|Possibly it depends on your puppy and what you are comfortable with. Our Mady was never a voracious eater (of her own food anyway ). Our breeder said she wont overeat, so her food bowl almost always has food in it. She grazes it from time to time. It's a far cry from a lab or a beagle who will likely binge themselves. But I've seen a lot of other posts from sheepdog owners here who's dogs wake them up in the morning and the first thing on their mind is breakfast! Mady will often eat a late breakfast. We have a great breeder and trust her completely, she knows her dogs best, so our policy has always been do what she says. |
Congratulations on your new puppy, welcome to the community, and post puppy pictures!!
|Congratulations on your new puppy!! I don't have advice but wanted to welcome you to the forum. Others here will steer you in the right direction. Be sure to learn to post pictures~we love pics, so that is a requirement|
|Most dog trainer don't advocate free feeding for a number of reasons but it does work for some.|
Some of the reasons that can cause issues later are:
*you can end up with a picky eater although you can end up with a picky eater anyways
*it can take longer for you to notice that your pet is unwell and not eating
*if you have more than one pet, you never know who eats what so you can have one pet scarfing the lot
*if you have more than one pet and one is on a special diet you have problems
*it can make using food as a training tool less effective
My sheepie is a piggy so if I free feed she snarf down the lot all in one meal and then beg for more at the end of the day.
If you don't free feed a 3 month old puppy is usually still on 4 feeds a day, 3 at a minimum.
|I am not able to advise on feeding routine. Sorry. |
But I can tell you that the best toy we have in our house is an 7" orange ball with a hole in it. Food goes in the hole, puppy rolls the ball and food comes out. We still use this ball while we have our supper or we are leaving the house.
We feed Howie 3 meals a day and use the ball in the morning as we leave for work and at supper time.
Looking forward to seeing photos of your new pup! Do you have a name picked yet?
peg & 9 month old howie
|I'm not an advocate of free feeding, reasons being you have no idea how much they are grazing on in a day.|
I would suggest to follow when you first get your puppy home the breeders guide and type of food being advised to not cause dietry upset.
After a few days you can then just slowly adjust to a set feeding schedule that suits you and your new pup. At this age it is suggested 3-4 small meals a day. Just normal feeding and not free feeding you then know exactly, firstly how the pup is when it comes to food, are they picky, are they oinkers and you can adjust the amounts accordingly. Also not having siblings around now, no competition for food so leaving it as free feeding all day might not have that interest in getting enough as your puppy is going to grow quick and needs the correct calories, vitamins and minerals etc to sustain that rapid growth. Also you know exactly how much is going into the pup and adjust the amount needed, for eg. if a guts and gaining too much weight too fast then you can ration the dry food or the opposite not too interested in his/her meals then you can up the amounts and even make it more tempting with vegs and things like meat and cooked chicken even rice added to tempt them.
There is for's and against free feeding but I prefer scheduled meals as you know exactly how much your dog is consuming.
With the dry food if you find you want another brand (I am not a fan of "Hills"), always transition over to any new brand slowly over a week or so to not cause sloppy poops or any sort of dietry upset. (search here on the forum as plenty of posts about types of Dry food) Same with adding if you do and they have never had it in there diet before, vegies, meats, grains(rice/pasta etc) just bring in one thing at a time for a few days and if puppies doo doo's are still looking OK you are ready to introduce something else down the track to try.
Best wishes with the new baby and welcome to the forum.
|I agree with the above advise. Always follow the breeders guidelines to avoid stomach upset. Then you can slowly, very slowly change things.|
The main problem with free feeding is housebreaking I think. When feeding on a schedule, its easier to know when you fed and knwo they will need to potty shortly after. With free feeding, you have no way of knowing.
With that said, I free fed my first sheepdog with no problmes. He never gained alot of weight and regulated his own food. But with my two now, free feeding wouldn't have worked. I need to know when they ate for poop schedules and play schedules as I do not exercise them until a few hours after they eat. To avoid any bloating problmes , hopefully.
|We free feed Tonks and Luna, but with a schedule, if that makes sense. They get breakfast between 10 and 11am. They sometimes don't finish it, and the bowls stay on the floor until dinner, around 7pm. Then if there is still food in them, its thrown away and fresh is put down. This stays in their bowls until its eaten, or anything left over is thrown away and fresh breakfast is put down the next day.|
Basically, I'm not picking up their bowls after the recommended 15 minutes. This way, there's no gorging of food, no race to eat it all as fast as possible, and we don't have to worry about food guarding as much, and bloat. I'm also aware of how much they eat, because I measure out their meals. If I see them eating less, or eating more, I can adjust it the next meal. If anything, I think I'm more in touch with how my dogs are doing with their diets this way. I have a friend that feeds on a schedule, and every animal in her house eats a meal ravenously in 5 minutes. ALL food is devoured by animals that to me, look like they must be starving. If every meal is eaten this way, how can you tell if they are truly hungry or not, or if they are simply trained over time to respond this way to food? With my girls, on a day where they are extra active, if they polish off their food in 15 minutes, I know they are hungry, that they worked up an appetite, and I might give them some extra dry kibble. If I see that they aren't finishing their meals, I can more closely monitor things like their potty activity, and see how much they are sleeping in comparison to being active (it helps that I work from home) and take it all into consideration before I put a call in to my vet.
