Keep Your Dog Trim
Health and Longevity
Keeping your pet trim is the one most important thing you can do to improve health and increase life span.
Over weight puppies have too much stress on their joints. A puppy’s joints are not developed well enough to carry extra weight. The excessive weight will stretch developing ligaments allowing the joints to loosen which may add to degenerative joint disease later, especially in larger breeds. The extra weight in adult dogs stresses the entire skeletal structure, as well as, the heart and other organs.
Puppies need to grow at a steady rate. Most commercial puppy foods are high in protein. Puppies need the extra protein initially, but don’t need it during their entire growth period. Too much protein creates rapid weight gain and the muscle grows faster than bone, ligaments and tendons. . We switch our puppies from 29% protein to 24% protein food around six weeks old. Moving your puppy to a food that is balanced but lower in protein will maintain a stable growth rate so his entire body stays synchronized. We keep a close eye on the rate of growth and weight of our puppies. We maintain a trim, healthy weight for our adult dogs.
It is common to view a little “butterball” puppy as cute and healthy. This mindset leads to problems that will surface later in the dog’s life. We use the same criteria for determining whether a puppy is over weight as for the adult dogs. The belly should be tightly tucked, the ribs should be felt easily but only viewed when the dog inhales, and you should not feel the bones of the lower back or wings of the pelvis when petting. Puppies should have obvious good muscle tone. Dogs on a restricted diet live on average 1.8 years longer than those who aren’t and even longer compared to dogs that are over weight.
A lean, trim dog will be of better health, more active, happier and a good companion with fewer health problems. They will be with you longer.
Although we do not feed our dogs any Purina products, Purina has created a that is easy to read and has become a standard guideline.
For your convenience: Purina Dog's Body Condition Chart