Puppy body condition score - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Puppy body condition score

Hi all,

My head is in a pretzel because I keep getting conflicting information about how heavy my puppy should be.

She's not quite 9 months old, and just a smidge shy of 60 lbs.

She's basically been lean the whole time I've had her (not when I first got her, she had puppy fat, but maybe from 4 months on I've kept her lean). Her breeder said it was better for her joints to be lean, that way less weight on the joints and also slower growth.

I've asked my regular vet when I saw her last month what she thought about her weight. She told me for her age and breed she was perfect. I asked the stud dog's owner on the weekend, she said she looked perfect (her dog is IPO2, so she's used to seeing fit dogs etc).

I take my puppy to daycare, they keep telling me she's too thin. The daycare is at a different vet clinic. My puppy is losing a bit of hair around one eye, so I just popped her in to the clinic at the daycare to check it out. The vet told me my dog is basically emaciated, a body condition of 2! How can so many people tell me she looks ok, including my vet, then another vet tells me she's practically on death's door? She was almost angry with me!

I took some photos, they aren't the best, as my dog won't stand in one position, she keeps trying to come over, or will only stay in a down or sit. lol

If she's just standing and relaxed, you can just BARELY make out ribs. If she's sitting you basically can't see them. If she's stretched out, bent or running, they are pretty visible. She is otherwise happy and healthy, full of beans.

Should I up her food? I just want her to be healthy. This isn't what I want her to look like as an adult, but while she's growing, I thought being fairly lean was better for her? I have horses, and with growing big bodied horse (I have warmbloods) we are told to just be able to see ribs, I used the same theory for my puppy?

She gets 3 to 3-1/2 cups of Acana Pacifica a day, split into two feedings.

I feel like a criminal! Can you guys give me your opinions?




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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 06:12 PM
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She looks fine. I probably wouldn't mind if she put on a couple more pounds, but I wouldn't worry about her current weight either. My GSD has HD so he must stay lean. He is fine, just needs to build more muscle and fill out some, but you should hear some of the comments I get from well-meaning people. Sadly most folks today seem to think a healthy dog is a fat dog because that's all they see anymore. When they do see a dog that is in good body condition they think it's too thin.


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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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I was afraid she was going to seize my dog, she was angry!

It's not the body condition I want for her as an adult, but I thought for a growing pup this was better! :/

If she takes a deep breath, her ribs are very visible, and since she's running around and jumping a lot that means they are visible a lot, but resting they aren't too bad, I don't think.

Jeeze, she made me feel so bad!
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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 06:32 PM
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I think she looks fine... Someone said here once that most vets are used to seeing fat dogs so when they see a lean GSD they think they are too thin.

Don't let the vet make you feel bad, not all vets are equal and not all vets are always correct and know everything... Like for example I had a vet try to get me to stop feeding my dogs Honest kitchen and put them on Science diet.

For her eye, maybe it's an allergy? What type of Acana is she on, maybe switching to a different protein source would help(like if she's eating chicken or beef switch to a fish formula). And sorry if you already had that diagnosed, just giving my thoughts!

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Last edited by Carriesue; 01-21-2013 at 06:35 PM.
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 06:46 PM
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She looks fine, but it's difficult to determine from just photos. Maybe she just looks thin because of her great color. My wife tells me that black is slimming!
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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She thinks the eye is some sort of mange. Starts with a D...

Sounds awful, but basically all dogs have it, but with young dogs or dogs who are stressed in some way (she's young and just had giardia) their immune system can't supress it.

She said it should clear up on it's own, but to keep an eye on it.

She's isn't itchy at all and it's just the one eye. I've had the worst luck with her! LOL
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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Maybe I'll up her food a wee bit.

Jeeze, I didn't think it was that bad. LOL
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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 07:25 PM
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She looks perfect to me in those pictures. To call her emaciated is a far stretch and I can send the vet some pictures of real emaciated dogs for education.

You should be able to easily feel ribs without pressing too hard but petting your dog shouldn't feel like rubbing a washboard either. She may be having a growth spurt so just keep an eye on her and adjust her food accordingly.
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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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She's definitely going through a growth spurt, she gained 6 lbs in the last month and lord knows it wasn't fat. LOL
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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by blackshep View Post
She thinks the eye is some sort of mange. Starts with a D...
Demodex, that would make sense.

If so you don't want to stress her, so her immune system can take care of the mange itself. I would not change her food or make any major changes in her life right now. I think she looks healthy, on the thin side, but a lot of puppies that age grow in weird, gangly stages. I would not try to pack pounds on. Maybe play around with increasing 1/4-1/2 cup a day. Her coat looks really nice and that's also an indicator of health.
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