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Balancing your puppy's food and weight

As your puppy grows, you will need to increase his food. The best way to know when to increase his food is to run your hands down his ribs every day. You want to feel each individual rib, but feel a very thin layer of fat between your fingers and his ribs, if you can’t feel his ribs or there is a thick layer of fat, reduce his food by about 20 percent. If you only feel skin and ribs, increase his food by about 10 percent.

Keeping your puppy at a low weight until he is fully grown will help reduce the possibility of orthopedic problems.

Base your feeding amounts on the condition of your dog, not on what’s on the dog food bag, what your other dog gets, or whether your dog begs for more food (that’s a behavioral issue, not a nutritional one).

Despite old wives’ tales, your dog should not be allowed to put on extra weight because it’s cold out or hot out.

How to feed

It’s also important to pay attention to how you feed, not just what you feed.

Your dog should be fed on the schedule outlined above, and never given constant access to food. Free feeding has been associated with obesity, orthopedic problems, and has been shown to decrease the lifespan of dogs.

Give your dog 15 minutes to eat. If she doesn’t finish her food in 15 minutes pick up her dish and don’t give her food until her next scheduled meal.

Meal time is an easy opportunity for daily quick training! Wait for her to sit, then place the bowl down. If you place her bowl down while she’s begging, hyper, jumping, barking, or anything else, then you will be specifically and strongly training her to do that very behavior. So insist on manners at each and every meal. Your house is not a zoo.

Please call us to discuss your dog's diet and any feeding questions you may have.

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