Feeding Insight

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Taylor_B
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Feeding Insight

Post by Taylor_B » Sat Jul 23, 2016 1:16 pm

A month or two back I posted an inquiry about the weight of our English Setter. Since then, there's been an update that's left me a little confused.
Needless to say. we have a year old english setter who can't seem to hold much weight. We've had him since he was 8 months old, and he hasn't gained much since then. When we got him in January, he weighed about 35 lbs. Come april, they required a re-weigh at the vet before we could purchase his new round of heart worm meds. he weighed in at about 37.5.

Just recently, we took him to the vet for a regular check up/vaccines.
They weighed him, and he's lost approximately 2 lbs - back down to 35.

The vet we are seeing is a new vet for us- one that personally owns several GSP's and hunts upland birds.
She suggested he was a bit underweight for a pointer, and did a calculation that indicated we're likely not feeding him enough to keep weight on when he's exercising (which is often - since we've had a warm summer with lots of rain-free days, he gets up to 3 hours each day with us out on our property, where he's running near constantly).

We don't believe he has worms at this point. His energy and disposition are fine: Very happy dog, lots of energy, pretty normal poops.

At the present time, we feed him Earthborn Meadow Feast (26% protein/ 15% fat). We've used the Earthborn Primitive naturals before (38% protein) but ended up switching off of that because both dogs seemed to have digestive sensitivity to the rather high protein.

My Questions are as follows:

Do I keep using the same kibble, and supplement with some extra fats and proteins? We have a lot of venison, so I could easily start adding that, as well as some oils or cottage cheese to his food.

Do I go for a whole new kibble all together? (higher protein/fats)

Do I explore the raw diet option (again - we have a lot of venison, available eggs, and produce that we could use) with a mineral supplement powder of some sort?

Do I feed him more kibble? (he already gets more than the recommended dose: 1.5 cups in the morning/1.5 cups in the pm/.5 cup at 9pm). I feel like more kibble might be excessive? I'd rather feed less, but with more essential nutrient content that ups the caloric intake, than just feeding more kibble?

I know a lot of folks said previously that a thin dog is fine, and I'm certainly not looking to fatten him up. I'm not one who wants an overweight pup. My concern is that he's not holding weight.

I don't like the fact that he's LOSING weight, when he's already very ribby. If he was thin and keeping weight, that's fine - not a problem. But losing weight concerns me.

Don't want him to be missing out on essential nutrients.

Thoughts? am i overthinking this?

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by ezzy333 » Sat Jul 23, 2016 3:45 pm

The info you posted does not show he is having a weight problem. A pound or two in a couple of months is normal for any animal. A couple of pounds can easily be nothing more than a full stomach and a with a big drink of water. I see ne real reason the change feed but I know nothing about the feed you are feeding. I do think you could look for something a little higher in protein and fat if you want. I also find it hard to understand what your concern is with how much he is eating. The guide lines you quoted are nothing more that a guide line and your pup that is in the stage of life that uses more energy than he ever has or ever will just might want a little extra. There is only one place I know of that will give you an accurate formula for the proper amount and that is your pup. Sounds like he might be telling you that I could use just a touch more feed though I am doing pretty darn good with what I am getting now. Most animals do not need their diet micro managed if you just use your common sense and let them tell you what they need. I will guarantee you the pup will fill out now that it is pretty much through growing and it will also gradually become less active. Personally I would not do a lot of supplementing how ever a bite of raw meat and a little fat or oil will enhance the calories with out throwing the formulated balance of nutrients too far out of kilter.

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by Sharon » Sat Jul 23, 2016 4:08 pm

Can't say it any better than Ezzy just did. Normal for a dog to register some pounds up or down at vet visits. Depends almost entirely on
amount of exercise to:calories fed. Follow Ezzy's advice.
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Taylor_B
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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by Taylor_B » Sat Jul 23, 2016 5:00 pm

Thank you - I get worried when the vet looks at him like he's malnourished, and tells me he should be getting an unrealistic amount of calories. She suggested anywhere between 3500 to 6400....that just seems extreme unless we're running/hunting him hard...all day. We'll give him a little extra and stop worrying.
thanks for the insight!

