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Dr. Gene
Dr. Gene, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  DVM degree from Ontario Veterinary College
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How much should a 2-3 year old border collie be eating How

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How much should a 2-3 year old border collie be eating? How many cups? A neighbor has two border collies. The fixed female is quite healthy, even round... but the young male is bone thin, hip bones and ribs showing. He says they eat the same amount and that that is how border collies are built. Neither of them are very active, as he is gone all day and they are in a small confined area. I at least want to educate him on how much the dog needs to thrive. Can you help me? Thank you. Pam
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gene replied 7 years ago.
Hello Pam.

The amount of food depends on the type/brand of food as the amount of calories per cup/can varies between brands. To determine if a dog is too skinny, look at the body from the top and feel the ribs; in a dog of ideal weight, you should see a defined waist and be able to feel the ribs the way you would feel your knuckles with a thin layer of fat over them..

To determine the amount of food the dog should be eating, do this:

1. Find out how many calories (abbreviated kcal) there are in a cup of the food the dog is eating.
2. Take the dog's ideal weight (not the current weight, but what the ideal weight should be, approximately) in pounds.
3. Divide the weight in pounds by 2.2, this gives you weight in kilograms.
4. Multiply weight in kilograms by 70 and add 30, then multiply by 1.4; this is the amount of calories (kcal) a normal, active dog should consume per day.
5. Compare this number with the total, based on the number of kcal per cup of food.

Hope this helps; please let me know if you have any questions; best of luck!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for your response. So, are you saying that hip bones sticking out is not an indication of being under fed.? Unfortunately, I am not privy to any of the info. needed to compute that equation. I wish you had a simpler answer. This dog is surely getting very average, less expensive food. Thanks.
Expert:  Dr. Gene replied 7 years ago.
Well, if the hip bones are visibly sticking out and/or you can feel them easily, then the dog is probably underweight and that's not how Border Collies or any other dogs are built. An underweight dog is an underweight dog, so you are right. There are many possible causes for weight loss or inability to maintain weight, improper nutrition is only one of them... It's a tough situation for you as you are rightly concerned but not able to intervene since it's not your dog; as your neighbor is already sensitive about the subject, approach it carefully if at all...
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I am currently representing this small rural towns Humane Society effort and am called upon to take care of these situations. I have seen it several times, but before I bring it to the authorities (the small town City Police Dept.) I have to be very sure. I cannot look the other way. However with that said, is being underweight the same as starving? I do know he's being fed daily. Is being that underweight the same as starving? Again, thanks. Pam
Expert:  Dr. Gene replied 7 years ago.
Well as you probably know, unfortunately, cruelty to animals has a very loose definition; as long as food and shelter are provided regularly, it will be hard to make the case for neglect/cruelty. The dog is either not being fed enough, the food may not be good quality or he may have a disease condition that makes him lose the weight. That said, being underweight is not the same as starving...
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Is there any way that you can even estimate for me, what a normal consumption for this dog should be, with the vague info I've given? 3-4 cups, 5-6 cups a day? I know it's asking a lot of a professional to do such a guesstimate. But It would be very helpful. Thanks for your time.
Expert:  Dr. Gene replied 7 years ago.
It would be an inaccurate estimate, because the caloric content of different foods varies quite a bit and I don't know the weight of the dog. But, for an average Border Collie, who probably should be around 35-40 lbs, the appropriate amount of an average dog food would be about 3 cups per day.
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