We all love our dogs. In fact, many of us do not differentiate between our dogs and our human family members. This is a critical mistake that many make when it relates to our dog’s nutrition.
Based on 2016 research conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 54% of dogs in the U.S. are classified as either overweight or obese. I am personally convinced this is due to the psychology of us, as pet owners, being able to separate our own desires for eating from that which is necessary for our dogs.
The reality is that dogs are not human and we need to feed them accordingly.
Is my dog overweight?
First, we need to recognize where your dog is currently at. The simplest way to do this is to look at a body condition scoring chart for dogs.
On this chart, a 3 is our ideal body condition. Note that you should be able to see a waistline from above and the ribs and backbone should be easily felt without excess fat. My personal observations are that the front ribs should never be visible, but with certain working breeds, a healthy dog might show their back ribs when looking up close.
Many of us err on the side of thinking that dogs are skinny when we can easily feel their ribs, but this is incorrect. Remember, your dog will not be offended if you assess it as being overweight, you are not assessing your spouse.
First, we need to figure out how many calories your dog needs to consume specifically for losing weight. Waltham Pet Care Science, a leader in pet care and nutrition, has a formula for figuring this out. This formula can be easily accessed by downloading the app Dog Food Calculator on your smartphone or online.
It is important to account for your specific breed’s normal activity level and what your activity level is. If you need to reduce weight there is a category for that. Once you determine the calorie requirement of your individual dog look for the Kilocalories per cup (Kcal/cup) on your bag of Hi-Standard Dog Food and plug that into your formula, and it will give you the amount of dog food you should be feeding per day.
Please understand that it will be based on an 8 oz dry measuring cup, not your coffee cup or your feed scoop but 8 oz. Our recommendations for household pets that need to lose weight would be our Hi-Standard Ultimate Lamb and Rice or Premium Performance 22/12 Soy Free.
If you have a working dog, continue to feed your current Hi-Standard product, but adjust your amount accordingly.
Treats Have Calories, too.
It is important to note that treats, both for dogs and human food, also contain calories. Our suggestion for overweight is to use your regular Hi-Standard Dog Food kibble as a treat until optimum weight for your dog is achieved, and then provide treats sparingly afterward.
Also, remember that dogs can be praised with your affection as effectively as providing them with a treat.
In closing, we all want our dogs to live a full and happy life. But it is important to recognize the differences they have in their nutritional needs to that of humans. Remember to feed your dogs to meet these nutritional requirements. We as humans eat for enjoyment, and a lot of us, myself included, are not necessarily the pictures of perfect health.
Dogs on the other hand will live a full and rewarding life by eating what they need to and getting their enjoyment from exercise, affection, and pleasing their humans. That is why dogs are “Man’s best friend”, their inner desire to please their humans. What they are having for dinner is not nearly as important to your dog as it is to us.
How Much Should I Feed My Dog?
National Sales Manager
Hi-Standard Pet Food