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Hector

Feeding for ideal dog weight

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I am currently feeding Bailey a 50-50 mix of Purina Dog Chow and Beaverdam Premium dog food (which has 27% protein). I am trying to determine his ideal weight and how much to feed him.

 

The Purina dog food package shows three pictures of dogs as a guide to ideal weight. One is too skinny, one is overweight, one is ideal weight.

 

The description of the ideal weight dog says "Can feel and see outline of ribs. Dog has a waist when viewed from above. Belly is tucked up when viewed from the side." Based on this, Bailey (10 month old BC/Lab-X) was too heavy (about 70 pounds).

 

For the past two weeks I have reduced his daily food portion to 3-1/3 cups of dry dog food per day. Now I am seeing more of a "waist" on him. However his ribs are still padded and I can't clearly feel them.

 

I can continue feeding him this amount until I can feel his ribs better, but I am wondering if that is the right thing to do. I can tell he is pretty much always hungry and that he doesn't think he is getting enough to eat. I don't want to make him miserable by feeding him too little, but I do want him to be healthy and have a long life. Is it a choice between always hungry or overweight? Any advice?

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Is it a choice between always hungry or overweight?
Hector,

 

It might be a matter of the choice of food itself.

Most dogs I know would eat themselves silly anyway. It's the nature of the beast, so to speak, but a different type of food might be more satisfying in more ways than one, that the dog won't eat itself into a fat slob and actually be getting more nutrition.

 

Vicki

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If you are happy with what you feed then that is a good thing but you may want to think about switching.

 

I personally feed Canidae to all 3 of my dogs. My acd (38 lbs) and my bc/mix (36 lbs) both only get about 1 cup a day (1/2 in morning-1/2 at dinner time). My poodle (9 lbs) gets almost 3/4 a cup a day, split into 2 meals. This amount of food seems more than enough for them. They do act hungry but that is just how many dogs act. The key is not to fall for their games and pleading eyes.

 

I think that you could be overfeeding your dog in general and when you cut back by a drastic amount, they may actually be hungry but they will get used to the lower amount of food.

 

If you are concerned that you are not feeding your dog enough, you can cut back the dry food and add some pure 100% canned pumpkin to act as a filler. It has no sugar and no calories. Make sure that you do not get the spiced pumpkin for pie making--this will give your dog an upset tummy.

 

Also, keep in my mind that if you give your dog a lot of treats, you should cut back on the food intake. My dogs are not fed a lot but they get a lot of treats during the day when we leave for work, don't ask... You can try making treats last longer by breaking them into pieces because dogs really don't know the difference between a big treat a little one. When I teach classes, I always inspect the treats. If the pieces are more than about the size of the tip of my finger, I make them break it until it is that size. Treats can add fat on a dog.

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Do you know that commercial that says that 4 bowls of X cereal is equal to one bowl of Total, 8 bowls of XX cereal is equal to 1 bowl of Total and so on & so on.

 

We might be talking about a similar situation here. Bump up the quality of the food fed, you'll be feeding less, have more of a likelihood of maintaining an optimum weight, plus you'll be shoveling up less of what comes out of the other end, because there's more usable stuff in the food that stays in the dog.

 

And I agree about feeding 2X a day.

 

Vicki

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When I saw your post about your dog at 70lbs at 10 months I could not believe it. But he's a lab cross and they are big dogs as it is.

 

However, it brings me to my question of just what a pup should weigh - in general - for it's age? Or basically, how fast should a put gain weight?

 

My breeder said "about 1 lb/week." But I'm assuming thats for a young pup and not 14 weeks old +.

 

Also, my breeder free fed the young ones, which I stopped at about 10 weeks. Now I feed 3 X's a day, about 1/2 cup each time. We feed Solid Gold. Marzipan is 14 weeks and probably about 14 or 15 lbs now. She has a waist, can feel ribs, but they are "padded." So she's not too skinny in my eyes.

 

I'm concerned about not putting too much weight on her due to HD in her lines and joint problems it may cause. But I've never seen guidelines for what a dog should weigh or gain at a certain age. Just "don't have a fat puppy!"

 

Any thoughts? I'm also struggling with keeping weight on my 4 yr old, who has gone from sleeping all day to play, play, play with puppy. We've had to triple his food intake to keep his weight at around 50lbs (he's 23' at shoulder - big boy).

