Whether a dog has recently lost weight or gained weight, it’s important for pet owners to feel confident that they’re doing everything they can to support a healthy weight and shape for their dog.
It can be difficult for owners to resist their dog if they beg or whine, and many owners find themselves using treats or extras as a way to manage this behaviour. However, if they want to make sure their dog stays a healthy weight, it’s crucial to maintain good feeding practices, and to encourage all other members of their family to do the same!
What’s a healthy weight for a dog?
The best way to find out the healthiest weight for a dog is to visit a vet. They’ll be able to advise what is the most appropriate ideal weight for a dog according to their breed, gender, age and several other factors. Often, a healthy weight is identified as the weight a dog was before they became obese – but this can be hard to define, particularly if a dog has been overweight for a long time or since they were a puppy.
Some specific factors could make dogs predisposed to weight gain, and therefore maintaining a healthy weight is even more important. There are several breeds which are more likely to gain weight than others, including Beagles, Pugs, Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels and Shetland Sheepdogs. Neutering is an important factor in predisposing dogs to weight gain, in fact, neutered dogs are almost twice as likely to be overweight than entire dogs.
Feeding a dog to maintain its weight
If a dog has recently gained or lost weight, and is now at their recommended size, there are two options for continuing to feed them. They can stay with the same food as used during their weight-loss or weight-gain process, increasing or decreasing the quantities as necessary to maintain their weight, or the pet owner can choose a food with a higher energy density and retain the same quantity.
The energy density and calorific value of their food is an important factor to take into account, and the food should also include high protein content to support muscle mass, with a moderate fat content to help avoid weight gain. Some foods even contain a unique blend of fibre which helps a dog feel fuller without eating bigger portions.
Good feeding practices for pet owners
By sticking to good feeding practices, owners can ensure they are giving their dog the best possible chance of maintaining a healthy weight. Feeding them in the same place, from the same bowl, at the same time so they become used to specific mealtimes can help. Owners can avoid adding additional calories by not giving them scraps, extras or giving in to begging behaviours. Instead, owners could swap the treats or extras for kibbles taken from the dog’s daily food allowance. It’s also a good idea to weigh them once a month and go for regular check-ups to get professional advice from a vet.
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