As pet owners we’re conscious to make sure our dogs are as happy and healthy as they can be, good citizens of the canine world, and do our best to repay them for the unconditional love and fun moments they bring to our lives.
According to the Butcher’s Pet Care Healthy Happy Hound report, over a third (37%) of dog owners don’t know how much their dog should weigh. By this definition, if an owner doesn’t know how much their dog should weigh, they won’t know how much they should be feeding and we know that the worry that your dog could be underweight, can be just as much of a concern as whether he’s overweight.
Let’s look at the PFMA’s Weigh in Wednesday guide to analyse your dog’s weight category.
Is your dog…
1. Very Thin
• Ribs, spine and hip bones are very easily seen (in short haired pets)
• Obvious loss of muscle bulk
• No fat can be felt under the skin
• Ribs, spine and hip bones easily seen
• Obvious waist and abdominal tuck
• Very little fat can be felt under the skin
3. Ideal Weight
• Ribs, spine and hip bones easily felt
• Visible waist with an abdominal tuck
• A small amount of fat can be felt
Illustrations courtesy of the Weigh in Wednesday campaign
The above guide is to help you determine if your dog is in fact underweight and which category they fall into. There is no hard number as to what your dog should weigh based on their breed, but there is an average, healthy weight as indeed there is for humans.
For example, during his professional boxing career, standing 5 feet and 10 inches tall ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson weighed in at just 6 pounds under 17 stone. According to the NHS BMI calculator, Tyson’s body mass index score rated him 32.99, right at the very extreme end of the obesity scale. In fact, the BMI reading suggests Tyson was not only obese but was at risk of a whole host of other medical problems related to his being grossly over-weight.
Let’s look again, this time at the other end of the scales.
‘Golden Boy’ Oscar de la Hoya, like Tyson was a world champion boxer who also stands at 5 feet and 10 inches tall. De la Hoya weighed in at 9 stone and 2 pounds for his debut professional contest. Almost 8 stone less than Tyson. De la Hoya’s BMI score (18.38), at the time, tells us he’s classed as underweight and at risk of the associated health problems that this entails.
The reason for the example is to show that what someone ‘should’ weigh, doesn’t always match the reality based on their statistics.
The same can be said of a dog breed. You may have two dogs, same breed, different shapes. One is classed as a healthy weight, the other not.
‘Keep as Fit as a Butcher’s Dog’
No one knows your dog better than you, you are best placed to determine what’s a healthy weight for your dog and knowing their weight by regularly assessing your dog’s size and weight you can adapt feeding and exercise regimes quickly to ensure your dog remains in top condition. Always seek professional advice if you feel there may be an underlying health issue
“Holly Lloyd, owns a 4 year old Labrador called Scout. Holly says, “Scout has always been a lean dog and was fed on a dry food diet but after he developed allergies to dust and storage mites, I had to find an alternative type of food to avoid the possibilities of mites. After trying different brands which didn’t suit him, even though I’d always felt he had a cast iron stomach, I knew I had to find one which had the right amount of ‘good’ ingredients and came across Butcher’s tinned food which had 99% natural ingredients, according to the label.”
After a short time Holly started to notice a huge difference to Scout’s coat, which had been affected by his allergies and noticed an improvement in Scout’s muscle tone, which he had started to lose as a result of arthritis in his back legs as well as him starting to regain some of the lost weight.
Scout, before trialing Butcher’s Lean & Tasty
Three months on a diet of Butcher’s, Scout no longer needs steroids or antihistamines for his allergies, his skin is healthy, his coat is shiny, his joints are no longer showing signs of problems and he is a much healthier weight.
Scout, after trialing Butcher’s Lean & Tasty
Holly says, “I knew I needed to find a good, stable food and I’m hugely grateful I did my research before choosing Butcher’s. The label gave me the confidence that it included all of the goodness Scout needed, and luckily he agreed.”
The diet you feed and the lifestyle your dog leads will determine their weight as much as any genetic factor.
If your dog isn’t a big eater and that may be the underlying cause of their weight loss, try changing their feeding habits.
For example, if you typically feed dry food and your dog is the only pet in the home, don’t leave their food down for them to dip into and out of. It may be your dog is relying on the fact the food is constantly available. Try feeding little and often, but always taking the unfinished food away and monitoring how much has been eaten.
However, the biggest change you can make is by making food more appealing by putting a little meat on top if you feed a dry diet, Butcher’s Tripe recipes for instance, is known as a great appetite trigger, so that your dog gets the food he really enjoys and you can gradually increase the amount over time so that his digestion system can get used to the new food.
As a wet food, Butcher’s Tripe Mix meaty canned food creates immediate interest from the smell to the texture. Tripe is full of animal protein, it’s a natural dog food and sometimes referred to as ‘catnip for dogs’! This could be ideal for those of you with one or more dog in the home trying to get your dog to eat their whole meal at once.
Understanding the value of feeding your dog and the right nutritional elements to suit them, as an individual, is one of the biggest determining factors as to how healthy your dog can be, both now and in to their old age.
Butcher’s Lean & Tasty meaty complete meals with 30% less fat is a more natural dog food, as are all of the Butcher’s products, because they contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
Visit the Butcher’s Pet Care website and use the tool to find the right food for your dog – butcherspetcare.co.uk