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How much should this dog be eating?

I am currently sitting a German Shepard mix. He is 3 yrs old. He is active and was on the generic Fit N Trim dog food, but thanks to having a platlet disease he is on medicine that is giving him the runs and has dropped to 40lbs (was 50lbs) the vet wants him to be 45lbs. His owners normally fill a 4 quart pot for him daily (which he finishes) and then he hunts other food- mostly from the cats or the trash.
The vet told me no more than 5 cups a day, plus treats with his meds. Since he has been here he has gotten into the trash, torn apart my cat feeders to eat the food and has snuck food from the stove. Yes he has jumped up and removed frying pans to get at what I am cooking.
I have switched him to a higher protein dog food, given him homemade chicken soup, meat drippings and healthier dog treats. And the toddlers here have given him their share of sandwich crusts, cheerioes and apple slices. And he still snags food from the stove, the table, the cats ad the trash.
I've had a large dog for years and I am used to larger appetites, but not this bottomless pit.
So today he has had (that I know of) 5 cups of dry dog food, three meatballs (with his meds), the crusts from two sandwiches, 8 dog bisketss, one whole apple, 1 child's serving of baked ziti (took the plate off of the table before the kids even got to the table) 1 8lb rump roast (was being defrosted in the sink in a pot), 4 cups of dry cat food (caught him eating from the cat feeders) 2 handfuls of popcorn, and about 1/2 a box of 32oz rice crispies (caught him in the pantry).
The owners just shrug this off saying he does this and worse all of the time. He even opens their fridge to rummage. The vet told me to lock my pantry and put the cat food up out of his reach. I have it on the top of a 5 foot book shelf and have found him trying to climb it to get at the food.
If I increase the dog food (and protein) he still rummages/hunts. I cannot watch him every second, he has abandonment issues and will whine up to 30 minutes if he is outside by himself in the yard (1/2 acre, fenced on a 15 ft lead) and then he starts to dig trenches.
So my question for all of those who have this breed (German Shepard with lab?) is this normal behavior? How much should a 45 lb dog eat? (my last dog was 150lbs of muscle- a Pit- Mastiff mix so I really have no idea).
I am watching him for a friend because the owners live in a row home with no yard, he has no socialization with other dogs (they have 7 cats) and no car and I am closer to the vet he needs to go to for his condition. I have had him for two weeks and the 30lb bag of food they gave me is gone and they have not been able to give me cash for this is all coming out of my pocket.....I love animals and I think I want another dog (mine passed in February at 14 years old), but if this is normal I can't afford him....
So is this just bad behavior, or does he have a fast metabolism or is this normal?

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Asked by elizabooks at 12:55 AM on May. 3, 2012 in Pets

Level 15 (1,946 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • My dogs are free feeders so I have no clue. We have five dogs (Pom/Yorkie, Yorkie, Silkie, Jack Russel Terrier and a Boxer/Lab mix) and we have never had feeding times. They eat when they are hungry and a 35# bag of dog food lasts for just over 4 weeks so between the 5 of them they go through approx. 8# of dog food a week. They are all normal weight, no weight issues for any of them. They ONLY eat dog food (very high quality) dog treats, no people food, no trash. In all the years (almost 30) that we have had dogs we have done free feeding and have never had an over weight dog.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:19 AM on May. 3, 2012

  • I do not know about that breed, but I have two 45-50-ish pound 1 year old Siberian Huskies and they eat around 2-3 cups of food each per day with their two feedings. And they eat very little otherwise...a couple of treats and a bread crust here and there, but that is it. However, with that said, Huskies don't need to eat a lot to have the energy that they do.

    What that dog is doing is ridiculous. At the very least, I would take him through an obedience course or two.

    Answer by AllAboutKeeley at 6:31 AM on May. 3, 2012

  • If the yard is fence why are you putting him no the lead? Why not just let him run? Do you have a set schedule with him? He clearly has gotten into some bad habit and some it sound like he does it for attention. Do you play with him and play hard so that he's just plum tired? Is the meds he on cause the munchies? Some medication can make you just want to eat and eat? If the meds are causing the munchies perhaps he can be on different medicine. Most of what the dog is doing sound like the result of NO training and starving for attention.

    Answer by SAHMinIL2 at 8:27 AM on May. 3, 2012

  • I have 2 dogs. One is a shepherd/hound mix, the other is a lab/golden mix. I can tell you that my lab is a glutton. We had to put him on a diet because he weighed too much, and also when we were doing the bottomless food bowl approach, he was eating my shepherd's food as well. Following vet's orders, both dogs are now on 2 cups of dry food and half a can of wet every day. (The wet makes it easier to dispense our shepherd's meds for hip dysplaysia.) That being said, if I leave access to other yummies, like the trash can, or food in a pan, my lab will get to it at all costs. I have to put a baby gate up in my pantry doorway to block off the trash. Even leaving for 5 minutes to drop my daughter off, he'll get into trouble if I don't. If I leave dirty dishes, he's been known to jump up and carry them off. But most labs (and lab mixes) that I've met are gluttons like this. Follow the vet's advice, and hopefully he'll settle down.

    Answer by Eviesmommy at 9:07 AM on May. 3, 2012

  • I would also like to add that my lab is a nervous eater as well. Labs are notoriously social dogs, which sometimes causes separation anxiety issues. Could be that this poor fellow is just trying to adjust to his new surroundings. I can understand not being able to afford him if he keeps on the way he's eating, but I'm willing to bet if you do what the vet said, once he gets a little more comfortable, he might chill out a bit. Good luck!

    Answer by Eviesmommy at 9:12 AM on May. 3, 2012

  • To answer your questions: he has had some obedience training. I've noticed that he does recognize the commands and does follow them after a struggle. He is on a lead because my fence is a farmer rail fence and he jumps over it. Basically it is there to keep people out. We do play. He won't catch a ball or tug a rope. The dog park is out as he will do nothing but hump. (he is fixed) we are on a schedule and go for 2 w mile walks twice a day. He gets affection, is at my feet all day. I don't yell but his owner does.
    How the heck am I to cook or defrost if I cannot use the stove or sink?
    His owners think it is ok for him to be a glottal and to scavenge food and trash in their home.
    I will try the baby gate idea.

    Comment by elizabooks (original poster) at 9:25 AM on May. 3, 2012

  • Can you crate him when you can't watch him? Also, maybe the dog food isn't satisfying him. If it has too many fillers, he will just poop it all out and not get enough nutrients. I would suggest trying a high quality meat (real meat, NOT unnamed meat byproducts) based food with no corn, wheat, soy (if not already).

    Answer by CollinBayleeMom at 1:47 PM on May. 3, 2012

  • As CollinBayleeMom stated, fillers in the food aren't going to fill any dog up. Since I don't know what the dog was actually treated for, or it's history, all I can recommend is as generic as the food it is fed.

    I'd start by feeding him a food that has no grains in it ~ whether you buy one of the good brands of food, or give him actual meat. I'd absolutely give this dog an egg yolk a day (organic only!), and a small piece (2"x2") of raw liver every two days, and the best vitamin/mineral supplement I could afford. In addition I'd add either Greek yogurt or a probiotic, and get him some big, raw, meaty bones to gnaw on in between. He needs real food and some training. His overeating has a root cause, but without knowing the dog's history (and possibly some blood work), it's impossible to give you any real answer.

    Answer by Farmlady09 at 5:08 PM on May. 3, 2012

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