An estimated 35% of pets in the USA are overweight— most commonly caused by too much food and not enough exercise (sound familiar?!). If you are a very active adult, you know that you can eat more because you will burn more calories without gaining weight. Same for dogs. Ask your veterinarian about the ideal weight for your pet. Be sure to give your dog enough physical activity, and be aware that as pets gold older, they become less active and need fewer calories than a younger pet, so their food intact should be adjusted. The best way to know for sure if you are over feeding your dog, or yourself for that matter, is to measure portions and not just guess or fill up the bowl. Specially formulated diet dog foods can help get your canine companion back on track if he or she is over weight.
Just like you do at the grocery store when buying people food, read pet food labels, too. According to a recent survey, only 4 in 10 pet parents say they understand pet food labels. Pretty packaging featuring healthy looking animals and ingredients don't always reflect what is inside, so take the time to read the small print on the label. A common term you will see on a pet food label is Guaranteed Analysis. This is the overall fat, protein, fiber, and moisture content of the food. Look for a healthy balance of nutrients and moisture. Pay particular attention to the first 5-8 ingredients on the label to make sure there is a healthy combination of high-quality proteins. Meat should be high on the list, not grains or fillers. The sources listed should be natural names you recognize such as chicken, chicken liver, carrots, blueberries and more.