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What are everyone's thoughts on this. I'm all about doing everything I can to prevent my pup from getting hip dysplasia, as my prior golden had a mild form of this - not too limiting, but somewhat. So, this go around I made sure that the Mom and Pop had hips, elbows, heart and eyes clearances, and also several generations back. I'm not allowing jumping or too many stairs or other strenuous exercise right now, and just gradually building our walking time. I tried to keep him on this Hovan Slow Growth Plan for his weight. It looks like this for weeks 12-16-20 (see below). I don't know.... I just don't think this is workable for my puppy - Yeti. At 16 weeks, he was 25.5 lbs., and now at 18 weeks he is 30.5 lbs. I think by the time he hits 20 weeks, we'll be looking at 34-35 lbs. He is lean, I can easily feel his ribs with just barely any padding (though you don't see the ribs, just feel). The vet says he looks good. I think he's going to be shorter but stockier than my previous Golden. How can this plan work for all different body types? And his parents were both about 62-63 lbs., so not particularly big or small. I just can't see trying to use these targets with even the average golden. I really want to do what I can to prevent hip dysplasia, but..... Thoughts????


Target Weights: 12, 16 & 20 weeks


Age Weight




12 wks. 15-16 lbs.


16 wks. 22-23 lbs.


20 wks. 28-30 lbs.


 

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The idea behind the slow growth plan is to have your puppy grow slowly. Each puppy is different and it'd be ridiculous to expect them all to weigh the same amount at the same age, it just doesn't work like that. Adjust the caloric intake based on body condition - more food if he starts to look skinny, less when he gets a little chunky.

My dog was 15 pounds when he came home at 8 weeks. By 12 weeks, he was around 24 pounds, and about 36.8 pounds by 20 weeks. I kept him lean and fit and so far, there's been no issue (he's almost 2).
 

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Kristy
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i know you said your vet thinks the puppy is fine but.... Have you discussed your concerns with your vet and told him that you are very serious about slow growth for your puppy and asked for his guidance on keeping your dog lean? He should be a very good guide in weight management and his office should be open to you popping in any time for a weight check to track it.

What are you feeding your puppy and how much? Are you following the label?

If you read the research carefully, you'll see that the puppies receiving higher calories don't get fat right away, they first grow faster. They won't be bigger in the end, they will just reach that size too fast.

"To effectively maintain a normal and healthy growth rate, the pup must be quite thin and fit. Since most people are more accustomed to pups that are growing too rapidly, these trim pups may appear extreme to many people, including many veterinarians." Slow Grow

“The goal is optimal body condition, not maximal body condition. The formulas are an important starting point, but the individual dog needs to be considered in these cases. To control rapid growth as much as possible, we need to feed for optimal body condition.” She recommended a body condition score of 2.5 to 3, rather than 3 to 3.5, using the five-point system." Developmental orthopedic disease in large-breed puppies

Here's a chart: https://www.aaha.org/public_documents/professional/guidelines/weightmgmt_bodyconditionscoring.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Each puppy is different and it'd be ridiculous to expect them all to weigh the same amount at the same age, it just doesn't work like that. QUOTE]


You said just what my concern is here. The plan just doesn't seem to account for differences in bone type, genetics.
 

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i know you said your vet thinks the puppy is fine but.... Have you discussed your concerns with your vet and told him that you are very serious about slow growth for your puppy and asked for his guidance on keeping your dog lean? He should be a very good guide in weight management and his office should be open to you popping in any time for a weight check to track it.

What are you feeding your puppy and how much? Are you following the label?

If you read the research carefully, you'll see that the puppies receiving higher calories don't get fat right away, they first grow faster. They won't be bigger in the end, they will just reach that size too fast.

"To effectively maintain a normal and healthy growth rate, the pup must be quite thin and fit. Since most people are more accustomed to pups that are growing too rapidly, these trim pups may appear extreme to many people, including many veterinarians." Slow Grow

“The goal is optimal body condition, not maximal body condition. The formulas are an important starting point, but the individual dog needs to be considered in these cases. To control rapid growth as much as possible, we need to feed for optimal body condition.” She recommended a body condition score of 2.5 to 3, rather than 3 to 3.5, using the five-point system." Developmental orthopedic disease in large-breed puppies

Here's a chart: https://www.aaha.org/public_documents/professional/guidelines/weightmgmt_bodyconditionscoring.pdf

That is an interesting article. I'd say my puppy is a 3 on the body condition scale. He is getting Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy food - 1.5 cups a day, twice a day. From that amount, I do take some out to feed with training during the day, and some low calorie/high value treats as well (tiny pieces of turkey or tiny training treats at 1.5 calories each). We are doing clicker training, which is a lot of treating so I try to be careful here. Taste of the Wild says their food is formulated to include the large breed puppy requirements, with the phosphorus to calcium ratios as recommended for large breeds. My vet didn't recommend a specific food, but said to get a quality one for large breeds. This food is what he came home on (well, actually the salmon variety, but we switched over last week to the other formula), so I hope it's okay. We are feeding less than the bag shows. I just feel that if he were to be 30 lbs at 20 weeks (he's already 30.7 at 18), he would really be extremely thin. My issue is that how does Rhonda Hovan make a chart that fits all golden puppies, no matter how they are genetically made??
 

