Friday, September 5, 2008

Food Is A Tricky Question

Someone who just got their Corgi puppy last week asked me how much she should feed him. It reminded me that I haven't talked about food a whole lot on this blog even though I meant to. Part of the reason is that food is a tricky subject. Every dog is different, just like people. Just like there are people who can eat chili cheese fries all day and still be a twig (damn them!), I'm sure there are dogs that can eat a lot of kibble and still keep their girlish figure.

First off you have to decide how often to feed them. Some people do once, some people twice, and some even more. I would say it depends on how old your dog is. When we first got Theo he was a young pup with a raging metabolism, so we fed him 3 times a day. Actually, I only just recently reduced him down to 2 meals a day. I don't think I'll ever feed him just once a day. How would you like to be fed once a day? I think it's better to spread it out into a morning and evening meal.

How much to feed your dog obviously depends on what you're feeding your dog. I've read that if you use high end kibbles you actually have to feed your dog less because their more nutrient rich. I don't know if that's true, but generally if I eat a chicken salad vs. junk food I don't get fuller any faster on the salad. If anything food with fillers make me feel full longer. I would just use the bag as a guideline for how much to feed. I say guideline because I've heard from more sources than I can count that dog food companies suggest too much food per meal (more kibble fed = more money for them). So try feeding a little less and see how that goes. I myself feed Theo a combination of a natural diet with a high end, high protein kibble mixed in. So obviously it's harder to determine what's the right amount to feed.

An important thing to keep in mind is the age of the dog you're feeding. When we first got Theo he was eating maybe a cup a day. That quickly changed as he got older and at one point he was probably up to ~2 1/2 cups a day. Now that he's older his metabolism is obviously slowing down so I've actually been feeding him less than I did 2 months ago. Interesting how that works! When I asked Bailey the Beagle's owner how much food she gets, she said a cup a day. Bailey is 5. She's also smaller than Theo so I'll never feed him that little. Right now I feed Theo about 1 1/2 cups per day. The point is that there's never any one answer for how much to feed a dog (which is probably why I never found good information on it). You have to look at your dog, their weight, their habits, their age, and judge accordingly.

Don't worry, your dog won't roll over and die if he's one pound overweight. There's a trick to see if your over or under feeding your dog. Feel your dog's ribs. Can you feel them? If you can't feel ribs put little Fido on a diet, he's a fatty! Look at what kind of food you're feeding and how much. If you're still feeding puppy food, it's probably time to switch to adult. If you feed 3 cups a day, try reducing to 2 1/2 cups. I know it's hard to change your dog's eating habits, but if you stick with it, it quickly becomes the norm.

If you can feel ribs, great! Can you count them? As in, if you move your hand over your dogs ribs can you distinguish each rib bone well enough to count them. If the answer is yes, give Fido a snack! He's too skinny! That's the happy medium you want. You want to be able to feel your dog's ribs but not count them. Hey, I can still feel my ribs, does that mean I'm not fat!? Hehe. Again, that's just a guideline. I can still feel Theo's ribs, but to me he still looks a little tubby sometimes, so I've been really watching what I feed him. But at the same time I think it's just him getting bigger and his "chest dropping". That's what one of my neighbors refers to it as, and it's true! When Corgis get bigger their chest seems to grow down. LOL!

So now that I've spilled the beans on Theo's eating habits, anyone who wants to join in tell us what you feed your dog, how much, and how often. Do you think I've left any important information out, or just gotten something wrong?

16 comments:

Philip the Corgi said...

Great post Julo! It's so true that it's hard to judge how much each dog should eat.

I don't think your salad comparison is quite right though. A high-quality kibble is like a high quality steak - it's full of protein (where as a salad is just water and carbs). Think about eating hamburger meat versus a good A-grade steak. You will probably be able to eat a lot more hamburger meat to feel the same fullness as after eating a good steak slab. So thinking of it in those terms, it's true that usually with a higher quality kibble like Evo or Blue brands, you will feed about 2/3 - 3/4 of what you fed with a lower grade like Pedigree.

Also, I agree that feeding once a day is too little, I think 2 is a perfect medium. I usually feed my dog around 7am and again around 7pm.

