People nowadays tend to live pretty hectic lives. It seems that every couple of years, your daily routine seems busier and it becomes harder to keep up. We often end up looking for shortcuts to make the day easier and sometimes these shortcuts involve our very own pets. Dogs can be demanding creatures at times, so any tips and tricks like free feeding can seem like a godsend.
Free feeding is the act of leaving food available to your dog throughout the entire day. That may mean leaving a whole day’s worth of food in the morning or refiling little by little throughout the day. Either way, free feeding allows you to worry less about feeding your dog on time. This method sounds simple and convenient in practice. The problem is that the application and results can be very different. Canine Caviar would like to talk about issues that come with free feeding.
Problems of Free Feeding
The following issues listed below tend to be the most common that come from free feeding. There is a price to pay for the convenience of free feeding. These issues can occur if you engage your dogs in free feeding.
Free Feeding Is Not Very Hygienic
Imagine it’s Saturday and you made yourself a giant sandwich in the morning. You eat some but there is a lot of sandwich leftover. You go about your day cleaning, maybe watching a little bit of TV or maybe bonding with the family. Then you keep eating the sandwich that has been out all day with dust and germs out and about. It doesn’t sound appetizing does it?
The same goes for your dog. Its food doesn’t stay at the same quality of fresh throughout the day. Just like anything you eat, it goes stale and doesn’t taste as great. That’s why kibble should always remain in a fresh sealing container or in its original bag. Some dog food bags have the capability to be resealed including Canine Caviar.
Another issue you might run into with free feeding is unwanted visitors. Ants and other bugs can see that bowl as an invitation for an all you can eat buffet. A bowl full of bugs is not only a waste of money but also a waste of good food. A hygienic environment helps your dogs stay healthy while keeping their food fresh and delicious!
Free Feeding Makes it Hard to Watch Your Dog’s Eating Habits
Another problem that comes up with free feeding is the inability to know your friend’s eating habits. Your dog’s appetite is one of the most important signals to pay attention to. It helps determine whether your dog isn’t feeling well or as healthy as can be. With scheduled feeding, you know when your dog eats and how he eats. It’s easy to see differences in his behavior and plan accordingly.
Free feeding eliminates the visibility of your dog’s appetite. Because your dog is eating constantly throughout the day, it becomes harder to diagnose its health condition. That means it becomes difficult to make the decisions necessary to help your dog.
Free Feeding Results in Increased Overeating
Free feeding can be a gateway for obesity. That’s because the opportunity for bad eating habits is easier. Your dog may develop the habit to eat more than it needs to because your dog doesn’t know when to stop. There is no off switch you can use to stop you dog from eating. He or she will eat until they’re satisfied which is usually beyond the actual recommended amount.
Another bad habit your dog can develop is eating when bored. Dogs get bored just like we do and just like us will eat when there is nothing else to do. These eating habits are more likely if your dog comes from an unfavorable background.
Obesity is a real issue in the United States and the source for multiple health issues. These issues include diabetes, heart disease, pancreatitis, chronic skin infections, and more. It’s best to keep your friend on a more structured schedule. Free Feeding comes with risks that you may not be willing to take.
Trouble Knowing When Your Dog Poops
Free feeding also affects your dog when it comes to relieving itself. If you don’t know when your dog eats, you don’t know when your dog poops. This creates a real problem when you’re trying to potty train a dog. Not only that but poop is another sign of health. The color, smell, shape, and solidity of feces can tell a lot about your dog’s health. You see whether your dog is absorbing the proper nutrition or signs that he or she isn’t feeling well.
The Bad Habit of Food Guarding
One last issue with free feeding is the development of food guarding. Food guarding is when a dog protects its food from other dogs and even people though defensive acts. This includes anything from simple growling to more violent acts such as biting.
People tend to think providing food throughout the day is a good way to prevent food guarding. While that’s understandable, it can also have the opposite effect. Dogs may feel the need to constantly protect their bowl and be exposed to unnecessary stress.
It’s important to eliminate any behaviors like this especially if there are children in your household. Children are more likely to receive the consequences of food guarding.
Free Feeding is Even More Difficult with Multiple Dogs
While free feeding seems like a convenient answer to a hectic lifestyle, it comes with its own set of possible consequences. All the downsides we discussed are already unpleasant; now imagine having multiple dogs within your household. Having many dogs not only makes it harder to deal with these possible downsides, they also escalate and intensify. For example, a dog may be more inclined to intimidate other dogs to get to their food. An aggressive alpha dog that consumes all the food is not a good thing. Your other dogs will lose out on the nutrition they need and lose weight dramatically. It’s hard to break these bad habits if they start developing. These habits also become yet another source of stress for dogs which affect their well-being.
Free feeding isn’t bad if it is well executed but it requires proper preparation and vigilance which isn’t what we’re looking for. We want free feeding to be quick and easy to do. That’s why many issues occur when free feeding dogs. If you don’t believe you will have the adequate time to prepare proper free feeding, it is best to stick to scheduled feeding. We understand that our lives are pretty busy and we have to juggle and balance multiple priorities. That being said, trying to save time through methods like free feeding are not the best way to go. It’s important to give dogs the necessary time and support they need to stay fit and happy.
We hope there’s a better understanding about free feeding and its possible consequences. If you want to read some more helpful information, visit the Canine Caviar Blog. You can find posts about the benefits of our flash cooking process or learn more about Alkalinity and how it can change your dog’s life.