Two topics that are fairly sensitive around most American dinner tables are overeating and obesity. This same thought process is true of the dog dish as well. From constant snacking to one time binges, our dogs- much like us during the holidays- have trouble eating sensibly. Fortunately, as a dog owner, you are responsible for most of what goes into his mouth- and therefore can take steps to make sure your dog is eating the right amount of food for his age/energy level.
Effects of Overeating on Dogs
Regular consumption of excess calories adds pounds to your dog- which can lead to inefficient functioning of his pulmonary and cardiovascular systems and his kidneys. This means that he’s much more likely to develop conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. In addition, the areas between the folds of fat are a moist environment that encourages the growth of yeast and other skin problems.
Eventually, his joints will begin to wear out from carrying too much weight. His immune system becomes ineffective as well- meaning he can’t fight off infections. He may not even enjoy taking family walks through the neighborhood anymore.
Binging is Dangerous
While it can be tempting to give your dog extra food/treats on special family occasions so he can celebrate too- you should know that an extra-large meal can cause what is known as bloat. This is a life-threatening condition when a dog’s stomach is overfilled, putting pressure on his surrounding organs. If you notice that your dogs is restless, pacing, panting, or drooling after gobbling down a large meal, head to the vet.
Manage Portions and Treats
While it’s true that some dogs are able to control their appetites, most of the time they will consume anything and everything they can- as long as it’s not too healthy. For these dogs, you need to avoid offering free-feeding. Instead, the experts recommend that you divide your dog’s daily food portion into half and feed him twice a day.
Of course, your dog will likely get bored with the same food all the time- treats are a good way to break the monotony. Plus, treats are a great thing to use during obedience training. However, make sure you pay attention to the calories and adjust the amount of food that you’re feeding him.