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How much should I feed my dog - Dog feeding guide.

How much should I feed my dog - Dog feeding guide.

Discover the truth about how much you should be feeding your dog

You’ve probably noticed that your dog always seems hungry. Whenever you sit down with a plate of food, there they are, staring at you with those irresistible puppy dog eyes.

But chances are, you’re probably feeding your dog too much. Those feeding instructions on their food label are just a guide and don’t take into consideration your dog’s breed, size and activity level.

So how do you determine what the right amount of food is? Follow these steps.

 

Step one

First things first, visit your vet. Get your dog weighed so you can tell if they’re over, under or ideal by a proper physical exam. Dogs are the right weight when you can see a distinct waistline that’s narrower than their rib cage and you can feel those ribs without them being visible.

Vets will also put your mind at rest about any underlying medical conditions that could be contributing to their weight issues – chronic illnesses like thyroid problems or parasites can lead to weight gain or loss.

And your vet can also help you come up with a plan of action, including how much your dog should be eating. You can easily keep track of this information by entering into your PoochPlay app, where you’ll get reminders and suggestions tailored to how much activity your dog’s had on any particular day.

Top tip: Trouble getting your pooch on the scale? Try this. Weigh yourself first, to the smallest possible denominator. Then pick up your dog and step back on the scale. Subtract your weight from the combined weight and hey presto!

 

Step two

This is where the science comes in. A dog nutritionist can figure out a pup’s specific caloric needs based on their weight, activity level and age – a bit like figuring out your BMI.

Find out what your dog’s ideal weight is in kilograms. You can ask your vet or you can use PoochPlay to tell you right away. Next you need to calculate their resting energy requirement (RER). The formula for this is (weight in kg x 30) + 70. You can use this to determine your dog’s Daily Energy Requirement, in kilocalories.

Sound a bit complicated? There’s an easier way. Simply add your dog’s weight, breed and age information into your PoochPlay app and we’ll tell you how much you should be feeding your dog, taking into consideration their daily activity levels. No need for calculators, measurements or monitoring – we’ll do it all for you and make suggestions on types of food that might suit your pet best.

If your dog’s eating more kilocalories per day than their Daily Energy Requirement, they’re overeating and will gain weight. To shed some pounds, make some adjustments to the amount you’re feeding them. You can take a guess or reply on our sophisticated technology to help you get it right first time.

Note: Make sure your dog doesn’t lose more than 2% of their body weight every week. And if they need to gain weight, it should be slow and steady.

 

Step three

For overweight dogs

Overweight dogs live significantly shorter lives than healthy ones – almost two years, which is a long time in doggie years. Just like people, dogs are happier when they’re active and trim rather than heavy and slow.

So it’s not just the food you feed them you need to watch. Keep a close eye on treats and titbits and be strict with dog walkers, family and friends about the food your dog is given.

Mix up their exercise to keep them interested in it. If your dog loves other dogs, take them to a dog park where they can run and play with their friends. Go for a long walk, visit the local lake and let them have a swim or take them on your morning run.

Use the PoochPlay activity tracker to see just how much exercise your dog is getting when you’re not around (probably very little) and we’ll send you reminders when it’s time for a trip outside.

For underweight dogs

As we’ve mentioned, most dogs love their food. So if yours isn’t eating or has started to show less interest in meal time, it could be an indicator something’s not right. Maybe your pooch is poorly, has something wrong with their teeth or has worms.

These kinds of issues are particularly common in rescue dogs or puppy mills. Take them to the vet for examination and then get them on a high-quality, nutritious diet that’ll help them build up their strength. It’s better to monitor their diet than encourage laziness now, so keep up their activity levels.

 

Step four

Stick to a feeding schedule. Most vets and dog trainers (including our experts at PoochPlay) discourage owners from leaving a big bowl of food out all day for your dog to graze on. Most pups will wolf it down in one go, and eating little and often is better for their health.

Setting mealtimes in the morning and evening gives your dog behavioural and physical boundaries. Your dog will recognise you as the leader of their pack once they realise you’re the one who controls their food bowl. And you’ll have an easier time house training and predicting when they need to go out if you know when they’ve most recently eaten.

Remember: the amount of food the label tells you to feed your dog is per day, not per meal. So make sure you divide portions equally. And if you’re prone to forgetting, our app will remind you exactly what and when to feed your pup to help you along.

Top tip: If your dog’s prone to wolfing down their food in one go, try using a puzzle toy during the day to get them to work for their food and slow them down.

 

Step five

Consider food quality. If you lay around eating burgers and chips all day, you’d probably gain weight – and lose out on vital nutrition. The same can be said for dog food. Lots of the most well-known brands are packed with things like corn, animal byproducts and artificial preservatives and flavours.

PoochPlay will recommend nutritionally dense foods that you might not have heard of, so you can be sure your dog’s receiving the best quality possible. If you notice your dog’s stools seem loose, it’s probably because they’re eating ‘junk food’ – their body won’t be absorbing those nutritionally-empty ingredients.

Additionally, too many treats can cause obesity in dogs. When you’re training, make sure you reduce the amount of food you give them for dinner and try to limit treats to no more than five a day. If you make a note in PoochPlay of what and when you’re handing over a snack, we’ll automatically adjust the amount of food to feed your pup that evening. One less thing for you to worry about.

What else?

Sometimes, dogs need extra calories. If your pooch is under six months old they’ll need more calories to grow, while pregnant females and nursing mums all require extra calories to feed their young.