 

Denise

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it always amazes me whne I read the weight of most people dogs here, happy and misty are fully grown, not uner or over weight, and are EXTREMLY light compared to what I have seen here. for example happy is the perfect weight by descrpion and looked and feeling her ribs but she is 21" tall and only ways 25lbs, misty is just right as well but has a little heavier, she is 18 3/4" and 30lbs. having 2 BCs like this I just assumed that this 25-30lbs was completly normal? :confused:

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Attached is a link that give a pretty good determination of what a dog should look like.

 

http://www.fitandtrim.com/weight_assessment/wtas3a.htm

 

Just because a dog has lab in it does not mean it is a big dog. If you look at many labs nowadays, they are huge but many are overweight and bred to be big boned. I know some labs that top the scales at 40 lbs and I prefer they way they look.

 

Check out the link above and you will see some drawings of what a dog should look like.

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You know, there's as much debate about what the 'ideal weight' of a person should be... Body fat indexes, and such... There's a multi-million (probably multi-billion) dollar industry developed to promote ideal body weights and the persuit of it.

 

We feed Iris 2 cups of Eukanuba Lamb & Rice in the morning and 2 cups at night. She weighs in at close to 60 pounds. She's 9 1/2 months old. Yup, she's a big girl. BUT... She's also half Alaskan Malamute. Her mom weighed in a 75 pounds, so we expect something a little bit less than that.

 

She get's lots of treats (mostly chicken weiners cut up into really small bits) when we're training. And we throw her the occasional pig ear when we have to crate her if we're going out.

 

You can feel her ribs, and her tummy's firm and flat. She's very active. She runs and plays with her cousin (my in-law's dog) all day, and to the doggy park on the weekends and lots of walks etc.

 

Are we feeding her too much? I don't know. Does she beg for more? You betcha... but she's not really interested in getting more of her regular food -- she would really like to get her mouth on whatever we're eating:)

 

Anyways.... that's just my 2 cents (3 cents Canadian)

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Originally posted by BigD:

But I've never seen guidelines for what a dog should weigh or gain at a certain age. Just "don't have a fat puppy!"

 

Denise

Hi Denise,

I think you are looking for some kind of guideline that correlates height and/or age with optimum weight. I suggest instead that you rely on "condition testing" your puppy or dog every couple of days or once a week, anyway, and adjust intake according to your findings. I run my hand over the dog's back and sides. I want to be able to feel all the dog's ribs, the hipbones and the backbone with just a little covering of fat. In other words, I dn't want to feel every bone standing out with just skin on top, but neither do I want to have to press hard to feel the bones. I also visually eyeball the tuck-up behind the last ribs--there should be a noticeable one. Then, based on my findings, I will adjust the dog's food intake by 1/4 cup either way and leave it at that level for a few days so I can guage the result. Dogs that are working hard will automatically receive a little more food; dogs that have been stuck inside for several days during the winter will get less.

As a place for you to start: my Open dog weighs 48 pounds, works regularly and hard and gets 2 3/4 cups of Eukanuba Premium Performance a day, subject to the above adjustments.

Andrea

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Originally posted by Hector:

The Purina dog food package shows three pictures of dogs as a guide to ideal weight. One is too skinny, one is overweight, one is ideal weight.

Purina just did a long term study on weight and dogs.

 

I would say that dogs always appear to be hungry and that I would rather have a lean, slightly hungry dog than an overweight one. I keep my dogs very lean and while they would gladly eat everything that comes down the pipeline if they had their way, they certainly aren't starving.

 

It's harder to get weight off than it is to put it on, so I prefer just to keep it off.

 

RDM

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Like many things in life the whole weight debate is subjective. I try to keep my dogs around the 4 mark on the weight scale I posted. I know others who keep their dogs closer to the 3 mark and others closer to the 5 mark. I prefer in between but does not mean I always get it there.

 

I think when making a determination on the weight, you need to take into account breed, build, age, parents size etc... when you have mixes that can add a little twist. My bc mix is probably mixed with spaniel of some kind but her build is more bc like or even lab-ish. I also think that when doing the looking part of the test you need to take into account the amount of hair your dog has... My acd looks chubby at times because of her hair (she is thick coated, long for an acd, and it sticks out sometimes) but if you do the feel test, you can feel ribs, backbone and hips.

