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Calorie recommendation by vet


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We’ve been getting calorie info from our vet since we had our pup. It’s been steadily increasing and at 14 weeks was up to 1150 calories a day. Our pup is a perfect weight according to vet. At 16 weeks the vet recommendation was to reduce to 900 calories as a puppy rate of growth tapers off now. I understand this but our active dog is not liking the sudden loss of 250 calories a day!

Thoughts anyone?

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This ^^^^^  (Gentle Lake's answer). There are too many variations between dogs to follow general calorie guidelines. Have the guidelines your vet uses controlled for breed and exercise levels?   are two variables that come to mind immediately.

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I almost adjust the amount I am feeding weekly if needed.  Of course, it isn't by a bunch but If we are in training or active I feed more depending on body condition.  If it is summer and less active, I feed less.  I want to run my hands along the dog's sides and feel/see a waist line and honestly feel a touch of rib.  Most growing dogs, sometimes up to age 3 if they are active. burn lots of calories.  Are you feeding a puppy/growth food or adult or one that is all stages?  That can make a difference.

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Yes we can definitely feel his ribs. He is very slender and growing like a giraffe. He’s on a quality grain free puppy kibble.

i agree that we need to taper gradually and go by instinct a little more. I am just surprised that the vet’s calorie recommendations didn’t incorporate a tapering off.  I was told by vet that at four months onwards the growing drops right off and when I expressed concern and sought clarification about the sudden drop in calories I was told it was correct.

i think I will go with my instinct. He doesn’t beg for food or give me the pleading eyes but he’s definitely asking to be fed before his normal feeding time and getting very vocal with his food bowl which is only since I cut back the calories. 

‘Thanks to all for your feedback - I will ease back more gradually  :)

3CF31BDF-7E72-4AAF-B8F7-AD372D584005.jpeg

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:wub:

I keep getting caught up in food worries. Should I be feeding raw and can I get away with adding just a bit of raw sometimes? Is the expensive vet food really so much better than the cheaper shop food even though the macro composition matches up almost exactly? Should he be eating less/more/less often? The puppy foods all give such wildly different guidelines. Will the 'treats' (plain cooked chicken/sausages) be 'bad' for him and how much of his meal do they replace? Does it matter that I let him graze rather than taking his bowl away if he hasn't scoffed it up? What about the blackberries he eats on his walks, should they replace some of his meal, or the peanut butter I add to his Kong? Does it matter that we don't have strict feeding times? And why does sometimes he eat all his breakfast and sometimes wants nothing until lunch time? And sometimes he takes a mouthful of food and puts it somewhere else to eat a little bit later. Am I creating a fussy/spoilt/dominant dog by not taking complete control? The Vets, and the Pet Shop, and various friends have all given me such different advice on the best way/things to feed him but they all sound like the right way.

Then I realise that I don't put that much thought into my own nutrition or the nutrition of my kids (:o). We're not fat. Or hungry. And we don't have any issues around food. Some days (occasionally) we eat fast food, other days we skip the protein and just gorge on fruit and vegetables but over time I'm pretty sure it all balances out. We've all got plenty of energy and are getting fitter and stronger and wanting to go further on our walks now we have a dog.

Thinking about reducing food at 16 weeks though, does that sound right? I'm pretty sure our puppy isn't eating less now than he was a month ago, while his growth rate might be levelling off his energy levels have increased and I sort of expected that he'd eat more as he got bigger not less. Unless he starts putting on weight, and then I'd reduce food and treats or review what he was eating and/or increase exercise.

 

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I hear you! We really could turn ourselves into knots couldn’t we. I agree a more relaxed approach is needed. I’m definitely not counting blackberries on the walk but on this note I thought I would share this picture of my pup chowing down yesterday haha!

F6AC34BA-F261-4300-916C-6D3BE274FE43.jpeg

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Awww. I had a dog that would eat raspberries from the bush if I asked her "Rsapberries? Want your raspberries?"

It was so cute. It really made our walks more fun. The other 2 dogs liked raspberries too, but I had to pick the berries for them and hand-feed them.

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@jami74, OK. That's a lot of questions. :lol:

My first bit of advice is to chill a bit. You're feeding yourself and your family without having a doctorate in nutrition. It shouldn't be any harder for your to feed your dog. As you said, balance over time.

Everyone here knows I'm a big proponent of feeding dogs raw food. We know that eating fresh, whole foods is better for us than a steady diet of Big Macs and Kraft mac and cheese, so why wouldn't we use the same logic for our dogs? And it's not rocket science. If you can feed your family well you can feed your dog a raw diet with a little research.

That said, I know it's not for everyone. But I've been reading that subbing as little as 20% whole, raw foods to a dog's kibble is beneficial.

NO (not a typo)! The expensive "vet" food is not better than most of the other "higher" quality kibbles. I recently wrote in another thread that a friend of many years, who's a vet, told me 34 years ago to stay away from them, that they were crap food and she refused to sell them in her clinic. And if you take a look at the prescription diets' ingredients, I honestly wonder how dog can even live on them. Some of them aren't even actually mostly "food" if you know how to interpret what those ingredients actually are (e.g. feather meal for protein, even though it's not bioavailable." If my dogs get sick -- and I haven't had a sick dog in many years, I believe because I've been feeding them a healthier diet and avoiding as many unnecessary chemicals as I can -- I want to feed them good, healthy food to support their recovery.

Your dog's not eating more, or eating irregularly, because he's not hungry. If he's at a good, healthy weight, then don't worry about it.

Free feeding's only a problem if a dog overeats and gets fat. Forget all the BS about creating behavioral issues because of it.

