When switching to a new food brand, there are a few things to keep in mind. Especially if you are switching from a budget brand to a premium one your dog may react to the higher amount of protein by getting an upset stomach. The best way to avoid this, and to have a smooth transitioning, is to replace your old food with the new one over a few days, according to the suggestion below;
- Day 1: Mix 20% of the new food with 80% of the old.
- Day 2: Mix 40% of the new food with 60% of the old.
- Day 3: Mix 60% of the new food with 40% of the old.
- Day 4: Mix 80% of the new food with 20% of the old.
- Day 5: Feed 100% of the new food.
*If at any point during this process your dog stops eating or develops vomiting or diarrhea, do not feed any more of the new food and call the office.
What is an ideal weight for my dog?
Ensuring your dog is at an optimal body weight is an essential part of maintaining good health. The following Body Condition Score chart is based on a 1-5 point scale:
(1 = emaciated and 5 = obese). This chart is a useful technique to assess the condition of your dog, it is however, only intended to be used as a guide, if your dog does not fall into the ‘ideal’ range we suggest you consult your vet for further advice.
Easily visible ribs, lower back and pelvic bones. No visible covering of fat, obvious waist and abdominal tuck. Absence of any muscle mass.
Easily felt ribs, minimum covering of fat, waist easily noted when viewed from above and visible abdominal tuck.
Ribs felt but without excess fat covering, waist noted behind ribs when viewed from above. Abdomen tucked up when viewed from the side.
Ribs felt but with an excess covering of fat. Waist still observed from above but not as prominent. Abdominal tuck may be absent.
Ribs not easily felt under a large covering of fat. Waist and abdominal tuck not discernible. Fat deposits on lower back and base of tail. May observe signs of obvious abdominal distention.
How can I help my overweight dog to lose weight?
- Cut back on the amount of food you are feeding by 10% in the first instance, but you may need to cut back further
- Make sure you feed your dog good quality foods that does not contain too much fat, wheat or unnecessary fillers. Both Wellness Core and Harrington’s are good options.
- Increase the amount of exercise your dog takes if possible. This can include throwing a ball for him whilst on your normal walk.
- If you currently feed any treats, use part of your dogs daily food allowance for this
- If your dog still appears hungry when he has been fed, you could try soaking the food in a little water before you feed it. This swells the food and leaves your dog feeling more satisfied.
- If your dog is a fast eater, try to slow him down, that way he will register that he is full sooner. You can do this by making him work to get his food, using a Fun Feeder™ (link) instead of a regular bowl, for example.
- The main thing is to feed the right amount of food for the energy he is using. If you feed less than this he will lose weight, if you feed more he will gain weight.
How can I deal with a fussy eater?
- Try and get your dog into a routine when feeding, some dogs can become fussy eaters if they have access to food all day - If your dog is mainly eating dry food, you can make his or her bowl more exciting by trying to add some wet food. Remember to remove about 1/3 of a cup of dry food for every 6 oz (170 g) of wet food (see our wet dog foods). - You could try to moistening the food, heat up in the microwave for up to 1 minute and allow to cool.
- If you have any concerns regarding your dogs eating habits, always talk to your vet as a loss of appetite could be a sign of illness
- Try disguising pills by wrapping in a favourite food, small pieces of meat or cheese can work well.
How can I deal with a greedy eater?
- Try positioning the dog bowl a little way off the ground. This will help prevent a greedy dog from gobbling food.
- If your greedy dog develops food aggression we advise talking to a local dog training school as they should be able to help you.
- Instead of using a regular feeding bowl, try a Fun Feeder
. They can keep pups engaged for up to 10 times longer, which improves digestion.
What should I think about when it comes to senior dogs??
- To help prevent weight gain try feeding smaller portions 2 to 3 times a day. This helps to increase an older dog's metabolism and burn calories.
- Older dogs need mental stimulation just as much as a younger dogs, so you can still introduce new games, toys and maintain their training. Take a look at our interactive Nina Ottosson Toys.
- Swimming and walking can help reduce joint stiffness in an older dog, however be careful not to over-exercise and if you have any concerns talk to your vet. - Older dogs may need to have comfort breaks more often than a younger dog. - Older dogs can benefit from using joint supplements such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin.