Free Feeding Meal Feeding Dogs

Retriever dog food tractor supply

Free Feeding Meal Feeding Dogs

The question is: Should you be meal feeding or free feeding your dog?

Meal feeding is when you provide your dog with meals at set times of each day.

If you do, it is recommended to feed once or twice for adult dogs per day. On puppies, three times per day.
Free feeding means that your dog has access to his food at all times.
Someone mentioned the comparison of a Vegas Buffet! Agreed!

Let’s look at the pros and cons of either way- and then decide for yourself.

Taking responsibility for dogs brings many choices:
How to train, what equipment to use, which toys are best? Talking about feeding…..there are also endless choices of dog foods (Kibble or raw, with grain or without, fish based, chicken based, beef based, etc.
But this is a whole different article!

Reasons owners choose to free feed:
It sure is convenient to just watch the bowl and keep it full. Over excitement at feeding time, is also avoided, if you decide to meal feed. There will be no problem if you never made it home at feeding time. The food is always there.

Food aggression- guard
Another reason is to possibly prevent or discourage food aggression (possessiveness) It could make sense,that a dog would be less likely to defend something that is always readily available in comparison to something that might be a treasure. Yet, I believe after years of professional experience that some individual dogs have those tendencies, and some do not. Dogs that have the tendency to guard their food might be less protective over it when free fed, but I would not count on a total cure. In addition, a dog that has those protective tendencies and is now free fed, could be on constant guard (stressful) feeling that he has has to protect his food all the time!
A better suggestion for a solution might be to only feed such dog out of your hand. Or also feed him by holding onto the dish while you are sitting in a chair.

Emotional reassurance that the dog does not starve
It might make one feel better to know that his dog is not starving.

Reasons why owners choose to meal feed:

Control of food intake
Controlling the amount a dog is eating will prevent obesity. Obesity is bad for any creature. In dogs, especially young ones, it could put unreasonable stress on joints and ligaments. They are more prone to have injuries. It is to be compared to have an extra back pack of heavy material to constantly being carried around.

Noticing that he doesn’t feel right
Loss of appetite will be more easily noted. And it is a clear indication that something is coming on. As meal feeding is always the same procedure and exciting event to a degree, changes in the dog’s attitude is immediately noticeable. Early detection of changes indicating that something is wrong, is a great advantage. Early recognition will prevent massive actions to be taken.

Using food for training
If you are intending to have a well behaved dog, you will consider training him. Food based reward systems for good behavior, are much more powerful, if the reward (food) is NOT readily available at all times. If meal feeding is on a set schedule, it will give your training even more excitement. Dogs learn the scenario at a certain time and in a certain place very quickly.

Control potty time
It is a fact that after eating- or waking up, it is potty time. Especially if the dog is not potty trained yet, the prediction of when he needs to go is very easy to be made.

Multiple dogs household
If there are more than one dog to be fed in the same household, Meal feeding is almost mandatory. Owners need to be in control over eating habits of each dog. Each dog should be supervised eating the portion and kind that is assigned to him individually.
Meal feeding for a group will also help to prevent dogs suddenly competing and fighting over food.

Meals and dog dishes are more hygienic
Dog dishes should be washed daily. It will prevent developing bacteria that can easily developed if food is just sitting out, even inside the house. Food left in bowls is an open invitation for ants and other insects.Just one fly inside the house could easily get onto the food and infest it. In addition, the dog could have just taken a drink of water, goes to take a bite of food, and moist the kibble with his wet mouth. It can very quickly develop mold. Especially if the dog is eating raw food, meal feeding is absolutely imperative.




Dog Ear cleaning

Dog ear cleaning is essential for the health of your dog. Checking your dog’s ears regularly helps to detect need for cleaning early enough to prevent developing an ear infection. In order to prevent infection from developing, it is recommended to clean the inside of the ears once a month. If the dog of a breed that requires grooming, he might have hair growing inside the ears. Make sure that the inside of the ears are shaved regularly. The hair inside the ear is a dirt catcher! The procedure of cleaning should be painless and uncomplicated, unless the dog fights an ear infection already! Regular ear cleaning will also help to accustom your dog to the procedure.
Use a cotton ball and soak it with rubbing alcohol, or Witch Hazel. Hold the cotton ball with thumb and index finger and stick it down his ear as deep as you can, holding the ear up with the other hand.
Swipe the ear with the cotton ball from bottom to the top with a turning motion. Sweeping out (not in) so any dirt will not be pushed down into the ear.  Before you repeat the procedure, check the cotton ball. If it is clean, repeat in different areas of the ear. If you see any dirt on the cotton ball, do not reuse it.
If the dog displays any signs of infection, perhaps wining during the cleaning procedure, blood on the cotton ball used for cleaning or excessive head shaking, it is recommended to use a medicated ear cleaning solution available at Pet Stores. If it has gone too far, of course a Vet visit is recommended to provide medical attention.

Camino Verde Pet Resort offers ear cleaning for your dog. No appointment needed- just walk in any time during business hours 

Price: $12.00

Dog Bedding Dangers

Be aware of Dog Bedding Dangers at all times!

