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Feeding Time: How Often and How Much?

Do we:
• 1) Let our Dog Decide
• 2) Control Portions
• 3) Watch the Clock
• 4) Give Treats?

Are you feeling like your dog always seems hungry for more?

Firstly you are not the only one. We are often seeing the same anxiety in pet owners at every trade show we attend. It’s such a grey area and of course every dog breed is so different and even within each breed, just like us humans each dog is also very different.

We all want to do what is right for our animal and also what fits our own schedule and budget.

Do you feel guilty eating three yummy meals a day plus snacks while your dog just gets one or two scoops of dry kibble?

It doesn’t have to be that way.
There are several healthy ways to feed your dog, depending on its individual needs. Here are the top three:

 

1) Let Your Dog Decide

For dogs who are a healthy weight and aren’t having accidents in the house, you may be able to use the free-choice feeding method.

This means you leave food out all day and let your dog graze. This can be a good method for highly active dogs that are burning more calories than their couch-potato friends.

If you are leaving food out all day for your dog to nibble on, use dry food, which won’t spoil.
If you have a nursing dog, she will probably be fed by the free-choice method. Dogs who are nursing need many calories to produce a constant flow of milk for their pups.

Downsides:

Leaving dog food out all day could attract insects, rodents, or other wildlife that’s unwanted. That’s especially the case if you feed your dog outside, so be on the lookout.
Also if you have more than one pet, they may bicker over the food.
Please note that this method is not for dogs that are diabetic.

2) Control Portions
For the dog who would never stop eating, use the portion control method. First, ask your vet what your dog’s ideal weight is. If you are using a commercial dog food, feed your dog the amount printed on the bag that fits with its ideal weight. Sometimes, however, the suggested amount is more than your dog needs. Your veterinarian can calculate the exact amount to feed.
You can feed your dog one or two times a day. It’s best to do it twice daily at 8-12 hour intervals. If you’re doing it this way, split the suggested amount found on the bag or you’ll feed it double what it needs.

3) Watch the Clock
If you’re not worried about your dog overeating but don’t want to leave the food out all day, use the timed feeding method. This means you give the dog a certain amount of time, like 30 minutes, to eat. When time’s up, throw out whatever he hasn’t eaten.  When you offer food again 8-12 hours later, your dog will be hungry and ready to eat.

If you have been following our blog you will know that we are attending obedience training at the minute with our new puppy. These questions have also come up in this arena and similar suggestions have been recommended. When treating and rewarding good behaviour – try to go for healthy options. For example boiled chicken cut into small amounts can be very appetising for a dog, or cut up sardines which is also good for their coats. Keep the treats small in size and you may want to consider freezing some oralade into ice cube portions to offer as a treat that will have no harmful effects and will infact support a healthy gut.

I hope this has helped you at least try to understand the dog that you are working with. Your local vet will also be more than willing to help you out with this too.

 

Best of luck Bx