Do you sometimes feel like your dog is a bottomless pit and obsessed with food? These handy tips will help your pet - without overfeeding.
The feeling of a full or empty stomach affects dogs just as it
does us. The difference is they can’t
help themselves…. but they can try! We’ve all experienced the relatively
harmless behaviours, the puppy dog eyes, the head tilt, the head on your lap
under the dinner table.
Unfortunately, a hungry dog may also engage in ‘antisocial
behaviours’ such as coprophagia (eating faeces), scavenging and competitive
behaviour towards other animals if present at meal-times. Food guarding might
be directed towards people or pets.
So how can we help our dogs not to fixate on food and feel
fuller for longer?
Invest in a slow feeder if he or she is a fast eater for all
or part of your dog’s daily allowance. There are many different types available
to suit every size and shape of dog, designed to slow down the rate of
ingestion and prolong mealtimes. Supervise your dog at first to ensure he is
not becoming frustrated.
Is your dog truly hungry or just bored? Remember your pet
may find play just as rewarding as food. If your pet seems in need of
attention, why not play a game? Interactive feeding toys, or puzzles can
also be introduced to further slow-down feeding and make it even more
Introduce wet food
Consider feeding a proportion of wet food such as Arden
, which is lower calorie than dry, due to its higher moisture
content. This is a good way to increase the daily volume without exceeding your
dog’s requirements. 100g of wet food (just under ¼ of a can) is equivalent to
around 35g of our dry adult diets. (This is based on the Arden Grange chicken
canned food and adult chicken & rice
dry food. Calorie content may
vary depending on the product).
Soak dry food for about half an hour prior to serving. This
will cause it to expand a little, and also makes it easier to adhere within
feeding toys and not be too rapidly eaten.
There are many other benefits of soaking
dry kibble too!
Is your routine working?
Work around your dog’s appetite and perhaps, if you find he or
she is generally hungriest in the evenings but not as hungry at breakfast, you
could feed a larger meal in the evening, or even split the nightly allowance
into a tea-time feed and a supper.
Ensure everyone in the home is aware of your pet’s daily
food and treat allowance, exercise and timings! They may be hungrier if they have
had an extra walk today!
Once you have established a pattern and implemented new
times if needed, try to stick to the routine to help promote stable blood sugar
and good serotonin levels. Be very careful not to exercise too near to a
mealtime as this may increase the risk of bloat.
Sometimes medical problems can result in a very voracious
appetite or an appetite for non-food items so do seek veterinary advice if your
dog is insatiable.
Excerpts from ‘Canine diet and behaviour’ by Ness Bird – Arden
Grange Nutrition Adviser and RVN CertCFVHNut ©