I have a small Lhasa Apso. I give her dry dog food mixed with mashed potatoes for breakfast and just dry food for dinner. She doesn't like dry food when it's not mixed with something tasty. So she eats just enough to kill the hunger. In the off chance I forget to remove her bowl, she'll munch sometime during the night or early morning. I don't want to encourage this system of 'free food' - eat whenever you feel like. I need her to eat on time so I can remove the bowl knowing she ate adequately. Should I be removing the bowl every night or let it be so she can eat later?

This problem is absent with breakfast. She'll gobble the entire bowl. She loves potatoes.

  • 1
    Why do you "need her to eat on time so I can remove the bowl knowing she ate adequately"? what harm comes from leaving a bowl of dry dog food for her to eat from as she wants? Sep 29, 2018 at 9:35
  • Clinkz do you have any photos of your dog to gauge her weight? Sep 29, 2018 at 12:27
  • @RebeccaRVT We weighed her a couple of weeks back. She's around 5-6 KGs. @ JamesJenkins I'm not sure about the free feeding dogs article but I did notice a change in her behaviour when I stopped her free feeding routine. She became more obedient and does not expect food from off the table unless she's very hungry. I'd like to retain that kind of behaviour - Not begging for human food.
    – Clinkz
    Sep 29, 2018 at 14:53

2 Answers 2


Yeah, free-feeding becomes an issue if you've got perishable food in the bowl. There's no problem with removing the bowl except for meal times. It may take a day or two to adjust.

With mashed potatoes, I'm worried that what the dog is really liking is the butter and oil or other additives, which generally aren't healthy for the dog, and are really just masking the bigger issue of your dog not liking its food.

If your dog is a picky eater, you can go to the petstore and see if there are any trial foods that you can try, or ask about returning mostly uneaten kibble. There are also kibble brands and styles that are specifically made for picky dogs. Or, you can look into doggie food toppings that are specifically made for your issue and are much healthier and safer. The realm of picky dogs is actually quite large, so I would suggest reading up on it more to find out if it's an environmental factor or something mundane such as needing a bowl-raiser, if your dog being spoiled, or if there is another kibble that it prefers better. Some dogs will give up and eat their food after a few days, it is very rare for a dog to actually starve itself for more than 3 days because it doesn't like its food.


As long as she's not underwheight or has some medical issue, removing her food after feeding time is no problem at all.

It's true that constant access to food can make a dog more dominant, since only the pack leader eats whenever he wants and controls when the lower ranking pack members are allowed to eat.

If you give her about 20 minutes to eat, she will regulate herself. She'll eat faster when she's hungry and slower when she's full.

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