06 May Counting Calories…for your dog?
Yes! It is important to know how many calories your dog should eat every day and make sure they are getting that amount as well as the right kind of food. Is it right for their age, activity level, dietary needs, allergies, etc.?
The percentage of overweight and obese Americans is increasing at a drastic rate. It of course goes without saying, that those numbers are increasing for America's pets as well. About 41 million dogs and 47 million cats are overweight or obese, or 21% and 25% respectfully. Read more here. I know that when I do not hold myself accountable for what I am eating, I gain upwards of 20 pounds. I love food, and (for the most part) so does Berlin. This is why I make sure to dish out the appropriate amount of food for her each day.
It is also important to monitor how and when your dogs eats. I believe in feeding Berlin twice a day, breakfast and dinner, at roughly the same times. She, like most dogs, finds comfort in having a schedule. Sometimes it takes some convincing to get her to eat. I can only dream of having such will power. If she doesn't eat her meal (which is only dry food) within an hour, I either take it away or it becomes her next meal. Sometimes she eats rather quickly. I have given up trying to figure out her varying appetite but I do my best to convince her to eat when the food is out. (Berlin is a good weight and we take her to the vet regularly for a clean bill of health.)
On the other hand, some dogs eat alarming fast. This is another reason to break the food into two meals and possibly use specialized bowls/accessories. These items impede the dog's access to the food just enough to slow them down and make eating a fun challenge. Bloat, when the stomach distends with gas and fluids and flips on its long axis, is a serious and often fatal problem that can be avoided in most situations with the right precautions. Here are a few options to slow down your dog's eating - Slow Feed Pet Bowl, Heavy Duty Slow Feed Pet Bowl, and the Portion Pacer.
Remember if you change your dog's food, check the serving size so you do not under or overfeed your pet.
I only wish my own meals were as easy to prepare!