Watching your puppy's weight

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Watching your puppy's weight

Did you know that an obese pet is defined as being 15% or more over its ideal weight? That translates into a mere 330 grams for a tiny dog like a Chihuahua, but over 7.5 kilograms for a Rottweiler. Many owners simply don't realise how overweight their pets have become because fat is laid down slowly.

Furthermore, they rarely visit their vet to seek help with the problem.

Your puppy requires more food while he's growing than he will when he's fully fledged adult, but never feed on demand. Begin with three to four meals a day at set times. Food should be left for about 15 minutes then removed, whatever is left over. And when you start a new food, dish out the amount recommended for your size of pet on the can or bag.

For those breeds that tend to become obese, start with the least amount, or better still, ask your vet's advice. Remember, the feeding guide is just that; only a guide. Your puppy is an individual and should be treated accordingly. A simple obesity check you can make is to feel gently over your pet's ribcage to assess the fat under the skin; you should be able to feel the ribs with your fingers. If he's overweight you will find it more difficult to feel his ribs. However, if you have any concerns about your pet's weight, make an appointment with your vet. He may offer a free weight check for the first year of your puppy's life. It's generally accepted that you should take your puppy for a weight check once a month; the result should be plotted on a special puppy growth curve.

A word about picky eating

Almost without exception, puppies that become picky eaters have been overindulged by their owners. Aside from the odd dog treat, your puppy should only be fed food specially made for him. Don't get into the habit of feeding him scraps from the table; you're in danger of turning him into a fussy eater.

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