Saturday, February 10, 2007

Kirby is Vertically-challenged

Little Kirby seems to have stopped growing vertically, but he seems to be continuing to grow in other directions...

For a while we were concerned because little Kirby just didn't seem to gain any weight. We brought him home from the shelter at 11 weeks and he weighed just 11 pounds. They estimated his adult size to be 25-35 pounds, so when we took him to the vet for follow-up shots several weeks later we were surprised that he weighed just same. We were feeding him Innova EVO, a high protein, meat-and-vegetable-based food, at the recommended amount for a puppy. We figured we were just more recently accustomed to having a large breed puppy (it seemed like Baxter gained pounds and inches weekly during his first year...)

The growth on a little dog is so much more subtle...we barely noticed how much he had grown until we brought Kirby in for his neuter surgery in December and he weighed sixteen pounds. He was a bit taller, but most of his weight seemed to be in muscle and girth. This week he weighed-in at the veterinarian's office at a whopping 18 pounds. Trouble is, he doesn't appear to have grown any taller since December. Kirby just seems like he's getting more stout.

Ok, to be fair, he has developed a thick winter undercoat, and while it doesn't really contribute to the weight, it does make him look fluffier. Kirby also has a pretty thick frame for a little guy -- sturdy legs, good sized feet for his height and a fairly wide, flared ribcage that makes me wonder if Shih Tzu isn't in his parentage somewhere (we saw a black-and-tan "Shih-Poo" cross today and aside from the longer hair, his shape and markings were almost identical to Kirby's).

That's all well and good, but I seriously hope we're not being ignorant dog-parents know, the "oh our son's just big boned" types. Could it be that our little Kirby is getting pudgy on our watch? He's such an active dog, that's hard to imagine. And he doesn't get table scraps and doesn't particularly even like dog biscuits. He does have a healthy appetite, however, and usually finishes off his food each day.

Kirby's seven months old now, so perhaps it's time to ratchet back the food a wee bit. As a small dog, Kirby just may be done growing already. It seems so strange to think so. Baxter didn't completely fill-out until he was three. And Kirby still has such a puppy face. Maybe he'll always have a puppy face, and maybe we just have to get used to the idea that Kirby will always be a short, sturdy-built little tank of a dog.

As long as he still can squeeze under the furniture, he'll be happy.

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