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Your HoundBytes Issue for OCT'07 -- Too much doggie?
October 09, 2007

At this side of the globe, autumn has set in. The sun isn't shining that bright anymore and the temperature drops every week. Leaves are falling and soon we will be walking our dog in dark rainy weather.

Though it doesn't rain every day, on average dogs will get less exercise in autumn and winter. On sunny days people take their furry friend to the forest or the beach for long walks. On chilly days only the die hards remain.

I can recommend a forest hike so you can enjoy the coloring of the leaves, the different kinds of mushrooms that appear everywhere and the sound of crispy leaves with every footstep.

But in case you are not a die hard, you will need to take care of something else instead. When your dog is not getting as much exercise as earlier this year, you should cut down on doggie snacks to avoid your dog putting on some weight.

Too much doggie?

Current estimates are that about 30% of the total dog population in developed countries is overweight, whereas 4% is actually obese.

Obesity in dogs has become the number 1 food-related health issue!

Obesity develops when dietary energy intake is in excess of energy expenditure for a longer period of time. A dog that eats too much and puts on weight will exercise less and less (because he gets tired sooner). His metabolism will run slower and even if the dog doesn't empty the dog food bowl, his energy intake will still exceed his needs. This is what happens to us people too.

In the end you have a fat dog that doesn't move much and doesn't eat much either. This is an unnatural situation, a fat dog has a higher risk of developing all kinds of diseases such as canine diabetes and overall a fat dog has a decreased life expectancy (about 2 years less).

Experiments also show that dogs that eat too much suffer from a decreased immune function. The result is that when fat dogs get sick this will be more severe and it will take a longer period of time for him to recover.

Of course it's better to prevent your dog from putting on too much weight as loosing weight is much more difficult.

So how much to feed your canine companion?

When you take a look at the dog food label of the brand you're feeding you'll notice the dog food ingredients list, the guaranteed analysis (or typical analysis), and further down you'll usually find the recommended amount to feed your dog.

You'll need to weigh your dog and then you find the recommended amount of dog food per day, right?


A common made error is to feed the amount of dog food that corresponds to the CURRENT weight of the dog. You should know the IDEAL weight of your dog and feed the amount corresponding to that.

For instance, if your dog is weighing 25 kg and his ideal weight is 22 kg. He is then almost 15% overweight! You should look in the table for the entry of 22 kg and actually... below that to try and correct your dog's obesity.

Also the manufacturer's guidelines assume you walk your dog for a reasonable time each and every day. A reasonable time would be an hour a day. Many dog owners overstate this. The other day a veterinarian told me the average walk for a dog is only 10 minutes. So if your dog is not getting that much exercise you need to correct for this when determining the amount of dog food to feed him.

If your dog is already overweight then...

  • Determine the amount of dog food for his ideal weight and give only 50% of this for fast weight reduction or 75% for a slower pace.

  • Increase daily exercise gradually so your dog has the time to adjust and get used to it.

  • Divide the allowed amount of dog food into 4 to 5 portions. When you give your dog a bit of dog food multiple times a day his 'engine' will keep running and this will aid fat loss. Alternatively, give your furry friend low cal snacks such as a piece of apple, a carrot, some beans or a piece of cucumber.

Share Your Stories and Experiences

Do you have information from the dog food manufacturer that you want to share? Odd evasive responses or responses that grow trust and confidence?

Let us know so we can all benefit from your experience.

Let me tell you my about my latest experience.

I was buying deep frozen meat in bulk for my Japanese Akita Kensho. Usually it is red and kind of bloody, but occasionally it appears a brownish beige. And Kensho doesn't like the brownish meat. The retailer told me that this is because of the variance in quality and he recommended me the product of another manufacturer.

Then I wrote to the dog food manufacturer. Explaining my concern and the story the retailer told me. They suspect the change in color to occur due to thawing and freezing of the product during transportation and/or storage.

They promised to look into this and verify transportation and storage conditions to and in the store I was buying from. Meanwhile I got coupons for free dog food as a compensation. I went to another store and got red bloody meat.

This shows things can go wrong with a dog food product, also when it has left the factory in good condition.

Do you have a story of experience to share with us?

New on

Soon on

  • More information about Dog Digestion.

  • A Frequently Asked Questions section.

Any wishes? Feedback? Did you find information on my website that was not clear enough?

Just let me know by submitting your question, comments, wishes or feedback via the Contact Form

Paws up,
Have you already downloaded your copy of 'A Bit of Tender, Love and Care for Dogs' and 'DogWhisperWoman Answers Your Questions'?

You can find the download link on the Best Dog Food Guide - Members Only Section And remember your password is 'barktwice'.

You are free to sent the e-books to your dog minded friends.

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