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Hi all,

Otto is now 13 weeks. His ribs are visible all the time. My parents don't think i'm feeding him enough. I'm following the directions we got of the breeder - 2 handfuls dry food (Hill's science plan) 4x a day. I also add a banana or an apple every other day
L x
 

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Here is what three different veterinarians and the Michigan Humane Society have told me:

When you stand over your dog, you should be able to see a distinct waistline. When you look at your dog from the side, you should NOT be able to see his/her ribs. If your dog is making a turn while running and you can see ribs, that's okay... but not while just standing still. You should be able to feel the ribs, but not see them.

Your puppy is growing and that, in itself, requires extrra calories. Regardless of what your breeder told you, I think Otto could use some more food. :) Here's a good way to do the increase. Always measure with a measuring cup. Add a little more to each meal than what you're giving him now. Inspect him every single day using the above guidelines. Adjust the amount up or down, until you can NOT see the ribs, but you can feel them. Every dog is different, because of their various exercise routines and overall metabolism. Close observation is really the best way. Also, make sure he always has a fresh bowl of water available to drink. Always. Otto will thank you!
 

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It's pretty normal for their ribs to show, especially as puppies. Didn't redbirddog recently say that his muscle machine male shows some ribs? That dog is far from undernourished!
The amount you're feeding is fine, and never, never, let parents tell you how much to feed a dog! :) For some reason parents always think your dog is dying of starvation and figure they'll help out by fattening them up. lol


There are many superior brands of food out there for your pup though.
I have a true hate for the Hills brand, as all the vets up here carry it and sell it at a premium price, as a premium food.
It is filled with trash, so they must give vets a really good kickback to sell it for them...

Have a look at this site, and see the difference between the ingredients different brands use.
Vizslas are athletes and need to be fed as such. I vote for a 6 star food, but you'll have to see what's available to you.
http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/
 

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http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1659+1660&aid=661


Pups can get worms but I am going to guess you have ruled that out. Just make sure the food is good food with little or no corn filler. Here is a link on what makes a priemum dog food and why.

http://redbirddog.blogspot.com/2010/06/dog-food-for-very-active-vizsla.html

When we train Bailey for field trials he looks like I am starving him. But he weighs in at 62 pounds of almost pure muscle.

A thin Vizsla is like a long distance runner. Much better than a fat Vizsla!

Rod a.k.a. redbirddog
 

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I really wasn't suggesting that you should "fatten up" your dog.

That first link posted by Rod ("How Do I Determine if My Dog is Overweight") is very good and very specific. Read the third paragraph carefully and you will see this sentence" "If you can see the ribs, the pet is too thin." I'm just sayin' ... Otto could use a little more food -- high-quality, of course. He's a growing boy. :)

p.s. Keep in mind that while Otto is still growing, that means all of his parts are still developing... heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, brain... everything. If pups don't get adequate nutrition, it can lead to developmental problems down the road. A fully grown adult dog that's a little "ribby" is probably not as dangerous to the overall health of the dog, but that is still considered too thin.
 

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mswhipple said:
I really wasn't suggesting that you should "fatten up" your dog.
I was talking about my dad. :)
He's got a chihuahua that weighs in close to what Mischa does... (kidding)
Every time I'm over at his place I tell him "Dad, you're feeding him too much" his response : "but he's so happy!"

How can I argue with that logic???
 

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Ha-ha-ha! I know a lot of people just like your Dad, too! It's true that the fat dog "enjoys" the good fortune of having an indulgent owner! ("but he's so happy!")

However, we all know that overweight in pets and people is dangerous and can take years off what would have been a normal lifespan. Right now everything seems fine, but when the dog is 12 or 13 years old, and has become more precious with each passing year, the importance of a truly healthy weight becomes crystal clear... when you'd give anything for just one more month, one more week, one more day. So I'm not suggesting that anyone should overfeed their dog. Just repeating what I've learned. There is such a thing as too thin, as well as too fat.
 