Most dog owners want to make their dogs comfortable in a crate of kennel and provide him with a blanket or towel. They also put a piece of clothing of themselves, including socks some times. Toys are left with the dog as well in order to “keep him busy”.
This creates constant danger of the dog tearing up the piece of clothing, the blanket and toy. There is a chance, with some dogs more than others, that they swallow pieces of whatever it is that they are destroying.

We have seen dogs actually passing whole socks and pieces of even rubber toys.
An American Bulldog was once dropped off for training at our facility. Three weeks later he passed a whole black sock. Luckily it came out! Nobody knew that he had swallowed it.
Another dog was left unattended with a soft rubber ball and chewed it up, without the owner noticing. It was discovered two days later what happened, when the dog passed little pieces of red rubber.
Not all cases go over that easy.
We know of numerous dogs that had to have surgery to safe them from not being able to pass a foreign object.
I remember myself purchasing an adult Rottweiler female for our breeding program. And she was never really eating well. But yet seemed to be normal acting otherwise. It was discovered during a hip x-ray, that she had a golf ball in her stomach, that had been their for who knows how long!
It couldn’t pass naturally, and had to be surgically removed.
If any bedding is provided to the dog, we should make sure that it is of most solid, non rippable material.
A “KONG brand bed” is recommended. The same rules go for toys and chew bones. Toys should be most solid in structure such as a KONG. Chew bones (rawhide) should be one solid piece. The kind that has knots at the ends are not recommended, as the dog can chew of the knots easily and swallow them as a whole.
Highly recommended Kong toy. This one is the original toy of the KONG Company. This brand started out with this very toy, calling it the Kong. It established the image of being tough. From there on, the company created different kinds of toys and bedding that was matching the non destructive image the company had branded by starting with the Kong toy. 
What we just learned! Make sure that the opening on the bottom of the Kong is smaller than your dog’s bottom jaw. We just observed a dog playing with the Kong, he needed our help to get it off- he happened to get stuck with his bottom jaw in the opening of the Kong while playing!

This is another recommended example of a toy made by Kong. Different shape, same material. Following the basic idea of being non destructible as the material is tough and there are no parts that could easily be chewed off of the toy.



A different shape -a bone also a Kong toy, opening up choices for dogs of different preferences.





And finally the recommended bedding- a Kong bed! Tuff material and washable. comes in different sizes and fits different crate sizes as well. Is available in black and red color




Soft bedding that is not recommended. the soft liner and the foam it was filled with, made it attractive and easy for the dog to destroy it. Luckily, he didn’t swallow any pieces of the dangerous materials.




Chew bones not recommended because of their structure. the dog’s teeth could easily get stuck in the gaps. Breaking a tooth off.




This bone is an example of the dog possibly chewing the knot end off and swallowing it in one piece. It could get stuck in his throat and/ or causing digestive problems if it makes it into the stomach.




The recommended choice of non dangerous chew bones is the “one piece” kind. Nothing can be chewed of easily in huge parts. Before a piece comes of, it will be well chewed and soft.




Dog toys not recommended. Those have parts that are encouraging a dog to chew them off and are potentially dangerous when swallowed.





Dog Nail Trim

The Dog Nail Trim is recommended to be done about every two months on average. Unless he is spending sufficient amount of time running on hard surface so that his claws are grinded down naturally. If he has due claws though, those of course need to be trimmed regularly as they don’t touch the ground while walking.
First it would be helpful if the dog gets used to have his feet picked up by you. Start by just touching the one food, and follow by giving him a treat! Foot by foot. Once he is willingly accepts being touched by his feet, start lifting them up one by one. Lift up , set it down follow with a treat every time. Until you can even hold the food up in the air for a longer and longer period of time. He will like having his feet picked up. Create positive association with the tools you are planning  on using by showing him the clipper, take them out of sight and provide a treat. Last not least would be, lifting up his foot and him allowing us to touch his feet with the clippers followed by a treat.
Once you are ready to actually clip a nail, just take the very tip embrace it with the cutter blades and snap it. Do not squeeze slowly. That would be similar to a pinch sensation, which could be painful. And of course follow with a treat after every cut.

If the dog has grown claws that are too long, it is necessary to cut them off little by little every week. If a nail that is too long is cut back a whole lot, the vein (quicks)  inside the nail will be injured and the claws that are cut to short might bleed. Once that happens, and is not handled correctly, It could also cause an infection!

Use Medi Styp to stop the bleeding.





Tools to be used:

Use the clipper that look like a bolt cutter shown in the picture left.
These have strong cutting edges and have very strongly constructed handles that allow to cut a nail in a snap- instead of a hurtful squeeze.



The use of a dremmel is recommended on dogs that either do not accept the clippers at all, or to take the edges off the claw




Do not use the kind of clipper (Guillotine) that has a hole to stick the nail through and then has a blade that pushes through the hole. This kind is not recommended for thick nails and the squeeze can be hurtful.
Puppies should have their nails trimmed just as regularly. It is recommended to use the human nail clippers of the larger size.



On small dogs with thin tiny nails, use the human toe nail clippers.

Camino Verde Pet Resort provides nail trims for dogs of any size for $15.00
You do NOT need an appointment, just walk in during business hours