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Over Feeding Your Pooch?

This photo is of a very overweight Border Collie.

I was recently reading through some Social Media posts in a dog group, I’m a member of and was shocked by the number of overweight Border Collies. To see a BC that is excessively overweight is like seeing an obese Olympic gymnast. This is NOT right. Another example of this is when I have been at the veterinarian or pet store and have seen a 20-pound chihuahua!

In a nutshell, if you aren’t sure how much to feed your dog, first consider what they were bred for. Border Collies are like Olympic athletes, Mastiff's serve as guardians, and this doesn’t mean you should feed them like a farm animal. They are genetically large by design. Yorkshire Terriers were used to hunt small rodents. They are high energy dogs, but not like the BC’s or Greyhounds. I hope I’ve given you enough examples. If you are still confused about how much to feed your dog, read what’s on the bag for the recommended, daily feeding allowance. However, many times we notice our dogs still “appear” to be hungry, they are just being dogs, and will just want to glutton themselves. Remember, the early dog (wolf) was accustomed to foraging/hunting for its food source, and I too believe it’s not as enjoyable for the domesticated dog to eat kibble from a bag and feast out of a bowl. We’ve kind of taken the excitement out of eating.

If you give your dog an appropriate amount of exercise, she just might be a bit hungrier and it’s okay to feed her a bit extra - 30 minutes AFTER her exercise, but just a little, not a full serving size. I do this with Bronwyn after she’s worked.

It serves two purposes:

1. She has been highly exercised and needs to replenish her “stock” of energy.

2. A 1/4 cup serving of kibble often serves as a reward for a job well done.

We, as a society, tend to be overindulgent with just about everything. Our nation’s obesity rate is through the roof. We can make things even worse by sharing our own indulgence with our dog(s). Don’t think that Cheetos are a good source of energy for your dog, nor is the Friday night pizza, McDonald’s, Burger King, etc. These can become poisons for your canine.

Please, use caution when offering doggy treats to your dog. Too many people will give the whole bag of treats to their pup thinking it’s okay - there is a recommended serving size portion on the bag too. There’s A LOT of fat in doggy treats, that’s why they’re called treats.

If you truly believe your dog isn’t getting satisfied, there are several reasons this might be happening. Dogs, just like humans, can over eat out of frustration and boredom due to a lack of exercise, or lack of socialization can possibly play a roll. I just listed a couple of possible reasons there are many more I could have listed.

Perhaps there could be underlying health issue(s) that need to be addressed with your Veterinarian. Most Veterinarians will address this topic with you if they see there’s a problem with your pet’s weight.

Finally, sometimes, pets will begin to resemble their owners with regard to weight. This isn’t to say ALL owners that have overweight dogs/cats are obese. I don’t mean to over generalize, but these are interesting tendencies that you will likely notice if you pay attention. This may surprise you, but thin people can be skinny on the outside and obese on the inside – this is called a fat heart.

We will soon be moving into the New Year, so let’s love our animals with good things i.e., exercise, hugs, healthy amounts of doggy food, etc. Helping our four legged loved one get into better shape might encourage us to get into better shape at the same time, while building a stronger bond with our dog for the New Year of 2022.

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