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Kristy
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His photos look like he's doing great. Keep a close eye on him, make sure he has a defined waist line and if he's getting a lot of training treats, dial back on the food a bit, knock a quarter cup off. You're not trying to reduce his weight, just keep him from increasing too fast. My vet is a big believer that dogs are like people, they are better off being a little on the thin side rather than a little on the heavy side. He gets a good quality food, he is not a risk for malnourishment. Here's something else to consider:

Add Years To Your Dog's Life | Prevention
 

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His photos look like he's doing great. Keep a close eye on him, make sure he has a defined waist line and if he's getting a lot of training treats, dial back on the food a bit, knock a quarter cup off. You're not trying to reduce his weight, just keep him from increasing too fast. My vet is a big believer that dogs are like people, they are better off being a little on the thin side rather than a little on the heavy side. He gets a good quality food, he is not a risk for malnourishment. Here's something else to consider:

Add Years To Your Dog's Life | Prevention
That's another great article. I am listening here - my prior Golden lived to 13.5 with mild hip dysplasia and I think that we really started paying attention to keeping him lean around age 7, when he had a surgery on his knee - likely caused by a combination of the stress that the hip dysplasia put on the knee joint in compensating and some extra weight. After that surgery, we kept him lean, and I think that contributed to a longer lifespan than might otherwise have been anticipated. For my newbie, we want to start out lean, stay lean and hopefully stay clear of hip dysplasia and other problems that weight can contribute to. That article recommends a weekly assessment of the dog's body condition for life, rather than how I probably thought about it - just through puppyhood. This is great advice - thank you for sharing it.
 

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Kristy
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I know raising a puppy feels like raising a child. You want so much to be doing everything right and when you're fortunate to have the resources to give your child/puppy all the advantages in life it becomes a tight rope walk between giving too much and not giving enough. Food included. It's a good problem to have. Keep on it, he's going to turn out great :)
 

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I would LOVE for my vet to show up and ration out my food to keep me on the thin side! I don't think I've ever been on the thin side!! LOL
The puppy looks great. Whatever you're doing, keep doing it. :)
 
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My club had Rhonda Hovan speak, and she gave a very informative presentation.

I did the slow growth with my Sailor, so she was always tinier and thinner than her litter mates who we often saw. I do not think there was ever a day that she even had the ability to finish more than two cups a day of food, except when she was nursing her puppies.

I was nervous about her being too lean, and the vet thought she looked great and even said that his wife that does agility, has her black labs kept even leaner. She did take longer to finish growing and looked very small in the show ring - her siblings grew faster, and did well in the show ring.

Now three years later, her siblings seemed to have aged and beginning to gray, and Sailor still looks younger than her. Then out of the five littermates, one was neutered as a puppy, and the others are still intact - the neutered one looks like he is five plus years older - but the neutering is another topic.
 

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i know you said your vet thinks the puppy is fine but.... Have you discussed your concerns with your vet and told him that you are very serious about slow growth for your puppy and asked for his guidance on keeping your dog lean? He should be a very good guide in weight management and his office should be open to you popping in any time for a weight check to track it.

What are you feeding your puppy and how much? Are you following the label?

If you read the research carefully, you'll see that the puppies receiving higher calories don't get fat right away, they first grow faster. They won't be bigger in the end, they will just reach that size too fast.

"To effectively maintain a normal and healthy growth rate, the pup must be quite thin and fit. Since most people are more accustomed to pups that are growing too rapidly, these trim pups may appear extreme to many people, including many veterinarians." Slow Grow

“The goal is optimal body condition, not maximal body condition. The formulas are an important starting point, but the individual dog needs to be considered in these cases. To control rapid growth as much as possible, we need to feed for optimal body condition.” She recommended a body condition score of 2.5 to 3, rather than 3 to 3.5, using the five-point system." Developmental orthopedic disease in large-breed puppies

Here's a chart: https://www.aaha.org/public_documents/professional/guidelines/weightmgmt_bodyconditionscoring.pdf
I am having the same concerns as the original poster, and this response was extremely helpful. thank you! But I would love to be able to read the links you posted, but they all seem to be broken now...do you have any idea how I could find them again? Or what to type into google yto get what you were linking? If you even remember? (Not the Hovan plan, the other things)
 

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Kristy
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.....I would love to be able to read the links you posted, but they all seem to be broken now...do you have any idea how I could find them again? Or what to type into google yto get what you were linking? If you even remember? (Not the Hovan plan, the other things)
My very wise, old school vet who has sadly retired, once told me that dogs are like humans - better off a little too lean than a little too heavy. As a population we have become too accustomed to seeing slightly overweight pets and people and it has skewed our views on what a healthy weight truly is. Here are some new links:






.
 
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