I know half of you members believe in scheduled feedings and the other half free feed. I have heard from many that your labs WOLF the food down in about six gulps I fill the dog dish to the top each morning around 7:00 A.M. It holds about 6 1/2 cups. Merlot and Zoey eat about 1/3 of it in the morning and finish it off around 6:00 P.M. Neither dog is fat or skinny. They also each get an apple a day and once in a while some table scraps, but ony about once a week. Sometimes my dogs eat together, sometimes seperate. Do you other feee feeders have any weight problems with your dogs, or is this the norm?
You have 2 really nice buddies. The few times I've seen multiple dogs trying to be fed from the same bowl erupted in small fights over it!
When I had multiple dogs though we had to feed them in separate bowls and sometimes seperately as 1 dog was a slow eater and didn't focus on his bowl. One of the others ate her entire bowl that seemed like 1 gulp then always ran over to the others bowl to eat his as well...LOL
I might add that up until about 6 months ago, they were eating 6 cups each, but they slowed down on thier own. There was food left in the bowls every night, so I cut them down to one full dish for the TWO of them. They are not as active as they once were, and spend a lot of time sleeping, now.
I wonder if free feed/scheduled feed is a matter of choice or upbringing? When I was growing up all the dogs we had were free fed, so that's all I knew. All the dogs I've had on my own I've fed the same way: when the bowl was empty, we'd put more in. They all just set their own feeding times/ amounts. I still do it this way, though with 3 dogs we have 3 separate bowls. Grady picks at his when the mood strikes; Lacey will eat a bit then come back later for more. Sage has just started wolfing her food down and from a GSP board I'm on they suggest it may be due to more fillers than real content of her food - I'm going to check into that. But free feeding has always worked for me/us. None of them have weight issues - they all seem to be just right for their breed/size.
Cinnamon and Cierra free feed from the same dish.
When we feed them their dinner with a little meat and vege they each get their own bowl and they both eat the good stuff. Then they usually trade bowls to make sure neither left anything good (yes it does happen) and will eat the kibble it was mixed with.
Cierra just came in and ate the last of the food in the free feed bowl(she is my BR dog). I usually put a cup in there at a time. Sometimes it is eaten the same day sometimes it las 2 or 3 days.
Cinnamon's feeding schedule is a raw frozen patty (thawed) on a paper plate each morning about 10am (she is not a morning puppy and won't eat before I leave for work at 5:30am so dad feeds her. Then their is always the cup of kibble in the bowl by her water dish, if it is eaten it is replaced. Then after our dinner she gets about a cup of mixed vege/meat mix and 1/2 cup or so of kibble.
She is not fat or thin she ranges between 69 and 71 pounds.
I have seen both Cinnamon and Cierra eat out of the same dish at the same time. They always drink out of the water bowl together. Cinnamon has never been food driven (unless it is a leg of lamb) and Cierra is a rescue so it suprised us how easily she shares her food. We tease them that Cierra likes to "eat out" as she doesn't each much at home but when she comes here she always eats a little bit. A 35 pound bag of food last the 2 of them at least 2 months (we sent it home to Cierra) but they eat Nature's Variety Instinct which doesn't have filler.
I always keep the dish full. If Ogie empties it before bed time, I put in more. He nibbles on kibbles sometimes once an hour, but never gulps down a whole bowl. I think scheduled feeding is bad. They wait ALL day for their feeding time and then are so hungry they tend to wolf it down, which has to be bad for their digestive tract IMO :P
When you say "with no problems" you're referring to no behavior problems between the dogs? or no apparent problems of over-eating?
I think both of those depend on the individual difference of the particular dogs and not the method.
My first Lab, Bess, was a glutton and never got enough of several things -- fetching, food, and getting affection (1-2-3 in that order).
She had to be restricted in how much she got of #s 1 & 2 for her own health and #3 for the sake of someone's arm.
Puff, my present Lab, isn't a glutton about any of those. Puff could be free-fed without over-eating if I chose to because she occasionally leaves a portion of a meal uneaten if she's not that hungry.
However, feeding Puff a bit less than normal is probably healthier for her according to a nutritional study on Labs I read several years ago. Here's a summary of it:
So Puff gets fed a little less than she'd normally like to eat.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
Free feeding is something you can only do if you have a dog that self regulates. If you have a self regulating dog, it will be a self regulating dog from day one. If you have a dog that is obsessive about food, it will be obsessive about food from day one. You CANNOT free feed a dog that is obsessive about food because it would literally eat until it killed itself.I think scheduled feeding is bad. They wait ALL day for their feeding time and then are so hungry they tend to wolf it down, which has to be bad for their digestive tract IMO
If you feed the correct amount of the right food twice a day a dog won't go hungry when on a scheduled feeding regime.
Self regulating Labs are the minority rather than the majority.
i fed raw now so i cant just leave food in their dishes all day long.
However when we had just coco and cainan, they could easily be fed from the same dish...till they got too big and they needed to have more food each instead of one heaping dishful...i never knew who was getting their appropriate amount or if one was sick etc etc.
I dont believe in free feedings even when i was on kibble i still didnt believe in it.
I like to know when, where, what and the amounts of what all my dogs are eating at the exact time i want to know.
puts my mind at ease...that way i always know if someone doesnt feel well or whatever...
This made me laugh a little...... I'll tell you why......Originally Posted by yankey
My dogs are fed twice daily. They eat their food in one sitting (very quickly) and then go about the rest of their day.
I feed this way for two reasons:
1) They will eat as much as I feed them. One time, Peanut got into her bag of food when I was out and ate down to as far as she could reach. She was very sick for a few days after that. It was VERY hard on her digestive tract.
2) I take it as an opportunity to reinforce my role as pack leader. Peanut goes into a down-stay to wait for her food, Baloo does sit-stay to wait for his. This reinforces in their minds that I control the food. When they eat, what they must do for it, and how much they get. From the research I have done and my own experience, this is a very important step. It also makes me proud, I have two dogs that are very polite and well-behaved at meal time.
Because of #2, even if my dogs were the "self-regulating" variety (and they're not, not by a long shot) I would still implement structured feeding times.
But that's just me.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue