Are You Overfeeding Your Dog?

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Hey, it’s Tenille here from Dog Matters. Today I want to talk to you about how much you’re feeding your dog and what this has to do with training. Oftentimes, we’re training using food rewards. So that’s the first thing. A lot of people say to me, “It’s all right, you don’t need to worry about skipping my dog’s meal, because they’re a pig and they’ll eat anything you offer to them.” But there is a difference between a dog that will just take what’s offered to them for free and a dog that’ll actually put in effort and work for that food. Now, for a dog to put in effort and work for the food, it has to actually be hungry.

A lot of the times when I’m seeing dogs and we need to train them and get their motivation up, they’re just not hungry enough, and this comes from being overfed. Actually, the majority of dogs, I think, in western society are overfed. I just wanted to show you today quickly how much I feed my three dogs per day. I’ve got two large medium dogs and one small dog. Each day they eat about two kilos total between the three of them of raw food. Today it’s Raw 4 Paws, about two kilos in there. What often happens is, people forget that extras count for that dog’s daily intake. So what happens is, if you are feeding your dog a cup of dry food in the morning and a bone to keep them busy, that bone is like a second meal. Now, a lot of dogs will just pick the bone and leave the dry food and people are wondering why their dog’s being so fussy. But the dog is just picking the better option of the two and doesn’t need any more, because that bone is a full meal.

So before you know it, not only is your dog getting their normal daily intake of food, but they’re getting maybe some bones on top to make sure that they have something to do, maybe some Kong toys stuffed with food as well, plus some biscuits left out just in case. Then maybe you do some training with them that day and they’re doing really well, or learning something new, and getting a lot of treats, and they’re getting a lot more than they’re supposed to get each day. So it’s the total daily amount that counts. It’s like if you’re having three healthy meals a day, trying to keep your weight down or lose weight, and you’re wondering why you’re putting weight on, but you just so happen to be having a lot of maybe not so healthy snacks in between your meals and somehow thinking that it doesn’t really count. Aah! I just don’t understand why this is happening! What?

A good way to make sure that your dog isn’t being overfed, is to provide their daily intake meals, so if they get breakfast, put it inside something like a Kong toy. A lot of people get these toys to keep their dog occupied and then wonder why the dog doesn’t put any effort into getting the food out of it. But the key is that you don’t feed them breakfast and then give them this. You put their breakfast inside this. They’re not going to put effort into getting food out of something that’s a bit challenging, if they’re already full. This is great way to keep your dog occupied with something that lasts a bit longer than just eating out of bowl, while at the same time not overfeeding your dog.

Then, on top of that, if you’re doing training as well, keep an eye on how many treats you’re using. If your dog will work for the same food that they eat as their daily meal, use that. Be aware of how much you’re putting into your treat bag before you start training, and then deduct that out of your dog’s meal that day. If that’s the whole meal then they don’t need to eat out of a bowl that day, and that is okay. You should aim to keep your dog lean with an obvious tuck in behind the ribcage at the waist. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video tip today. I’m Tenille from Dog Matters, and I’ll see you in this next video.