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Friday, May 7, 2010

Is Spot Hungry? Let's Talk Feeding Guidelines...

by Carrie Boyko
(c) All Things Dog Blog Reader on File, all rights reserved
"I Know There is More Food in Here:
Maybe at the Bottom"

Molly is such a ham, looking for a bit of extra chow all the way inside the bag. But look at her shiny coat and healthy waistline, and it is clear that she is getting enough food and nutrition from her diet. This is not necessarily the case for all Americans--dogs included.

Even as many of us feed ourselves too much, we often spoil our pups as well. I'm guilty, occasionally, of handing out a few too many treats when training, when one should do just fine.

The thing we dog owners need to remember is similar to our own waistline drama; it's not about the one piece of cheesecake so much as it is the whole week's worth of drinks, snacks, over-sized meals and let's not forget about the protein bars we eat in the name of a workout. Did I say training treat?!! Yep! Pretty much the same thing.

Let's start at the beginning. Feel your Fido's ribcage. If you can't pick out the individual ribs, he may be a bit overfed. On the flip side, if there are big sags between the ribs, perhaps he could use a bit of dessert. Ahem! Training treats.

Now check your dog food bag. The charts on most brands give you an amount per DAY. Oops! You say you didn't notice that? You're not alone. I really wish the dog food manufacturers would label their food guidelines more clearly. Those charts are for daily total feeding

That means if you're feeding Rover twice a day, he should get half of the total, and NO MORE. In addition, if Rover is in training, you'll want to modulate his feeding quantity, based on the calories he's getting in training treats (or table scraps), to assure that he doesn't get pudgy.

So, what's wrong with pudgy? It's pretty much the same as for you and me. Extra pounds put more pressure on internal organs, increase blood pressure, and make the heart work harder. It's a no-brainer to try to keep your dog's weight within his breed's range, to keep his health on track.

I know, all of your pups are going to be mad at me tonight, when dinner looks a little skimpy. Sorry, guys. I'm looking out for your best interest....honest!

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