Dog and cat eating.

The votes are in. Dogs are 100% for free feeding. Humans are on the fence. Which is better? There are pros and cons to both options. Still, dogs are all-in on the idea of an open bowl! The team at Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent Care is here to help you decide which option is better for your favorite canine:

Scheduled Meals Mean on Time, All the Time

Your busy schedule doesn’t always include time for your meals. Are you confident your furry pets are getting their meals on time? If you can’t be home to feed the animals, free-feeding could be your best option. 

Free Feeding, Preferred by Dogs 100% Of the Time

Of course, dogs are open to open bowls. Food for me all the time, yay! Open or free-feeding may come with consequences like overeating, however. Too much food can mean extra weight, which adds stress to joints and the heart. If you opt for free feeding, make sure you are only putting a healthy amount of food in the bowl (ask us about the best nutrition options for your pets).

What Do Diet and Nutrition Have To Do With It?

Portion control can help you keep on top of your pet’s nutritional intake. You can keep your pet’s weight in check by feeding recommended portions. If your dog is highly active or a grazer by nature, will they be getting the right amount of needed nutrients and calories, or too much?

What are the Pros and Cons of Scheduled Meals?


  • Portion control
  • You know right away if your pup has stopped eating due to illness or injury
  • Canned and fresh foods are eaten at the height of freshness
  • Control over which pet eats which food is up to you, not them
  • Dogs, like kids and some adults, appreciate routine. They know when to expect a meal


  • Your pet may eat too fast
  • Your schedule may prevent you from being home to feed pets on time

What are the Pros and Cons Of Free Feeding?


  • You don’t have to be home on time for meals
  • You can still monitor portions so they don’t overeat


  • Pets may overeat, causing weight problems and extra cleanup for you
  • No foods that can spoil should be left out all day
  • You can’t control which pet is eating which food and how much they’re consuming
  • Free access to food can cause aggressive behaviors

Which is Better? That’s Up to You

Consider the pros and cons of each feeding plan before deciding which is best for your pet family. You can always change your mind. Your pets will adjust, even if they first object!

Schedule a visit with us to discuss your pet’s dietary and nutritional needs. We can answer your questions and develop a food plan with you that will help your pet stay healthy longer.

At Animal Medical Hospital & 24-Hour Urgent Care, we’re here for you all day, every day. If you would like a pet health consultation or a wellness check, call us for an appointment.  In an emergency, please call ahead at (704) 334-4684 so our urgent care staff will be ready to help you and your beloved pet.