12 hour shifts and feeding dogs

  1. Hoping some dog lovers can lend some advice. I am planning to get a lab puppy in the next 2 months, and I have been doing lots of reading and research on the breed and puppies so I can be a good doggy mommy. The puppy will be joining our 5 year old Husky.

    Here's the problem: currently, the Husky grazes on food all day, and does not overeat, which is fine. Except that labs tend to overeat, so I have suggested we try feeding them each at set times of day. My BF is convinced that his husky will "train" my dog to graze, but I am concerned that my dog will eat everything in sight if it's just sitting there, and I don't want an overweight, unhealthy dog.

    Another aspect of his reasoning is our schedules. He is a firefighter who works 24 hour shifts, and once I start working in January, I will likely be on 12 hour shifts. So I'd have to feed the dogs at dark-thirty in the morning, and when I get home at night, if we happen to both work that day. My BF's sister has offered to puppysit when we need, but she also works 12s, from 11-11, so she'd only be able to stop by in the morning sometime.

    We have momentarily compromised by agreeing to wait and see what the vet recommends when I take the puppy in for first appointment, but BF has admitted he may not listen to the recommendations because he doesn't want to have to train his dog to eat at certain times of day, and leaving food out all day is easier. He is also convinced his dog will become possessive over food if it's not constantly available, which may lead to conflicts in the house.

    What do you guys do about long shifts and feeding dogs? Do you feed at set times or let them graze? Am I overreacting, or is he underreacting?

    Thanks!
    •  
  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   leslie :-D
    i grew up with dogs, and i currently have 3.
    i put their food out around 5:30 am and leave it there the entire day.
    the only thing i've noticed dogs get ravenous with, is human food.
    but all 3 of my dogs eat the bulk of their meal in late afternoon, early eve.

    i would see what the vet recommends.
    but i'm inclined to suggest leaving the dish out for the day.
    we did it that way when i was growing up, also.

    enjoy your new pup.
    best of everything.

    leslie
  4. by   deeDawntee
    I have two dogs who graze all day and I recently got a puppy, well of first she did eat a lot but now she has let up and grazes like the other dogs.. I think it is like people, if the food is available they aren't so obsessed with it, if it is restricted, it becomes much more desirable.

    I think the Vet will tell you NOT to leave food out all the time, because that is what every Vet I have has ever said...but all of my dogs and my cat all have food in front of them all the time and they are all normal weights, plus they all get lots of treats during the day.

    I think you should do what works best for you and for your Husky as well, who is used to eating a certain way. See what happens with your puppy, but give it 3-6 months to really get the true picture.
  5. by   canoehead
    If you leave dry food out constantly even the overweight dogs my family has had don't gorge. The lack of variety seems to prevent it.

    My question, if you will be away all day who will let the puppy out to pee every couple of hours? How will you housetrain?
  6. by   nursemary9
    Quote from canoehead
    If you leave dry food out constantly even the overweight dogs my family has had don't gorge. The lack of variety seems to prevent it.

    My question, if you will be away all day who will let the puppy out to pee every couple of hours? How will you housetrain?



    This was also my question--who will let him out during the day.

    My dog Barney grazes on his Kibbles all day; never overeats & is a normal weight. We also give him a can of "wet" food at 4 PM & then the Kibble is there all the time.

    We started this routine when we were both still working. It worked well for us the,. Now, with DH retired, there isn't any problem. We just kept the routine the same.
  7. by   Megsd
    The timing of the getting the puppy will help the housetraining situation. I graduate in November and will not start working until mid-January, which will give me 2 solid months of training without going anywhere, which is really the most critical time for house training.

    After that point, it will depend who's home on what day. On the days when we both work (which I'm hoping is a rarity... his schedule is always 100% set, mine is obviously not set in stone yet), our next door neighbor is always home and constantly offers to help dogsit, and my BF's sister is willing to help as well.

    I am glad to hear that your dogs have adjusted to grazing. I am definitely willing to give it a try, I just don't want to jeopardize my dog's health for a more human-convenient feeding routine.
  8. by   SuesquatchRN
    Well, I had one girl who would open the kibble bin with her snout, lay down on the floor, stick her head in and chow down. We had to lock it. So she'd nose the lock and yell at me.

    Why not get a grown lab who needs rescue? Rescued dogs make wonderful, loyal pets.
  9. by   ElvishDNP
    We had a Lab that had her food out all day and grazed, never had a weight problem. The biggest problems we had with her (and I think it is a Lab thing, as everyone I know who's had Labs says the same thing):

    1) They will chew on everything, esp as puppies. More so bc they are Labs and feel the need to mouth everything by instinct. You would be wise to have LOTS of things for new pup to chew on, and even so you'll probably have a few shoes destroyed.

    2) Labs need an extraordinary amount of exercise. They are working dogs by nature and 2-3 big walks a day is not too much for them. This was by far our biggest challenge, as we have a small house, we couldn't afford a fence for our backyard, and we were both working 5 days/week at the time.

    Sue has a wonderful idea in adopting a rescue dog. My mom adopted an 8yo black Lab that we had to put to sleep at 20yo. (I know!!! Very hard to believe!) She was rescued from the street -- we think she had previously been a service dog, got stolen, and then taken to the pound. She weighed 30lb and had bad heartworms when Mom got her. After a lot of TLC and intensive care, she fattened up to 75lb, lived another 12 years, and was the absolute best animal you could ask for. I get teary just thinking about her.

    Labs are wonderful creatures. So smart, so fun-loving, SO good with kids, and so adorable. Whatever you decide, I wish you the best, and we would like to see pictures when you get some! Good luck!

  10. by   SuesquatchRN
    Was that your lab? She's lovely.
  11. by   ElvishDNP
    Quote from Suesquatch
    Was that your lab? She's lovely.
    Nope, just a Googled image, but this one looks a lot like the one we had, and the one Mom had.... Thanks, though!
  12. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from Suesquatch
    Well, I had one girl who would open the kibble bin with her snout, lay down on the floor, stick her head in and chow down. We had to lock it. So she'd nose the lock and yell at me.
    i love this visual.
    good girl.

    leslie
  13. by   Spidey's mom
    We have a chocolate lab mix who is in a large kennel while we are gone and we feed him in the morning before we leave and then again at night when we return.

    As long as dogs get exercise, I don't see how they will get overweight.

    steph
  14. by   compassion1
    Do you have a fenced in yard? If so, how about a doggie door? Maybe a dog house? They say you can teach a dog to use dog litter. Never tried it myself. Good luck.

close