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D2005-32

Dear Daisy Dog

We give Abby, our nine-month-old Rottweiler, two cups of dry puppy food twice daily. The instructions on the bag say we should give double the amount, but that seems like too much.

How much should we feed her, and when should we transition her to adult dog food? She was spayed recently, if that makes a difference.

Daisy Responds

Feeding dogs is as much an art as a science, so there are no official answers to your questions.

But I am 14 and in good health, with enough extra energy to write this column, so I feel qualified to share my opinions.

If you want Abby to age as gracefully as I have, feed her high quality food in an amount that keeps her lean.

To determine whether you are feeding the right quantity, check Abby for these three signs:

  • When you look at her from above, her body should narrow at the waist, like an hourglass.
  • When viewed from the side, her body should tuck up toward her waist.
  • When you pet her, you should be able to feel her spine and ribs easily.

If all three of these characteristics describe Abby, you are feeding her the correct amount of food.

Most manufacturers overstate the quantity of food that should be fed, so disregard the instructions on her dog food bag.

Instead, customize the amount you feed as Abby grows, based on her metabolism, activity level and the three signs I mentioned.

In a similar way, you’ll want to choose a type of food that matches her stage of life.

Now that Abby is spayed and nearly full grown, she requires fewer calories than she did when she was an actively growing pup. Adult food is lower in calories than puppy food, so this is a good time to make a gradual transition to adult food.

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