Friday, December 28, 2012

The Dog Food Files Part 2: More Food does not equal More Love

Originally Posted 4/13/11.

Podgy pooch Cassie has begun a strict diet after ballooning to over nine stone because she'd been allowed to gorge on roast dinners, takeaways, and fish and chips. The seven-year-old border collie looks almost seal-like after years of unhealthy eating left her over three times the weight she should be. Cassie was brought into the Dog's Trust re-homing centre in Kenilworth, Warks., tipping the scales at 58kg when she should be 18-20kg. They have now been given the task of helping Cassie to slim down so she can be re-homed with a loving family but fear it will take them at least a year. The hefty hound, who is too fat to stand up to eat and suffers painful bed sores all over her body from lying down too often, lived alone with her elderly female owner - who regularly served her gut-busting treats like fish and chips on Fridays and full roast dinners on Sundays.
Picture: / Glen Minikin
I was forwarded this picture from a friend and my jaw literally dropped when i read the article.  This poor border collie girl weighed an astounding 127.6 pounds.  (That is the same as my Qwill, Trophy and Shiner combined!!)  All because she was fed dinners of fish and chips and clearly not exercised as she should.

Ask any of my dogs and they will tell you I starve them, and to please offer them some more cookies for their empty tummies.

My dogs are liars.

Feeding Guidelines on dog food bags are just suggestions.  Each dog is an individual with their own metabolic rate.  Qwill and Trophy, for example are about the same weight at 45 pounds.  Qwill can gain weight by breathing air, Trophy loses weight while sleeping.  Qwill eats 1 1/4 cups of food divided by two meals, and Trophy usually eats 2 cups per day.

When training, it is best to use tiny pieces of treats.  The size of the treat is not important - the act of giving the treat to your dog is what is rewarding.  Offer them one large chunk of food, and it is still only one treat... but break that large piece into 5 treats and your dog has a jackpot!  In that aspect dogs are like children.  Try to trade a child 3 pennies for their quarter and see how excited they are to now have 3 coins!

So how much food should you feed?  I'll cover that in Part 3.

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