Feeding a pack of dogs has its challenges…
So I have 7 dogs that live with me in my house, all of varying ages, sizes and activity levels. Feeding time is their favorite time of the day, and it is my job to make sure each member of my pack is getting the balanced diet that is appropriate for them. So how do I get each dog the food they need to stay happy and healthy and keep the peace during feeding time?
Here are 10 things that will help keep the peace when feeding multiple dogs
1.)Teach them to Eat when the food is given. Your dogs need to learn to eat when the food is put in front of them. In other words there is NO bowl of food sitting around once feeding time is over. Not only will your dogs benefit by getting a proper amount of food for their age, size and activity level, but medication and supplements can be easily given with each meal to each dog..
2.) Use a Crate.. If you have a dog that is new, maybe a foster dog, or a visiting grand-dog, Do not hesitate to let that dog eat from the saftey of a crate. A crate allows a slow eater or a nervous dog space to eat in peace and to be able to watch the others. Useing a crate is a great way to teach them to eat when when the food is delivered, especially if they can watch the others. If your new dog does not eat in a reasonable amount of time, don’t worry.. hunger will get him to eat the next meal.
3.) Be Present. Never leave a pack of dogs while they are eating. Once each dog is done, they should be removed from the room. Mine go outside to take care of business. If you are worried about one dog finishing and moving to another dogs bowl.. redirect that dog with a cookie and / or use a spray bottle to get their attention and redirect.
4.) Train Manners. Don’t expect miracles overnight, but a simple command like “Place” can be taught independently. Using a towel or blanket (a target), you can teach the dog, with treats, to go to “place”. Once they each learn their spot to eat, the target can be removed, as they will connect the word with eating and that spot. I also ask for a sit before I place the bowl down.
5.) Be Fair. Hopefully, all your dogs will at one time be old. If you have an old or delicate dog, it is okay to give him/her preferential treatment, but always keep and eye out for the frail ones.
6.) Be consistent. Once your dogs are familiar with their “spot” to eat, don’t go rearranging their spot, or the order in which they eat.
7.) Use quality food. There are plenty of types of dog food and plenty of opinions on what is best for dogs to eat. While feeding a pack can be challenging, it can also be very advantageous to the dogs. Because of the quantity that I use, it allows me to mix and/or change the food that I feed. The Dry food that I use is an economical subsitute for high dollar feeds . I Read ingredients .. and I stick with a couple of protien sources and rotate what I purchase. The result of not feeding the same protien all the time has allowed my dogs to be able to eat just about anything
without any ill effects. Want to know more about Quality food and how to know if it is safe for your dog? Check out this awesome review of all dry dog food brands to make sure your doing the best for your 4 legged friends.
8.) Add ins. The shear volume of food also allows me to add table scraps. (no bones ..only things that I would eat) Generally I mix all the food in a very large bowl. If the whole group is getting any supplements (mine get fatty acids), I mix those in also. then I use a 1 cup scoop to measure the appropriate amount to each dog.
9.) Use Good Bowls. No bowls sliding across the floor. Actually, all my dogs that gulp their food now eat out of bowls that are designed to slow down fast eaters. I also like stainless steel as they are easy to clean. Although I had a rescued shepherd that was afraid of SS bowls, She had a heavy duty Plastic bowl.
10.) Be observant. Feeding time is a great opportunity to make a daily assesment of how each of your dogs are. Do they have their regular excitement about dinner? Did they clean their bowl?
Do you have some tricks that keep your dogs happy and healthy?
I Love to talk dog and would love to hear your suggestions!
Please leave a comment!