The case against free-feeding your dog - Dr. Marty Becker

The case against free-feeding your dog

Wednesday, Jul 23rd, 2014 | By Dr. Marty Becker

CleanPlateClubLeaving food down all the time for your dog may be convenient for you, but it’s deadly for him.

There is no bikini season for pets, nor stick-thin dog models on DogTV. Dogs are scavengers, and left to their own devices will happily dig their graves with their own food bowls.

What can you do to maximize the good years you have with your pet? Never feed free-choice or “all you can eat,” but instead, precisely measure out the exact amount of food your dog should be eating.

Your veterinarian will be delighted to look at your dog’s age, do body condition scoring — most pet owners think their pet is normal when in fact about 56 percent of pets are overweight or obese — look at your dog’s activity level, and help you determine exactly how much to feed.

In one study, researchers found that if you keep your dog close to her ideal body weight, she may live up to 15 percent longer. Isn’t that worth a little inconvenience?