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by Sharon » Sat Jul 23, 2016 5:27 pm

Vets are used to seeing fat dogs. :)
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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by cjhills » Sun Jul 24, 2016 6:38 am

This is the experience I had with my dogs. It has no scientific basis it is just what worked for me.
For a long time I fed Diamond Performance 30/20. I always had weight issues with my dogs my young dogs were always embarrassingly skinny. One male at 4 years old was so thin the judges asked me if I fed him.
I always thought it was healthy for hard working dogs to be thin. But I have found they do not need to be skin and bone.
When I attempted to feed my dogs more their stools would get runny and the young ones would dirty their kennels. The size of their stool was huge. I also notice that starting new bag sometimes changed their stool.
Three months ago I changed to Purina Pro Plan all life stages 30/20. the change has been remarkable. I can feed the dogs as much as it takes to put on weight. Some eight 8 cups a day, stools are hard and small, in two months they started gaining weight and I had to cut back on the amount of food. I have no dirty kennels, the dogs look great and energy is good. There is definitely a difference in dog foods. Feed as much as it takes to ad some weight no matter how much it is.
If the stool gets soft find a food your dogs can handle.
Also I have took some very thin dogs to my vet and have never been told they were to thin. If your vet encourages obesity, change vets.........................Cj

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by mountaindogs » Sun Jul 24, 2016 6:46 am

my opinion. Try feeding something with a little more calories. My personal favorite now is Dr. Tim's Pursuit.

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by shags » Sun Jul 24, 2016 7:22 am

I'd consider body condition and not worry about numbers on the scale. 37 pounds of chub and flab, 37 pounds of muscle and sinew, 37 pounds of muscle with a little fat overlayed, 37 pounds of skin and bones...

Here is a link to a discussion on another board. Scroll through and check out the pics. Most of the responders have posted weights, so it's easy to see differences. Most of the pics are on pages 2-3.
http://uplandjournal.ipbhost.com/index. ... gh/&page=1

If your dog can't maintain condition -as opposed to "weight" - on your current feed, it's time to switch. What works for one may not suit another, and doesn't mean one feed is better or worse.

Dogs metabolize differently from people, and IME my dogs do much better on higher protein and fat. We're feeding Diamond Extreme Athlete (32/25).

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by nanney1 » Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:07 am

I would try the Pro Plan Performance all life stages 30/20 that cjhills recommended. Purple/black bag with a GSP on the bag.

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by ezzy333 » Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:05 am

nanney1 wrote:I would try the Pro Plan Performance all life stages 30/20 that cjhills recommended. Purple/black bag with a GSP on the bag.
Why the rush to change feed when the dog is doing well but is slightly thinner than the owner likes. And he admits he isn't feeding as much as the dog would like just because he doesn't think the dog should eat more? Seems to me it is clearly stated that all he would have to do is increase the feed slightly and since he is basing all of this on the feeding guidelines which we know are just guidelines based on a mature dogs average requirements and not a young dog still maturing and being exercised a great deal. Changing feed is always a possible remedy but I always look at the easiest, simplest, and the least chance of causing further problems as my first response. Change nothing other than feeding slightly more seems to fit that criteria in my book.

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by nanney1 » Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:50 am

Ezzy, I agree that feeding more would be the simplest option to try. However, the original post indicated a desire to feed less of a more nutrient dense food. That's why I think that PPP 30/20 would be a simple, convenient, and less expensive food to try than what is currently being fed.

That being said, PPP it is not a grain free food, so if that is part of the criteria, then maybe the Earthborn Primitive is an option for feeding less.

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by ezzy333 » Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:59 pm

nanney1 wrote:Ezzy, I agree that feeding more would be the simplest option to try. However, the original post indicated a desire to feed less of a more nutrient dense food. That's why I think that PPP 30/20 would be a simple, convenient, and less expensive food to try than what is currently being fed.

That being said, PPP it is not a grain free food, so if that is part of the criteria, then maybe the Earthborn Primitive is an option for feeding less.
If what he is feeding is grain free that is probably most of the problem. Hard to keep weight on an active dog without grain.
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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by nanney1 » Sun Jul 24, 2016 2:05 pm

Both of the Earthborn foods mentioned in the orignal post, the 26/15 and the 38% higher protein option are both grain free and are in the "natural holistic" line of foods. But there was mention that the higher protein food caused digestive upset so that wasn't really an option.

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by reba » Sun Jul 24, 2016 2:48 pm

I hunt my GSP dogs over 100 days every year.

They each eat at least 61/2 cups of very good kibble every day. They are always showing some (3) ribs and are as tuff as nails.

If your dog is in good health and you are feeding a very good kibble, please increase the amount you are feeding with lots of water.................................

