Determining Dog Food Ration Sizes

puppy trainingDetermining Dog Food Ration Sizes
Knowing the right proportion size or ration to feed your dog is a bit of science and a bit of art. Every dog is different with regards to food and nutrition requirements, just as every person is a bit different as well. It is important for dog owners to both monitor their dog’s overall health and weight as well as adjust the food proportions for optimum balance.
The first step in knowing if you dog is eating enough, too little or too much is to take a good look at the dog. If you can feel your dog’s ribs easily but not see them and he or she has a waist and a noticeable upturn between the abdomen and the back legs then they are probably at a healthy weight. Keep in mind some breeds won’t have a tucked up abdomen because of their body shape, but most will have a rise from the back of the ribcage to the belly area. Long haired breeds are more difficult to judge from the profile and you will have to get through the hair to feel for the ribs.
Another way to tell if your dog is eating the right amount is to actually physically weigh the dog. Breeds will have an accepted weight range, which you can easily find online, from a breeder or from your vet. It is important to remember that if your dog is larger or smaller than the breed average you will need to take that into consideration. At your annual vet check-up your vet should weight the dog and discuss if they are in the healthy range, too thin or too heavy. If you notice any sudden weight gains or weight losses, schedule an appointment and talk to your vet to address any health issues that may be present.
Hybrid dogs or mixed breed dogs are much more difficult to evaluate based on standard weights. For example, a Puggle, which is a cross between a Pug and a Beagle, is a very common and highly popular mixed breed dog. A purebred Pug typically weighs between 12 and 20 pounds, with males heavier than females. A Beagle is larger, often weighing in at up to 25 pounds. A Puggle may weigh actually more than either parent due to a genetic issue known as hybrid vigor. While most Puggles will fall between 15 and 25 pounds in weight, they can still be healthy at up to 30 pounds depending on their body size and frame. Even more extreme weight differences between the parent breeds leads to great difficulties in assessing food intake based on breed averages alone.
Most dog food manufacturers provide suggested feeding rates on the side of the packaging. Remember this is for a normally healthy, active dog, which may or may not be the case for your pet. Start with this amount and add or subtract by no more than ΒΌ of the recommended ration until you come up with the right amount that keeps your dog content but doesn’t pack on any extra pounds.

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