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Puppy Feeding Question

February 16th, 2007, 10:07 AM
Everything I have read and been told says that a dog's food should only be left down for 5-15 minutes, then picked up, regardless of how much the pup has eaten. Sometimes my 3-1/2 month old Shih Tzu cross has barely even touched her food after an hour of it being down. I'm feeding her according to the recommendations on the bag (a mix of Orjen and Pedigree kibble - she was fed Pedigree at her birth home, so we're slowly making the transition to the Orjen). I feed her approx. 1/4 cup twice a day - barely even the recommendation on the kibble bag. She likes to grab a couple pieces and run into the living room to eat them, then goes back for more to do it again. I'd say she get's distracted and forgets to eat the rest, but when I put her in her crate to eat, she still only eats a few bites. Therefore I sometimes leave her food down for a couple hours until most of it is gone. She was at the vet for a check-up and shots last weekend and is fine, including her weight (she's gained over a pound in the month we've had her).

My questions are:
1. Should I try feeding her smaller amounts 3x a day?
2. Is picking up her food after 15 minutes something I have to do? If so, why?

February 16th, 2007, 10:35 AM
I personally free fed both my pups and still do. I give them soft food in the morning and evening (if they don't finish it I leave it and they finish it when they are good and ready too) & I leave their kibble out all day & night too. I have never had a problem with this.

February 16th, 2007, 10:37 AM
Yeah free feeding can be okay.

Often people don't free feed as it can be one way to establish pack status. But if you have a dog that eats on the run all the time, then maybe free feeding is best for them

There are other ways to establish pack status if there arises an issue with dominance.

February 16th, 2007, 10:58 AM
All my dogs have been free fed since pups.Never had an issue with them.And I never did the so called 5-15 "rule"..If they want to eat they will eat,if not then so be it.

My 10 year old GSD has his dry down and gets canned 2-3 times a day.Great health and not overweight.

Your pup should actually be getting fed 3 times a day.So what you can do is just give smaller amounts 3x's.Some puppies are just not big eaters.

February 16th, 2007, 11:05 AM
If your puppy is otherwise healthy I would split the meals into 3 and give puppy 20 min at each feeding to eat. She will get used to the amount of time she has to eat and will begin to finish it in that given time. Look at how we feed our children, would you leave their meals out all day for them to finish. Better if your puppy is not constantly digesting food. Water on the other hand should be available at all times.

Something to remember is that your pup is growing and will go through spirts that they don't want all the food. The same can happen as your puppy is teething and eating can sometimes be uncomfortable. There is still no need to change regular routine.

February 16th, 2007, 11:07 AM
I free feed as well...I have never had a problem.....except that my 2 cats try to steal it occasionally.....I figure they will eat when they are feeling like it!


February 16th, 2007, 11:54 AM
I like scheduled meals. That said I also change up the time of day he gets them. Am/lunch/pm

I know exactly what your saying about grabbing a few bits and running off to eat it. My moms poodle does the same.

However if you keep doing the 15min thing, he'll learn that the food leaves after 15min so better to eat up.

February 16th, 2007, 12:00 PM
However if you keep doing the 15min thing, he'll learn that the food leaves after 15min so better to eat up.

wish my dogs learned to do that, LOL! never, ever worked for them :rolleyes:

February 16th, 2007, 12:16 PM
They will if you stick with it. A couple of days or expanding their time like most people do is not long enough.

One of the problems is that since your puppy travels so far from the dish he gets distracted from the meal.

February 16th, 2007, 12:25 PM
I still say that this method does work for many dogs. just not ALL of them. :dog:

February 16th, 2007, 12:39 PM
I still say that this method does work for many dogs. just not ALL of them. :dog:

Yeah I agree, It worked fine for both Cassie and Hunter, but Hunter did have to get used to it. My friends dog never did get it. He has always been a picker.

February 16th, 2007, 12:55 PM
I didn't realize that "free feeding" was so common! It's always given such a bad rap! But, since that seems to be what works for Roxy, and it doesn't bother us at all, maybe we'll leave well enough alone. Even my 1-year old daughter pays no attention to the dog's water and food bowls - now if she was getting into the dog food, then we'd had an issue.

February 16th, 2007, 02:47 PM
Yes, I have to say that I also free feed. I have a 2 year old West Highland Terrier, Charlotte, who has been free fed since we got her and she has no problems with it at all. She eats when she is hungry and leaves it when she is done.
I know some dogs could not do this (we used to have a Beagle and you were lucky to get your hand back when you put her food bowl down!!!!) but if it works for your dog, it works!