YES! 61/2 cups each per day.

Pour the coals to that puppy.

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by Sharon » Sun Jul 24, 2016 5:16 pm

and that's the whole story. Feed what your dog needs to look healthy. MOre of what you are feeding or a different food if the number of cups gets ridiculous.
My very active JRT would eat 6 1/2 cups a day and look like a basketball. The setter could eat that much and look healthy.
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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by Dakotazeb » Sun Jul 24, 2016 5:30 pm

Taylor_B wrote:Thank you - I get worried when the vet looks at him like he's malnourished, and tells me he should be getting an unrealistic amount of calories. She suggested anywhere between 3500 to 6400....that just seems extreme unless we're running/hunting him hard...all day. We'll give him a little extra and stop worrying.
thanks for the insight!
Considering that very good dog foods with 26-30% protein and 15-20% fat contain approx. 400-500 calories per cup I would really questions the recommendation of your vet in suggesting 3500-6400 calories per day.
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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by Taylor_B » Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:37 am

nanney1 wrote:Both of the Earthborn foods mentioned in the orignal post, the 26/15 and the 38% higher protein option are both grain free and are in the "natural holistic" line of foods. But there was mention that the higher protein food caused digestive upset so that wasn't really an option.
Hi All -
Thank you for the feedback.
As noted in the quote, we've tried the Earthborn Primitive Naturals. It seemed to be too high protein for both dogs. I think something scaled down to possibly 30% protein would be appropriate, but the 38% was taking a toll on each of them.
At the present time, he is already eating well over the guidelines on the bag (we stopped following those long ago).

I really appreciate the post that included a link to the "how much does your english setter weigh?" forum.
That was very helpful to see that he's not the only little guy out there. He's our first setter, and when the vet suggests he not eating enough or not weighing enough, we don't have much else to go on.
I'm gonna stick with the idea to feed based on condition and not weight.
Our game plan will be to add just a little extra fat and protein to his diet, but not to increase in such huge amounts as the vet suggested. He's just a petite dog (but muscular), and I don't think he could handle getting a huge increase in kibble. He'd burst!

I've started adding a tablespoon or two of cottage cheese to each meal, with a tablespoon or two of venison.

I'm happy with a lean dog, and am even satisfied with his weight right now. I was just concerned because the vet seemed concerned. The first thing friends and family comment about when seeing him is how skinny he is, and we ignore it, but when the vet suggested he was pretty underweight, I got worried that I might not be giving him the nutrition he needs. I don't really care if his ribs or hip bones stick out - I'm more concerned about whether or not he's getting proper fuel for his activity level. That was my main concern. As long as he's happy and healthy, I don't mind him being skinny!

After reading what other folks have to say on the issue, it definitely eases my mind that we don't need to worry too much, and certainly don't need to overfeed.
Thank you!
-Brooke

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by cjhills » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:37 am

The problem I have with very thin dogs comes when we hunt several days in a row and they drop even more weight.
Personally I like some ribs showing but not a lot of hips. I am not sure on this without going to the kennel but I am thinking around 1600 Calories a day. I do add 2 tsp of coconut oil about 260 calories.
If your are happy with the way the dogs condition, all is good. If not and you can increase the food without getting runny stools keep feeding more until she starts to gain weight. I am not a advocate of extremely high protein most of my dogs have stomach issues from that. Plus I think it can cause long term health issues. I feed as much as I can and maintain proper weight and small solid stools. It is amazing what the right food can do............................Cj

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by slistoe » Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:32 am

Taylor_B wrote:
I've started adding a tablespoon or two of cottage cheese to each meal, with a tablespoon or two of venison.

After reading what other folks have to say on the issue, it definitely eases my mind that we don't need to worry too much, and certainly don't need to overfeed.
Thank you!
-Brooke
What do you hope to accomplish with cottage cheese and a tablespoon? of venison.
1/4 cup more of the current food would likely do more good than that.
If I have a dog that needs help I might supplement with raw organ meats - at least a half pound a day.
If you want a "little bit" extra, give him a tablespoon of lard with his food.

PS - I second Ezzy's notion that "grain free" is likely a large part of the "problem".