 

You should also figure out where your dog carries their weight. My bc mix carries it in her belly, my acd carries it in her chest near the front legs, and with my poodle - I don't know where he carries access weight (he has never had it).

 

The weight debate is always interesting. I do agree that if your dogs are not getting a lot of exercise for awhile, you should probably cut back on the food.

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Hey Hector,

 

My neighbor has a BC/lab mix who is still under a year old and she only weighs 40 lbs but that may be because she is more of a BC size, but stocky like a lab. Is Bailey more of a lab size - also he's male so he's going to be bigger?

 

Mia weighs in at 30 lbs and eats two cups of Wellness a day. One cup in the morning and one cup right after I get home from work. I feed her the recommendations of a 45 lb dog according to the bag's label, but she's active and I haven't really thought I was feeding her to much. I will be the first to admit that I'm not that familiar with all the different sizes that BC's seem to come in, except of course for the pictures I've seen in books and every now and then they have something on Animal Planet with a BC.

 

I do agree that maybe the food you're feeding isn't exactly right and if you cut down on Bailey's food intake too much you may end up with other problems that you never had before. He may end up eating his fecal matter, rocks, dirt, etc. to try and supplement his diet. I know it sounds absolutely disgusting but I have seen dogs that have done this before and it isn't pretty.

 

Good luck,

Mia's mom, Gimmie Sue

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hmm I cant really agree with that scale thing posted, it depends on the dogs structur, happy has a very greyhound like structure, big deep chest, long legs, and very tucked tummy, however she looks like that no matter what, its just her structur, but going by that chart happy structure makes her underweight :eek: she would have to be obese before that chart would consider her an ideal weight lol :eek:

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Hey Hector ? it?s good that you?re being careful about Bailey?s weight, especially because you?re biking with him. All the studies seem to show that keeping a dog in lean condition helps to protect from the effects of CHD and other joint problems. I had a constant battle with my previous Border Collie?s weight, so if anything I?ve kept the pups ? now nearly 2 ? pretty lean ? probably about 4- on the scale Kim posted. Like others, I drop the ration a bit if we?re going training with lots of treats, or if the dogs have had a lazy day or two. Mine are 20.5 inches ? 40 lbs (boy) and 19 inches ? 31 lbs (girl) ? but as I say, on the skinny side, but with good muscle mass.

 

I agree that most dogs can always do the ?hungry? thing ? no matter how much you feed them. I feed 2x a day ? suits me, and doesn?t give the dog too much in the stomach at once ? means one more clean-up, but that?s not a problem. I agree with the bulking the meal up with vegetables ? makes the dog feel nice and full but doesn?t put on weight. And remember, the dog will cope better with being hungry than with being in pain from joint problems.

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I am always getting harped on by my in-laws about my dogs. They're too thin blah blah blah. Yu-Gi my "bone rack" is about 24" and 40#. Tacoma 23" and about 43#. Pepper 21" aand 38#. All acceptable weights I think. Well we went out of town for Tanksgiving. My father in law took it upon himself to severly overfeed them while I was gone. He was giving Yu-Gi 12 cups a day and the other 2 8 cups! Tacoma will not gorge himself like the others, thank God. But Pepper and Yu-Gi looked like disgusting balloons. I could have killed him. Sorry for babbling...

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Thanks for the replies and information. Bailey is BC/Lab-X and I think his size reflects the Lab part. At 10 months he is 27" at the shoulder. Based on the Fit and Trim scale (link that Kim provided) Bailey is now a 6 (a bit overweight), so I will continue to work on getting him to a 5 (ideal weight). I am now feeding him 3.5 cups of dry dog food a day and I think he will continue to gradually lose weight with that amount of food.

 

When I take him out running (I ride the bike), he is often pulling me along. I can tell he has built some muscle mass doing that, and he is a strong dog now. The two mile run doesn't seem to tire him much. As he gets older I will try increasing the distance a bit.

 

The information and advice you have provided gives me confidence that I am feeding Bailey at the right level and I understand how he should look. So Thank You all.

