View Full Version : When to measure food for puppy...

26th March 2007, 04:41 PM
Ruby is now about 14 wks. old. We're tapering off to 2 meals a day with fruits or veggies for a snack midday. When do you stop doing the 15 minute rule and start actually measuring out the food?? She's pretty good about regulating her intake. She'll eat a lot one meal and only nibble the others...

26th March 2007, 09:25 PM
You should be measuring out the food AND just leaving it down for 15 minutes. :) At her age most puppies will eat about 3/4th to 1 cup split into however many meals they are eating. She is still a bit young to move to just two meals though.

I always recommend breeder Laura Lang's page on feeding cavaliers. Here is what she says:

Whether you decide to feed a high quality kibble or a commercially prepared whole foods diet, the following directions will apply.

Puppies between 8 and 16 weeks of age do quite well on 3 meals a day. They start out with about a large handful of kibble for each meal or about 1/4 cup. At about 4 to 6 months of age you may begin feeding your puppy twice a day, about 1/2 cup or so each time. Somewhere between 10 and 18 months of age you may begin feeding just once a day--with some really good eaters you may need to feed just once a day by 6 or 7 months of age.

Each time you feed your puppy, put the food down for approximately 15 minutes. If the puppy hasn't finished it after 15 minutes, pick it up and put it away until the next feeding time. Do NOT try to feed in between. Refrigerate if you are feeding a commercially prepared whole foods diet. Do not worry if your puppy appears thin. Puppies are just like humans. Some are very thin while growing up and some are not. It is highly unlikely your puppy will starve itself unless it is already ill. A puppy that grows slowly is best--there is no first prize for gaining full size as early as possible! Puppies who grow slowly are more likely to be able to develop muscle and tissue at the correct rate to keep up the the bone development. Of course some puppies are gluttons! Be careful not to overfeed a glutton.

As adults some Cavaliers may only eat 1/2 cup of food per day, others may eat as much as 1 full cup of food per day. I do not suggest feeding an adult Cavalier twice a day even though it is best for the dog. Cavaliers do not eat much! Half of very little is almost nothing! Nearly every owner I've known who tried to feed an adult twice a day ended up with an overweight Cavalier. When they try to divide 1/2 or 2/3 cup of kibble into two servings the amount barely covers the bottom of the pan--so they add just a little bit more so they don't feel as though they are starving their Cavalier. A little bit more every meal eventually ends up being a lot more! And their Cavalier becomes overweight. With one meal a day the amount looks to our eyes as though it is a half way decent amount and we are much less likely to add just a little bit more each day.

You can view the rest here:


28th March 2007, 02:21 PM
What about if they barely eat. Mika really picks at her food. She is not eating the recommended amounts. I've been doing the leave it for only 15 minutes.

The only treats she gets are with training - a very small piece when she pees or poops outside. We use cheerios for training other things - sit etc. so she also maybe gets 20 or so cheerios a day.

Should I worry that she is not eating enough or is she getting too many treats? Maybe I should use her dog food for treats?

We're using a high quality pet food.

Harley & Carley
28th March 2007, 02:44 PM
We are in the same situation as you are. I have finally switched to the Royal Canin Mini Puppy 33. It recommends 1 cup/day based on an adult weight of 11-13 pounds. Both of my girls Maybe eat half that amount on a good day and are very rarely eager to eat. I have tried the 15 minute rule and have even left the food out for several hours to see if it made any difference in how much they ate. I have also added things like babyfood and pumpkin, and occasionally they will eat a little more, but not regularly.

They have only gained about 1 pound in the last 2 months, although they play and seem to be perfectly healthy. They are 7.5 months old and weigh 8 & 10 pounds. They get just a tiny pinch of the Natural Balance roll as a treat for pottying, but nothing else.

Karlin, could they be fine with only 1/2 cup/day and I should just not worry about it? Should I try to keep adding something to make the food more desireable or just stick with the plain dry food?

Thanks so much for all of your advice. I woudl be lost without this forum!!

28th March 2007, 08:37 PM
If in doubt, people shopuld always talk to a vet about what is appropriate for a puppy to eat in a given case. It is rare for a puppy to either overeat or undereat. Some puppies don;t need as much food but I would make sure a vet thinks the amount they are eating is OK. Also I would not give Cheerios as training treats for a dog that eats too little; I'd be using something with some nutrition in it -- a piece of kibble, a piece of meat or cheese. 20 cheerios is actually a fair amount for a puppy (and people often find they are giving more than they think when they make an estimate -- try actually counting the number of treats in a day). Substitute cheerios with something nutritionally more valuable and it will boost what the pup is eating in a healthy way.

Personally I think just eating kibble is a dismal and dull life for a dog and no wonder puppies get tired of eating it. It's like expecting a child to eat Wheaties for every meal, every day, forever. I'd at least supplement that with a quality raw/canned food or some real fresh food -- eg cooked meat, cheese, yoghurt and so forth. There are three links of homecooked recipes in the Caring for your Cavalier section as well.

28th March 2007, 08:43 PM
A few other tips:

Break a cherrio up into quarters or in half for a training treat. It will reduce the number of cherrios and make the timing of the training improve. Lots of puppies have to chew a whole one.

A great addition to kibble is a spoonful of pumpkin. It will help regulate their stools, which can often be an issue for little cavaliers. Being regular with firm stools will help reduce problems with anal glands, too.

Cathy Moon
29th March 2007, 12:30 AM
When our cavs were puppies, we used another brand of kibble than their regular food as treats. :flwr:

29th March 2007, 01:01 AM
Thank you for the replies. I will try little bits of cheese instead. I was worried about giving too much food as training tools - thus the cheerios. Guess I was wrong.