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I know a lot of people just like your Dad, too! It's true that the fat dog "enjoys" the good fortune of having an indulgent owner! ("but he's so happy!")

http://redbirddog.blogspot.com/2011/02/taking-after-master-us-pets-obese-too.html

I do a lot of walking and see many of the Continental sporting dogs (Vizsla is one) that are overweight. On the flip-side, when you get into field trial competition, almost all the dogs are thin. They train hard to build up the endurance for a one, two or three hour hunt test. A field trial dog would be too thin for most folks. I plan to show Bailey for the first time in a few weeks in Reno, Nevada. To get him ready for the show, I have to put more meat on his bones. Show judges only want to see the slightest outline of the first rib on a Vizsla, no hip bone showing and no spinebones, or so I have been told.

Got to mix up a batch of Satin Balls.

Rod
 

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Good luck with the show in Reno... should be fun and interesting, Rod. 8)
 

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If you guys figure out how to fatten them up, let me know. I think I have tried everything short of hiring a cook and server to give him, whatever he wants, when he wants it. ::)
 

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Scout looks like the picture redbirddog posted. I've talked to both the breeder and the vet. thry are both fine with it. The breeder said in Very active V's it is normal to see there ribs, and the vet said that very young dogs (Scout is not a year yet) that it takes a while for them to fill out. Scout is also a very muscley dog (he has huge back leg haunches - huge) so its clear he's not being underfed and malnourished. Right now he still eats 6 cups of puppy food a day and weighs less then 50 lbs. He just has a high metabolism and gets lots of exercise.

In a 13 wk old puppy I wouldn't be worried at all about weight as long as the dog is eating properly and isn't being malnourished.
 

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I'm staying with my initial advice about Otto. I just don't think it is good to see ribs sticking out, especially on a 13-week-old puppy. All of his vital organs are growing rapidly right now, and adequate nutrition is very important... critical, really. I hope Otto is getting some extra food. :) Read the articles. The ribs should not show.
 

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I will add that I do think by 13 weeks old your dog will have outgrown the amount the breeder was feeding him. When Jasper came home he was getting around 3/4 cup a day twice a day, and I was adding about 1/4 cup more every two weeks or so (more or less, depending on the growth spurts)--right now, at 6.5 months, he's at 4c a day and still not done growing. He was a little ribby from time to time, especially right as one of those spurts started, but usually not.

Does Otto self-regulate his food intake well? That's how I was able to tell I was over-feeding Jasper sometimes--he'd just leave the extra in his bowl. Maybe you can test how much he's eating in a certain time limit and go from there?

This is the advice from my breeder: If he's looking skinny, up the amount of food by a bit. If he's looking chubby, keep feeding the same amount of food, because he'll eventually hit a growth spurt and grow into it (probably within a few days to a week with the way puppies grow). I wish I could still do that!
 

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Many Vs show their ribs. Some of it can be dog induced. Our V, Pumpkin (11m), has never given much priority to eating. We regularly give &/or mix satin balls in her kibble to get her to eat. I think there is a difference between ribs showing & ribs sticking out. The outline of some ribs, particularly with certain movements, is permissible; however, ribs sticking out, such as sunken in between each rib with hips bones prominent, is not acceptable, IMO. Vs should never be overweight though.
 

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Sorry, I just saw this thread. Late responding. Funny you should ask--when Rosie was under a year, our vet was more concerned because he couldn't see or easily feel Rosie's. He thought she was too fat. I think it depends on how prominent the ribs are as Kellygh said. If you think of how a fit, healthy weight human looks (granted: probably can't go by other species...), you do see ribs--but less prominently than you would on a malnourished human. I think Rosie's should be a bit more visible than they are, as she still tends toward the chunky side for a V. If you look at the picture gallery of V's, you will see a lot of ribs.
 

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Well, I have to admit that my volunteer work with the Michigan Humane Society has probably created an anti-rib bias in me! The ribby dogs that I see at the shelter are not super-fit, elite athletes... they are neglected, starved, down-on-their luck dogs.

So... I know in my head that a little bit of visible ribs in a much-loved family pet probably means a healthy, athletic dog. But in my heart, I can't help it... I still tend to equate that ribbiness with a poor, hungry, neglected dog. It's just me, I know. Because of the way Willie looked when I adopted him, I can tell you I do not want to see his ribs again. Feeling them is one thing, but seeing them is entirely another. It's just me. I don't care for the looks of it. The dogs always look hungry to me. :'(
 
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