Love your blog even though I don't comment much!

JuLo said...

Hello Philip the Corgi's owner! Well I hope you'll comment more often because that was an excellent one. :)

You make an excellent point about my comparison. Yours is much better, though I can't say whether I agree with it since I've never eaten a hamburger vs. a steak to see which filled me up faster. lol!

I love Evo. That's what I feed Theo, though I have no idea what the package says for servings since I only feed him about 1/2 cup of kibble a day. The rest is all regular food.

eikoleigh said...

Good post on food. Julo, you're so right about the metabolism and the number of meals for each dog. It all varies on age and activity level. My two corgis (5 1/2 and 6 years old) get two meals a day, around 8:30 am & pm. I got them both as adult rescues, so I didn't go through the puppy food adjustments, but I've had puppies in the past so I totally relate to the meal modifications.

I agree that 1 meal a day is too little. My boys get the two meals and occassional snacks (carrots, dog biscuits, etc) during the day to keep them going. I get snacks, I don't see why they shouldn't. Keeps your metabolism steady.

A lot of people do overfeed their dogs and corgis in particular are very sensitive to weight gain. Our second corgi adoptee was 6 years old when we got him 3+ months ago and was 37 lbs (?!?!). Since we've had him, he's shed almost 10 lbs and is now a svelte 27.8 lbs. His regimin includes Blue Weight Control 1 1/4 cups a day (split into 2 portions), low calorie cookies (so he's not hungry through the day), 2 walks a day and ball toss every other day(ish).

My other dog is on Science Diet and my plan is to switch them both to Science Diet later. I haven't had experience with Evo.... Can you compare it to Science Diet?

Elizabeth said...

Lulu weighs in around 12 lbs. She eats Science Diet Z/D (low allergy) and gets 1/4 cup twice a day. 7am and 6pm and you better believe she lets me know what time it is just in case I've forgotten.

She could stand to lose a pound but the only way she's going to do that is through tons of exercise...and her name isn't Lazy Lulu for nothing!

xtreme said...

Our corgi clan all gets fed differently! And it's a bunch to keep up with. All get Natural Balance Ultra Premium. Great food and no allergy problems like before. Their coats are shiny and they're in great shape.

The oldest, Cody, is 13 and gets fed twice a day. He just does better on a 2aday. The others average about 1 1/2 c. once a day. We're considering going to 2aday. I think it would be healthier for the clan. (Considering there are 5 corgis and 2 catahoulas, feeding is a chore.)

JuLo said...

Ack! How could I leave out level of activity? I guess I figured it was just a given. Yes, dogs who work or play more than others need more calories to sustain their energy.

Since Theo plays all day with other dogs, he probably gets fed more than if he was just home sleeping all day. Usually when I pick him up from doggy daycare he's starving. Hehe.

Hmm...I can't compare Evo to Science Diet for sure because I haven't looked at the label but the brand, Innova just sounded like a great company to me. They supposedly use human-grade feed (meaning it's not spoiled or road kill). It's really high in high quality protein. That means the bulk of the protein is, for example, chicken rather than chicken meal. Evo is grain free (but not starch free, it has potatoes), and has the fruits, vegetables, and other things I have heard are great for dogs, like blueberries, sweet potatoes, and flax seed oil.

It sounds like most people feed ~12 hours apart. That's what I try to do as well, though sometimes it's more like 13. I also give treats when we're walking and a sweet potato chew every other day or so.

Eikoleigh, I'm glad to hear you rescued a tubby boy and got him down to a healthy weight! I'm sure it's a difficult task since Corgis are such food lovers and expert manipulators!

Elizabeth, I know what you mean. Theo makes the cutest little protest noises when he's ready for dinner.

Xtreme, wow you have a lot of dogs! Hehe.

Philip the Corgi said...

Well you must go out and try eating a steak versus a hamburger now! :)

Hehe, sorry for the lack of comments, usually I don't have much useful to say unless the topic strikes my fancy. And I just happen to love dog nutrition, I think it's interesting and very important to know.

