I’m definitely not against free feeding. Active, dogs can generally burn off their calories and certain breeds don’t gobble everything until they throw-up. My friend used to free feed her coon hound, but had to stop…the dog had an endless appetite and was very active. However, he became overweight anyways and she needed to regulate to get him down to a proper healthy weight. My neighbor free-feeds her two Shelties. They are inactive and don’t get regular exercise, although they do have each other to play with. Both are extremely overweight, have joint problems, waddle – can’t run, and have major medical problems. I’m sure some of this is due to genetics, potentially poor quality food, and over feeding. So, in those instances, free-feeding had a negative effect on the health and wellbeing of those dogs.
Now, you all who have had many more years of experience with the cockapoos may be able to speak on the breed. I don’t free freed my 10-month-old Mia. I feed her 3 times a day – and I think she’s between 15 and 20lbs and eats between a 1 cup and 1 and ½ cups of dog food. I supplement that with training treats, and some “people” protein like chicken, beef, eggs. She is extremely active, healthy, and her vet is very happy with her weight. She was spayed at 6 months and definitely is filling out. We haven’t weighed her in a while, but I think she’s hovering near 20lbs now.
So, whether your’re free-feeding or portion feeding; as long as your dog is healthy and active, that’s all that counts! If you feed with a high quality food, it isn’t full of fillers or preservatives. If you can give some quality human food in addition – even better!
I've been a lurker for years - too many lists to keep up with, but I need to jump in here. All of my dogs are free feeders and none are obese (Can't say that about their owner sadly but I have lost 30 lb since both knee surgeries).
I've only had 1 dog who gained too much weight by laying all day with his head in the feeder and obviously munching all day. We raised the feeder up on concrete blocks and Corky no longer ate all day. I do have my breeding adults and all the moms and litters with food in front of them at all times. My housedogs too. They are all solid, round healthy dogs but not obese. Some few might overeat but I would be willing to bet most dogs will not overeat if allowed to eat when they are hungry.
In a message dated 10/28/2008 8:25:47 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, susan-hart@comc... writes:
Free feeding is only good for dogs who don’t have issues with food aggression and who are good at self regulation. In most breeds, free feeding can lead to obesity and the host of problems that come with that.