View Full Version : Feeding @ 8 months & cat-like behavior

Lady Hoop
29th November 2012, 01:53 AM
Lady is approaching 8 months so I'm starting to become concerned with diet. As some of you know, I'm a first time puppy AND cavalier owner. Although this is a simple concern, I have read so many things regarding this transition period that I am truly confused and would like to get some suggestions.

Right now she is a little over 12 lbs and has a perfectly defined waist and seems to be of ideal size. She eats Blue Buffalo grain-free kibble. At 5 or 6 months I transitioned her from 1/4 a cup twice a day to 1/2 cup twice a day...she is still eating this amount and she eats at the exact same time every day. Her 'treats' consist of 1/2 calorie training treats every now and then (a whole lot less now that she'll do her 'tricks' and 'commands' without being enticed by treat), tablespoon's worth of peanut butter every once in a blue moon, bully sticks consistently, and a couple of carrots some days (recently I stopped because last time I fed her a couple of carrots she Exorcist-style vomited on us in the middle of the night :badgrin: - scared me!). Here's what I would like advice and clarity on:

- At her weight and being 8 months, has she more than likely hit both of her growth spurts already, or does it just depend on the pup? She gained about 2-3 pounds these past few weeks and out of nowhere became a "big girl" and really "filled out" - however, she is still accepting/eating, with no issues, the same amount of food...but I read that they will start showing disinterest with the normal amount of food they're used to at 7 months?! Was I misinformed in my reading?

- Is the same routine at 1/2 cup twice a day acceptable for past the puppy stage or should it be once a day? And at what amount? 1/2 cup? 3/4 cup?

- I read up on kibble grades and want to switch her to a better brand that I read about (Wellness or Innova). We usually buy large bags and store them sealed tight. Should we get the next large bag in puppy or adult? I know there is debate about this - would it be best to just wait until she's 1 year?

Switching gears a bit, I've noticed a rather hilarious behavior pattern from her. We have two very active, vocal, show-off, not-your-average cats and they are good friends with Ladybug. Our house is not large so they are in close quarters spending lots of intimate time together. I believe Lady has observed some of their cat behavior and deemed it acceptable.

This includes: walking on the back of the couches, attempting to prance on top of the kitchen table (this is new as of this week! we've spent years yelling at our cats to get off of counter tops and tables), and pawing! The pawing is actually rather comical and possibly a cavalier trait, I'm not sure? She will paw to get under the covers, pat or paw to reach something, paw at the couch and nibble on it where the cats are clawing (we have one chair that we said "to heck with it" and don't even bother yelling at the cats anymore), and if I approach her to put in her eye drops she will immediately try and swat me in the face (this one actually makes me mad...like a naughty two year old child!) I believe she gets the pawing from my Siamese - she pats and paws to indicate something or show she's ticked off.

Does anyone else with cats experience their cavalier mimicking their traits? I'm not really concerned, I just think it's amusing. We will have to figure out how to show her that most of it's not acceptable behavior from her because she's a pup...not a cat...although she sees them doing it every day :) :sl*p:

29th November 2012, 03:18 AM
I think Fletcher thinks he's a cat sometimes too and we do not have a cat!! Its weird.

Fletcher is on Wellness Core and he gets 3/4 cup twice a day with fresh fruits and veggies. I have backed off on the carrots too lately tho he loves them, I'm feeding him frozen green beans, peas, radishes, sweet potatoes peeled, strawberries, blueberries mostly. I have never fed Puppy kibble, I just did not understand the difference. Why do I need to fed a puppy formula? Didn't I choose a good kibble and meal plan??? Sorry....but I skipped it and my vet, my brother-in-law who is a vet and research here all agreed.

Every dog is different just like every person is different. So how much they eat/need to eat if different. Its pretty much a guessing game and trial and error. Talk to your vet about her weight if your concerned. Personally in a puppy I won't worry too too much since they are growing so much if you are feeding properly. Some days Fletcher looks too thin to me but most days he looks perfect. Luckily I have a vet in the family so I get free advice. I plan to always feeding twice a day I just think its better for dogs and the first dog I ever owned was diabetic and had to be fed like that. Sounds like you might want to switch her to a adult formula (always switch food slowly) I think the Wellness Core which is grain free is great.

29th November 2012, 06:22 AM
Cavaliers- the "cat-dogs". All sounds perfectly normal to me based on what happens here! ;)

And what they eat is specific to what they, as individuals, need (though guidelines are helpful). I'm thinking Rose went up to 1/3 - 1/2 cup of Back to Basics Turkey when she was between 8 months and a year, but when she quit growing, we had to finally back her back down to 1/4 cup twice a day. She also gets about 1 tbsp of Merrick Before Grain wet mixed in, and 2 tsp. of oat bran. She stays between 17-18 lbs. I may have to up her food to a rounded 1/4 cup if she and our new boxer keep playing like they have been- she's lost a lb (from 18 to 17 lbs) in the two months we've had the new dog ;) .

