Feeding variations

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by hockey390, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. hockey390 New Member

    I've noticed over time that my dog does not get all hyped up to eat when I put food down for her.. Maybe she is picky... Or maybe she just isn't sure if she is supposed to take the food, but either way it has brought some thoughts to my attention recently.

    How do YOU feed your dog?

    -Do you leave a bowl of food out and full all of the time so your dog can enjoy as it wants?
    -Do you feed the same amount a few times a day and take it away if it isn't finished within a certain amount of time?
    -Have a feeder that holds a whole heap of food that just releases as your dog eats away..
    -Feed one time a day?
    -Feed while you are eating?

    The variations are fairly endless, but I'd like to hear how everyone else is doing it, and then also give their opinion on other methods that they like/dislike or have had good/bad luck with.
    I am contemplating keeping a larger dish of food full for Emma because sometimes she eats right when I put the food down, and other times she looks at me like she'd rather chew on toys and have the food in a bit. But, I'm a first time dog owner, and would like to hear everyone's opinion on feeding methods such as this.

  2. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    When Zeke was young, he didn't much care for food either. He would much rather play or run around than eat...even if the food was left all day long. For some reason he woke up one day and decided to start eating more, and now he cleans up his food quite quickly.
    I teach all of my dogs to sit calmly while I am feeding them. It's aggravating when an over-excited dog is shoving his head in his bowl while you're attempting to get all of the food in the bowl.
    Occasionally I will have mine earn their meals through training. Usually though, I pour a set amount into their bowls twice a day. They finish it, and that's that.
    I've found that some dogs just take their time eating. I don't know why....but Zeke got better about cleaning his bowl faster as he got older. He's two now, and he cleans his dish pretty well. I wouldn't worry about her not getting excited about feeding time. =) She knows you're going to feed her every day, so there's nothing really to get excited about. It's nothing new to her. :dogsmile:
  3. leema New Member

    Mac gets fed once a day whenever I think of it. He doesn't care if it's morning or night, but he does normally get fed in the evening. He gets raw fed, so he gets whatever limb/organ on a mat to eat. He prefers to eat on fabric/carpetty feeling material and also it keeps all the blood contained. These mats are obviously washed regularly!

    Clover gets fed almost all her meals exclusively in training sessions. Occassionally, she gets a meal in the same way as Mac. She is fed twice a day so that I train twice a day!

    I offer food for 20 minutes then take it away... Or would do if they ever didn't eat it! Clover didn't eat much the first few days she was here, but I never changed what I was feeding her because I didn't want to make a fussy eater... Now we have a puppy that eats tomatoes but screws up her face 'cause she hates them! :D
    Also, after Jan Fennel's book, I'm a bit aversed to leaving food out. Some of the scenarios she described really made me rethink feeding... I've never left food out, and now I will never! I recommend her books. :)
  4. CollieMan Experienced Member

    Return from morning walk: Half of daily ration is put down and left down for thirty minutes.

    Any food not eaten is returned to daily ration.

    Evening: When we eat, the remainder of Ellie's food is put down for her and left down for thirty minutes.

    If she doesn't eat it all then it's tough really. Her next feed is the following morning. Though this is never really an issue as she eats loads of lamb hearts, liver, and chicken through the three training sessions a day.
  5. emmasmamma Guest

    Our vet has always reccomended "on demand" feeding, which means there is always food in the bowl. I feed dry dog food, so there is no danger of spoiling. Axcess wasn't quite so liberal until after they were potty trained. Now Emma (Buttons did too) will come and tell me if her food or water bowl are empty.:dogmad:
  6. hockey390 New Member

    One thing I forgot to mention with my dog is that she was in a large litter (as some of you may or may not remember from my very first post) so she had to eat as much as possible as fast as possible before it was all gone.. I tried to get her away from this when I got her because she would literally inhale the food. I guess the fact that she eats slow now and sits and waits for some kind of command to tell her it's ok to eat. I've since stopped saying "ok" once I set the food down so she gets used to not waiting for a command.. I don't want to think I am rewarding her every time I feed her, it's her food...

    What were some of the negatives for leaving food out if you don't mind sharing?
  7. CollieMan Experienced Member

    From my perspective, there are two major ones:

    1. The dog is less likely to work for treats as it will always have food "on tap".

    2. It gets harder to control the dog's toileting times and frequency.
  8. l_l_a New Member

    I feed 3 small meals a day; in a bowl (though sometimes in kongs or other food-dispensing toys instead, but at the same regular times). He has a fixed daily ration. I always make him sit and wait until I give him permission to go ahead and start eating.

    However, everyday I subtract kibble from these meals to use in training or when out on walks. so, most of my dog's "training treats" are actually his regular food which is part of his daily ration. Whatever doesn't get used in training goes back into the bowl for that day (sometimes we use a lot of kibble in training, sometimes none at all even though I have it on me). I do use "real" treats for higher value rewards but the majority of his food rewards are still his regular kibble, even when outdoors.

    if the dog doesn't want to eat, first I check to make sure if the food hasn't gone bad or past the expiration date. I noticed some brands deteriorate much faster than others so there were in fact a few times when his sudden reluctance to eat was from the food deteriorating. Sometimes I experiment by switching to a similar food in another brand for one meal (you can get small samples of dry food from some pet stores) or just cooking him something bland and see if the dog will take that. If mine doesn't take that either then he has lost his appetite in general and is probably ill. But if he will take the new food eagerly and with gusto but not the old food, yet the old food hasn't gone bad, then I just pick up the bowl and set it aside until the next meal time. (otherwise my husband will cave in and make a hamburger for the dog to get him to eat, this is exactly what the dog is hoping for!)

