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 How Much Should I Feed?

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whitehusky3
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PostSubject: How Much Should I Feed?   Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:04 pm

I need help! I'm completely torn about how much to feed Suka. I've taken a lot of things into consideration to come up with the amount of 1 1/3 cup of food twice per day, and I need to know if I'm right or if I need to decrease it.

I weighed Suka this morning. He's recently gone through a growth spurt, so I was curious where he was at now. He weighed 44.8 pounds. At his veterinary appointment one month ago, he weighed 38 pounds. That's a 6.8 pound gain in one month. I shared this information with his breeder, and she said that's way too much for him to gain in one month. She said he weighs far too much for five months and that 38 pounds was way too much a month ago.

We had a discussion about his food yesterday. I told her how much I'm feeding him, and she said I'm giving him way too much. She's blaming too much food for his rapid growth, which I took to mean she's blaming me for him getting too big. He was the largest puppy in his litter, and this breeder has dogs that are just barely under the standard for height, so I already knew he was going to be a big boy. I didn't expect him to be bigger than 50 pounds, though. That's the size of his brother. But she said his brother has siblings who were much bigger than he is, so I guess I can't go by that. After she told me that, she quickly added that the littermate who is bigger was overfed as a puppy and had to be put on a diet at a year old. She said that's why he got too big.

I was feeding Suka one cup of dog food, but he kept looking around for more. When his bones started to become visible, I increased his food to 1 1/4 cup twice per day. When his bones started to become visible again about a week or so ago, I put his weight and activity level into a calculator to determine his caloric needs and increased his food one more time to 1 1/3 cup twice per day. This is a photo taken this morning to show what he looks like now. As you can see, his stomach is concave and I can easily feel his spine and hip bones, although they are not visible. The breeder said bones showing is normal for a teenage puppy and I need to feed him less. She didn't even take into consideration the brand of food I'm giving him! The calorie content of each brand is different, but she has a hard and fast rule of two cups per day.



Then she said this...



So naturally, I feel pretty shitty about myself right now and how much I'm feeding my dog. I don't want him to be overweight, but I don't want him to be skin and bones either!

Everything I have read, both online and on dog food bags and everywhere in between, say a puppy needs to be fed more than an adult dog. Even Suka's veterinarian said it's really hard to make a puppy fat and not to worry so much about how much food he's eating as long as he's healthy.

I feel like my breeder feeds puppies like they're adults, and I think she was unnecessarily harsh about this. I don't think too much food is the reason for his growth. I think he's naturally going to be a big dog. I guess another way of looking at it is if you underfeed a puppy to control their growth, you're basically stunting their natural growth.

I have to ask here because I don't trust Suka's breeder at this point when it comes to how much to feed him. She used to have overweight dogs until she learned how bad it is for them, and now she's done a complete 180 and gone to the other extreme. I don't think she feeds them enough. Her dogs are beautiful, and they LOOK like they're a good weight, but they're also fluffy. She said herself on her Facebook page that when she groomed them, she had no idea how thin they had gotten this winter. Their bones were showing and she said she's going to increase their rations. She attributed it to dog sledding, but I think it's because she's feeding 50-70 pound dogs two cups of food per day when they need closer to three cups. If they weren't participating in dog sledding, then they could probably get away with two cups since they're Huskies. Huskies typically do require less food than other breeds, but it's not a guaranteed thing. Some Huskies do need the standard amount of food. I've been basing how much I feed Suka on how he looks.

So I need some unbiased opinions. Is Suka growing too fast? Is it because I'm feeding him too much? Is his breeder right that he should only get two cups of food per day? If so, I will decrease his food. I'll feel guilty about it and I think his bones will start to show, but I'll suck it up for his health if it's the right thing to do.
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whitehusky3
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PostSubject: Re: How Much Should I Feed?   Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:13 pm

After I posted this, I contacted the owners of Suka's littermates. The one that owns Suka's brother got back to me and said his puppy weighs 45 pounds. So Suka is right on track with his siblings.
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aljones
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PostSubject: Re: How Much Should I Feed?   Sat Apr 30, 2016 4:04 pm

Since it's the weekend (and it really is *this* time) I'll throw my two cents worth in here.

Referring to the messages on your cell phone<?>:

  1. Of course I'm going to do what I want, I'm trying to do what's best for my dog.
  2. If she can tell that his bones are growing too fast from the pictures you've posted, she's a lot better judge than I!
  3. Do you think I'm that dumb, of course if I feed him more he'll get bigger.

My 'thing' with how much to feed:

  • If you're feeding too much, the pup will have fat over his ribs, if you're feeding way too much he'll have fat over his spine and hips.  
  • If you're not feeding enough his ribs will be visually pronounced and hip bones will be visually obvious.

If, IMHO, he's somewhere between the two then you're probably feeding a 'proper' amount.  The quick guide that you're feeding too much is probably that his feces are loose.

If you feel that your pup is growing much too fast ( see this page ) I'd think that a food with more bulk and less protein might be appropriate - the extra bulk to give him a feeling of fullness, less protein to slow the rate of growth.

Now let's see what comments that comment kicks off.
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whitehusky3
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PostSubject: Re: How Much Should I Feed?   Sat Apr 30, 2016 7:54 pm

I can easily feel his bones, but I can't see them. So that would mean he's somewhere in between the two conditions you described, which would mean I'm feeding him the proper amount, right?

Do you think switching Suka to a large breed puppy food would slow down his growth? Would it be a good idea? I honestly didn't think he was growing too quickly until his breeder said something about it. Then to find out his littermate is the same weight, well... I feel like his breeder was out of line with her comments, and she made me feel poorly. Sad I can't show Suka since his other testicle still hasn't dropped, so does his size really matter all that much?