Evo is a great choice, Philip gets Blue Wilderness because that's a little more readily available, and he is doing great on it.

Eikoleigh, Science Diet is a mediocre food. While it's not as bad as some others out there, it's certainly not your best choice. If you can, I would recommend switching to a food with fewer grains in it. You want to look for meat (best if it isn't some meat meal) as first ingredients in the food, and also no corn.

Philip the Corgi said...

P.S.: Here's a great site to read up on different dog foods (no affiliation, hope you don't mind me posting this Julo)
http://dogfoodanalysis.com/

JuLo said...

Not at all. Actually I've linked that website from the blog before, I love it!

Lynn said...

Right now Lucy gets about 1/2 cup twice a day (in the morning, around 7, and at dinner time, probably around 7). Being a sort of lazy eater, we usually leave the food out and she eats it when she's hungry (usually around 11 and then around 11). Strange for a corgi. Oh and it doesn't sound like a lot for a growing pup, but she does get snacks throughout the day, usually some veggies or fruits (no onions, grapes, garlic, raisins, etc)

She's right on with your ribs test, so she's doing fine for right now. She is going to be going to doggie day care about once a week, so perhaps I'll increase the food a bit on those days. With corgis the ribs and the waist are great indicators for the correct weight.

Very interesting post, and definitely makes for interesting discussion!

JuLo said...

Oh I know, I'm loving the discussion! :)

Lucy definitely looks the picture of fitness from the pictures I've seen.

I'll have to decrease his food intake when Theo is no longer doing doggy daycare every day (which should start next week). He's going to be so sad to not be there everyday, I know...but it just costs too much. We'll take it slow though. First 3-4 times a week, then we'll drop it down to 1-2 times a week. But we'll always take him at least once a week I think.

You know what's always bothered me about vets? Besides charging $50 to spend 3 minutes looking my dog over, I mean. They recommend brands like Iams and Science Diet. Granted, it's I'm sure one of the better mediocre brands, but there's such better food brands out there! It just bothers me.

eikoleigh said...

Thanks Philip the corgi for the link. I just checked it out.

I've never heard Science Diet being so-so before. My vets (past and present) have always recommended it but I have wondered if they just have people pushing the products, like drug reps to doctors.

Unfortunately, it looks like my (formerly tubby) corgi has skin allergies and is now going to be put on Science Diet Z/D. We'll be on a trial period for the next two months to see if his itchies clear up.

Elizabeth, just wondering...what were the symptoms that Lulu was suffering that prompted you to put on her Z/D?

I'm wondering if there might be a different food product that's out there for my corgi.

JuLo said...

Oh. Mr. Philip's owner, I forgot to mention...no way am I trying out eating a hamburger and a steak to see which is more filling, lol! Whichever wins, I won't be alive to say since I'll have died of a heart attack by then. :p

Parker and Grover said...

Hey, Julo, I read your blog religiously! But I've never posted before. I saw your blog on MyCorgi.com, so that's how I found you! I think my Grover and your Theo look a LOT alike!
That being said, the dog food debate has been one I've been really interested in lately. It surprises me so much how many people think that Pedigree and Alpo and whatnot are good brands, just because they have commercials on TV.
When I got Grover (he's 8 months now) I had him on Prureena Puppy Chow. Big mistake. I had no idea. After all that time researching for months and months about raising a puppy, food wasn't something I saw a lot about! It wasn't until I found the info on MyCorgi about food that I made the switch.
I feed Grover a 1/2 cup in the morning and 1 cup in the evening of Canidae All Stages. He loves it and his coat is soft and shiney and I swear he goes to the bathroom less.
Great post!

Parker and Grover said...

I totally butchered Prurina!! But you knew what I meant!

JuLo said...

Hi Parker and Grover (love the name!)! I keep hearing great things about Canidae...I may have to try it. Do they use human grade products?

My trainer just told me tonight of a pet store in my area that specializes in food. I think I'll stop by there and have a long discussion with the woman who owns it. I would love to get an "expert" opinion on the best food for Theo.

Hehe. I didn't even notice your butchering until you pointed it out. ;)

Well now that your comment cherry has been popped, I hope you'll keep it up! :D