I also discovered a lunch today that if I put her food directly on the floor, she will eat better. The bowls is the same size as her wate bowl, which she has no problem with. Not sure what the problem is there. Maybe I'll try a plate.

31st March 2007, 04:16 PM
I've discovered that putting her food on a plate instead of the bowl helps a lot. She then dumps most of it on the floor and eats from there. I guess the bowl was too big for her? She's still not eating huge amounts, but definitely better. I'm going shopping today for pumpkin and yogurt. I've already started adding a few veggies.

She's happy, playful and energetic, so I'm probably worried about nothing.


31st March 2007, 06:45 PM
i know you are going to get lots of advice on feeding but you have to remember that you know your dog best. i was VVVVV!!!!!!!! obsessed with feeding jadan to the extent that it was only a couple of weeks ago that i finally stopped obsessing and he is now just over 1 year!!! a long obsession. icon_whistling icon_whistling i found that if i added different foods to his kibble then yes it would be ok for a while but then he would just eat around the kibble or not at all. i knew he ate the kibble plain as he would scoff it down when first introduced. (this is also a no no! dont keep introducing different kibble unless it REALLY doesnt agree, ie runny poo, as this just makes them fussy too. you think they love their new food but only until they think they can get another brand from you and the cycle starts again!! :sl*p: :sl*p: ) jadan now has plain kibble (15 minute rule)and has any treats afterwards. no kibble, no treats. simple as that. i know it may not work for some but it does for him and i found this out after a whole year! :? . it takes time to know your own little fuss pot and then stick to what you think is right for your dog. if you want to add bits then do so but you may be adding and changing all the time. something i tried but didnt have the mind to do but others on this site do, it did make me feel guilty in not doing it because i thought he was missing out but it just didnt work for us. jadan still refuses his food sometimes but it doesnt bother me as much anymore. if anything i click on to this site and have a good read for 15 minutes once his food is down at it takes my mind off him for a while then if its gone he gets a favourite treat, if not then he doesnt get one and gets the same food next time, he has two different brands with diferent flavours that i found give him firm poos. jwb lamb and rice and wainrights salmon and potatoe so he has a different breakfast and tea but if he leaves one then he gets that next time. anyway....like i said you will soon work out what works for you but above all.....STOP FRETTING and enjoy him!!! ok ok someone else told me that!!!! but its sooo true. ;) ;) :flwr: :flwr:

31st March 2007, 07:16 PM
I also discovered a lunch today that if I put her food directly on the floor, she will eat better. The bowls is the same size as her wate bowl, which she has no problem with. Not sure what the problem is there. Maybe I'll try a plate.

No, no, no! :lol: Be very careful of this type of thing -- very typical behaviour of some puppies and adult dogs, to not eat til you do something different... that is the whole point of them baulking at eating, to get this attention from you! Next, it will be not eating from the floor, but only from your hand, or on a spoon, etc etc etc ad nauseum. They are very manipulative -- the attention that comes from all this fussing over food and mealtime is MORE interesting and valued to many dogs that actually eating. This can really cause problems with your dog.

Try a plate if you want but then stick with that permanently, or revert back to her bowl, but don;t start shifing around what she is fed on and def. don;t put food on the floor -- it is unhygienic and will cause major problems when anyone else has to mind her.

Here's what you need to do: Put the food down. IGNORE her totally for the next 15 minutes -- no eye contact, no talking to her, no encouragement, NOTHING. You want to absolutely remove any reward for her to not eat or eat fussily. If you can't stand it then leave the room and let her alone with the food or move out of eyesight so you won;t be tempted to interact. *Even eye contact is a reward for her so it is very important to not look, talk, touch her* for the full mealtime. After 15 minutes lift the plate or bowl without comment, no fussing whatsoever, no praise, no scolding, *nothing*; put it away, and go back to whatever you were doing. It is a good idea to continue to ignore a dog for 5 minutes after the meal if this kind of behaviour is happening, just so there is absolutely no link between unwanted behaviour and your then giving her attention.

No food if possible til next mealtime, and repeat. Don;t use training treats unless you really need to -- if you want to try and sort a feeding issue it is better to hold off trainign with treats and instead give cheerful praise -- dogs shouldn;t get a treat every single time anyway once they have started to learn a command, it should only be occasional reinforcement, not an expected event for the dog.

Stick to that approach religiously and you will very likely see a big shift in how and when she eats.

31st March 2007, 09:08 PM
yes yes yes!!!! to everything karlin said and then some... she is the bible of the ckcs....well i learned a thing or two anyway :lol: ;) :D :D :D :flwr:

on a more serious note....thanks karlin, you have helped me loads.... :flwr: ok ok others have too! :flwr:

1st April 2007, 01:14 AM
Thanks Karlin. Looks like it's back to page one for us! I will give your suggestions a try. She is so perfect in every way - I knew it couldn't be all roses! :)

1st April 2007, 08:51 AM
:oops: i must have missed your post on changing plates :? its the same with the food...pick one and stick to it. i bet if you put a really tasty NEW food in her old bowl she would eat it up straight away! it isnt the food going in it or the bowl, its the attention shes getting while you keep changing it. IF!!! she has used it before then she will use it again. she is just wrapping you round her paw. ;) dont they just love doing that...and they are sooo good at it too. icon_whistling icon_whistling :flwr: we did cathys treat method too of using a different brand for treats, this worked well. they get something different but good for them too. good luck :flwr:

1st April 2007, 05:02 PM
Again - thank you and sorry Jessica, we seem to have taken over your thread. After not eating her supper from her bowl last night, Mika was one hungry puppy this morning. I put her food down in her bowl and she ate almost 1/2 cup. Little stinker!