    I too don't in general like to do "free feeding" where you leave food out all day as it lowers the value of the food because it's available anytime for free and thus the dog is less likely to be interested in food when training unless you give really good treats. This can lead to a sort of "treat inflation" and I would prefer to not have that. we used to have a dog who managed to manipulate us into feeding her better and better food, until she had really expensive tastes. I'm not falling for that again! (I like that my dog now will work for his kibble even outdoors, he values all of his food since it's not freely available all day)

    I think it's great that she waits for your permission before starting to eat. it helps develop self-control, and reinforces your position as your dog's leader
  9. hockey390 New Member

    I thought of the 2nd one, but wow, never thought of the first... (*makes mental note not to leave food out*)
  10. storm22 Experienced Member

    i feed my dogs two meals a day and also training treats (but these can be their cookies or whatevers there)

    i dont free feed as my dogs would probably eat all they can and have a gut ache (we used to leave our dog biscuts bag up on the freezer till the day rex- our bull terrier ate nearly the new 10kg bag of them that was another trip to the vet lol)

    but also they will do anything for food some people think i leave my dogs hungry because they eat everything in their bowls and still want more (some people ive meet think a dog should leave some in thier bowl thats how you know the've had enough)

    but my dogs are feed quite alot really but there using that energy sometimes storm puts himself on a diet (his bikini diet i call it as it before summer lolz) he serously wont eat anything for like 3days so i pump him full of venision bones (he'll seem to eat these on any occasion)
  11. leema New Member

    Not that I'm big on pack theory, but alpha wolvels control food. And so when food is left in a bowl all day everyday, then the control is left to the dog and not to you.

    Another thing is that if there's food out all the time your dog can get fat eating all the time!
  12. bom abigirls mom New Member

    Since Abigirl has only been with us a month, and she is just 4 months old, we are seeing her go thru times of eating fine to being very picky and not eating much at all. She is not losing weight, and is gaining slowly, so I know she is not starving! We have cut waaay back on treats (the first 2 weeks we had her- well, you KNOW how dang cute puppies are!! -- we admittedly created a TREAT monster.)

    We are still fighting kennel cough (Abi was a puppy that I rescued from a family whose teenaged son impulsively purchased her at x-mas from a mall pet store, then realized they did NOT have time to care for her) ..so because of the kennel cough, I soften her kibble for her, and I offer it three times a day in amounts that I feel are appropriate. I take it up when she is done- this seems to help with her "turning up her nose" at food left in her bowl. She usually does not eat everything that I offer, so I am cutting back on how much I offer her. I would love to see her get to a point where she does actually EAT a whole small serving when offered.

    Thanks for the info regarding "expired" or "old" kibble- I got her food in a big bag from her previous owner (Royal Canin brand puppy kibble) but have not checked the date on it- perhaps this will explain why she is not terribly interested in it..

    I remember our "outdoor dogs" of my childhood, and when they had puppies, they would immediately gobble ANYTHING put out for them... so it is a challenge for me to have a picky eater- I want to be sure she gets good nutrition, but how can I entice her to EAT regularly?

    Now- all that being said, she has just come off antibiotics for the icky kennel cough which seems to have gone chronic on us.... poor baby- and chest films showed a little fluid in her bronchials as well... so I feel that as her health improves, I HOPE she will develop more of an appetite.

    Any ideas or advice is appreciated since I am a NEW "puppy mom" !!
  13. alix New Member

    Abigirl Mom,

    My girl, now almost 8 months old, is very picky eater, some days I worry since she almost doesn't touch anything except her treats. I tried many different types of food, thinking perhaps she prefers some to others, but when I was at the Vet the other day and talked about my concerns, she suggested to try mixing some Fish flavor dry cat food, I got Royal Canin Pure Feline Fish. Now it is important to note that only cat food is a nono, cats have different nutrition needs than dogs, so it is only to add a tiny bit with their food. For some reason, the smell of the fish is attracting my girl just as the Vet suggested it would, so this has been my solution for the last week. try it, it doesn't hurt :)
  14. bom abigirls mom New Member

    alix, I was making a tuna sandwich the other day, and she was in a "non-eating" mood, so I poured a little of the water from the tuna onto her kibble- and that solved that! I wasn't sure how GOOD for her it was, but it DID get her to eat...
    I guess alot of the answers will be found in trial and error- and trying to use the best judgement for the situation at hand.... What will make her eat? What's too rich for her puppy tummy? What's spoiling her? Since I have never owned a small breed indoor dog, I know all these things will be answered in time, but I just want to be as WISE as I can in my choices... THANKS for the idea -- I know most puppy food has fish in it now - it's good for their little developing brains!
  15. emmasmamma Guest

    Like people, different dogs have different personalities and what works with one doesn't necessarily work for another. Both previous toy poodles in my life (we had one when I was a kid too) were also on demand feeding. Neither of them were ever over weight and neither is Emma. I've found that they usually reserved their major eating times to when one of their humans were in the room. (I guess they didn't like to eat alone) Eating in frequent smalll amounts can help prevent fast eating which results in swallowing alot of air and can cause bloating (as well as the results of when that air is expelled!:dogwub:). It also helps maintain a more level blood sugar. Neither of the dogs in my life ever refused a treat. Emmas training treats are just a different brand of dog food (for variety as she will do tricks for her regular dog food as well).
    Yes It can lead to more irregular toileting times, that is why I don'y start it until they are house broke. As I said earlier, my dogs have learned to tell me when they needed to go out. A dog owner has to weigh the pros and cons of each method take into consideration the dogs personality (maybe even try both to see how their dog responds) and do what works best for them.
    As for picky eaters. My mom's chihuahuais one. Some days he won't eat a thing. He has had a vet workup and everything is fine. The vet said that as long as he is not losing weight and maintains his usual activity level, not to worry.

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