Feeding your dog: don't overdo it
We are in the midst of a canine obesity epidemic, with one third of dogs being overweight.
This can be largely attributed to one thing: overfeeding. If we feed our dogs too much and restrict opportunity for ample exercise, they will gain weight, just like us.
The easiest way to feed our dogs is using a specially designed dog food. There are a huge number of different types of dog food available, which can be simply categorised into either wet or dry diets.
The type of diet and the frequency of feeding is dependant on your dog’s age, weight, activity level and health. Therefore, it’s important to select a diet that is appropriate for your dogs’ life stage as its requirements will change as they get older.
The typical advice is to feed your dog twice a day, unless their age, medical condition or breed dictates otherwise. We recommend that owners read and follow the pet food manufacturers recommendations and accurately measure or weigh out your dogs food to avoid overfeeding. Adjust the quantities to ensure they do not become under or over weight, as some manufacturers are not always accurate when it comes to the quantities needed.
Stick to a good quality food and don’t change your dogs diet abruptly unless instructed to do so by your vet. If you do need to change their food, do it gradually over seven to ten days. A constant supply of fresh water must always be available.
Most dogs usually consume their food allocation within 10-15 minutes. If they haven’t eaten all their food within twenty minutes, you may be offering them too much. Take it away and offer the next portion of food at the next meal-time.
Leave your dog alone in a quiet spot while they eat as you may be perceived as interfering and this can lead to food aggression. Equally, in multiple dog households you should take care to feed dogs separately to avoid conflict and food stealing.
Large breed and deep chested dogs should be fed from a raised bowl to reduce the risk of bloat, which can lead to a twisted stomach that will require surgery. Don’t feed your dog immediately before or after exercise or travelling as this can also increase the risk of bloat.
We don’t recommend feeding your dogs from the table as this encourages begging behaviour that can become habitual and unwanted. Treats can be fed in moderation but remember they include calories so reduce your dogs daily total food intake.
If you notice any changes in your dogs eating habits, we recommend seeking veterinary advice.
Give your dogs regular exercise and make sure they are protected from intestinal worms by administering an effective worming treatment at least every three months.