Monday, January 7, 2008

A Cautionary Tale Of Free Feeding

Most websites and books you read on Corgis make a point of saying that you should not free feed your Corgi. They are eating machines and don't know when to stop. Of course, this isn't necessarily the case with all Corgis, but the general trend. I've always found it strange that some breeds will eat only when they're hungry, and some breeds will eat until they explode. Why is that? I've had people telling me that all I have to do is set down a bowl of kibble in the morning and I'm good for the rest of the day.

A long time ago, before I even started this blog, I saw a story about a corgi that was free fed nearly to the point of death. She was 70 pounds (!!!), and luckily her owners gave her up before she died from obesity. I was bummed because when I went to look for it again, I couldn't find it. But last week I happened up it again, so now I can share it with you. The story of this dog is mixed in with this article by a breeder who is warning about the dangers of over-feeding your dog, and giving advice on the best way to make sure you feed your dog in a way that ensures its good health.

As the time draws near when I get my puppy, I've found myself a lot more concerned with nutrition. I'm going to need to feed this puppy and keep it healthy, so I need to learn as much as possible, especially since I plan to do a "whole foods" diet. One of the concerns is what is the right amount to feed? I've heard anywhere from under a cup a day to over two cups a day. The article rightly states that it depends on the dog's age and activity level. I'll have to keep a close eye on him/her and work closely with my vet to make sure s/he is healthy. I think the "I'm starving" puppy stare is going to be the hardest part for me. If I won't be able to tell if the puppy is really still hungry, or just wanting more food, then I'll need to make sure I know what enough is. I'm afraid I'll be in constant fear of starving or underfeeding the puppy.

Any Corgi owners out there reading this, how do you decide how much food is enough for yours? It must be difficult, especially when some experts say that following the direction on the kibble bag would be feeding too much food.


Lynn said...

Oh poor Reba. Every time I read that story it makes me feel so bad that she had to endure it. Definitely ask your breeder what she recommends, and keep an eye out for a waist on your corgi. Since I'll be a first time corgi owner too, I'm interested to hear what other people have to say as well.

JuLo said...

Well since I'm doing mostly home-cooked feeding, and my breeder just feeds kibble, I don't know how much she'll be able to help me. But I'll definitely ask!

Yeah, I've read about the visual signs of over or under feeding, such as making sure the dog has a waist, but not a fat one. :p But I can just see myself feeding too much because I'd be afraid of feeding too little. *sigh* I'll just have to be VERY careful!

Ivy & Bryson said...

That's always a tricky subject... First of all I agree that the amount recommended on the kibble bag is wayyyyy too much for corgis. Bryson eats about 1 cup/day of Innova Evo + veggies + treats.

The breeder was feeding him 2 cups/day of a lower quality kibble and no treats. We came up with his current diet with trial and error... we try something for a couple weeks, look at him, weigh him, and evaluate. But for puppies you'll probably need to eyeball him, and it's not that hard for us to tell if Bryson has gained a few pounds (it goes straight to the belly!).

Ooh, we're so excited to see your puppy!!! Just hope the weather is nicer by the time you bring you pup home :)

JuLo said...

Hmm, that's a great point, Ivy. If we're feeding higher quality foods, we probably won't need to feed as much of it. Trial and error sounds like the best way to do it. Thanks! I've also read that a puppy can stand to be overfed a bit more than an adult dog because, just like kids, they're growing and eat those calories right up. But I'll still try to be vigilant about it.

I'm excited to flood the interwebs with pictures of my puppy! I guess it's not so bad if the weather is bad when we first get the puppy, since we won't be able to really go outside much with him/her anyway. I just hope the weather will be okay flying back from Oklahoma because I'll be on a tiny plane and I'm a chicken!

Anonymous said...

I was worried about how much to feed also. Lucky for me, Gonzo doesn't have an insatiable appetite. Even as a small puppy he wouldn't eat when I fed him sometimes. A couple of weeks ago he went three whole days without eating, so I switched to another food. We're now putting him on an adult food and we picked Nature's Recipe. It doesn't have all of the worthless fillers that other foods have.
I believe I fed Gonzo 1/2 cup in the morning and 3/4 cup in the evening, and as he got bigger I added 1/4 here and there. Now he gets one cup in the morning and one in the evening, but once we finish switching foods I will probably cut it back to 1 1/2 c per day.

Anonymous said...

I feed my baby girl a cup of food a day! :] She maintains her good weight and does not ever seem hungry. I feed her 1/2 a cup of food in the AM and 1/2 cup food in the PM. (of course she gets a couple of treats here and there)