Should I Free Feed My Puppy Or Not?


I’m super excited about getting my new puppy, but I have some doubts. For example, should I free feed my puppy or should I plan his meals? 

You’re already on a good path toward becoming a great puppy owner because you care so much about his basic needs. So, don’t lose your track. Don’t go the wrong way.

Free feeding isn’t an option, and here’s exactly why!

So, Should I Free Feed My Puppy?

woman feeding her puppy in the living roomwoman feeding her puppy in the living room

Absolutely not!

Free feeding puppies equals a disaster. It will go down in flames sooner or later. Free feeding is not an option, even for older dogs. This arrangement has only downsides that could severely affect your dog’s health.

Not only does it bring so many health issues to your dog, but it will make you lose control over him, too!

Free feeding should be replaced with planned meals that are either quantity-limited or time-limited. 

6 Reasons Why You Should Not Free Feed Your Puppy

Here are the top 6 reasons why you should not free feed your puppy. Trust me… you won’t need more than these six to realize it’s wrong.

1. Obesity

Of course, the biggest reason why you shouldn’t free feed your puppy is the increased chance of obesity. 

Some dog breeds are more prone to becoming obese than others. However, all dogs can become obese if they eat too much. For example, Chihuahuas can be morbidly fat, even though they are the tiniest dog breed. Oh, and let’s not forget giant breeds like Anatolian Shepherds! 

Imagine how big they could get!

Bad eating habits are born in early puppyhood. Puppies have zero control over anything, including their meals. If you let them eat as much as they can, they will continue doing it even when they get older.

Unlimited access to food promotes obesity in dogs. This can become quite an issue if you have a breed at home that is prone to mobility problems, as well as bone conditions like hip dysplasia.

2. You Have No Track

woman holding dog food to feed her puppywoman holding dog food to feed her puppy

All dog breeds should have their feeding charts. You don’t have to follow them blindly, but you should use them as orientation guides. 

If a German Shepherd’s feeding chart says he should eat two meals a day, you shouldn’t squeeze in one more. Also, you shouldn’t reduce them if there are no medical reasons for it.

Feeding charts help to figure out meal sizes and their quantity within a day. 

When you give a puppy a bowl full of food, and you keep on filling it up when it becomes empty, you’re actually losing track of how much your dog eats. Keeping track of the food quantity is seriously important for a growing puppy. 

You wouldn’t know the amount he ate in one sitting. Also, you wouldn’t know if he ate anything that day. He might be having some health problems with digestion, and the easiest way to tell this is by looking at how much he ate. 

Seriously, keep track of your puppy’s food intake!

3. It Causes Lack Of Interest

You know when you want something so bad and once it’s there, you lose interest?  It’s not amusing anymore, and you’ve become tired of it.

Well, the same thing happens to puppies. When they have unlimited amounts of something, they will lose interest in it. That’s why some puppies pick treats over food.

Treats are usually reserved for special occasions and rewards. Your pup won’t eat them on a daily basis. But, the kibble is there all the time. Little by little, all that kibble in the bowl won’t seem too appealing to your dog.

4. No Control Over Your Puppy

puppy lying on the floor beside its foodpuppy lying on the floor beside its food

Having control over your puppy means understanding if something is wrong with your dog’s health status.

When dogs are in pain or discomfort, the first thing they’ll do is stop eating. Lack of interest in meals is an obvious sign that you should call the vet. There could be severe consequences of losing interest in daily meals. 

It’s okay if a dog skips one day and gets back on track tomorrow. But, how could you tell that if he has been free fed for his entire life? A bowl full of kibble doesn’t tell much.

To have better control of how much your puppy eats, make sure his meals are strictly measured and served fresh, right before you.

5. More Accidents Around The House

No, your puppy isn’t experiencing potty training regression. He’s simply having too much to eat. 

Free feeding means you won’t know how to predict when your pup will need to go potty. Normally, dogs go to pee several times a day. Too much food and your dog will drink more water, and more water means he will pee when he feels it.

Also, a normal routine means a dog does number two about 30 to 60 minutes after a meal. If he keeps on eating any time he wants, he will poop when he feels it. Some dog foods may cause diarrhea if consumed too much, i.e., too much wet food. 

So, yeah… it’s not fun to clean diarrhea off white carpets.

6. Costs More Money

puppy eating dry foodpuppy eating dry food

Well, this is an obvious reason. The more you feed your puppy, the more food you’ll use. More food equals more money. Does your little Beagle really need giant-sized bags of kibble each month? Surely, a pup that size can’t eat a lot.

Well, with free feeding, those giant bags of kibble are possible. 

Why should you spend all that money on extra kibble when your dog doesn’t need it. Wouldn’t it be better to invest in something more useful like a good orthopedic bed or a professional training class? 

To Sum Up…

The answer to the question, should I free feed my puppy, is a huge NO.

As you can see, there are several downsides of free feeding a puppy. I can’t name a single good side of this feeding arrangement.

Puppies should know their limits; otherwise, they will grow into adult dogs without limits. 

Trust me… it’s no fun to have an adult dog that knows no boundaries, not even when it comes to food.