German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America Forum Index German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America
AKC Parent Club for the German Wirehaired Pointer
 
 ForumForum FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
 gwpca bulletin boardGWPCA Home Page   gwpca bulletin boardBulletin Board   gwpca bulletin boardGWPCA Rescue Page 

free feeding?
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America Forum Index -> Health Issues
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
trackindog
Senior
Senior


Joined: 20 May 2003
Posts: 87
Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: 06/19/03, 12:51 pm    Post subject: free feeding? Reply with quote

We currently have three west highland white terriers that we have free fed since they were puppies. In two weeks we will be adding a GWP puppy to our household and would like to know if it is at all possible to also free feed a GWP.

We have been very happy feeding this way as our dogs never gulp food or fight over food since it is readily available. And all of our dogs are very fit while never having a problem with over-eating.

I have read that free feeding is not good for large breed dogs but then have also read that it has been done successfully.

Anyone out there that has done or is currently feeding their GWP this way? I know of one high quality human grade dog food (Flint River) that sells a combined puppy/adult mix that would work for all our dogs IF it would be OK to do.

Thanks!
Ann
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
admin
Administrator
Administrator


Joined: 27 Apr 2004
Posts: 33

PostPosted: 06/19/03, 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I free-fed my GWPs, they'd be as big as houses. Laughing

The general thought is that free-feeding does not encourage good appetites or good eating habits. Sorta like leaving a bowl of grapes on the table all day long for the kids. They nibble nibble nibble all day and then aren't hungry at dinnertime and so ultimately don't get the proper amount or nutrition. Also, it can be harder to monitor exactly how much each dog is eating.. particularly when there are two. And you have the problem of leaving food out, uncovered.. particulalry if you are feeding a better food with little to no preservatives.

It's not something I would recommend, but if it's been working for your current household, you could give it a try and see what happens.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
trackindog
Senior
Senior


Joined: 20 May 2003
Posts: 87
Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: 06/19/03, 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>If I free-fed my GWPs, they'd be as big as houses

I think this is a common assumption but what I think really happens is they realize there is no need to stuff themselves because it is always there for them. I would think it would be the same as for people where it is recommended that we eat many small meals rather than the normal three big ones. This way the body is being nourished when it needs it rather than the ups and downs during the day.

The first time I put down a full bowl of food my dogs were 6 months old and ate like it would disappear if they didn't. That was the only time they over-ate. Each of them is lean and very muscular.

I also feed a small meat meal in the evening mixed with a seameal product. I do this to make sure they get everything they need in a diet and so they get variety. Even so, the dry food should have everything they need in it already.

My dogs are very healthy and have beautiful coats. And, since they free feed the food doesn't sit out really long enough to cause problems due to lack of preservatives (I feed Solid Gold).


My only concern is what I've read about large breed puppies getting too much protein and growing too fast thus causing skeletal problems. I wish I knew if this was a real problem. I can't seem to find any solid documentation on it.

Ann
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
dorisval
Member
Member


Joined: 13 Jun 2003
Posts: 11
Location: UK

PostPosted: 06/19/03, 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I free-fed my dogs for eight days. On the nineth I signed them on at Weight Watchers. Laughing
We are now back to two rationed meals a day.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
trackindog
Senior
Senior


Joined: 20 May 2003
Posts: 87
Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: 06/20/03, 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>I free-fed my dogs for eight days. On the nineth I signed them on at Weight Watchers.


HEHEHE! But, did you start them as puppies or were they older at the time? I think that makes a difference.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Illona
Senior
Senior


Joined: 08 Nov 2002
Posts: 106
Location: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: 06/20/03, 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ann,

I free-fed both my rescue dogs. My most recent is an 18-mo-old GWP whom I've had for 11 months now. She would gulp her food like a starved fool and I figured I didn't have a self-feeder on my hands this time around. Then she developed a severe food allergy, and wouldn't eat (and keep down) anything in almost a week. At that point the food bowl went out and stayed out; the kibble was always topped up. When she decided to start eating again, it was always there for her, and she didn't have to pig out. I could easily guesstimate that she ate approx. the 4 cups a cay she was supposed to eat.

However...now I'm feeding raw (I'll start a new thread), and she gets her couple meals a day, plus raw-meaty bones.

I'd say if your GWP isn't gaining weight on the self-feed, you're okay. I'd also keep an eye on how much your GWP's eating at a single "sitting", and keep an eye on WHEN he/she's eating -- i.e. before or after exercise, when she's very hot, etc. Make sure she/he's eating a few times a day, not too much, and not at the wrong times. I think you either get a glutton or you don't. You won't know till you try. Still, I believe if you have the food out, I think the pup will gradually realize they don't have to gulp it all, that it's not a competition. It may take a while for the transition to happen, but I truly believe think there are a lot of dogs out there that would happily free-feed if the owners didn't restrict them to specific times. They gorge because they know the human controls the food, vs. THEY control the food themselves.

