Your dog’s nutrition and overall health is completely your responsibility! Your furry friend is unable to feed themselves (aside from an occasional sneaky trip to the garbage!) and relies on you to keep them healthy and happy.
It can be tempting to feed your dog more food than they should eat. Consider the folk concept that any human food you feed your dog should be multiplied by seven to work out the human equivalent. That means, if you let your dog have one potato that might be left over from dinner, it would be the same as you eating seven potatoes.
The above concept is not strictly based on science and would vary depending on the type of food, but it shows that you need to take care of the extra food you give to your dog.
A good way to keep your dog from putting on the extra pounds would be to keep them eating the recommended daily amounts of their specialized dog food.
Read on for some basic tips to keep your dog at a healthy weight!
How to help your dog maintain a healthy weight:
Start with some basic checks. There are very quick visual and physical checks you can do with your dog to determine whether they need to lose weight. From above, your dog should have an ‘hourglass’ figure without being too wide in the waist. Also, check if you can feel their ribs and whether they have a defined waist.
Consider the factors that determine how much to feed your dog. The guidelines on the side of standard bags of dog food are pretty vague, so you should not rely on them to feed your dog. You have to consider lots of factors!
The number of calories you should feed your dog depends on their size, gender and exercise level. Simply, if they are taken for a couple of vigorous walks each day, they will require a little extra food to cover the calories needed.
A surprising variable here is whether or not your dog is neutered/spayed. If they are, that would mean a significant 20-30% reduction in the number of calories required.
This can actually get a little complicated, so here is a handy metabolic energy requirement calculator to help you work out exactly how much to feed your dog.
Quality of food is important. Packs of dog food supplied by the big brands can often come out at around 60% carbohydrates. For a healthy and balanced diet, dogs require a little more protein content. Be sure you are feeding your dog wholesome foods that will keep them fuller for longer.
Place importance on treats. As well as thinking about the type of treat you are giving them (peanut butter contains 100 calories per tablespoon!), make sure you account for treats when adding up the number of calories your dog should eat per day. Don’t let family members secretly hand your dog treats you don’t know about!
Remember that weight reduction in dogs is 60% related to nutrition and 40% to exercise! So, it is important to focus on both factors together.
Not only will achieving a healthy weight be great for your dog’s physical health, they will also be much happier pets if they are fed wholesome food and get plenty of stimulating walks in the great outdoors!
Jack Vale is a writer with Happy Writers, Co. in partnership with Stethoscope.com.