Am I Feeding My Dog Enough?

20 Comments

by Caroline Griffith

Whether through duty, concern or pure love it is very common, and of value, to question if we are providing enough food for our dogs.

We can often find ourselves wondering:

  • Is my dog too thin?
  • Is my dog overweight?
  • Am I feeding my dog too much?
  • Am I feeding my puppy too much?or even
  • Am I not feeding my dog enough?

Dogs are now so varied in size, shape and coat types in these modern times it is much harder to follow feeding or weight guides based on breed or type alone.
We want to do the best for them, knowing if we are feeding our dogs enough is often the most important question to ask.

A pet food company can provide a guide to the generally accepted amount of their own pet food, that a certain weight or breed of dog should have. Even a vet can recommend a volume of food based on breed type and any knowledge they have of your dog’s individual health needs. Both these recommendations will be advice as to what should be the case, rather than what is completely correct.
Only getting to know your dog as an individual, blended with an understanding of what influences a dog’s metabolism will give you the true amount that is right for your dog.

A Dog’s Body Condition Score

The traditional veterinary weight chart, known as the Body Condition Score, shows that a dog deemed a medically healthy weight will have a defined waist and that the dog’s ribs, spine and pelvic bone can be distinguished or ‘seen’ and felt. For the most part, the nation’s pet dogs are a little heavier than that, this has in the past led to large scale veterinary awareness campaigns about the treats we give our dog, but has yet to fully explain how and why the type of foods fed might also play a role.

For this, let’s start at the beginning. Historically dogs have always been somewhat athletic, being able to chase prey sufficiently is an important part of a dog’s history, the dog’s body has even evolved to having a large heart per body mass in order to support this activity. Whilst our pet dogs do not appear to be athletes many vets now feel that we have simply got used to viewing dogs at thicker waists and heavier weights than they are genetically made up for.

A dog, by nature is what is known as a facultative carnivore. This means that they biologically require a high meat protein content, with bone for minerals and can at times also benefit from the phyto-nutrition of some plants.

Today most dog foods are fed as cooked kibbles, tins or cans. All generally containing either a cereal, grain, starch or legume, which, as food types, are metabolised very differently to the meat part of a meal.
Genetically dogs have evolved to primarily take energy from the fats in their diet, then the proteins, with any carbohydrate from fruits or green plants as a final resort. A volume of cereals, grains or legumes in their diet can mean the dogs body is forced to create energy from those food types instead, this, just as you may have read about for people, this can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels. Also influencing the dog’s metabolic rate and unbalancing their energy levels.

Every organ and system of your dog’s body is actually set up to rebalance in order to maintain health. How-ever if the rebalancing has to occur more frequently the dog’s organs do become weary, the rate of aging speeds and even behaviours can change.
A diet with good quality protein, bone, fat and a moisture content is the key to easily balancing your dog’s weight, energy levels and even their hunger too.

Controlled Diet For Dogs

Whilst we are used to dealing with diet in respect of calories, it is in fact the internal health of the organs that determines if weight is to be balanced. A diet of the correct amount of calories can be achieved with entirely plants or cereal ingredients but would not provide the nutrients needed for organ health, hormone balance and cellular detoxification, all of which play a large role metabolism and in the loss or gain of weight.

Is My Dog Full Up?

When a dog is provided with fresh, real food it is very common they get fuller more quickly, this is because they can balance their systems and thus not be driven by their hormones to ask for as much food. Whilst it can sometimes appear that a real, raw fed dog is not hungry one day, it is usually because they are finally nutritionally sound and simply are full!

A Dog’s Hunger

Hunger is indeed a large part of the puzzle, those big brown eyes can either be coming from a place of need or a place or desire.
Understanding what the major nutrients are needed for a healthy weight and meal volume goes so far but even the best fed dog can still appear hungry in our concerned loving owner eyes.
It could be that a lack of a few or many micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals) are creating a hunger for your dog. The body is a clever thing and is designed to notice excess or lack and try to re-balance consistently.
Another possible reason for a dog appearing hunger is an unbalanced microbiome, or gut bacteria. On a simply level sugars, refined cereals, grains and even legumes (although to a lesser degree) each have a track records of contributing to the imbalance or the over-population of ‘bad’ bacteria, this type of bacteria does literally have a ‘mind of its own’, as is capable of creating cravings! Your dog’s desire for your piece of morning toast may well not be coming from his mind at all.

Conclusion

Ultimately until a dogs body is being provided with the fresh, real food ingredients it needs to balance all the influences on metabolism we will always be setting ourselves up for a fall in terms of knowing what is really going on for our dog individually, and if the food we are presenting to them is not only enough, but contains enough of the natural nutrients they need, and importantly keeps that crucial microbiome in check.

Here at Pro-Dog Raw we have created you a handy real food raw feeding calculator, this can be used to determine how much of our complete raw meals your dog needs.

We hope our blog has given you enough understanding to view each of your dog’s mealtimes as a chance to nourish them, further than simply providing enough in volume.

Comments

20 responses to “Am I Feeding My Dog Enough?”

  1. Sarah Webb says:

    Hi,
    Would I be right on saying, that with your meals, each one provides the 80/10/10. Therefore I do not need to add anything else to the meals??
    Thank you
    Sarah Webb ?

