Are you overfeeding your dog?

8 Jul

From common dog foods to specialty foods designed to meet every doggie-need under the sun, dog food a certainly changed in recent years, but is this change good for your dog? Many Veterinary groups have estimated that 20 to 60 percent of American dogs are overweight or obese, putting them at greater risk of developing hear disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. Following a similar trend in humans, this suggests that too many pets are being over indulged – they’re given too much of their special, dietary pet-food in combination with too many snacks and not enough exercise. Yes, some dogs behave as though they are always starving, but that doesn’t mean that they are. Rather, the amount of calories your dog consumes should be in proportion to the amount of exercise they receive and their breed.

There are two ways to tell if you are overindulging your beloved pet. The first is to do a self-check; you want to be able to feel your dog’s ribs a little bit when you stroke their sides. You shouldn’t have to press hard to feel them, standard petting pressure should be sufficient. Also, when you look at your dog from above, you should be able to distinguish a definite waste just behind their rib cage. If, after looking for these signs, you still aren’t sure if your pet is overweight take them to the vet. This can often be the best option because different breeds have different body types and your vet is most likely to be able to tell you what your dog SHOULD look like.

Whether you discover that your dog is overweight or not, following these steps will insure that your dog maintains a healthy lifestyle. Remember, a healthy dog is a happy dog and the healthier the dog, the more likely they are likely to live well into old age.

  • Exercise, exercise, exercise. No matter how much or how little you feed your dog, if they don’t get any exercise they won’t be happy or healthy. In fact, the less exercise a dog gets the more likely they are to cause damage to your home and yard. So, for their sake, and yours, please make sure your dog gets the exercise it deserves. If, for whatever reason, you are unable to provide your dog with more than a couple of short walks a day, consider taking them to a Doggie-Daycare service while you’re at work. They aren’t very expensive especially when you think about the vet bills you could save on by having a healthy dog.
  • Read the bag your dog food comes in. They usually tell you to feed your dog far more than they need. Unless your dog is a working dog they’ll never need to eat that much food. Instead, ask your vet or friendly canine behaviorist how much they would recommend you feed your dog. Since the amount depends upon the dog’s breded it is is impossible to provide an estimate here.
  • Feed your dog twice a day if it’s a small to average-sized breed. If you have a giant breed dog (Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, Great Danes) feed them three times a day. Your dog should be allowed to have access to the food for no more than 45 minutes. If they don’t eat it all during that time pick it up. Either they’ll learn to eat it all within that time or you’ll learn that you are feeding your dog more than it needs.
  • Feed your dog after human meals rather than before or during and don’t let them have ANY human food. This will enforce the hierarchy of your house: You, the human, are in charge, the alpha of the pack and your lower pack members (dogs) neither have a right to your food nor a right to beg for food throughout the day. That’s the way packs work in the wild and it’s how they should work in the home.
  • The majority of what you feed your dog should be dry food (if you aren’t feeding your dog a whole food diet). This is because some dogs get the runs if they eat too much canned food. Regardless, mix the wet food in with the dry food to encourage them to eat it. Both types of food are important key to maintaining a healthy digestive system.

Please, help stamp out pet obesity by being aware of how much you feed your dog. Since YOU decide what your dog eats it is up to you to end this epidemic before it gets out of hand.

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2 Responses to “Are you overfeeding your dog?”

  1. Fish Oil : October 27, 2010 at 6:43 pm #

    the dog foods that we use are certified organic as we do not want to use those dog foods contaminated with chemicals`~*

  2. Bed Bug Bites January 24, 2011 at 1:48 am #

    I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives great information .;”

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