I agree, it would be nice if your GWP could self-feed with your Westies. Makes life easier...and there are no competitions. It's just always there.

Illona
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
dorisval
Member
Member


Joined: 13 Jun 2003
Posts: 11
Location: UK

PostPosted: 06/22/03, 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are right trackindog,

I tried to free-feed them when they were 2 and 4 years old.
Never mind, they are just as happy with two meals a day.

Doris
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Hunters Edge
Member
Member


Joined: 02 Jul 2003
Posts: 14

PostPosted: 07/03/03, 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The major problem with free feeding large breed dogs especially sporting dog (hi energy, very active) is bloat. To keep this from happening which in essence is the stomach turning or twists which shuts off blood supply and organs start shutting down it is a painful ordeal and takes hours to finish even with getting a dog to the vet ASAP it is a costly surgery and the odds are not that great for successful surgery. Any way to keep this from happening or minimizing the chance it is wise or instructed to feed you dogs two hours prior to activity or wait and feed two hours after activity. In free feeding this can not be monitored.

Another problem of free feeding is bugs laying eggs which may cause illness for one a flea that is ingested will turn into tape worm in a dog.

Lastly by time feeding this can be used as a reward and can help in the training of a dog. Either hup for a retriever or whoa for a pointer but can be used for other commands as well. If your not using it as a reward in training your not using one more tool that is at your fingertips.

In short because of the seriousness of bloat I do not free feed or condone it. It may be easier and one could call someone lazy but none of that matters it should be whats best for the dog and I see no reason to put a dog at risk.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
trackindog
Senior
Senior


Joined: 20 May 2003
Posts: 87
Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: 07/03/03, 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply Hunters Edge! All very valid reasons for not free feeding. We picked up our puppy on Sunday and he is being fed three meals a day currently. We will reduce that to twice a day at 6 months and continue that from then on.

The westies will just have to get used to it too! Wink

Ann
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
trackindog
Senior
Senior


Joined: 20 May 2003
Posts: 87
Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: 07/03/03, 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hunters Edge wrote:
It may be easier and one could call someone lazy but none of that matters it should be whats best for the dog and I see no reason to put a dog at risk.


Also, as an FYI, the reason I free fed my other dogs is exactly for the above reason - I believe it is much healthier for the dog. Just as it is healthier for humans to eat several small meals a day rather than three large ones, it would go without saying that this too would be the case with dogs. Thus the free feed. When a person or dog eats this way the body is nourished and energy replenished as needed not only when fed.

The more I think about it the more it seems to me that a free fed dog would be less susceptible to bloat as they would never eat such a large amount as to cause this problem. Take those one, two or even three meals a day that a dog is fed and break it out into many small amounts and the dogs would never have a huge amount in their stomach.

We had a lab that we fed two times a day and he would just gulp his food as if he would never get fed again. My westies eat small amounts only when they are hungry and don't overfill out of fear the food will be picked up.

I do understand however that by feeding that way we lose a great training tool that will be necessay. Plus I do need to regulate his intake just to make sure he doesn't eat too much and grow too fast which I understand can be a problem with large breed dogs. Never was a problem with my westies.

Ann
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Illona
Senior
Senior


Joined: 08 Nov 2002
Posts: 106
Location: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: 07/03/03, 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with your last post here, Ann. I think free-feeding has many merits, and I never free-fed out of 'laziness'. Au contrare...I had to pay more attention to when and how much my dog would eat.

My GWP girl is eating raw now, so the free-feed issue is a non-issue for me at this point, however, I free-fed because I felt it was much healthier for my dogs to eat small amounts throughout the day, when they were hungry,when their bodies required it. They never gorged. My GWP girl would eat just under her 'prescribed' 4-cups a day of kibble via several feedings throughout the day, rarely eating more than 1 cup at one 'sitting'.

As for bloat..... I would hope that any responsible dog owner would know to remove the dog's food before and after extreme exercise. I would always take away Matea's bowl an hour or so before any agility or obedience class or long hike, and when we came home after a hike, she didn't get her food bowl until she'd cooled down for at least an hour or more. And...she never gorged.

Yes, I agree that owner-served meals have definite training benefits and that by free-feeding you're losing that opportunity. However, if your dog does not require that opportunity -- i.e. they are given ample training in other areas and situations, if they are not dominant and need reminding that you're in charge, etc. -- I think it's perfectly fine to forego this 'training' scenario, and opt for a dog that eats when their body needs it. All of this is said, however, with a non-gluttonous dog in mind.