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Originally posted by Hector:

Thanks for the replies and information. Bailey is BC/Lab-X and I think his size reflects the Lab part. At 10 months he is 27" at the shoulder.

27"? That's HUGE, even for a Lab. I understand that male Labs are considered largish at 25" at the shoulder. I think he might be mixed with something else. Like someone said earlier in the thread, in my experience BC X Labs tend more toward the BC size, or generally fall in the 50 lb range.

 

Many people consider my oldest male large - he is 21.5 inches and a lean 54 lbs. Big feet, big head. My other male is pretty standard at 20" and 42 lbs - he's thin, but he has a very robust rib cage, which he probably got from his presumed Aussie dad. My female is petite at 18 inches and 26 lbs.

 

Just an observation. 27" just seems so tall!

 

RDM

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I have a bc?lab (??? or so we were told) cross too. She is about 22" and weighs in at 43 pounds.

We have always considered her body type as more representative of her Lab side. She has a large barrel chest and is rather stocky and powerfully built but with a slightly tucked waist.

She was some what over weight from puppy hood unitl she was about 4ish, we now have a handle on it and although she will always look large next to my hound X (whippet type of body!) I feel that she is at a more healthy weight and that it is proportinately distributed. She could still probably stand to go leaner, but like I said for the amount of exercise she can take I am happy with her weight.

We feed 2 cups of innova to each of the dogs per day. So they get one cup in the morning each and one in the evening and various peelings, and fruits and veg through out the day as I prepare meals. They also get raw meat and bones once or twice a week, and we adjust their kibble intake accordingly.

It has taken me about 5 years to find a diet regimen for them that I feel good about and I am happy to report that their coats are beautiful and glossy and my hound X who has skin issues is actually doing really well, now.

just my two cents.

sara

ps: do you have any photos of your or other bc/lab crosses I would love to compare, part of the reason I love mixed breeds, they are so very different from each other!

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<< Labrador Retriever standard:

 

* * *

Size, Proportion and Substance

Size - The height at the withers for a dog is 22-1/2 to 24-1/2 inches; for a bitch is 21-1/2 to 23-1/2 inches. Any variance greater than 1/2 inch above or below these heights is a disqualification. Approximate weight of dogs and bitches in working condition: dogs 65 to 80 pounds; bitches 55 to 70 pounds.>>

 

Throw in 50% border collie genes and I would think 27" at the withers would be bizarre.

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Okay, so theoretically speaking, if I am feeding raw (which I am) shouldn't I be feeding him less than what he was getting of kibble?

 

On kibble (Natural Balance) he was getting 2 2/3 cups a day, divided into two meals morning and night), he was 40 lbs. If I feed him this much raw, he loses weight. He's up to 3 cups a day and his weight is holding steady at 36-37 lbs (he's about 21" at the shoulder) and I can't get him back up to 40 which looked ideal for him. He's very boney right now (spine, hips, etc) and I can very easily feel every single rib. I guess this Atkins diet really works! :rolleyes:

 

I thought since he wasn't getting all the filler that is in kibble, he would need less food overall.

 

Thoughts?

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My brother's family has a lab mix and we all think Shamrock is mixed with Great Dane. Sham is huge. He is taller than my mom's rottie just a little leaner.

 

Maybe your dog has dane in it. I think we would all love to see a pic.

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Re: the labrador retriever standard---was this the AKC standard? If so, have you seen the labs in the AKC conformation ring? They are short, squat & some even resemble short rottweilers & they aren't called "pigadors" for nothing. A normal lab, from field lines might be a little taller with more leg under him, rangier in build. I don't have field dogs, but would I be wrong in assuming that just as the barbie collie, which fit's AKC's version of the "ideal" border collie, is abhorrent to working bc people, that the current lab standard might be just as abhorrant to a working field dog person, whose dogs might look nothing like their field counterparts?

 

All this to say that we probably shouldn't give AKC breed standards that much weight, and when you ignore the AKC's "breed standard" for a lab, the possibility increases that Baily might in fact be a bc/lab cross. However, it's only possible & not probable. I would venture to say there's something else in there, which produced this 10 mo. old pup who is already 27" at the shoulder.

 

Do you have recent pics of Bailey, Hector? Doesn't he have prick ears? That alone would make me consider something other than a lab.

 

Vicki

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