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Need Tactful Suggestion Help - Puppy On Poor Diet

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  • #21
    An ortho vet would rather see bones than no bones. Walking skeleton, no... but "thin" most definitely. Visible ribs is quite acceptable. If the pup turns one direction and you can see the rib outline on the opposite side of the dog that's ok.

    "Boney" and "thin" are wide open to interpretation so without pictures and professionals it leaves too much room for arguing at this point.
    “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

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    • #22
      Isn't the Costco brand dog food supposed to be very good? It may even be less expensive than the purina, since it seems to be just a cost issue with this woman. It would be better to feed the Costco adult food if the puppy will eat it, rather than the purina which he apparently refuses to eat.
      I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry

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      • #23
        I agree those terms leave a lot of room for interpretation. I love your description of seeing the ribs on a turning pup. Perfect. I agree that is just fine. To me thin comes along when you can see the crest of each pelvic bone on each side of the spine in the loin area. Those should not be visible and in my opinion are a very good indicator of whether the pup needs more weight or not. But that is just my opinion.

        I do not like to see fat pups and believe that is worse, than being a little thin, for the pup. OVerweight pups are likely lacking in nutrition and it is bad for their joints etc. But then again, there is a line, where a little thin, crosses into skinny.

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        • #24
          They should not have big round bloated bellies. They should not have visible bones.
          they definitely shouldn't have big, round bloated bellies- that says "worms" to me, although it is possibly some other health problem. Has this pup ever been to the vet? it's illegal to not vaccinate against rabies, and it's considered actionable animal abuse to deny vet treatment to a sick animal- this pup may be ill enough to fall into that category.
          unless the dog has some kind of allergy or intolerance to the food, simply feeding a low-quality food will not produce the symptoms you describe- the addition of the bloated belly it sounds like a parasite problem, not a food problem.

          But they SHOULD have visible bones- especially a thin-coated pup like a boxer. You should be able to easily see the last few ribs, and the shape of the skeleton under that thin coat, and in many rapidly-growing pups of this body/coat type you will be able to see much more of the skeleton. It's normal, and healthy. There shouldn't be any fat layer at all. One way to distinguish between a "healthy thin" dog and an "unhealthy underfed dog" is to look at the rest of the dog- the healthy thin dog will have visible good muscling, and the underfed dog will have muscle wasting; the healthy thin dog will have a glowing coat and the underfed dog will not; the healthy thin dog will be full of energy and vim and vigor; the underfed dog will not.
          Very important to keep growing puppies on the thin side- there was one study where they dramatically reduced the rate of hip dysplasia simply by feeding less to the pups. Adults should be kept on the thin side too- in a thin-coated dog like a boxer, or a Doberman, you should be able to easily see the last few ribs, and the general structure of the skeleton/body. Many people strangely feel the need to not-see any of the ribs, so they over-feed the dog, but that is not correct or healthy. You can add years to a dog's life by keeping him thin his entire life. If you look at the "body condition" score charts, they have a 1 to 5 score, and call "3" ideal- puppies should be kept slightly under 3, at 2.0 to 2.5 or so; and adults generally do best if kept slightly under 3.0 as well- fit-thin is generally rated at around 2.5-ish on these scales.
          Many people look at the conformation show dogs and the many pictures taken of these dogs and start to think what they are seeing THERE is healthy-weight, but it isn't. Some surveys find that up to 20% of conformation show dogs are actually obese, and the rest are overweight to varying degrees. If you see enough pictures of show-boxers, all of them overweight, you can be forgiven for having an incorrect picture in your head of what a healthy-weight boxer should actually look like. Some people I know who do both agility and conformation report that for a large dog that should weight around 65 pounds at a healthy fit weight for life/agility they have to get the dog up to over 80 pounds in order to place in the conformation show ring. That's a lot of excess weight. And if all you ever see are show-ring-fat dogs, you may indeed be rather taken aback when you see a healthy-weight dog.

          it can't hurt to keep pestering her about food. What changes peoples minds varies- some people will simply never be convinced that quality food is worth it, but what might change their mind may be surprising to you.
          Last edited by wendy; Jan. 18, 2013, 11:11 AM.

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          • #25
            I am a fan of actually using BCS. Here is a decent site with pics for comparison. http://www.morgantownamc.com/site/view/83218_DogBCS.pml

            IMHO, and I'm not a vet, it is worse to have a pup getting too much than slightly too little as far as future health issues. In my pup's litter, he was the only one on a controlled diet whereas all the other pups got too fat IMHO. (my friends and I took the whole litter, long story) Anyway, my dog is the only one who DIDN'T end up with panosteitis, arthritis later, etc. But his weight was always on the leaner side. My friends kind of harassed me about my dog's weight saying he was too thin but I think that especially in the US, people think "fat" is normal and normal is too thin.

            So you might refer to the BCS link and see where you find him.

            All that said, your description of your friend's attitude regarding saddle fit leads me to believe that she really does have a lower standard of care than you. Perhaps even a somewhat neglectful attitude even if it may be benign neglect.