I really can't comment on how much kibble to feed a puppy growing up, but raw feeders feed a puppy based on the anticipated ideal adult weight. IOW, you feed a puppy as much as you'd feed that dog as an adult. They eat more (split over several meals) when they're younger because they need it for growth. As they mature, they need less for growth but are now larger and so need that amount for maintenance. But always, every feeding plan is evaluated and adjusted for the condition of the dog, no matter what the age. If it's too thin, feed more. If it's getting pudgy, cut back. I'd use that same rule of thumb no matter what I fed.

Eating berries in season is a normal part of a wild canid's diet.

If you want some feedback on the quality of various kibbles, there are several sources. The Whole Dog Journal publishes a list of recommended foods every year. Dr. Karen Becker discusses it, not so much by brand as by types of food. And while somewhat controversial (some people don't believe a dentist is qualified to do research and make comparisons because he's not a nutritionist), the online Dog Food Advisor publishes analyses of dog foods. Susan Thixton runs a website called Truth About PetFood. There's plenty of information out there if you're willing to take the time to look. 

I hope I've covered at least most of your concerns. Wishing you well.

 

Edited by GentleLake
Edited to address the right person's questions!
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For me it's just, well, if she gets thin I will feed her more and if she starts to get chubby I will feed her less. If we have a day where she gets more than the usual physical activity I will give her more food to compensate for that. If we have a lazy day I'll give her a bit less. If we're working on some aspect of training a lot and she ends up getting a lot of treats, I will cut back her food a little that day. It just depends on how much activity and how many "extras" she's had. So that is what I do; it's not a set amount every day. 

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Back to your original post: it has been bothering me that a vet would recommend reducing calories (and such a significant reduction of calories) for a growing pup. (And I also find it weird that he is basing it on calories. I mean, why count calories for a dog, for heaven's sake, unless there is a medical issue.)

Just from my recent experience since I currently have a 6 month old pup -- I have not yet reduced the amount I feed her. Contrary to your vet's advice, I have increased the amount, just a little bit, every few weeks over time. In fact, at this time, I may be increasing it a bit more because she is a little too ribby right now

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I might not only not listen to the vet in this case but I'd definitely have him off puppy food. Scaling back on a growing pup just doesn't make sense to me. I feed raw, supplement with kibble..for my pups that need it I give them about half a cup of oatmeal (steel cut oats groats) a day as well. Mine need the grains as I've never been able to keep weight on on a grain free kibble. All mine are off puppy food at 8 weeks. Steady slow growth.

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30 minutes ago, Journey said:

I might not only not listen to the vet in this case but I'd definitely have him off puppy food. Scaling back on a growing pup just doesn't make sense to me. I feed raw, supplement with kibble..for my pups that need it I give them about half a cup of oatmeal (steel cut oats groats) a day as well. Mine need the grains as I've never been able to keep weight on on a grain free kibble. All mine are off puppy food at 8 weeks. Steady slow growth.

Just to add to the discussion, I had fed my one year old grain free kibble her whole life. When I told my vet this, she winced reflexively, but refrained from commenting. So I asked her opinion and she went on a small rant about how grain free diets were a fad and could lead to heart disease down the road. So I mentioned how I had read that hundreds of years ago dogs in the wild lived on grain free diets and she countered with "Yes, and what was their average life expectancy back then?", to which I had no answer. My point here is that no school of thought can really be proven right or wrong, and there is no such thing as a perfect diet. Like others have said we also don't eat perfectly ourselves. I believe in letting my dog have some scraps of what I eat (In SMALL portions) as well as some treats, etc. I want her to live as long and healthy as possible, but I also want her to live happily and enjoy good tasting foods.  I don't think it's fair that she smells bacon, cheeseburgers, chicken and sees me eat them, but she can never have any of it. But the bottom line is I try to do research and keep her healthy in a way that works for us in my best judgment, which will never be "perfect", and without going overboard. 

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46 minutes ago, Rush Fan said:

...I mentioned how I had read that hundreds of years ago dogs in the wild lived on grain free diets and she countered with "Yes, and what was their average life expectancy back then?"...

@Rush Fan, I'm not sure that either of those are sound questions as phrased.

Hundreds of years ago, dogs in the wild didn't eat starchy, cooked diets of any kind, whether grain based or potato/legume based. They ate primarily whatever meat and bones they could kill or scavenge with a small amount of berries, grasses and a very small amount of semi-digested stomach contents. Nothing like any form of modern commercially produced foods that most pet dogs eat today.

As for their life expectancies, comparisons of today's domestic pet dogs and wild dogs would have to take into account a whole lot of variables that have absolutely nothing to do with their diets. Wild canids had many more environmental stressors, including injuries as a result of hunting, starvation, parasites, etc. Today's pet dogs have the huge benefit of veterinary care that wild canids never did. Even domesticated dogs such as feral and pariah dogs that have carbohydrate laden diets of either type without the benefit of veterinary care have considerably shorter life expectancies and the vast majority of pet dogs.

In both cases, the questions pose unrealistic comparisons.

Just sayin' . . .

p.s. I'm not sure how long ago it was that this conversation between you and your vet was, but it seems that she may have been onto something with the heart disease thing. Have you been reading about the possible connections between legume based diets and canine heart disease in some breeds lately? There's nothing definite yet, but there is cause for concern.

 

 

 

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Our conversation was about 5 months ago. I don't think she was saying they lived shorter lives because of their diets. I think she was somewhat saying much what you are saying... that their lifestyles and living conditions were drastically different back then. But the details of what was said wasn't really the point of what I was trying to say, so much as the overall message. I got the impression that the OP may have been stressing herself out over trying to get everything "perfect" for her canine companion when in reality we are really just taking our best guess at most things anyway (based in the info that is available today). You mentioned a study that suggested a connection between legumes and heart disease, but can any one guarantee another study 5 years from now might draw a different conclusion? It happens all the time. 

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