How To Feed Your Pet And Keep Away The Vet

Once-a-day? Twice-a-day? Free-feed? Ask around and you'll hear lots of different opinions on what is the optimal feeding schedule for your cat or dog food. So what is the correct answer? Well first off, rest easy as there is no hard and fast correct answer. That said, however, it's our opinion that free-feeding is the worst way to go.

The best comparison we can make is that free-feeding would be like a person having a full buffet in your house, stocked with food 24 hours-a-day. When you think of it this way, it's not hard to understand why pets that are free-fed tend to be sluggish, lethargic, and passionless about their pet food -- in addition to having a variety of dog health problems. After all, how excited would you be about that lasagna if you had a big bowl of it sitting in the corner all day long. In a dog or cat's life food is the #1 motivation they have. Sure, they love rides in the car, going for a walk, or getting a visit from the neighbor's pet. But nothing beats a great natural dog food. A critter with no passion for food is an unhappy critter. A pet should have a unbridled passion for food. They need to look forward to their next meal with anticipation and excitement. This lays the foundation for a well-tempered, happy pet. In addition the negative effect on disposition, having access to food 24 hours-a-day is not ideal for the digestive system. Dogs and cats in the wild have long breaks between meals -- far longer than humans who operate ideally on 3 meals per day. These breaks give their digestive system a chance to rest and prepare for the next meal. So if this is all true, why do some pet foods suggest free-feeding? For the same reason that your shampoo bottle tells you to lather, rinse, and repeat . . . to sell more shampoo. The sad fact is that many pet food manufacturers are far more concerned with the almighty dollar than the health of your pets.

So now that we've eliminated free-feeding, should you go with once or twice-per-day? (We don't suggest three meals for the same reasons that free-feeding is not ideal). Between once-a-day and twice-a-day, it's really a matter of convenience and preference. If you need a definite answer, we would go with once-per day. This allows for a long period of rest for the digestive system and has shown to produce the best results over the years as far as the health and attitude of the dog or cat. However, once-a-day feeding has proven difficult. Many dogs and cats drive their owners crazy begging for food throughout the day when on a once-a-day diet. Usually this type of behavior can be trained out of the pet of you stick with it for a couple of weeks. But it does take a lot of patience in those cases. That said, twice-a-day does work for many people and they still have very good results -- along with a dog that's not quite so obsessive about food throughout the day. Whether you're trying to achieve once-per-day or twice-per-day feeding, the best way to do it is to be as consistent as possible with your feeding times. Put the pet food down for a specified feeding window and pick it up after around 10 minutes regardless of if they've finished or not. They will quickly conform to this new feeding window. The more you cave in to your pet's demands, the longer it will take them to become accustomed to their new feeding schedule. If you're going to do snacks during the day, we recommend feeding them as rewards only, and to use healthy foods like raw carrots or apples. Also, the more you stick to a routine of specific times and events for reward snacks, the less your dog or cat will beg between meals.

If you're doing twice-per-day feeding we suggest one meal in the morning and one at night. If you're feeding once-per-day, either morning or night will work. Also, keep in mind that these rules do not apply to puppies and kittens, which do need 2-3 smaller meals throughout the day as opposed to once-a-day feeding.

Ward Johnson
Holistic dog food

photo source


Anonymous said...

I'd respectfully totally disagree! We have 4 cats, with dry food available 7x24, and it's not garbage food by any means...only organic human grade dry food with 'raw' content...only the best and they love it!

But talk about passion for food, any hint someone is heading for the kitchen or the sound of a can openning (at the approriate food time...not during nap times of course) and they all fly to the spot, all offering verbal encouragement as to who should be served first!

Except for our little 3 yr old orange girl who has a genetic trait toward a 'robust' waistline, they others (aged 2,5 & 6 barely weigh more than a feather!