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Timed feed or free feed?

Do you free feed or timed feed?

Free feed
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38%
Timed feed
65
62%
 
Total votes : 105

Timed feed or free feed?

Postby Country-Side Breeders » Sat Jun 19, 2004 9:23 pm

I free feed all my GSP's. I've found that with free feeding, I don't have the gulping that comes with the timed feeding. They eat what they want, when they want. I know the health status by how fast/slow the feed goes down and I don't get crazed dogs as feeding time approaches. I also don't need to worry about getting home or stopping whatever I'm doing b/c it's time for feeding.
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Postby ourhunters » Sat Jun 19, 2004 10:16 pm

I also free feed. I've never been able to get our weim on a schedule. He just eats when he's hungry. I too think this works best for us.
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Postby GrouseHunter22 » Sun Jun 20, 2004 7:29 am

free feed.
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Postby tfbirddog2 » Sun Jun 20, 2004 10:58 am

I personaly feed once a day. Rather than free feed mostly due to my half breeds weimer excitable stomach during hunting season I feed the night before and give snacks on breaks an at lunch. I get a lot better results.
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Postby Colleen » Sun Jun 20, 2004 1:42 pm

Free feed. Like Patty, I've noticed my dog eats slowly and little by little rather than gulping down the whole bowl in 2.5 seconds. He also doesn't freak out when people or other dogs are around him and his bowl while he eats, or even eating out of his bowl (the dogs, not the people!) since he knows it's always there for him. Plus, I figure he knows when he's hungry better than I do, so why not let him decide when to eat, and I couldn't make him fat if I tried.
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Postby WildRose » Sun Jun 20, 2004 3:35 pm

We free fed dogs for many years and have changed to timed feeding. Yes it's a pain in the butt because the dogs appreciate you being on time every day :lol: . However it's lowered our feeding cost, reduced waste trememdously, and there are numerous studies by as many different sources showing that overall free fed dogs have substantially more health problems and live shorter lives.

During the offseason like now we feed once a day in the evenings only. However during the season when I'm pushing dogs hard I feed them enough so that theres always a little leftover when I load them up in the morning before a hunt, and feed them a snack at least once a day around lunchtime. CR
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Postby Country-Side Breeders » Sun Jun 20, 2004 5:08 pm

Charlie-
Is it possible for you to point us in the direction of these study sources so that everyone can read up on this subject? :D
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Postby Ayres » Sun Jun 20, 2004 10:18 pm

I time feed for now, but that's because I'm working on housebreaking.
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Postby Duane M » Mon Jun 21, 2004 2:40 pm

WOW I'm suprised at how many free feed dogs to be honest. Some of my dogs I free feed, used to be all of them, and obviously some I hand feed. The ones I left on self feeders are ones that as far as weight, coat and energy have done much better in the past on self feeders than hand feeding. Some of my dogs even with a double ration do not keep weight and general condition as well as the others do so just picking and choosing on their clock works much better.

Patty I would imagine one of the articles CR refers to is the one released by Purina last year. In that study which was on labs the hand fed lived an average of two years longer than free fed dogs did. It should be available on Purinas site still.
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free feed or timed feed

Postby tfbirddog2 » Mon Jun 21, 2004 6:54 pm

At the preserve I work at the owner and 2 other guides free feed.Honestly I would love too, but my three would eat all the food in one day an then start on the feeder.(ha!,ha!)But I don't because of my half breed and I would have to change them in September and March when season starts and ends. I have also heard about the lfe span deal from purina. Oh yeah just a tip with puppies when feeding put your hand in the dish all the time and they will never freak out or growl when they are older my two year old daughter can put food in their dishes when they are eating an they all just don't mind.
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Postby Ayres » Mon Jun 21, 2004 8:21 pm

Hand in the dish... would've never thought of that one. Thanks for the tip!
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Postby Colleen » Mon Jun 21, 2004 9:02 pm