    • ProDog says:

      Hi there Sarah, our complete range includes veggies in addition to the meat/bone/offal content but our pure range is just meat, bone and offal (options available with or without offal). You can make additions of fruit/veg but they are designed to offer a complete balanced raw diet.

  2. Jimmy says:

    Hi
    I have a 18 weeks old rottweiler, I order Raw food for puppies through you guys, what else can i give him make his bones stronger and healthier

  3. Stev says:

    I’m thinking of changing to a raw diet for my springer spaniel she weighs 21k although she’s not a working dog she is very active running with me running and playing at least three times a day at the moment she’s on 280g plus a few treats what weight of raw food would I have to give her

    • ProDog says:

      So, we recommend that you feed 2-3% of their bodyweight per day. If she is 21kg then you would be looking at between 420g and 630g a day. Most non active dogs are on the lower end of the recommended amount however if she is very active you may want to try 2.5% and see how she goes? Keep an eye on her weight and adjust as necessary.

  4. Michael Miller says:

    We have a french mastiff she is 10 months old . She weighs 44kg and would love to no how much raw meat to give her each day as she also has it with dry buiscuits twice a day so we’re not sure on how much to feed her a day

  5. Deirdre Bradley says:

    Hi, My puppy border collies are almost 5 months old, they weigh 5.4kilos but they are very skinny.
    How much raw food would I need to give them to put on weigh, they are not spayed yet
    Thank you

  6. Hi, I have a 5 year old male Boxer weighing around 33-35kg and he has been on your complete raw diet for around a month now. I feed him 700g per day and he is absolutely loving it! The change in him is amazing as he has always had digestive issues in the past whilst eating a veterinary dry food (and many trips to the vets). However, he is and always has been since we rescued him, a terrible scavenger! Fox poop being his favourite…ugh…and he is always wanting more food! Do you think this behaviour is normal? His weight seems ideal and therefore I don’t think he is underfed! Is there everything I should be giving him? Many thanks 🙂

    • ProDog says:

      Hi there – changing to a raw diet and not having the processed content of the previous food can leave them with that feeling of not being full. It’s similar to when we cut the bad stuff out of our diet and get hungry between meals. It should settle soon as he gets used to it but in the meantime you could try adding raw courgette to his food. This has a high watery content and leaves them with that full sensation.
      Kind Regards
      Team ProDog

  7. carly taylor says:

    Hi
    At what age do you move the puppy from puppy food to adult food?
    Thank you

  8. Adele says:

    I have just started my working cocker spaniel on raw – we are a week in and he is on a complete mix of 80/10/10, but I wonder if he has become a little lean. Is is relatively active (2 x 30 min walks a day) but runs with me once a week and works several times over the winter (not excessive). Hes 2 years old and weighs 16kg – I have been giving him 454g per day but wonder if I should add something higher in fat, such as tripe or fresh/tinned fish to help him gain and maintain just a little bit more.

    • ProDog says:

      Hi there
      So feeding 16kg per day at 2-3% is between 320g per day and 480g. Initially, when switching to a raw diet, they do tend to drop weight. They are no longer getting all of the processed stuff through their system and their bodies are using all of the nutritional content of the food.
      It should settle down but if after a couple of weeks you feel he needs more, you could increase it for a while but keep an eye on his weight. We do have options which are higher in fat. Chicken and tripe, duck, salmon & turkey and turkey all have a higher fat content. You could also have a look at our supplements https://www.prodograw.com/dog-nutrition/ – Maximus is a great conditioning supplement which helps to build lean muscle mass.
      Kind Regards
      Team ProDog

  9. Karen says:

    I have a seven month old pointer who is about to move onto raw. Should she be on the Complete or Raw diet, guessing she is too old for the puppy range? Also we would like to have one meal raw – one meal dry. Would you recommend the raw to be in the morning or night. She weights 18kg so how much should she be fed – she is on the light side at present.

    • ProDog says:

      Hi there
      We would recommend the adult complete range if you want the easy, ready prepared meals with no additions required. The complete includes veggies which means that your dog will be getting everything they need. The pure is meat without veggies.
      We strongly advise against mixing dry and raw together unless its as part of a transition to raw and even then you should aim to reduce the dry as soon as possible.
      Feed 2-3% of body weight per day split between one or two meals, whichever you prefer. If your dog is very active you may need towards 3% but most dogs are fine on 2%.If you want to increase weight just feed the higher amount and keep an eye on her weight for a couple of weeks.
      Kind Regards
      Team ProDog

  10. Sylvia McGuinness says:

    Hi. We started our springer spaniel on this food just over a month ago. She took to it immediately and several people have commented how well she is looking. Her coat, in particular, feels much softer and sleek. She has half a tray once a day. She is spayed 5 years old. Not a working dog but very active, walks between 3 and 5 miles a day and is always playing around the house. However, the past week she just seems to have gone off the food. She has never been a greedy dog, always takes her time to eat. Last Thursday and Friday she didn’t eat anything but at the weekend she did. Yesterday (Monday) she hasn’t touched her food again but is fine in herself, still playful and eager to go out etc. Any suggestions how to get her interest in food back? We really thought we’d found the right one but am beginning to wander.

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