May 05 2014


So you bring home a beautiful new puppy – fat and sassy, full of energy…and you go to the store and pick up the brand of dog food that may be the least expensive, or the most – depending on what your mind-set is, or what you’ve heard. Very few folks read the ingredients, which are important – but they DO read the recommended feeding chart. That may be the first mistake to an overweight dog. Remember, dog food companies want you to continue to purchase their product – what better way to ensure that than to be sure you have to do it more often. And so it begins.

So, how much SHOULD you feed your new puppy? Well, at Crossroads we have guidelines that will tell you just what you should feed them – it is based on the breed and whether your pup will be a large or small dog, as well as other breed and health considerations. It’s easy to just go buy something off the shelf, but remember that a little research goes a long way. Some dogs are allergic to grains, or to a particular protein – so there are ‘designer’ foods that take that into account. To be sure, ask your veterinarian…then you know you are on the right track.

If your dog is in the ‘large’ breed category, such as a Wolfhound, Great Dane, German Shepherd etc., (let’s say a dog that will be over 55 pounds as an adult) you will need a puppy food designed for ‘large’ breeds. Here’s why: Large breeds need to grow at a slower rate than small breeds – specifically for the health of their bones…the bones need to grow at a slightly reduced rate so that they don’t cause any orthopedic issues. Large breed food is designed with less fat and less calcium. Less fat means less caloric intake, thereby, a more slender dog. Now, if you feed your dog way more than it should eat, it won’t matter…but, Large Breed food is not just a designer food to make you spend more. It is very important that you feed your pet the correct amount of the proper food.

As for small breeds, you will see a myriad of food bags in the pet store that are specifically for Yorkies, or Maltese or Dachshunds, etc…this is pretty much an advertising gimmick…but, the good thing is that there is most often a nice small kibble that your small dog will appreciate. Nutritionally, a well-balanced puppy food is the best to start your pet off in the right direction – with a little input from your veterinarian about portion sizes, etc. For example, good food can make the difference between a healthy, shiny coat vs. a dull and lifeless one…

It’s important that if you are advised to feed a certain measurement of food per serving; a cup, perhaps; that you use an actual measured cupNOT a 32 ounce drink cup from the store. We see this more than we’d like – when owners say they only feed two cups a day, but that cup is about four measuring cups worth. Many times Crossroads has free plastic measuring cups available…check with the receptionists next time you come in.

The rule of thumb is this: When you look down on your dog from above, you should see a  waistline…and when you run your hand over their rib cage, you should feel a hint of the ribs there. Obesity in dogs, as in humans, can lead to a myriad of health problems, not to mention joint problems from the excess weight. Speak to your veterinarian today to be sure you are feeding your puppy or adult the right food, and the right amounts to keep them healthy and happy for many, many years.

drkclark | Uncategorized

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