What is it about free feeding that causes a shorter life span? As long as the dog isn't eating himself into obesity, why does it matter if he's time fed or free fed? Also, if Purina used Labs for their study, aren't Labs prone to obesity, so free feeding them would kind of lend itself to health problems? If you ahve any links that would be great CR!
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Postby tfbirddog2 » Sat Jun 26, 2004 5:02 pm

It's probably the same in dog as humans when you eat as you please and lay around, you do just that you become round. An in labs the fatter they are the shorter the hunting day for them, with or without daily exercise.That will wear on the heart.
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Postby WildRose » Sat Jun 26, 2004 11:57 pm

The first studies I remember reading about were done by TAMU vet school and were in fact done on a number of breeds. Just like humans the dogs body simply seems to function at peak efficiency when you are eating about 80% of what you would eat free choice.

The most recent is the one by purina, and I tend to think it's well done. Afterall it would be to Purina's advantage actually to promote free feeding now woudln't it? If I recall what they in fact recommend is to set a bowl out with a pre measured/weighed portion of feed you know full well the dog cannot eat in thirty minutes. Then weigh/measure the remainder. Do this for a week, take an average of the daily consumption calculate what 80% of that amount is and feed that daily. Sensibly of course you adjust based on the dogs physical appearance and condition and activity.

One thing I did find years ago was that often if you always free feed right from puppyhood obesity is less likely than if you take a dog that started off on a restricted diet and try to introduce them to free feed.

Honestly the thing I find best about carefully managing feed intake is simply the fact that the restricted diet greatly reduces wasted feed, through spillage and excess poop. Dogs like us will often eat simply to fill their belley not just because they are hungry and just like us when they overeat on a regular basis they simply don't convert feed as efficiently and of cours poop a lot of undigested feed out simply to make room for more. CR
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Postby snips » Sun Jun 27, 2004 9:12 am

I definetly do not free feed. I do not want fat dogs, esp. those running trials. Plus, i`ts hard on the feed bill. One of the best reasons is dogs that are free fed won`t ususlly eat on the road. Any dog we have will clean up whats given then while traveling to trials or hunting. You can put bowls down and whwn you reach the last one, go back and start picking them up.
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Postby Kevin » Sun Jun 27, 2004 10:04 am

Another thing with timed feeding is that you know exactly which dog is eating and how much. It is also easier to tell when your dog changes his eating habbits.(sickness or stress)
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Postby sudiegirl » Mon Jun 28, 2004 7:29 am

ok here's a question, i dont think i understand timed and free feed. when you say free feed, do you mean leaving a certain amount of food in the bowl daily, or do you mean a giant vat filled with food for the dog to munch on for weeks on end (just kidding about that part ) but seriously, a self-feeder kind of deal where you dump the 40 pound bag of food in, and the dog munches as he/she pleases? clarification of free feed would probably make a difference in some votes here (at least mine!!:) ). i dont see a problem with putting a bowl of x amount of food in it down for a dog if there is not a way for other dogs to get to the food (thus cheating one dog out of food and larding up the hog that's stealing), but i know that for the labs and the akita at our house, a giant vat would be emptied by nightfall, and we would have some dogs that looked like they had consumed several small cars along with the apartment building where they were parked. in our situation, we are feeding 5 dogs of different ages at once. (and we do not have kennels) while we seperate the younger spotted dogs (gsp and DK) from our wannabe hogs (labs and akita), we put a certain amount of food in the bowls each morning. they have about half an hour MAX to eat it. at that point, any leftover is removed, thus avoiding the rollover plan that our elephant sized labs had been on, and the growling and fights that were occuring throughout the day when one dog went after another's food. this plan has also helped their weight problem immensely. additionally, our skinny boys know that they need to go ahead and eat up, or there will be no more munchies until night (since they NEVER stop moving and burn off every calorie they consume and then some, we feed them 2x daily so they dont blow away in the wind) this has actually helped them learn to eat a little more in one feeding and at least maintain their weight. so, long story short, i guess i am for timed feed :)
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Postby WildRose » Mon Jun 28, 2004 9:37 am

Sudie, if the dog has constant access, or near constant with basically a dish with feed all the time or whenevery he "asks" for it I think you have a free feed situation just as with self feeders.

