Free Feeding versus Timed Feedings

A dog owner needs to make a lot of decisions and we’re always here to help you decide the best care for your best friend. Each dog is a little different so whether it’s testing out a new method or actively seeking a solution, there are many reasons to consider whether you want to Free Feed or have your dog on a Timed Feeding schedule. Leaving food out for a dog to eat whenever it wants is called free feeding. Setting your dog’s dinner down at a specific time is referred to as timed feedings. Park9 Manager Staci outlines some pros and cons:

Free Feeding:

Pros:

  • Convenient for people with fluctuating schedules 

Cons:

  • You never know exactly how much your dog is eating (which is especially important in growing puppies,  frail seniors and dogs with health issues]
  • It’s wasteful as whatever’s not eaten should go into the garbage
  • The food remains less fresh when exposed to air than in an airtight container or sealed bag

Timed Feeding:

Pros:

  • Knowing exactly how much your dog is eating
  • Can help with food based training methods
  • Provides energy throughout the day
  • Can help with weight loss and gain 
  • Helps create a more reliable elimination schedule 
  • Can help with crate training 
  • Grazers and finicky dogs are more likely to start eating more regularly when they realize what they don’t eat disappears

Cons:

  • It may take a few tries and some time to switch over a free feeder
  • It can be difficult to know your dog doesn’t have food available when you’re away and pup may be hungry 
  • Much like people dogs need calories to burn when expending energy. Running around on empty isn’t a good thing

Hope that’s helpful. Be sure to ask a Park9 staffer if you have anymore questions.