September 20th, 2023
When your dog was a puppy, the focus was often on making sure your dog was getting enough nutrition. But as your dog gets older, maintaining a healthy weight is critical to their long term health.
Many pet owners struggle with this, either by offering their dog too much food, switching dog food brands, or failing to notice when their dog is receiving more than their exercise level allows. It can be easy to accidentally feed your pet a little too much. The key though is to make sure that you are watching for any signs that they may be overeating, and are prepared to make the changes necessary to keep your furry friends healthy and happy for the rest of their days.
What Are the Signs I’m Feeding My Dog Too Much?
Even though they do so intentionally, many owners can get into a bad habit of feeding their pets too much. Knowing exactly how much food they need, how many treats they should be allowed, and how both can affect their calorie consumption each day can be difficult.
However your pet's health and nutritional needs are incredibly important, and you need to be aware of the signs that your dog is overeating in order to adjust accordingly. The most likely sign is weight gain. With most dog breeds, you are supposed to be able to easily feel their ribs, but not necessarily see them. If you notice that they are putting on extra weight, and their ribs are becoming less visible or more difficult to touch, that is already a sign that they may be eating too much food. You can also look into other symptoms of overeating that include:
- Reduced Energy Levels – If you are overfeeding your pup, you may notice signs of excess tiredness. The extra food may be causing them to take more naps than usual, and they may also be less interested in walks or playtime if their stomachs are busy digesting.
- Digestive Problems – If your dog’s poop is solid in the morning but significantly softer during walks later in the day, they may be experiencing digestive issues from being overfed. Your pet’s waste is often a great barometer for if they’ve eaten anything they shouldn’t have, or if they’ve simply eaten too much of the food that they should be eating.
- Excessive Hunger – Excessive hunger is not necessarily a sign of overeating. But it can be a sign that their hunger signals are not always accurate. Many pet owners feed their dogs when they seem hungry. But some dogs do not have the “off” switch in their mind that tells them they need to stop eating. If you’re feeding your dog based on their perceived hunger level, and not based on a vet-recommended daily intake, you may be overfeeding them.
The majority of pet food comes with suggested daily feeding amounts, but these suggestions aren't always accurate. Every dog has their unique eating habits, as well as individual digestion and health issues. All of these must be kept in mind when we are putting together a pet's meal plan. While there are also tools available online to help determine how much your furry friend may generally eat, it is also good to ask their veterinarian for a personalized plan for the expected calorie needs of your pet.