            I have a good friend who is very into doing all sorts of supplements, homeopathic stuff, etc. We don't agree on a lot of things, but the proof is in the pudding. Both of us have happy, healthy animals for the most part so we just agree to disagree. What you seem to be describing is a pretty fundamental difference in opinion.

            If I valued the friendship and the care wasn't actionable (and in this case, it doesn't seem to be) then I'd either back off and find a way to deal or I'd cut ties if it's going to bother you to a great degree so you can maintain your friendship.
            A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

            Might be a reason, never an excuse...

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            • #26
              Holy Crap that Orijen is expensive- $55 for 15# ????. I don't spend that much per pound on MY food. If I had to pay that much I think I'd go for the BARF diet instead.

              While Puppy Chow isn't my favorite food, I'm pretty sure it won't harm the pup. It's healthier, especially for a large breed dog, to be on the lean side. I think Boxer pups ALL look skinny, no matter who owns them or what they're being fed.

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              • #27
                when comparing dog food costs, you have to calculate cost per calorie; cost per bag or per pound can be very misleading. Some of the foods that appear to be quite cheap per pound turn out to be have very few calories per cup and thus actually cost much more than foods that appear to be shockingly expensive per pound.


                Petsmart's Authority brand is reasonable in quality; their large-breed puppy formula is far superior to Purina's puppy chow. Yet in cost I think it's about the same as Purina's puppy chow.

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by wendy View Post
                  Purina puppy chow is complete crap, but it is true that a young puppy should not be showing overt signs of nutritional inadequacy on it- that kind of poor-quality food usually doesn't affect the dog's health in any obvious way until the poor dog has been on it for several years. The biggest problem is that dry kibble, any brand of kibble- even your expensive Orijen- doesn't have sufficient omega-3's in it to support proper brain development. The pup, and all pups, needs to be supplemented with fish oil- maybe you could slip the pup some sardines or salmon or fish-oil caps hidden in liverwurst every time you see the pup?
                  Are you sure the dog is "underweight"? boxer puppies should look very boney and thin. Puppies in general should look very boney and thin- roly-poly puppies aren't heading for a lifetime of health.
                  I don't think selecting a dog food on the basis of whether the dog "likes it" or not is a valid way to choose a food, so you won't get any sympathy from me on that one. I use "tough love"- eat what I want you to eat or die- on my own dogs. Not one has chosen to die yet.
                  The only way you can convince uncaring people to change their ways is to appeal to their selfish nature- what does this person care about? saving money? easing her life? you'll have to phrase your comments in such a way they appeal to her nature.
                  Often it is much cheaper, especially in the long run, to feed a more expensive diet, for many reasons- feed less, fewer dental cleanings, lower vet bills.
                  To ease her life- pups who aren't fed fish oil during growth are unpleasant to live with being hyperactive, difficult to train, and ADD-like; cheap diets mean more poop to clean up, more doggy farts, more doggy odors.

                  Can I ask where you get your information??

                  This is the same line of thinking that has a huge number of horse owners feeding multiple supplements, loads of bagged feeds ( just forage is not enough to have a healthy horse) and keeping their horses on ulcer medicine because every time they act a little crabby it has to be ulcers.

                  As far as feeding a dog on kibble alone? I have done it exclusively on every dog we have had from mutts to papered dogs. Every one of them was smart, obedient, healthy( never a vet visit for illness) no gas or dog odor and lived into their teens with a shiny coat and no dry skin problems. They do get table scraps
                  because everyone likes a treat now and then.

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                  • #29
                    Our two dogs are free-fed on NaturalLife Lamaderm dry food ($24 for a 20-lb bag). The older dog (8-y.o. 67-lb lab mix, couch potato) has a discernible waist, palpable ribs, great coat; our vet says she is in perfect condition, calls her "ripped." Our younger dog (3-y.o. 35-lb shepherd mix, ADHD nutjob) looks way skinnier, but not so much "bony;" she's just lean like a whippet. Also great coat, vet is also very happy with her weight, but with her personality, I can't imagine she'll EVER be fat-- she's just too psycho; she's more interested in rocketing around like a pinball than she is in eating.

                    The big dog will chow down on one big meal per day, usually in the evening; the little loony dog eats a mouthful here and there when she remembers to do so.

                    My point is, both dogs have the same access to the same food, 24/7, but their body styles are dictated by their personalities to a great extent (IMO). I would EXPECT a wriggly ADHD puppy to be on the lean side...
                    *friend of bar.ka

                    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"

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                    • #30
                      As far as feeding a dog on kibble alone? I have done it exclusively on every dog we have had from mutts to papered dogs. Every one of them was smart, obedient, healthy( never a vet visit for illness) no gas or dog odor and lived into their teens with a shiny coat and no dry skin problems. They do get table scraps
                      I have no problem with feeding a dog a diet of mostly kibble. None whatsoever. Dogs fed a quality kibble as the base of their diet are often very healthy.

