Bird Dogs & Training  |  08/01/2014

Applying a Lean Look to Feeding Guidelines

It’s important is it to feed dogs on an individual basis versus simply feeding the amount of food suggested on the back of the package.
The feeding guidelines on a bag or can of food are suggested amounts to feed based on the average energy requirements of dogs. However, many dogs may need more or less than the amount suggested. If your dog is not very active, you might start with less food. If your dog is highly active, you could start with more food.
If you are starting a food for the first time and your dog seems “average,” you should use the guidelines to help you know how much to feed. If you are feeding other snacks and treats, as well, you should feed less.
Monitor your dog’s weight, then increase or decrease the amount of food offered to help attain and maintain a lean body mass in your dog. Remember that maintaining your dog’s weight in colder temperatures and throughout a lengthy season afield often requires compensating with additional cups and calories. If you do not have access to a scale, you can monitor changes by using a measuring tape to measure and record the circumference of your dog’s waist (just behind the ribs) and chest (just behind the elbows). These measures reflect body fat and will increase or decrease over time with weight changes.
How to determine your dog’s Purina Body Condition System score can be found in this illustration, developed by researchers at the NestlĂ© Purina Pet Care Center.