As you know if you’ve written to me, I try to answer most emails personally, but every once in awhile, I like to answer reader’s questions on the blog. The number one question is overwhelmingly about Dawn, but this week I’ve had several people ask how we feed eight dogs. Do we free-feed, meaning leave food bowls out or feed them individually? The answer is that feeding times at the Farnival are actually very structured occasions.
Here’s our routine: twice a day, I open up our “dog closet” and the pack comes running, knowing it’s time for grub. Feeding eight dogs at once isn’t easy, but we manage – or at least try to manage – keeping them under control by constantly exerting a calm leadership role. I put out eight bowls on the kitchen table, each labeled with white tape, and measure out each pup’s amount. Because Tony and Rosie eat too fast I place too-big-to-swallow rocks on top of their food to force them to slow down. (Thanks for the tip, Katherine P.) Then I feed them in order of their pack rank, starting with eldest to the youngest, making each one sit before I set their bowl on the ground.
I’m meticulous about food allowances because controlling a dog’s weight is one of the easiest ways to keep them around longer. Plus, dog obesity leads to disease, which means big vet bills. I hate to be blunt but a fat dog is an expensive dog. Right now, somewhere around thirty-percent of dogs are obese. Click here to learn how to determine your dog’s ideal weight.
Besides measuring out the proper amount of food everyday, I keep their weight healthy by walking the poop out of them. I know I discuss walking probably way too much on this blog, but that’s because it’s cheap and has so many benefits. You’d be amazed at what thirty minutes a day will do for your dog’s happiness and health.