                      However, note you said you add TABLE SCRAPS. You're not feeding them on kibble exclusively. Big difference, read below:

                      Iams did a rather alarming study some time ago- they took a bunch of closely-related puppies and fed half of them (chosen at random) on "complete, balanced kibble" and fed the other half the same kibble, except these puppies also got supplemented with fish oil. At around 6 months of age they performed a series of tests of intelligence, behavior, and trainability, and found a shocking difference between the two groups, all in favor of the fish-oil supplemented puppies. A HUGE difference, not some minor statistically evident thing, something glaringly obvious. The non-supplemented pups had difficulties focusing, were hyperactive, and learning-impaired in comparison to the supplemented pups. You will now probably proceed to tell me all about your puppy who was fed only kibble and didn't have these problems, but notice you can't tell if your puppy is learning-impaired vs. what the puppy COULD HAVE BEEN if you had supplemented, unless you have a time machine and go back in time and repeat- you can only detect this kind of difference by conducting controlled trials. If you didn't supplement your puppy in any way, almost certainly your puppy could have been SO MUCH MORE if you had. You think he's focused and bright? he could have been a genius if he'd been fed properly. Tossing him some fresh table scraps now and again may certainly have helped him develop more towards his full genetic potential. And if you're about to say "But I fed my pup tons of fish oil and he's hyperactive and can't even learn his name" I suggest you blame his breeder- these things are also affected by genetics and early experiences- and be glad you supplemented. He could have been worse if you hadn't!

                      You'll notice Iams now sells foods labeled "smartpuppy" which were developed on the basis of this study (plus other studies on how omega-3's are essential for proper brain development). Unfortunately they have willfully overlooked the fact that omega-3's are rather unstable to heat, light, and oxygen; thus, even if the bag of dry kibble claims it has X-amount of omega-3's added to it, by the time the puppy eats it, it may almost no omega-3's in it (depending on storage conditions, etc.).
                      Omega-3's are not only essential for puppy brain development, they are essential for many other aspects of health. If you feed dry kibble, you should add fish oil supplements as a matter of course.

                      There are enough hints now and again in the scientific literature to suggest that what we call "Complete and balanced" kibble is almost certainly not 100% complete. For example, taurine. Taurine is also somewhat unstable, and for a considerable period of time "Complete and balanced" cat food was often deficient in taurine, and many cats developed heart failure as a result. Now all cat foods are heavily supplemented with taurine. There is some evidence to suggest that many dogs could benefit from taurine supplements, too, but it's not usually added to dog food at this time.

                      Who knows what other micronutrients we will discover in future- thus it's a good idea to add table scraps, too, in hopes that adding a few fresh foods here and there will correct any of these unknown deficiencies. In this line of thinking- that we don't know everything about nutrition- most dog nutritionists strongly recommend rotating through different brands of kibble, to alter the micronutrient profile. Brand A may be slightly deficient in micronutrients z and y, and Brand B may be fine for z and y but slightly deficient in micronutrients p and q, so if you feed Brand A for a few weeks then switch to Brand B for a few weeks your dog will, hopefully, be getting enough of each micronutrient to remain in optimal health.
                      "Hedging your bets" in terms of nutrition.

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                      • Original Poster

                        #31
                        Pup is UTD on shots, vet visits, worming. IMO, he's about a 3 on the BCS scale. He's just not all that thrilled with that brand of food, but she's insistent on "that food or nothing". Perhaps he'll eventually settle into eating better, but I would change him up a little to something that would be more palatable and more meat based.

                        BuddyRoo <<<All that said, your description of your friend's attitude regarding saddle fit leads me to believe that she really does have a lower standard of care than you. Perhaps even a somewhat neglectful attitude even if it may be benign neglect.>>>

                        You hit the nail on the head with this statement. When my horse had back issues, it was commented that he was a "weiny" and the wussiest QH that she had ever seen. Her TBs were much more tough. It took me two saddles and several chiropractic adjustments to make my guy happy, but that was met with rolly eyes. At least he doesn't have huge white patches on his withers, weave and walk away from his feed. Funny, that gastrogard helps her young gelding to lick his feed tub clean, but she won't try a month's treatment of it or pop rocks to help him.

                        I've decided to STFU and not offered any other suggestions for horses or the dog. I HAVE been very tactful in stating what has helped my horse, how much less I'm feeding the dogs with a higher end food and there is nothing more I can say to nudge her into anything different.

                        Thanks for all your suggestions and the discussion.
                        Lost in the Land of the Know It Alls

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                        • #32
                          I can't imagine it as being possible for the corgis to grow up any smarter than they are. I was able to start flicker training Tempi at five weeks of age.

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                          • #33
                            My boxers all went through growth stages where they were ribby, but not "boney".

                            My cattle dog puppy eats a moderate grade kibble, he's never had an omega 3 supplement. I don't think I want to give him one if it improves his brain function, he's too darn smart already. Don't think I want him any smarter, he'd be using my credit card and driving my car.

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