February 16th, 2007, 02:51 PM
If you can free feed and your dog doesn't get fat, by all means, do it. :)

It could be that she doesn't like her new food though. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries before you find a good food that they love. Did she have a strong appetite before you started to switch? Or is it a new occurrance?

February 16th, 2007, 03:05 PM
It could be that she doesn't like her new food though. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries before you find a good food that they love. Did she have a strong appetite before you started to switch? Or is it a new occurrance?
No, this isn't new - she's been on the Orjen/Pedigree mix for 3 or 4 weeks now - basically since just after we got her. The plan is that once the Pedigree bag is done, she'll just be on Orjen.

Also - I thought dogs didn't care about their food - that they ate whatever was put in front of them? No?

February 16th, 2007, 04:35 PM
Some dogs are hoovers, others are VERY selective.

February 16th, 2007, 05:11 PM
Some dogs are hoovers, others are VERY selective.

Great! :rolleyes: I probably have Princess a-la Selective.

But seriously, she does eat all her food - eventually. It usually takes anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple hours.

February 16th, 2007, 05:12 PM
That's fine.:) As long as she gets what she needs (and no more) than it's ok.:)

February 16th, 2007, 06:54 PM
With younger pups shoulb be fed more frequently.

You may find it will help to buy a rubberbacked washable rug that can placed where her food dish is.

If you want her to learn to eat when the food is put down than you have the pick up after 20 minutes, then she learns she is supposed to be eating not fooling around, I have a multi dog pack, I don't free feed because of worries of aggression but because I want to know how much each dog is eating, if one goes off their food I know right away something is wrong, each of the dogs have their own place to eat, they know they are not supposed to go in another dogs dish, this helps a great deal if I ever have to feed one a specialized diet for example a dog food to dissolve urinary stones, it can be harmful if I had another dog with a heart condition if they ate because of sodium content, if one of the dogs is gaining or losing weight I can adjust only their meals without upsetting the rest of my pack.
The other that comes from not free feeding is it helps to reinforce yourself as alpha of the pack the provider of food.

February 16th, 2007, 07:04 PM
The smaller breeds seem to like to snack all day rather than wolf down the entire amount at once. Free feeding has always worked well for me with no excess weight gain.

February 17th, 2007, 12:40 AM
our shih-tzu at 8 years old eats like that and she is healthy.shes always been like get her to eat we have to mix it with gravy or something she like.and after she doesn't eat we put it up because of jag.before him we left it down and she would eat when she wanted it.

February 17th, 2007, 10:38 AM
If this works for Roxy,then that's great.She's not a "hoover" so that's fine.

Your Roxy sounds like my Moms 2 Shih Tzu pups.They do the same thing.And they are about the same age as Roxy.I also suggested to her to not worry.She is fine to let them free feed.And if you have more then one this can work.Worked for me.I raised 2 -3 month old GSD's.:)

February 17th, 2007, 11:44 AM
In order for a feeding schedule to work you have to follow through. Dogs will actually eat better on scheduled meals and it is better for all the other reasons that were mentioned.

Also helps with house breaking.

February 17th, 2007, 11:47 AM
As you can see, mealtimes vs free feeding is a bit of a debate here. You just have to do what works best for you.

February 17th, 2007, 06:00 PM
As you can see, mealtimes vs free feeding is a bit of a debate here. You just have to do what works best for you.

So true Prin.

I don't have a 9-5 job(sometimes I wish I did..LOL),so having a feeding schedual was not in the books for me.Even when I had my first GSD.Free feeding is what has and is working with me.My dog is a retired working dog,there is no way he could have stopped what he was doing to be fed if he was on a schedual.As for house breaking,never had a problem with that....:)

February 17th, 2007, 09:20 PM
As far as the weight gain - it shouldn't be a problem if I free feed her the same amount in a day as I would be if I fed her on a schedule, should it? And I'm still feeding her at the same times of day as before - I'm just not worrying myself with how much she's eaten in a certain time frame - I leave the bowl down until it's empty. Is this still considered "free feeding"?

February 17th, 2007, 10:48 PM
With schedual feedings it's usually a certain amount for am and pm,somtimes lunch in the middle.Free feeding is more or less filling up the bowl and they eat when they are hungry.My cats are also free fed.Their dry is left out out 24/7 and they get canned 2-3 times.The cats don't touch the dogs dry and the dog doesn't touch the cats.

February 17th, 2007, 10:58 PM
It's free feeding with set quantities.:D It's good because IMO, you'll be able to keep the weight right (if the dog isn't so good at it). :)