|Thank you so much for the quick replies.........so glad I came across this forum! I will def post pics. Can't decide between the names "Chachi", "Calihan" or "Malcolm". Think I have to meet him first! If I decide to go to scheduled feedings, say 4 times a day, how much kibble each feeding? I am just a bit nervous and he wont be to the vet until the week after I get him.|
|I am not sure what is meant by free feeding. Mady gets fed twice a day, but we do leave her bowl down if she doesn't rush to eat, which she never does. But she is still only getting a measured amount of food twice per day, so we certainly know how much she has consumed in a day. Could someone explain free feeding to me?|
|How old is Mady? And how much measured kibble does she get each feeding? I think free-feeding is when there is ALWAYS food in a bowl available anytime they want it......no measuring at all.|
|My understanding of free feeding is that there is always food out for the dog.|
Putting down food and leaving it for a short space of time like 15 minutes before you take it up isn't the definition of free feeding that I've read but it's a somewhat controversial area so there may be more than one definition.
|Both my dogs get a measured amount of food. Twice a day. I do not pick it up in any given time. It stays until they finish it. Which is usually a few seconds |
But my first sheepie, got a measured amount of food and sometimes he wouldn't eat it all in the AM. So I left it there and if it was still there for the PM feeding, I would throw it out and put down more. I never made my dogs feed within a certain time frame - like down for 15 minutes and then take away. No dog will starve himself if food is available. If they're hungry ( and healthy ) they will eat when they want it...
|Free feeding is constantly a dog bowl full of food all day, if empty you just keep it topped up. Never been an advocate of it at all, also I can see it going stale if not eaten and you just dont know how much there consuming in a day, Ashley also brings up a good point, harder to potty train too. If mine were left to "Free Feeding" I would have 2 especially that would KEEP on grazing till they exploded and be constantly re-filling it as once down ALL GONE with those oinkers in a matter of seconds The other one not so much as when full she will leave a little. The boy well BOOOOOM, even though he would think it is paradise ever constant food supply there to guts on he would eventually need a crane to move him if he had access to "Free Feeding" all day. Instead of the "oompa Loompa" it would be "there goes the michelin sheepie"|
|OK.....great advice, thank you!! But how much kibble each feeding? Again, he is only 13 weeks old.|
|It depends a little on the puppy but there is usually a guide on the bag of food re how much to give per age and weight.|
|I think the food you purchase will have feeding guidelines on the bag, depending on your puppies age or size. Or perhaps you vet could help you with suggestions?|
|Our dogs have always been on a feeding schedule, which, as everyone has mentioned, makes it easier to monitor how much they are getting, as well as simplifying housebreaking. I would also like to add that it really helps to have a scheduled feeding if your dog ever needs to take meds with a meal. If you free feed, it's much tougher to administer meds that require food in the tummy.|
Be wary of the amount recommendations on the dog food bag. Remember, their job is to sell food! I found the recommendations to be more than my dogs ever required, so I used the amounts as guidelines, and adjusted according to weight gain and feeling the ribs. Both of our sheepdogs grew up to weigh over 110 lbs, and they were putting on about 8 - 10 lbs per month as puppies. The most either dog ever ate in a day was 5 cups, as growing pups. (Keep in mind, a dog food bag "cup" is a baking measuring cup, so if you're using another scoop, compare it to a measuring cup.)
Congrats on your new impending addition!
Laurie and Oscar
Oscar's Mom wrote:
Be wary of the amount recommendations on the dog food bag. Remember, their job is to sell food!
I forgot completely about that! You're absolutely right; my vet had said the same thing!
|Our pup, Libby is also 13 weeks old and she is eating 1 and 1/3 cups three times a day. When we brought her home at 8 weeks she was eating about 1 cup 3 times a day. Recently she seemed hungry after she was finished and she is on the lean side of normal (according to our vet) so we increased it slightly. As I understand it, she will eat larger amounts as a puppy than when she is full grown.|
|Thank you so much, that your advice will help guide me until our vet visit on friday! I an going to gradually switch his food from Science Diet to Nutro Ultra Holistic Diet..........anyone else use it? Although my breeder uses Science Diet, I don't like the by-products used. Picking him up today at 4...........sooooooo excited!! Will post pics ASAP!|
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