Feeding your dog

Too fat, too thin or just right?

It is very important to keep your dog at their ideal weight for their breed, type and age and to do this you must weigh your dog regularly. Keep a record of their weight so that you can quickly adjust their feed and exercise regime to account for any weight gain or loss that may occur over the course of their life.

We are currently experiencing an epidemic of overweight dogs. Did you know that in a PDSA report in 2014 it was estimated that 1 in 3 dogs in the U.K. are overweight? This can have a multitude of effects on your dogs’ health from lethargy, poor breathing, hip or elbow dysplasia, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Ultimately, as with humans, if your dog maintains a healthy weight they will live a happier, healthier, longer life.

Here are some tips for checking your dogs weight, remember to look and feel your dog regularly to check their condition:

  • Can you feel their ribs if you run your hands down their sides?
  • Can you see your dogs ribs as they turn their body?
  • Has your dog got a visible waist behind their ribs?
  •  Does your dog have a moderate covering of fat?
  • Can you see your dogs abdominal tuck when you look at them from the side?
  • Does your dog have excess fatty deposits at the tail, thorax or over their back? If they do they are too fat.
  • Is your dogs spine prominent? If you can your dog is too thin.

Don’t forget, with all of these points it is important to take into account breed types, for example a greyhound’s ideal body weight and shape is very different from that of a bulldog.

When feeding your dog you should feed them according to their ideal body weight. For example if you have a dog that weights 22kg but their ideal weight is 20kg then feed them the correct amount of food for a 20kg dog and this should help them to loose weight, you should also feed them at the lower end of the recommended range of weight of food to encourage weight loss.

Obviously it may be necessary to adjust the amount up or down according to your dogs level of activity, breed, age, type and whether they are neutered or not; all of these have an effect on your dogs predisposition to weight gain or weight loss. For example if you have a working gun dog you may need to feed your dog a slightly increased amount during the picking up season when they are burning more calories.

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