Why we should not leave our dogs to ‘graze’!

Most obviously, a dog left with a permanent supply of food upon which to graze will soon put on weight.  Unlike a solitary cat, a dog will gorge – presumably a throwback of evolution and not knowing when the next ‘kill’ will be to feed a hungry pack. It could also result in poor training (especially toilet training), a lack of routine and a fussy eater due to loss of appetite. In a multi-dog household it may result, at best, in competition between the animals and, at worst resource defending and aggression. The daily highlight for many dogs is their meal, whether once, twice or thrice daily. Older dogs will invariably indicate their preference in this respect, most preferring smaller but more frequent meals. However, a constant supply of fresh water should be left out as even a 15% loss of body fluid can result in severe dehydration and even death. There is a special relationship with a dog, and other domesticated animals, forged, in part, by the human being the supplier of food and other comforts. This relationship may be jeopardized and the ‘head of household’ status of the human compromised. For example an elderly dog owned by an elderly human may receive little mutual bonding or interaction apart from meal times!


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