Big dog: we got her from a shelter over a year ago. Always been a finicky eater and will only graze throughout the day. She is on the slim side of average weight, and we leave her food out for her to graze on all day.
Little dog: adopted from a shelter run by a friend of ours. Brought her home Wednesday. All they know about her is that she was stray. (off topic: my husband insists that some uppity lady thought she would make a great accessory, and then kicked her out when she pooped in her Coach bag.)
Little dog is supposed to eat up to 1/2 cup of food a day. She will eat everything in her bowl both times we feed her in the day, and spend the rest of the day sneaking nuggets from big dog's dish. This bothers me because:
Little dog is going to become overweight if she keeps this up. Chihuahuas are prone to obesity.
Big dog is dominant and doesn't like little dog near her food, though she doesn't react aggressively when this happens.
Big dog eats "large breed" formulated food, and little dog eats "toy breed" formula. I can't imagine it is healthy for little dog to snack on the big ol' chunks of large breed food throughout the day.
I'm wondering if this is a problem that may resolve itself as the dogs get used to each other and assert their own spaces, and as new dog learns she doesn't need to scrounge anymore. OR should we put a stop to this right away? How can we stop it without interfering with the feeding schedule that big dog is used to? I have a big fear that big dog -who we worked so hard to get to trust us and feel at home here- will feel displaced by little dog. What would you do in this situation?
(I attached a picture, just for fun. Little dog was fenced off because she got spayed, but she can climb through that fence now. She was relaxing in the kennel we used to bring her home from surgery. Big dog is in the background. They were staring at me. A favorite shared hobby of theirs.)