As such, he is a little skinnier than I'd like, but he's not emaciated, so it's fine. He's just thin like me.

And then there is Taz, the male cat. When I got him--around 4 weeks old in a farmer's field-- he was so tiny that his whole body, head & tail would fit in the PALM of my hand. Now he weighs 22 lbs, and that's AFTER losing weight due to being sick a few weeks ago. He eats very much on a schedule; at 7 am and at 8:30 pm. He is the reason that the girl cats eat their food in a kennel--because when I go away for the weekend and leave him one of those feeder bins (the ones that drop food as the bowl part is emptied), I'm sure he has 3 days worth of food eaten in the first 3 hours I'm gone. If I didn't measure his food and feed him on a schedule, he'd be extremely overweight. He is, even now, a chubby cat, but he's been on diets and been eating hardly anything and he didn't lose weight, so I'm just happy if he's happy. I'd rather take a happy, slightly chubby kitty than a 20 lb ticked off starving cat!!

So that's my take on free-feeding vs scheduled. I think that there is no one right way to do it; it's very dependent on your animals. The same goes for me; I don't eat on a schedule, I pretty much munch all day long. If I'm forced to eat on a schedule, I get cranky, have mood swings and wild fluctuations in my blood sugar (aka energy level). It's a miserable sight, and I don't like to do it.

So if your pets are on a schedule and that works, stick to it. If they're free-fed and that works, stick to it. If they're doing one thing and it doesn't seem to be working, try the other. Ask me if you need advice on magnetic cat doors (can also be used for small dogs), and mounting them on wire kennels!


August 15th, 2005, 11:30 PM
Joey gets food in the morning when my hubby gets up and if he is home at night he will feed him as well, if not I will or the kids. He usually dumps the food on the floor and then eats it. :) When he is hungry he will bring his dish to you and stare at you with his soleful eyes.

August 16th, 2005, 03:36 PM
Capone is free fed. He never eats too much if anything I worry he doesn't eat enough. But the vet says he is in great shape so no worries. He will wait till me and his daddy are both home most times till he eats.