ETA: I just measured Suka's height, and he's at 20.5 inches. Three more inches and he'll be disqualified from the show ring. He's only five months old, so the chances of him gaining another three inches are pretty good. I may as well just forget about how big he is, not that I cared in the first place. It's his breeder driving me nuts about it.
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aljones
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PostSubject: Re: How Much Should I Feed?   Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:50 pm

I hate when I throw out an intentionally debatable comment (to garner other comments) and *no one* takes me up on it.

Jessie, I haven't had Husky puppies at all; the last litter I had was a mixed bag of catahoula sized pups and they were fed puppy food for the first six months then they started eating the adult food by choice - so much for spending more for puppy food.

Every dog (every living being) has a predilection to achieve it's own optimum size / weight.  If, as you said, she "has dogs that are just barely under the standard for height" then it should be no surprise that some pups in a litter are going to grow beyond that.  For your breeder to give you grief is, in my opinion, more a reflection on her than on you.  My personal feeling is that trying to stunt his growth is doing the boy a disservice.  You have more posts than I want to go back and peruse but my feeling of you is that you're doing the best you can for Suka and I wouldn't want you to do any less than that.

... and if you're now getting the feeling that I'm not going to give you a definite answer about going to a different food to slow his growth down, you're right.  I've come as close as I feel comfortable with, with the partial answer I've given.
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: How Much Should I Feed?   Sun May 01, 2016 3:49 am

Jessie..........Here's the thing....your breeder, breeds over standard huskies, Suka will be as big as they are, to harp on you at all is fruitless and I feel not very nice.

From what I have read and seen, many huskies top out at around 7-9 months as far as weight, and then slowly add another 10 pounds max over the next year or so, and at around 2 years they should be at their max weight. Height tends to be a little slower in the growth department than weight. For her to say anything about stunted growth or over growing is not fair. I really do not understand the stunted growth theory for underfeed pups, as they will eventually get to their potential. Same can be said about over feeding. HD is not as common in huskies as it is in large breed dogs, not saying it doesn't happen, but it shouldn't be as big as a concern as say a large breed puppy. He is at a pretty normal weight for most dogs his age. I wouldn't stress so much over it.

To give you an example, Miya at 4 or 5 months old weighed within 10 pounds of her current weight at 3 years old. And my gsd pup is finally catching up in weight to the average gsd. And just to give you a wow moment, it is normal in a gsd to gain 10 pounds a month from 2 months old to 10 months and at that age be somewhere around 70-80 pounds, now figure that one out, lol. And they do have issues way more common than huskies with HD.

Personally at around 7-8 months of age, most typical bags of food start decreasing the amount to be fed. Sofie has at age 7 months self regulating her food amount, and I didn't need to decrease it at all, she did it for me. at 9 months old(almost ) she eats almost half the amount she used to. I fed way less than most typical gsd owners, I fed 3 cups a day, I have read some feed upwards of 7 cups a day of high quality food, yikes! She currently eats about 2-2.5 cups a day. Now to give you an idea, Sofie will be a small large breed dog, somewhere around 70 ponds. At almost 9 months old she is 23-24 inches tall and about 65 pounds. She still has growing to do height wise. She is not fat at all. At 6 months old she weighed 46 pounds and was about 20-21 inches tall. Going to the weigh in thread may help you feel better, there is so many dogs in their with their height and weight recorded.


http://www.itsahuskything.com/t13214-weigh-in?highlight=weigh+in

as far as feeding him, I think his current amount is fine, he looks good in the pic. I imagine in another month or two he will require a little less food, and his weight will even out.
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Artic_Wind
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PostSubject: Re: How Much Should I Feed?   Sun May 01, 2016 11:57 am

Up until about a year old, my two were fed 3 cups per day. After a year old, they were/are fed 2 cups a day (I should add that in addition to their kibble, they get egg, and/or cheese, and/or hamburger meat or chicken...plus any treats throughout the day) Kohdi just turned 3 last month and weighs 58 lbs. Mishka just turned 2 last month and weighs 43 lbs. I'd have to look but I think both weights are around standard. I didn't consciously feed them an amount to fit into the standard, I mostly went from what was recommended (really my experience from having huskies my whole life) and by if they would start leaving kibble in their bowl, which is extremely rare. Fitting into standard, to me, is determined more by genetics than what we feed them, and I would think under feeding a puppy to "control" it's growth could possibly do more harm to the overall health during its life time than over feeding. Over fed dogs can be put on a diet, but underfed puppies, who need their nutrients for bone development, brain development, etc. the *damage* is done, they live with it pretty much for the rest of their lives. In my opinion anyways.

To me, Suka looks great. With my two, with their fluffy coats, it's much harder for me to determine if they are over weight. With their winter coats, things like the tuck in aren't as visible, but I rely on what we've (my parents) fed our huskies my whole life, and more importantly, what the vet says about their weight when I take them in, and in each visit, he tells me they have a nice lean weight with great muscle tone. So my advice to you, is to pay less attention to your breeder (you did mention she's already *messed up* and over fed her dogs in the past, and now has done a total 180 in the opposite direction, so maybe her advice isn't the greatest anyways) and pay more attention to what your vet says and really, your own gut instinct.
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whitehusky3
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PostSubject: Re: How Much Should I Feed?   Wed May 11, 2016 2:24 pm

Thank you, guys! You made me feel a lot better about it! I'm trying to do the best I can for Suka, and a lot of my information comes from hours (literally) of research. My breeder made me second guess myself, and since she was so rude about it, I also felt awful. I've decided to just tell her I'm giving him one cup in the morning and evening even if I'm not.
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