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At What Age Switch from Puppy Food to Adult?


BillG
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Our BC pup just turned 3 months old, I have been feeding Blue Buffalo puppy food because the Iams stuff was so full of grains and other junk. She is growing like a weed, goes to the vet Monday for either the last or next to last round of shots.

 

Can or should I switch over to the adult dog food now? Its either going to be the Blue Buffalo Wilderness/Life or Authority no grain food.

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The switch to adult food stems from the concept of reducing caloric intake to minimize the likelihood of developing hip dysplasia.

 

This is a good overview with references on the link between caloric intake (growth rate) and hip dysplasia.

 

http://www.instituteofcaninebiology.org/blog/locating-the-genes-for-hip-dysplasia-in-dogs-psssst-look-in-the-kibble-bag

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Ok got her transferring over to the adult food. The question I have when we got our BC at 8 weeks she was 12.5 lbs, now at the Vets yesterday she weighed 20.5 pounds. Gina is going on 13 weeks old and not an oz of fat.

So the dog food guidelines on the bags all say less than the 2 cups of food she is getting per day. I put morning food in the bowl and its gone in a flash. She always seems want more.

No fat so all that food is going into growing and she is doing that!

 

So the question, do Border Collies require more food because of the high energy and calories burned and if so do I just keep the food bowl filled and let her eat when she is hungry?

 

Gina is getting Blue Buffalo, and I know the debate about dog food goes on and on, like which oil is best for your car.

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I would caution against allowing her to free feed. Here's a very interesting article about how lower food consumption may drastically reduce hip dysplasia in dogs.

 

And the recommendations on dog food labels are notoriously, um, generous. Remember, it's their goal to sell more dog food, not necessarily having the dogs' best interests in mind. So I recommend using your dog's condition to determine how much to feed, not the published guidelines. If she's too thin, add a bit more. Too heavy, cut back.

 

Here's the body condition chart that vets use. IMO, border collies should be on the thin side, in the 3+ to 4 range. You'll have to use your hands to show you what your eyes can't see beneath the fur, but I like to be able to feel ribs by just running my fingers over them. If I have to apply any pressure to feel ribs, the food gets cut back a bit.

 

Yes, highly active dogs may require more food to supply the calories for all that energy. That said, border collies tend to be pretty easy keepers, meaning that they don't seem to require as much food as many other breeds. I do some pet sitting and it always surprises me how much less my dogs eat compared to many of the dogs I watch.

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That was my concern, I can feel her ribs under that starting to get winter fur. So I was thinking she was underfed. No I do not want hip problems, this more than likely will be our last dog. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

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Agree with Gentle Lake on gauging how much to feed your pup. Many BC pups, who are not overfed, will look too skinny to the general public as they reach 4-6 months and into their 'teenage' phase. They are not too skinny, but the general public, and many vets, are so accustomed to seeing overfed dogs that you may get a comment or more about how you should fatten up your dog.

 

Too slow the speed at which she eats, you could buy a 'slow food' bowl, which is basically a plastic (usually) bowl that has ridges in it which make it harder for the dog to gulp its food. I have had to do it for a couple of dogs and it works well (although I prefer not to feed out of a plastic bowl). Another suggestion is to put her food in a large cookie sheet (with side rims) so it is spread out. I have not tried this, but it was recommended by a vet.

 

At her age, I would be feeding her daily allowance of food separated into 3 feedings per day. No free feeding.

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You can also try feeding from a muffin tin, with a little food on each bowl, or using a snuffle mat. These are a holey rubber mat with lots of strips of fabric tied through the holes and poking up. You pour the kibble on the mat and run your hand over it so the pieces fall between the cracks. Then your dog has to hunt through the strips of fabric using scent to find the kibble. It slows them down and engages their brain. Snuffle mats are easy to make yourself (lots of videos on youtube) and when they get dirty, just throw them in the wash and they are good to go again.

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Boy you folks are good.

 

Well for this afternoon and evening, Gina is more or less off food. I had some old dog food from our Dotty dog, couple months old.... hated to have it go to waste so I tossed it out for the squirrels... and guess who found it, and ate it ALL. Then she promptly came in and barfed it ALL up, good dog or bad dog or bad dad! Lucky the ceramic tile made it easy to clean up, so Gina is just relaxing now. The shot at the vet yesterday more than likely did not help either.

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