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We leave food out for our dogs all the time. We have an 11 year old Shiba Inu and a 2 1/2 year old mini-Schnauzer. They only seem to eat in the evenings. I am with them all day so I know they don't eat all day.

Is leaving the food out bad for them? They are not overweight.
 

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If they restrain themselves, it's fine. Most dogs won't restrain themselves and will quickly get fat in that situation.
 

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To add to Amaryllis' response...

I don't like the idea of free feeding. This is because one of the best and first signs that something is wrong with a dog is a change in eating habits and when you take your dog to the vet one of the first things they should ask is how much they've been eating. That is VERY hard to know when your dogs are free fed and/or eat out of the same bowl.
 

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Well i personally do not free feed Holly, she gets her breakfast and tea, and it is taken away, she normally eats it, but if not i wait about 10 minutes then take it away, she was ill a while back, and i knew this because she was not eating her breakfast or dinner, not even chicken, she had some sort of bug.
 

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To add to Amaryllis' response...

I don't like the idea of free feeding. This is because one of the best and first signs that something is wrong with a dog is a change in eating habits and when you take your dog to the vet one of the first things they should ask is how much they've been eating. That is VERY hard to know when your dogs are free fed and/or eat out of the same bowl.
I totally agree with this. Also I don't know too much about Shibas or Mini Schnauzers, but wouldn't they need different portions of food?
 

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To add to Amaryllis' response...

I don't like the idea of free feeding. This is because one of the best and first signs that something is wrong with a dog is a change in eating habits and when you take your dog to the vet one of the first things they should ask is how much they've been eating. That is VERY hard to know when your dogs are free fed and/or eat out of the same bowl.
I agree too.
 

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I have left food out for all my dogs for the past 25 yrs of my life, never a problem. They were all brought up that way, and never had a bloat.
 

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I also don't free feed, and it's RARE to find people who free feed who don't have a 'coffee table' on the end of their leash! I wouldn't do it because I want to know when and how much each dog is eating, as they get older it's more important to me to know if there's anything off. The odd time feeding raw I've offered them big bone meals over the course of a few days with them 'regulating' themselves, in one case I thought my one dog might bloat, she did 'swell' up like she was expecting a litter of elephants and was fine but it was a bit scary.

Plus now I give supplements according to each dog's needs, mixed into dinner, so kinda have to feed separate meals. Breakfast I just give one big bowl, let puppy have her fill and the other two grab whatever's left and eat it. Kilt took a week but figured out 'oh, should eat!' after she missed breakfast a few times.
 

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I had 2 gsds. ..one was 67 pounds and the taller one was 75 lbs..both free fed. One lived to 12 yrs and the other to 13. I have 4 toy poodles ranging in weight from 4 - 7 lbs. I now have a gsd puppy who is 60 lbs but perfectly porportioned as he is 24" at the withers. I guess it can work out for some. They dont seem to pig out if its available. They dont have the urgency to eat because of availability..in my experience. I realize some dogs would eat themselves into eternity..but i never owned one.

Also, they have eating patterns, i am well aware if someone isnt eating.
 

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equilivent to an all you can eat buffet. Some have the will power while others would take advantage of the situation.

Planned feeding= knowing when /how much dog is eating, nice to know in case dog becomes sick. Easier to plan bathroom breaks easier to potty train when this is done. Can control amount of calories going in.

unlimited feeding dogs learn to be grazers, less likely to bolt their food.
 

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I guess it depends, my Shiba is extremely good about eating, when I first got him at 2 years old, I didn't know much about owning a dog, and I left a cup of food out for him all day long, half the time, he never touched it, sometimes he would eat a few peices, but he always waited for his raw dinner at night - which he usually gobbled. Then I learned that kibble and raw meat shouldn't be ingested within 7-8 hrs of eachother so I started taking his kibble away, because I wasn't home with him all day and had no clue when he was nibbling on the kibble..and he didn't care. It wasnt until I got my puppy that he actually started eating his kibble in the mornings at a set time. Either way, he's still really good about controling his own food intake, I think it's just a Shiba thing.. they are pretty prissy and high on themselves, they are probably worried about getting fat lol ;)

If they are only eating in th evenings anyway, why not just put their food down for them in the evenings and feed them then? Of course, making sure you are only putting out their proper portions. If they aren't eating throughout the day, it seems pointless to leave the food out. The Shiba will most likely be fine with only eating one meal a day, mine does it quite often. Only when he's starving for some odd reason, will he eat twice a day. Your schnauzer though is still quite young, so I would try offer half of his daily recommended portion in the morning, if he doesn't eat, take it away and give it to him in the evening. If he still doesn't eat, try again with half the portion in the morning again. They learn quickly when meal time is, and they won't starve to death. They will eat eventually if their hungry enough. Took me no time at all to teach my previously free fed Shiba to eat at certain times. Now he's a clock watcher :)
 

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I agree that feeding at certain times allows you to know if your dog is eating normally. My poor pup seems to have a sensitive tummy (ongoing vet visits for random puking/poop trouble that they can't seem to figure out. It's happened 4 times in her 1 year of life).

First clue is always her turning her nose up to either meal of the day.
 
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