My family raised dogs on self feeder programs for about 25 years, and I must say that the difference beween the volume of feed consumed by each dog not to mention the volume of poop produced is remarkably lower on the timed feeding regime we use now.

I have a few dogs here now that are so constantly busy no matter the time of year we could easily put them on self feeders and never have them get fat, in fact they probably would not eat anymore at all than they do now. On the whole though for most dogs I do belive the best evidence shows that you are better off with the timed feeding both for your budget and the health of the dog in the majority of dogs.

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Postby crow » Mon Jun 28, 2004 10:39 pm

I am a free feeder, I find it the best way to have a good time with them at the end of the day it relaxes me. also I have a buddy that use to a time feeder and he started finding worms in the very bottom of his feeder now im against it.
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Postby txgspdad » Sun Jul 11, 2004 8:32 am

Haley and Jake are time fed. As others have said, it gives me control over the amount they take in. That way they get the appropriate amount for the time of year and the situation at hand. It also encourages them to eat when the bowl is filled, and this habit is very good when traveling/hunting. If they have a health issue, many times I can tell due to chow left in the bowl. And finally, it saves me money :D !

One other thing. Not to put anyone down, but many of the dogs I've seen that are free fed seem to be overweight, and that's the last thing I want for my GSP's.

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Postby llewgor » Tue Jul 13, 2004 10:50 pm

I feed twice a day eary morning and evening. I put the food out and give them time to eat. If they don't eat it all and walk off and leave it I pick it up. I don't leave it out because of insects (ants, flies, bees.) I also measure there food. I've had 2 goldens with thyroids problems so I got into this habit with them. I now have a llewellin and a gordon and a mix. The setters i don't worry about if they eat to much they'll burn off. The mix is older and doesn't burn it like he used to.
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Postby scarecrow » Mon Dec 27, 2004 4:22 pm

My 2cnts:
Free feeding my hunting dogs always gave me healthier dogs. I noticed just the opposite some stated reguarding stools.
When feeding once a day my dogs would gulp whatever was put before them & their stools looked like soft dog food.
The stools from free fed dogs was solid & dark indicating to me they were getting all the good out of their feed.
My dogs didn't overeat. They would simply take a bite off & on through out the day eating only what they needed. My feed bill was less after starting free feeding.
I'm looking to get back into keeping dogs & will now pay closer attention after reading some of these posts.
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Postby Birdhunter1 » Sun Jan 02, 2005 4:38 am

I free feed my dogs, they are out daily and I monitor how much they eat between refills. Usually I have to refill once in a two week period and that's about 30-35 lbs of feed, I weigh the dogs once every month or so and they seem to be about the same each year.
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Timed feed

Postby Youngblood » Mon Jan 03, 2005 10:22 pm

I time feed my pups.With the other dogs I have I find that some dogs will eat until they are fat and can't run.While other dogs will just east enough to stay a good weight.
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Postby ginia » Thu Jan 06, 2005 4:08 am

Hmm, I guess we don't really fit in either category. When Cassi was young, we would put her bowl down for 20 minutes, 3x a day. Some days she didn't eat at all, some days she ate some food every time. Her bowl is inside and holds 2 cups. Once she was housetrained and cratetrained, maybe after a year, we started leaving her bowl down more, but we still put it up when we're not downstairs to keep the cats out of it. So Cassi eats when she's hungry, and if she eats everything in her dish, we fill it the next time we get to it, not necessarily at her whim. Because of health problems we've heard about with Weims, ie bloat, we try to limit the amount she eats at one sitting, hence the 2 cups at a time. When we get our V puppy and are using two kinds of food, we'll go back to all timed feeding for a while.

