It is important to keep a watchful eye on your dog’s weight for signs that they may be underweight or overweight. As a general rule, you should be able to feel your dogs ribs and spine but not see them protruding. They should have a waist, just behind their ribs and their tummy should be tucked up. It is usual for a dog to carry a little more weight in the winter months, but “lean and fit” is good.
If your pet is getting on in years and is becoming less active due to arthritis, then be sure to adjust the volume of food accordingly. Always look for the food bowl to be cleared enthusiastically in 10 to 15 minutes. If your dog is consistently “leaving some for later” then he is getting too much! If your dog is a picky eater, please do not add your leftovers or extras to the bowl. This will throw out the nutritional balance of the food and your dog may not get the balanced meal that he needs. A dog will not starve himself to death but do check with your vet that there is no underlying cause for his condition, like a piece of bone stuck on a tooth for example!. Take up the bowl after 15 minutes and feed only at the next meal time. He’ll get the idea that he cannot successfully hold out for “something better” and will sooner or later accept that he gets his dinner and that is that.
It is your choice what you feed your dog. If you feed dry food, use a high quality complete food in the recommended quantities. Choose one which has no added colourings, flavourings or other chemicals and is yeast and gluten free. This can be fed dry, or moistened with warm (not hot) water. It takes a couple of minutes to soak, then give it a stir and when your dog is calm, put the bowl down for him.
We have chosen to feed our dogs raw, for some time now, and have found that their weights have adjusted to a healthy level, and their dishes are cleared in record time!
Just one last word, if your un-neutered bitch is consistently putting on weight despite having the right quantity of food, check her for signs of pregnancy! Did the kids leave the door open in the summer holidays? Did you notice that she was in season? This happens all too often.
If you need any help or advice please contact me or your vet.