Sometimes I think I'm the only person who sees a problem where others say none exists. If it were not for Bessie's remarkable growth rate during her first six months, at times even growing faster than our big guy Ruff, then I would not have started keeping track of her weight. The fact is, that remarkable growth rate seems to have come to a grinding stop three months ago and that is what made me so concerned. There is a difference of opinion on how long a Rottweiler continues to grow. I was under the opinion they grew for the first year and a few people told me they grow in height for 12 months then for several months after they bulk out. I tend to agree with this but when Bessie went to the Vet's office for a toenail trim last week I commented to the doctor that she hasn't gained any weight in more than two months and the doctor told me she has probably stopped growing. If that was completely accurate it would mean Bessie only grew for half the time I expected. And her weight has stayed the same at 79 lbs since late January. And it doesn't take into account that she has very large feet, something that would suggest she was meant to be much bigger when she finished growing.
Thanks to my frequent visitor from Cornell University I have poured over a few links Sam gave me about calculating calorie consumption. The three different formula peg Bessie's requirements at about 1900 to 2000 calories a day. So I decided to start counting calories and see how much Bessie was getting, in spite of her reluctance to eat her regular meals.
Bessie loves dog biscuits as do all our Rottweilers and we buy lots of Milkbone Dog Biscuits. The small size I give for treats have 30 calories each and the large size they all get with their peanut butter pills has 130 calories and that large dollop of peanut butter, a full tablespoon adds another 190 calories. Checking the list of ingredients tells me they are very nourishing, too. Since the problem with her eating began I have been giving Bess a lot more dog biscuits every day. Two big ones and about 20 small ones add up to 860 calories. For reasons I still can't explain, Bess will eat dry kibble nuggets from my hand but not from a dog food bowl so I substituted the kibble for the tiny treats that I was using for her training rewards. That adds up to a cup of kibble a day and another 360 calories. While Ruff and Axl enjoy eating two meals a day Bessie ignores breakfast but she will eat a can of dog food at dinner time, even if I have to feed it to her on a fork. That's 463 calories for a can of Pedigree ground dinner. This brings her daily total intake to 1456 calories. Then I throw in some table scraps from our dinner or maybe a small scoop of extra mashed potatoes and this seems to have stabilized her weight loss to a minimum. Before I started doing this Bess had lost about five pounds but managed to come back to her present weight of 79 lbs. in the last month.
When I think about this problem I am reminded of what the undernourished children look like from those impoverished third-world countries. They are smaller than healthier children are because their meager diet has affected their growth. I'm sorry if this comparison between my puppy and some real kids offends anyone. I cannot do anything to affect their lives but I am determined to protect the lives of my devoted companions at home.