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Deciphering Dog Diets: Free Feeding vs. Scheduled Feeding

  • 2 min read

Choosing the right feeding approach for your canine companion can be a puzzle. Both free feeding and scheduled feeding have their advocates, and each method has its own set of advantages and considerations, regardless of whether you're offering off-the-shelf kibble or an all-natural option like Nextrition cold-pressed dog food.


The Flexibility of Free Feeding

Free feeding involves leaving out a dish of food for your dog to graze on throughout the day, accompanied by fresh water. This approach is undeniably convenient for pet parents. There's no need to stick to strict feeding times or rush home to feed your dog.
One of the perks of free feeding is that it allows dogs to consume their food at their leisure, which some argue mirrors natural feeding habits in the wild. However, since domesticated dogs have different lifestyles, this comparison might not hold true in practice. Free feeding can be particularly beneficial for dogs who tend to naturally graze and eat in small amounts.


Considering the Drawbacks of Free Feeding

However, free feeding isn't without its pitfalls. The most significant concern is the risk of gorging and overeating, which can lead to bloating, throwing up, digestive issues and weight gain. This approach can be especially problematic in households with multiple dogs, as it may lead to competition and food dominance issues.


The Structured Approach of Scheduled Feeding

Scheduled feeding, where food is only offered at set times, has benefits primarily for your pet's well-being. Portion control is a major advantage, allowing you to tailor meal sizes to your dog's health, age, weight, and activity level.
Other benefits include:
  • Appetite Monitoring: Scheduled feeding makes it easier to notice any changes in your pet’s eating habits, which can be early indicators of health issues.
  • Dental Health: If you feed your dog a dry food, observing your dog eat can offer insights into their dental health. If they are being more sensitive to chewing or avoiding it altogether when they used to chew their food could indicate dental issues.
  • Behavioral Training: Particularly for puppies, scheduled feeding can aid in housebreaking, as it makes bowel and bladder movements more predictable.

The downsides to scheduled feeding include less flexibility in your daily routine and the potential need for more frequent feedings for dogs with specific health conditions.


Finding the Right Fit for Your Furry Friend

While we confidently recommend Nextrition all-natural cold-pressed dog food, the choice between free feeding and scheduled feeding ultimately depends on your individual dog's feeding preference and your lifestyle. For a decision tailored to your pet’s unique requirements, consulting your veterinarian is the best course of action. They can provide guidance based on your dog’s specific health and nutritional needs, ensuring a happy, healthy, and well-fed pet.
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