29th November 2012, 10:39 AM
On food -- if you are feeding twice a day then I doubt she is going to show disinterest -- that is advice really for when you are feeding 3x daily going to 2x. Just feed as normal til there are signs you need to change :) -- eg she is either gaining too much weight or is bordering on thin. It is useful to check with her vet about her size as one person's defined waist could be another's too-thin dog -- it is especially important not to underfeed a growing puppy. Puppies tend to eat more and need more food than an adult dog. They sometimes will need more for a while if they go through a growth spurt too (think teenagers).

It is impossible to give a specific feeding guideline for reasons others note -- all dogs have different metabolisms and activity levels, all foods are different in calorie content, and there's no 'average' size for a cavalier. Some small ones eat and need more than larger ones and vice versa! About a cup a day seems to be a good general guideline for most puppies but there's wide variation.

She will continue to grow into her first year so could well add another couple of pounds. Many cavaliers will add another pound or so after age 1, especially males. She still has some growing to go at only 8 months. Sounds like she will likely finish off around 14-15lbs but could be less or could be more. The average size across both parents and grandparents is your best guide -- smaller puppies tend to eventually catch up to the avergae size of the whole litter they are from.

I would urge preventing her from getting up on tables -- this is potentially dangerous both due to jumping off or a fall and also because she can access foods when no one is looking, which could be dangerous. And of course it isn't a very pleasant habit! I have two who will get on a table if given the chance -- hence the rule is all chairs must always be firmly pushed into the table and the dogs know the 'off' command (this has to be a different command from 'down' which is usually meant to mean 'lie down'. One of the dogs did this when young after a dinner party when I was seeing friends away and he actually scorched off part of his tail wagging it into a candle. He'd never got on a table before and at that point I realised how dangerous this could be -- he could have seriously hurt himself and also easily have started a house fire. So tables need to be an absolute no-go area.

Most cavaliers (and small dogs!) seem to like being up on the back of couches -- mine used to bicker over who got the back of my old couch to lie on -- they'd be up there all in a row. Sometimes alongside a cat or two! The old cotton couch was replaced by a leather one -- less comfy for sitting on the back but a lot easier for me to keep clean and cats don't claw it either. Pawing is also common with dogs -- maybe it seems more catlike for people used to having cats but for dog people maybe cats seem doglike! :lol: This is pretty common with all my friends who have any type of smaller dog though even our alsatian does it if he wants something too. Larger dogs tend to use their heads more to push at people --not very effective for little dogs so hence why you see them pawing for attention. Dogs will also chase an item and pounce on it (like a cat) -- but then so do wolves -- so these are all common behaviours to cats AND dogs, sometimes for similar and sometimes for different reasons. :)

29th November 2012, 09:08 PM
It sounds like you have a great situation with the cats and dog there... :)

Regarding switching from puppy to adult food (I think that was part of your question), people do that at different times and some never feed puppy food at all, preferring to feed all life stages instead. I've fed both of my puppies the puppy food for 12 months and then switched to adult. I've never heard of a Cavalier limiting its food voluntarily... Mine eats her own, and then goes looking for more elsewhere! I agree that you shouldn't limit her diet too much until she's done growing. The best way to monitor your dog's weight, because it's all individual, is for you to watch her and put your hands on her regularly. I have found this chart, with descriptions of what to look for, invaluable: http://www.google.com/imgres?q=purina+body+condition+score+dog&hl=en&client=safari&sa=X&tbo=d&rls=en&biw=1224&bih=857&tbm=isch&tbnid=gq3my-5B5W1uSM:&imgrefurl=http://www.villagevetpa.net/site/view/206610_WeightManagement.pml&docid=H6DvZ3ysOT-0VM&imgurl=http://www.villagevetpa.net/sites/site-4143/images/dog%252520BCS.jpg&w=619&h=800&ei=as23UOuuHoXO2QWn5ID4Dw&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=108&vpy=127&dur=6690&hovh=255&hovw=197&tx=58&ty=275&sig=108775958769980174592&page=1&tbnh=150&tbnw=116&start=0&ndsp=35&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:0,i:90

Good luck! Your puppy sounds like a sweetheart.

30th November 2012, 04:11 PM
So funny! I have called my Lady the "Cat-dog" since I first got her. When in a car, she likes to sit on top of my shoulders. She also prefers to sit on the back of the couch and loves to paw! And I do not have any cats nor has she been around any since coming home from the breeder.

Regarding food, I was actually feeding more when she was younger and cut down after spaying. I used to give 1/2 cup twice a day, but after she was spayed she put on weight really quickly, shes around 15lbs now and could stand to lose a pound or two. I also switched to Orijen which is higher in protein so that also warranted cutting down the quantity a bit. I have her down to 1/4 cup twice a day now and until she gets back to an ideal weight I'll see if I will increase a bit or leave at 1/4 cup twice/day. This is supplemented with some fruits and veggies, tartar buster bones, and Zukes "super" treats. Also, I switched Lady to adult food at around 8 months but it was more of a convenience thing so that I could feed both dogs the same food. If it wasnt for that fact I probably would have kept her on the puppy food until 1 year.