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by mountaindogs » Mon Jul 25, 2016 2:05 pm

Instead of cottage cheese, try adding some coconut oil or sunflower oil. Venison is good but just lean protein. You need a little fat if you want to add some calories.
The food debate goes round and round. I go months without even visiting this site, then i hop back in and another food debate is on. I stand by high quality foods fed in smaller amounts makes a difference. All of my hard keepers did better on earthborn but best on Dr. Tims Momentum. With one i even added in a supplement from Annameat. I will have to look it up. They held weight even when hunting 4-5 days a week for the season, and living in houses outside. Still i think its a little hot this time of year for the highest calorie foods. But as it cools down consider a higher calorie food. order Dr Tim's Momentum from chewy.com or petflow.com they both have free shipping and will deliver food to your door. Or a nice 30:20 feed. Proplan is fine. Mine have softer stools with it but hold weight. 4 health performance does a fair job too.
You dont need a fat dog,!!! But a hunting or working dog needs enough nutrition. You will see when your dog is the right weight how nice they looks overall. The skin and coat look good, and the feet tighten up, and muscles definition looks better.
And as mentioned above, i can not stress enough how much getting them to consume more water helps. Moisten that food. Indont even let it get soft really just give it to them with water over it all soupy.

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by ezzy333 » Mon Jul 25, 2016 3:12 pm

You might like to know there has not been a thread about dog food on the forum for several months and as far as I know there still isn't unless you want to turn this one into one. This thread was directed at a vet saying the dog was too thin and we were asked what should be done. Several opinions were written and one of them was feed a higher concentrated dog food. Or maybe just feed a little more of what he is feeding since the dog is doing well on it. We are all aware there are hundreds of good dog foods on the market and you will have trouble proving one is better than the next. I have fed what you are saying is good and I agree but it did absolutely nothing for the dogs that the way cheaper feed they were on was doing. And that is pretty much normal with most. That is why there are so many and people are feeding all of them.

Anyway, lets not make this into another discussion about mine is better than yours.

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by Spy Car » Tue Jul 26, 2016 11:25 am

I'm absolutely sold on a balanced Prey-Model raw diet myself.

With a no-carbohydrate PRM every ounce of the the meals provides essential nutrients, unlike cereal-based meals that are loaded with non-essential carbohydrates (as a cost-cutting measure).

With PRM you serve 80% meat (skin, fat, connective tissue,etc) 10% soft-edible bone, and 10% organs (half being liver).

With diversified protein sources there is no need to supplement (expect perhaps with fish oil if not feeding raw oily fish* as part of the diet), as all vitamins and minerals are in the food.

Keeping a hunting dog lean is a good thing. So is maximizing the nutritional value of every bite.

Bill

* raw salmon and trout from the PNW needs to be avoided due to a serious parasite born disease.

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by oregon woodsmoke » Mon Aug 01, 2016 7:53 am

I keep my dogs lean and in hard trim and I have never had a vet say anything to me except that they are in great condition. If a vet told me my dog wasn't getting enough calories, especially if I had taken the dog in because I thought the dog wasn't growing, I would believe what the vet said, that the dog needed more calories.

If the dog does not have worms, the only way to put weight onto the dog is to up the amount fed. There is no way to increase the growth of a dog or to put weight on a dog while insisting that the amount of food is already correct. The amount of food is not correct and it should be increased.

I don't like feeding large heavy meals, so I feed my gun dog puppy 4 times a day. She is currently eating enough high quality food to support a 200 pound human, and she weighs a good solid 16 pounds of high energy. Her hips are covered and her ribs are barely covered so she is not being over-fed. High energy growing pups need a lot of good food. She is eating 4 times as much as my 45 pound super charged high energy Australian Shepherd that never stops moving and I will be upping her amount frequently, almost daily, as she grows.

OP, get yourself a bigger scoop to measure out your dog's kibble. Don't cut back until the dog starts to pack pork onto his rib cage.

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Re: Feeding Insight

Post by oregon woodsmoke » Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:02 am

By the way, my little pup is also getting cottage cheese but she is getting a full cup of cottage cheese, not a Tablespoon or two. If I fed a fully balanced kibble, she would not get cottage cheese. She gets it to add a source of calcium to a home cooked diet and not for additional calories. You don't add a lot of extras to a fully balanced kibble because you don't want to knock it out of balance., If your kibble is good, it should already have enough calcium in it.

If you want to up the calories without increasing the kibble, add a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil to each meal. Corn oil is good as long as the dog doesn't have a corn allergy. Oil is about 100 calories per tablespoon, so you are not increasing the calories by a lot. It still gets back to increasing the amount of food.

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