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  #1  
Old 01-18-2013, 06:29 PM
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Question Scheduled vs. Free feeding - Feedback, pls!

My girls Maxine and Mia are almost 4 mos old. I started out with trying to keep a feeding schedule, as recommended by a couple Chi websites and, of course, the pet store. However, it quickly turned to free feeding, as they just weren't cooperating with the scheduling! I was concerned with the hypoglycemia threat as well....They have sort of fallen into their own schedule, which is 2-3x per day, and they never finish all the food I put out, which I still measure out to stay within the age recommendations for their size/weight/age. From everything I've read, Chihuahuas are NOT schedule eaters! Even the history suggests that because of their small size, they were unable to effectively hunt, so were natural scavengers, thus indicating they are not prone to a set eating schedule. That being said, a dog can certainly be trained to do things a certain way....my dilemma is that I worry about their health down the road, as adults. Am I doing them a disservice by not insisting on a set feeding schedule? Thanks for any input, shared experience, etc.
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:54 PM
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In my opinion, you have to do what works best for your family. I feed 2x a day... I also have 3 dogs and 2 cats that would constantly be in each others' food if I didn't schedule feeding. As to health -- I have seen free fed dogs who were very good self regulators and were the perfect healthy weight. I have also seen scheduled feeders who were severely overweight. I do think that having a scheduled feeding makes it easier to know when one of your dogs goes off food, and which one.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:01 PM
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Default Scheduled vs. Free feeding - Feedback, pls!

It depends on the dog and your lifestyle. I personally feed 2x a day on a schedule. I like that Toby's poos are predictable and I think the routine is good for him- it provides his with stability that I think he needs.


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Old 01-19-2013, 01:14 AM
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I feed twice a day. I think Douglas would eat himself into a coma otherwise.
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:23 AM
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Default Scheduled vs. Free feeding - Feedback, pls!

I feed twice a day. When we first got Jaxx I was free feeding but he was going out so often because he was nibbling all day.
I also think that Jaxx does better with a routine.


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Old 01-19-2013, 01:38 AM
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I feed Ike 3 times a day, I measure in a cup what he is suppose to have in a day and divide it between 2 feedings and the rest is in my pocket used as treats when he goes potty outside or on the wee pad. I have never seen a dog eat as fast as he does, like he is starving. My pug eats once a day and has treats, I have to take Ike out on the porch for his evening feeding as she (pug)would feel slighted. As long as they are getting the amount they should a day, give or take a little, it all depends on the dog what he will eat at one sitting. Ike would eat it all at one time.

I can't wait till he is old enough for just 2 feedings as he poo's to many times a day.
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:02 AM
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You have to do what is best for your dogs- but I have only seen problem after problem from people free feeding. A lot of dogs will become overweight, but then some will become underweight because they are not eating enough. I think it is because the food is there all the time they never feel the need to eat because they always know it is there. On top of that it is hard to figure out how much they are eating, who is eating what and it would take longer to see what dog in the household is not eating. I also think the obesity thing often happens because with free feeding you have no real feedback about their hunger so you may be inclined to give them too many other treats. You might never notice they are eating less dinner because of the amount of treats you are giving. And as Toby's mom said house-training while free feeding must be a nightmare.

That said- once in a blue moon there is a dog that does well on it. If your little ones are doing well and are keeping up a good weight and you are not having any houstraining issues feel free to stick with it! Just make sure to watch their weight as they mature and slow down a little bit. It seems like it is 1-2 years old that dogs start pudging out. I think the thing with scavenging naturally is that it is a lot of hard work. Just like hunting is. So when wild animals are out scavenging they eat everything they come across because they wont know when another meal will show up. I sort of understand what you are saying but also I think it is important to see that scavenging is not like having food just sitting in front of you all the time. That logic could also be used with bigger dogs- wolves don't take down deer on a schedule, they do it when opportunity strikes and then eat all they can because they don't have any idea when the next successful hunt is going to be.

That I am sure sounded like a lot of "don't free feed" but really what I am saying is just watch out for them and I am sure you will be fine. If it is working for you don't try to fix something that isn't broken!
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:56 AM
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When young we free feed them, when 4 months on we feed 2 to 3 times a day, Muffin gets 3 meals a day, our ol gal Luna Boston Terrier has food down all the time but shes a midnight grazer, she preffers food after midnight.
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