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Luna, a Texas Heeler, is going to be a year old in May. She's not fat by any means, but she is becoming a very solid girl. Obviously, she is half-heeler, so this is to be expected, but I've been doing some research on what kind of diet she should be on and there's just so many different ideas and opinions. Some websites claim that it's incredibly easy for a TH to get fat, while others say that "the hardiness of the breed" means they can basically free-feed. I guess I ask because our other dog, who has never had a problem with eating, has always just been a free feeder. But Luna always seems to pig out when we leave food out for her. Is this just typical puppy or breed behavior? Or should I be limiting her food?
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She's a very active girl who loves to play :)

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I personally feel that whether a dog can be free fed has a lot more to do with individuals than breed traits. You'll see lots of people claiming poodles are picky eaters, but mine would definitely be pumpkin-shaped if I allowed him free access to food! In my own experience food motivation isn't a puppy thing - the dogs I know who don't have great appetites were like that from the day they came home, and the chow hounds were always that way. Obviously some medical conditions and medications can affect appetite, but in general food loving puppies aren't likely to slow down. At least not before adulthood and slowing metabolism catch up to them and their waistline. Even if she doesn't seem to be packing on the pounds right now, keep an eye on her poop. Frequent, softer stools are often a sign that a dog is taking in more than they can use.

There are other benefits to feeding on a schedule. It's easier to notice changes in appetite and eating behavior, especially with multiple dogs, with each getting fed individual potions, and this can be really important in catching health problems early. It's easier to provide a specialized diet or supplements to just one dog if they wind up needing it. I always have a decent idea of how hungry my dogs are likely to be, and can plan their training sessions to take advantage of that (eg not so hungry they try to take my hand off, but hungry enough that they stay keen and motivated in distracting or challenging environments). Hungry dogs are also way easier to convince to accept a pill. And just the reduced likelihood of attracting pests. If I left kibble out that the dogs didn't finish (hypothetically, my boys are bottomless pits), the ants around here sure would. But you'd probably notice if you had that problem with free-feeding your older dog, haha.
 

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My dogs are on a "see food" diet. As in, they see food and they eat it. I don't think I've ever had one that I would trust to self-regulate when it came to eating.

I would figure out her ideal weight, (you can feel her ribs easily, and she has a tuck at her waist), determine the amount of food she needs to keep her at it, and then divide that into two meals a day.
 

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I'm of the opinion that you should feed something that you can afford and that your dog does well on. If you can free feed or not depends on the individual dog. I don't think I've ever seen a free fed dog that was truly at the ideal weight, although they weren't necessarily morbidly obese. They wouldn't eat all the food in the bowl right away, but they were certainly eating more than they needed! They just had a few extra pounds that they really didn't need.
 
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