It’s been estimated that more than 50 percent of dogs in the United States are
overweight or obese — and how they’re being fed may be to blame.
Despite your dog’s begging, whining and adorable puppy-dog eyes, you’re in control
of what and how much he eats. So changing some of your feeding habits can
help him trim down or maintain a healthy weight.
From giving too many treats to not measuring your dog’s
food, we rounded up common mistakes you could be making when you feed your dog — and how to fix them.
You leave your dog's kibble out all the time.
Free feeding is the practice of pouring dry food into a bowl
and letting your canine eat it whenever he wants, then filling his bowl when
it’s empty. It may seem harmless, but it’s actually a problem. Most dogs are
scavengers and are hardwired to eat as much and as fast as they can. So you
really can’t expect your canine to control how much kibble he consumes when
he’s given an endless supply of food. And all that overeating could lead to
weight gain and obesity. Dr. Marty Becker explains why scheduled mealtimes and
food puzzles are better ways to feed your pet.
You give him too many treats.
We all want our pets to know how special and loved
they are, but showering them with treats is not the way to do it. Simply put, dog
treats are extra calories your pup doesn’t need. Sure, food rewards are a great
way to motivate him to do tricks and follow commands, but you need to be
mindful of how many treats he’s earning for good behavior. Those little
biscuits and chewies add up quick. To reduce your dog’s treat intake, try
phasing out food with other reward options like petting, games, going outside,
doggy play and food puzzles.
You don't measure his food.
Despite your dog’s pleading eyes and wagging tail when you scoop
out his kibble, you are in control of how much he eats, not him. You’re not
doing him any favors by filling his bowl to the brim or estimating how much he
needs to eat. Talk to your veterinarian to find out exactly how much food to
measure out and how many times a day your pup needs to eat.
You feed your dog from the table.
So you give Fido a few scraps from the table here and there — not a big deal, right? Unfortunately, those extra morsels could lead to weight gain and obesity. Not to mention there are a lot of toxic human foods
dogs should never eat, such as grapes, raisins, garlic and chocolate. No matter
how much your pup begs for leftovers, it’s up to you — and everyone else in
your household — to have the willpower not to give in. If he’s still begging,
you should try redirecting the behavior. Trainer Mikkel Becker shows you how it’s done.
You're not giving him the right food for his life stage and lifestyle.
As your pet gets older, his nutritional needs change. A
puppy’s diet is probably going to be quite different from a senior dog’s. Sedentary
canines typically don’t have the same nutritional needs as active or working dogs. It’s
important to talk to your veterinarian to find out what to feed your canine. He’ll evaluate your pet’s weight, health and activity level to recommend a diet. Find
out more about life stage and lifestyle nutrition here.
You give him real bones.
Whether they’re from poultry, beef, pork or fish, real bones
are dangerous for dogs. A number of bad things can happen if a dog eats one: The
bone can splinter and puncture his digestive tract, it can become lodged in
your dog’s throat or digestive tract, it can cause bloody mouth or tongue injuries, and more. Next
time you serve meat or fish, make sure you follow these precautions, so your dog
doesn’t accidentally ingest a bone.