Watch out for big food companies. Obviously, the faster your dog empties a bag of food the sooner you’ll need to buy another, so they may not have your dog’s best interests at heart. The recommended amounts may be skewed towards overfeeding, so do your own research and let PoochPlay help you figure out what you really need to be feeding them.

Seek out a company that list meat as a first ingredient, as protein will fill your dog up faster. High quality food may cost more at the outset, but you’ll use less – and have a healthier dog overall.

You want to be the owner your dog deserves and part of that is being responsible for their weight and diet. Help your dog live a long, healthy life – download PoochPlay today.

 

 

Jetting off into the sunset this summer

Jetting off into the sunset this summer

Your dog deserves a break too, right? All that running around, chasing birds and rolling in mud can grind you down. But what do you do when you want to get some summer sun abroad, especially when your dog is of a certain age?

A change is better than a rest

Just like humans, as they get older dogs get set in their ways. They crave routine and might prefer the comfort and familiarity of home to a new adventure.

Flying can be both physically and emotionally draining to an elderly dog, so as much as you want to bring them along on your family trip, consider these things first.

Nose to tail health

Speak to your vet before booking anything. Get your dog looked over so you can be sure they’re fit and healthy enough to travel, and seek advice from an expert about whether they’re up to it.

Practice makes perfect

If you’re boarding a plane ,your dog is going to have to get used to a crate. And if they’ve not used one in the past and they’re getting on a bit, teaching the old dog new tricks may take some time. Start familiarising your dog with their crate well in advance – we’re talking six months here.

Make your dog’s crate a happy place to be with toys, a comforting blanket or a jumper that smells like you. This will help keep their anxiety levels low during the journey, as well as keep them feeling content when settling into your holiday digs.

And beware of bathroom breaks. Older dogs need to pee more frequently, so if it’s a long flight consider a dog nappy for your pooch to prevent any accidents on board.

One size doesn’t fit all

Read the fine print: while most airlines follow the same standard rules, there might be slightly different requirements depending on your breed. Check what size dog is allowed in the cabin, whether there’s a standard carrier you must use and if you need to bring certificates of vaccinations or anything.

Smaller dogs may be able to fit inside the plane cabin and travel with you. You might want to use a tranquiliser to keep your dog calm or asleep during the flight, but make sure you give them plenty of small sips of water throughout to stop them getting dehydrated.

If your dog can’t sit comfortably on your lap (in your eyes, not theirs), they’ll almost certainly need to travel in the cargo section of the plane. Prepare for this by getting a crate with a secure locking system and ensuring all vital information along with your phone number is attached to their cage.

Keep calm and carry on

Your dog will easily pick up on how you’re feeling, so if you’re anxious about the flight try to calm your nerves. Stick to a regular schedule that incorporates time in the crate, journeys in the car and time spent apart to get your pooch as accustomed as possible to the journey ahead.

Happy holidays!

1 in 2 dogs in the UK are overweight – and it's costing us money

1 in 2 dogs in the UK are overweight – and it's costing us money

A new study has revealed that more than one in two dogs in the UK are now overweight – and the number is only rising.

 

Like owner like dog?

‘Dogs look like their owners’ is the common turn of phrase. And what if it’s starting to come true? Over the last ten years, dogs appear to have been mirroring the human obesity epidemic, with 158% more fat dogs today than there were a decade ago.

And it’s bad news if you closely resemble a Labrador retriever, Cairn terrier or Cocker spaniel: they’ve been identified as the most likely pooches to pile on the pounds.

 

Suffering in silence

But being overweight can have serious health consequences for your dog. Unlike us, they can’t voice their discomfort and pain, so you may not know how much they’re suffering.

Obesity increases the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and respiratory problems – much like the problems overweight owners can face. The recent Banfield report discovered that dogs carrying more than their fair share of weight have an 82% increase in arthritis issues and 83% increase in tracheal collapse.

 

Love handles don’t come for free

Being overweight costs people money. If you’re the owner of a porky pooch, you’ll likely spend 17% more on healthcare over a four-year period and a quarter more on medication.

Then there’s the cost of food: a third of owners admit to overfeeding their dogs, while research shows that most dogs don’t get enough quality exercise. The result? Long-term health issues and that shorten doggie lives by up to two years.

 

Fat or just curvy?

Head vet at tailor-made dog food company tails.com, Dr Sean McCormack explains the tell-tale signs that your dog is carrying too much weight.

  1. When running your hands over your dog’s chest you find it difficult to feel their ribs. Or their belly is hanging towards the floor instead of neatly tucked towards their hips. Dogs have waists too, you know.
  2. Smelly breath. Inflamed gums, difficulty chewing, stained or tartar-ridden teeth are all indicators of obesity.
  3. Patches of red, flaky, dry or inflamed skin. Dermatitis, dandruff and dull coats are symptoms of a flabby pet. Any strange lumps or fleshy growths should be checked by a vet immediately.
  4. Loss of appetite or too much sleep can mean a dog is overweight. Being fat can make you lethargic, so if they’re panting a lot, stopping frequently or refusing to walk it’s probably because they’re uncomfortable. Watch out for excess thirst or lack of interest in you as well.
  5. Digestive problems are a common issue in overweight pooches. Flinching when their tummy is touched, adopting certain poses, gurgling sounds or vomiting and diarrhoea should all be causes for concern.

 

How you can help

Every owner wants their pet to live a long, healthy life that’s free from pain. But it can be difficult to know what’s best for your dog and all too easy to give into those puppy-dog eyes.  PoochPlay can help you get your dog’s health and happiness under control. Tailored diet, exercise and activity plans make getting your pooch in shape easy.

Download today and start your dog on the road to a longer, better life.