Illona
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Hunters Edge
Member
Member


Joined: 02 Jul 2003
Posts: 14

PostPosted: 07/03/03, 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bloat is not called this because of over eating. Thats first, second if your hunting a dog and training a dog to hunt it is extreme excersize and many times for training is during the off season which also usually has a heat index to worry about as well. I would suggest reading up on bloat or twisted gut it is not over feeding and the only advice given is feed the dog two hours before or after excersize. I do not know how more simple this could be. Now a free feed method may work for someone that does not hunt or train a dog to hunt. In training it is not uncommon to train 3 or 5 times in a week and you put it in where you can. So beside running Johnny to school or the doctors, stopping by moms to do a minor repair etc... you fit it in where you can. A free feed method will not work in this situation and if your not in this situation by all means it may work for you but it is not best for the dog. In actuallity it is proven that one day feeding has even helped in joint problems associated with hip displaysia. A dog is an animal and most predators and some point have to use their reserves because they have not been successful at the kill. Nature's way is not food whenever you want it. It may be the American way even in different countries it is hard to get meat but thats a different point. Just because you have a notion that in your mind it is better for the dog to eat when it wants to does not make it better for the dog or better yet the health of the dog.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Illona
Senior
Senior


Joined: 08 Nov 2002
Posts: 106
Location: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: 07/03/03, 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HuntersEdge, I'm well aware of what bloat is and how it's caused, and that's why I don't feed or water my dog prior, during or after our training sessions. I allow her to cool down. I do some heavy-duty training with her (even though I'm not a hunter) and because her chest is deeper than my previous dogs, I have always been concerned with bloat. Still, I was able to safely free-feed her, and she did very well...held a great weight, had lots of energy, and in great health. Now, however, I feed raw, which is fed in a couple meals a day, and she self fasts at least once or twice a month, more akin to "nature's way."

I would love to hear more about this "one day feeding" helping with joint problems though. I've never heard about that. Do you have a source where I can learn more?

Illona
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Hunters Edge
Member
Member


Joined: 02 Jul 2003
Posts: 14

PostPosted: 07/03/03, 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Illona,
In actuality it was in a conversation with a breeder for labs. It was about 5 years ago or more and the conversation led to hereditory hip displaysia and what science has ruled some is not hereditory. One of the reasons why today for large breed puppy's they need to be put on or fed large breed puppy food or adult dog food by the age of 12 wks. Also when you here or read of dogs being malnurished is a cause as well. Some of the findings showed that water work helped as well as feeding once a day to reduce the complication or even eliminate it if the joint was not to deterioted. I do not remember what university or from what or where this information came from again it was about 5 years ago and since she has moved out of state. I will send an email to her and if she can remember I will gladly forward the information to you with a pm. Sorry I can not be of more help I just remember the conversation because it was of interest to me at the time.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Hunters Edge
Member
Member


Joined: 02 Jul 2003
Posts: 14

PostPosted: 07/06/03, 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am still trying to get the study of information regarding hip displaysia for Ilonia.

Because this thread was started regarding self feeding I came across something very interesting. I am trying to find where this information can be obtained but wanted to share what I found. First this was copied and put on another site and I copied it as well to put in on this site. I am still trying to find a source of validity but it makes sense and wanted to share this with others thinking of self feeding.

I copied and pasted the following from another bulletin board from one of Doc E's posts. Interesting stuff......I'd be very interested to read the results when they are published.

------------------------------------------------------------
"Purina has recently completed a 14 year study on 48 Labrador Retrievers.

To give a general summary, the dogs were seperated into two groups and paired with a littermate. One littermate was fed 'ad lib', meaning 'free choice'. The other littermate was fed 75% of that amount (referred to as 'restricted diet').

The findings were quite striking. One in particular, was the time to death of half the dogs in a feeding group. For the ad lib dogs, the age at which half the dogs had died was 11.1 years, while the age which half the dogs died in the restricted diet group was OVER 13 years. Also, at this 13 year mark, only ONE of the ad lib dogs was still alive. They also observed that the restricted diet dogs had a later onset of arthritis as well as other age related diseases!

The ad lib dogs were NOT overweight (just a tad chunky) and the restricted diet dogs were NOT skinny, (but were a tad thin).

The bottom line is, that we, as pet owners have a significant amount of power to not only extend the length of our dog's lives, but also to give them a better quality of life. There is also an economic impact of this stude -- feeding less means not only that a bag of dog food lasts longer, but there is a big potential for decreased Vet bills.

This data is expected for publication by Aug or Sep of this year."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America Forum Index -> Health Issues All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group