She's gonna chow down, regardless
July 9, 2011 9:06 AM   Subscribe

I just opened a new bag of Puppy Chow to discover it's actually the large breed formula. She is not a large breed. Oops?

She's a corgi-heeler mix, about 3.5 months old. She's about 25 pounds now and we think she'll get up to 40 or 50 pounds full grown. She's been eating regular Puppy Chow since we got her, half a bowl in the morning and half a bowl in the evening. The large breed formula bag says to feed dogs <50 pounds only .5 cups to 1 cup for the whole day. That comes out to about half a bowl, the same amount of regular food she's used to eating in a single sitting.

Puppy's gotta eat, so I already fed her breakfast with the new stuff. I fed her slightly less than half a bowl. What should I do at dinnertime? If I give her the same amount, I'll be nearly doubling what the bag says to do. On the other hand, I'll feel like I'm underfeeding her if I follow the instructions. She had no trouble eating the larger-sized chunks and didn't seem uninterested in the food... she just ate like normal.

I'm on a budget and don't want to let this big bag of dog food go to waste, so I'm inclined to keep feeding it to her. I just want to know what the proper serving size is, and what kind of "side effects" might result from feeding large breed formula to a medium-sized puppy.

Here's an irrelevant pic of her, because everybody loves adorable puppy pics.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
Any chance you can return the bag? I think your pup will be fine though.
posted by futz at 9:12 AM on July 9, 2011

They're pretty similar calorie wise. According to Purina's website, it's 381 kcals per cup for the regular and 404 kcals per cup for the large breed.
posted by troublewithwolves at 9:24 AM on July 9, 2011

Oh, da*n, I am not a corgi person but she is DARLING!

I suspect many of those descriptions on the dog food are marketing hype. That said, I do believe that puppy/kitten formulas are beneficial. I'd probably go buy a bag of puppy food and mix them, feeding her the same amount you usually do. Or give her 10-15 extra crunchies if she wants them/you feel guilty, she'll be fine.

Others might chime in that X brand is superior to Puppy Chow . . . that may be true, but 99% of my animals have lived long happy lives on Purina foods, I think it's perfectly adequate.

posted by MeiraV at 9:25 AM on July 9, 2011

On the other hand, I'll feel like I'm underfeeding her if I follow the instructions.

Over- or underfeeding has nothing to do with the volume of food given, especially for mass-market foods like puppy chow that are mostly just unfood filler. Only the calories and nutrients matter. The proper serving size is what the bag recommends, or (probably) a bit less than that. Of course the dog is going to feel like that's not enough; she's a dog. If you fed her an amount that satisfied her, she'd be in danger of bursting her stomach.

Sooo, at dinnertime you should (probably) just not feed her. Or should feed her a bare few kibbles. Tomorrow, a quarter cup for breakfast and a quarter cup for dinner, and then watch her weight and shape to figure out exactly what the right amount for her is. A good weight for a dog is pretty skinny, though -- there's a rule of thumb about how many and which vertebrae you can easily feel, and something about ribs, but I can't recall it.

I dunno about corgis, but for our (structurally similar) vallhunds, biscotti likes to keep pups growing slowly to help prevent skeletal... badnesses... of some sort. I'll try to remind her to check this thread out later, but may forget -- you might want to memail her. There's something about large breed food in her thinking, but honestly I can't remember whether large breed food is better because its nutritional balance helps them grow more slowly, or extra-bad because it encourages faster growth.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:08 AM on July 9, 2011

Is it large breed puppy chow, or large breed adult chow? If it is the former, I think you'll be just fine.

You'll probably want to switch from 'bowl' measurements to a real measuring cup, so that you can easily track changes.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 10:19 AM on July 9, 2011

We actually have been raising our litters and feeding our pups (Australian Cattle Dogs aka Heelers) the Large Breed Puppy formula since its inception and they thrive on it. Just feed the amount listed on the bag based on her current weight and adjust as needed. Cute puppy!
posted by labwench at 10:21 AM on July 9, 2011

I agree with labwench, I would just adjust the amount to match her current weight.

My experience is with basset hounds and cats, but the puppy food usually has more fat (and thus more calories) than regular adult foods, plus it's smaller for ease of eating. I don't think that one bag of large breed food will doom her forever, but if you can return it and get the right stuff, all the better. Or if say, your bag contained the wrong kind of chow.
posted by fiercekitten at 11:23 AM on July 9, 2011

It's Puppy Chow, not Dog Chow. Thanks for all the tips! I think she'll be just fine with this bag, even if it means skipping dinner tonight and eating smaller meals in general now.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 1:59 PM on July 9, 2011

Large Breed is actually preferable for dwarfy breed puppies like Corgis. But I would urge you to perhaps consider looking into a better brand of food than Purina Chows - there are many much better-quality foods that are not terribly expensive, and you feed less of better-quality foods. At least Pro Plan or Eukanuba would be better choices, and Natural Balance would be much, much, much better. Cheap foods have cheap ingredients, and you need to feed more to make up for that, it's false economy.

Also, I have never once fed a dog what it says on the bag - my dogs are extremely active high-energy competition agility dogs and they eat less than half of what it says on the bag. You should easily feel all the ribs and see the last couple, and you should easily feel 4-5 knobs of spine in the lower back. A healthy lean body weight is far less than most people think. Puppies should grow slowly, and should definitely not be pudgy. My dogs are in the same ballpark size-wise as yours and they eat 1/4 cup twice a day of high-quality grain-free kibble, which means a bag lasts a long time.
posted by biscotti at 2:42 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have nothing else to say except that I agree with biscotti, and I think you should immediately snorffle your adorable puppy!

Along with MeiraV, I'm not a Corgi person, but dang! That is One. Cute. Pup!
posted by BlueHorse at 11:52 PM on July 9, 2011

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