Two other things related: We highly recommend putting your hands in the food while pups are eating as well as picking the bowl up and putting it back. It definitely keeps the pup from getting possessive. This works with bones and toys, too. We also climbed into her crate since we knew our friend's kids would eventually.
:lol:

We also keep a puzzle toy, like a cube, which has her food in it, so if she's hungry and the dish is empty, she does have another source of food, but she really just plays with it occassionally. I don't think she uses it as an actual food source, more like treats. I keep track of how fast she goes through it, along with her normal food.
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Postby Decoy » Fri Jan 21, 2005 8:55 am

I think all dogs are different.
We normally feed in the morning but on days that I hunt Judge I cant feed him in the morning b/c he will throw up during the hunt - Feeding Condor before a hunt does not seem to affect him at all. Got to figure out what works for your dog.
that is at least for those of us who do not have a big kennel with 20+ dogs to feed.
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Postby jkoehler » Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:16 am

I am also a little surprised so many free feed. I had always heard that dogs would eat whatever is in front of them no matter how much food they had. I feed at night around 9:00 or later, this allows him time to digest his food before the morning hunts.
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Postby jussbrutal » Mon Feb 14, 2005 7:45 am

Timed feed. It is an issue of dominance, the dog does nothing without your say so. 8) 8)
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Postby APRock » Mon Apr 11, 2005 6:55 pm

I put a vote in for free feed, however; the bowl gets filled with a certain of food only once each day at about the same time every day.

So I guess it is combination of both.

He just will not eat it all in one "sitting" so to speak.
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Postby rosiesdad » Sun Apr 23, 2006 1:24 pm

Timed, used to free feed, but my last dog would eat 25lbs a day if I let her.
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Postby Ayres » Sun Apr 23, 2006 4:37 pm

APRock wrote:I put a vote in for free feed, however; the bowl gets filled with a certain of food only once each day at about the same time every day.

So I guess it is combination of both.

He just will not eat it all in one "sitting" so to speak.


Revisiting this thread, I'd have to say that I follow this to a T.
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Postby calibra » Fri May 05, 2006 10:14 am

Hi

I also follow that. Some days the dog will eat next to nothing

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Re: free feed or timed feed

Postby Vizsla Vince » Tue May 09, 2006 12:50 pm

tfbirddog2 wrote: Oh yeah just a tip with puppies when feeding put your hand in the dish all the time and they will never freak out or growl when they are older my two year old daughter can put food in their dishes when they are eating an they all just don't mind.


I had my 6 yo daughter interrupt my puppy all the time. Pushes him aside, & pretends to eat his food, etc... I have everybody mess with him while he eats.

BTW, I feed my dogs AFTER I eat breakfast & dinner. I am the alpha, after all.
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Free feed

Postby Tejas » Fri Jan 26, 2007 11:34 pm

I have free fed for at least 20 years. Yes, the big feeders that you put 40 lbs in. I have never had an adult GSP who's weight varied over one pound from one vet checkup to the next. My old GSP girl will turn fifteen in a couple of months God willing.

I did have one pointer that got a little heavy.
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Postby Goosehunterdog » Fri Mar 23, 2007 5:09 am

I feed first thing in the morning.My dogs are on schedule this way and it helps with house breaking.
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Postby Terry » Thu May 17, 2007 12:31 am

I free feed, I put an amount down after I eat breakfast and leave it. Crazy dogs won't touch there food unless I am in the same room though...I can't for the life of me figure out why...

If they finish it off when I get home from work and push the bowl toward me I will give them a little more, but that is rare.
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Postby Mntngoat » Thu May 17, 2007 3:07 pm

I guess I timed feed. Rex gets fed twice a day 2 cups each morning and night. I kid you not he is done eating in 60-90 seconds. I'm afraid if I left the bag out for him to eat when he wanted to he would finish of a 40 lb bag daily.

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Re: free feed or timed feed

Postby Mntngoat » Thu May 17, 2007 3:12 pm

tfbirddog2 wrote:.... Oh yeah just a tip with puppies when feeding put your hand in the dish all the time and they will never freak out or growl when they are older my two year old daughter can put food in their dishes when they are eating an they all just don't mind.



When Rex was younger I would get down on the floor where he was eating at eye level and take the bowl away from him, or act like I was going to eat his food. Not once has he ever growled or snapped at anyone when they get close to his food.

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