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When can I start rationing?

1302 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Cicada
Benny's chasing up to 13 weeks. I gave him his first bit of raw meat today! AND IT'S A MIRACLE! He hasn't left it alone, and he's enjoying gnawing the bone peacefully as we speak. Unfortunately, he's being greedy and growly about it, so I'll have to work on that as well.

He's such a pig, so I tend to fill his bowl and let him eat as much as he feels. When should I start rationing him, and how much?

He's at 22 pounds. Is that a good weight? The vet said it was excellent, but I figured I'd ask the breed experts too.
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Yes, a "high-value" item like a meaty bone can cause a dog to exhibit some resource guarding. While he's little, and you can handle him, start working on teaching him that you can come near, or even take things away from him when he's eating/chewing. An easy way to start is to "trade" him for something even better than he has.

I think you should start feeding him a set amount, at regular meal times, rather than free feeding as much as he will eat. It's a better way for you to monitor how much is going in.

Rather than focus on his weight, watch his physique. You should be able to feel his ribs easily--not see the ribs, but feel them. Pups should not be roly-poly--they should look like small adults.
Too skinny would be if you can look at him and see ribs.

Here's another way it was once described to me that you can tell by feel:

Make a fist. Using the other hand, feel the following parts of the fist as a reference:

Feel the back of your hand---if the dog's ribs feel like that, he's too fat.

Feel across the ridge of knuckles---if the dog's ribs are that pronounced, he's too thin.

Feel across the folded fingers of the fist---if the dog's ribs feel like that, it's just right.

Looking at a dog from above, there should be an obvious "waist."

It's better to err on the side of keeping the pup lean. A lean pup will grow more slowly, which is best for his joints and bones. And keeping him lean throughout life will also stave off joint problems.
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That's impossible to say. Every brand of dogfood is a different amount (because they have different calorie densities), and every pup has a different metabolism.

To start with, see what the bag says. It's often wrong, but it's a place to start. Then adjust the amount of food up or down if you need to based on whether her weight is good. Puppies have growth spurts, so from one week to the next you might find yourself feeding a little more or a little less. Just check her often doing the "rib test" and you should do fine.
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