Lady Hoop
1st December 2012, 01:14 PM
Thank you guys for your responses! I haven't been able to get back here the past couple of days because my poor angel has had a bad bout of diahhrea :( It's the second episode in two weeks even after Flagyl dosing completed. I think I finally figured out the culprit after racking my brain for two weeks. My dear husband takes her to his parent's house sometimes and he's started to let her eat on her cousin's bones (finally admitted this to me today, ha!) with some type of solid filling on the inside - rawhide type bone from grocery store. Not that I am judging what they choose to give their dog, but she just has never had that type of treat in her system as I am weary of rawhide and brands I don't trust or haven't read up on and approve. Ole Roy does not get my nod of approval. Dear husband is in trouble! The vet said to give her 1/2 teaspoon of pepto - has anyone ever done this?

I am glad to know I am not way off track. I think I am going to settle on 1/2 cup twice a day and transition to the adult food as soon as her puppy food is out. It's funny, I am laying awake (after cleaning up a late night Lady accident from an upset tummy, ugh) watching Victoria's show addressing overweight dachtsuns and explaining that 1 cup a day is a good small dog standard.

Spaying is also a good point - she quickly gained those pounds after her spay. That hasn't even crossed my mind. Lady is very long and rather tall, so sometimes it's hard for me to distinguish if she's right at her ideal weight or needs a pound to fill her out a tad more. The Vet thinks she's perfect, but made sure I was aware she gained those couple of pounds practically overnight (I've never seen a cavalier in my area that wasn't extremely overweight so I am sure they are rather mindful of that issue). I don't believe she's underfed at all. During her last anticipated growth spurt period at 6 months I fed her 3 times a day for about 4 weeks. So I guess in a sense I did go from 3 to 2.

Thank you so much for the helpful chart. I love a visual!

I figured the cat-like behavior was probably a common theme. I am sure having a feline brother and sister exaggerates it as well :) I am very fortunate that we have a good situation with the cats. I am grateful each day!

Enjoying their daily kisses to each other:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8482/8178103538_0a6b9e63a9.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/5hoops/8178103538/)
Untitled (http://www.flickr.com/photos/5hoops/8178103538/) by Lady Hoop (http://www.flickr.com/people/5hoops/), on Flickr

Lady Hoop
11th December 2012, 05:17 AM
I totally jinxed us. Ever since I posted this she has decided she doesn't want to eat as much, plays with food, brings it 5 ft from bowl, takes the full 15 min I allow her to eat. She was just recently the BEST eater! She would devour it in 3 minutes and want more. Now she's satisfied with 1/2 cup a day. She has had on and off diahrrea the past couple of weeks, but is all cleared up and on Flagyl again. Besides this I can't think of any other reason she wouldn't eat normally besides not needing as much food? She is totally normal otherwise.

11th December 2012, 11:02 AM
I agree you may be right with your guess that the runs might be due to those filled bones. Some of mine get the runs from those and other kinds of treats -- but at the same time, if that's the case, she doesn't need to be dosed with flagyl and her runs should stop in 24 hours or so, once that food item is expelled, not continue for days. Have they done a fecal exam? I'd want that done before continuing with a dog on flagyl on and off. If they are prescribing on the basis of a fecal then it isn't the bones but internal organisms making her ill.

Cavaliers (maybe just puppies generally) do seem to sometimes have unexplained, on and off bouts of tummy upset or even long ongoing problems that clear up once they are adults so that might be the issue (cats do too -- had this with two of mine as kittens). However there is a high rate of pancreatitis in the breed and a lot also seem to have on/off issues with colitis. Foods can also cause a problem -- chicken or beef based food is a common cause for intolerances for example. So there are other things to just keep an eye on.

The spay won't have had anything to do with weight gain (especially not in such a short period of time afterwards) -- what you report is just exactly how puppies gain weight :) (kittens too -- but you are less likely to notice as people don't tend to weigh them all the time as with dogs). Puppies regularly go through sudden spurts of growth (gaining a pound in a week, easily!) over their first year, and you have a young dog who will still be putting on weight. She is likely to still gain an absolutely normal bit more as she matures. Extra weight from spaying is caused over the longer term by gradual metabolic (not sudden) changes and then, overfeeding and/or under-exercise -- simple as that. Neutered animals just need about 10-20% fewer calories. This should be seen as a benefit! Less food cost! But instead people overfeed compared to the dog's needs then blame a neuter when it is so easy to adjust as one would for any change in lifestyle (eg less active dogs need less food; more active dogs need more; senior dogs need less etc). I've had five cavaliers, all neutered, and never once had an overweight dog. It is just so simple to manage -- the problem is not the dog, which doesn;t prepare its own food, but the owner who controls the food after all! :lol: A lighter (human) hand with the food would make for millions of far healthier, longer lived, happier dogs and cats. Being even lightly overweight is the single biggest health compromise for any animal -- far more significant to the animal's health and lifespan than type of diet, use of supplements, level of exercise, environment, etc.

I wouldn't worry a whole lot (actually, at all :) )about weight gains over the next few months -- this is a totally normal growth pattern for an immature cavalier.