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:help_up_2 Yesterday we added a 1-year-old male to the family; our 14-month-old female is thrilled, and so are we. He is a beautiful boy: loving, happy, playful. Both are altered, up-to-date on shots, and very healthy. They play--and I mean run, wrestle, and snuggle--all the time.
Although we have had our female since she was a 9-week-old puppy, we still consider ourselves to be rookies on how to care for our Doberman(s).
Soames, the male, was previously fed 4 cups of kibble once a day (evening); Dimity, the female, has been fed 2 cups twice a day (morning and late afternoon)--a mixture of kibble and canned food.
However, recently, we read about Dobermans being susceptible to Bloat; and because of the incessant play between them, we are concerned as to when and how often to feed them, when they should play in relation to their meals, etc. Can two formerly schedule-fed, wild-and-wacky Dobermans be free-fed successfully?
As I mentioned earlier, we are rookies at this. Please, any suggestions at all about how to manage two Dobermans would be greatly appreciated.
 

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ALL dogs are susceptible to bloat. There are many theories floated and which run rampant and get passed along like the one about deep-chested breeds being more susceptible as well as the one about it coming from heavy-duty playing after meals and "inhaling" food along with lots of air. (Reminds me of that old warning to kids never to go swimming for at least an hour after eating or you'll get cramps and drown.) Some say to feed 2 or 3 small meals a day vs. 1 large meal. The fact is, NO ONE KNOWS what actually causes bloat. There are only theories. So while it is a medical emergency when it happens, you can't worry yourself to death over the rumors you hear that might (or might not) cause it. That's like worrying about whether or not your dog will get cancer or have a heart attack. Best advice is to keep an eye on your pooches and notice if they appear to be in distress, and get them competent care right away if they are. If you do decide to make changes in their feeding habits, for instance to have them both on the same meal schedule, I would recommend doing it gradually and not abruptly. Other than that, enjoy your new family member and don't stress out over the rumors that will only make you crazy! Remember, the cause of bloat is UNKNOWN.
 

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PS...for a long time there was the recommendation to 'elevate the dog dish to prevent bloat' fad which was subsequently disproven by the Purdue study.
 

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I don't free feed my animals. I have always fed 2 meals a day and if you put the food down and it isn't eaten in 5 minutes, pick it up. They will learn that we better eat now or it will be gone.

If done this way, it is a good way to know when your animal might not be feeling well it they miss a meal. If you just always have food down you don't really know if and how much they are eating.
 

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Free feeding would not be ideal because it is difficult to manage how much each dog is eating. If one dog is a food hog the other may not get much to eat. Do you use crates? If feeding is a problem you could always feed each dog in their crates and let them mellow for awhile after before letting them out to play together.

As for the two dobes being on separate feeding schedules, I would just switch the new guy to two meals a day as with your female. It will be a lot easier on you to keep the same routine with both dogs and they will quickly pick up on any changes.

We had a similar experience to you earlier in the summer (brought in a young male to join our female) - playing is a 24/7 activity so limiting their interaction right after meals would keep things safe.
 

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I agree with the others. get the new boy on your schedule. we just added a one year old to our 5 year old. she is a total chow hound and he will pick at his food and take his time. they get feed at the same time, molly inhales her food in about 36 seconds and we put her out so Apollo can finish in peace. it also prevents fights with her trying to steal his food.

cc
 

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I agree totally with Codysmom especially preventing the fights, or the need to be on gaurd all the time while eating.
 
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