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Newfoundland Dog Diet Plan

Updated on October 30, 2016
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The Newfoundland Club of America—responsible for the preservation, protection and welfare of the Newfoundland Dog in America since 1930.

Newfoundland Dog Weight Loss Program

One of the many subjects in our "Newf Know How" series, provided by the Newfoundland Club of America to help Newfoundland dog owners everywhere raise happier, healthier dogs. This article was written by Tracy Warnke from the General Education Committee.

Hmm. You know that harness fit last fall and no matter what you do you can't get it on your dog without loosening it all over. Can't be the winter coat-you just combed all that out. You carefully run your hands down your dog's side and to your horror you can't find a single rib! It's diet time.

We won't go into the reasons why it is not good for a dog to carry extra weight much has been written about that already. Proper weight is especially important for growing puppies and older dogs. What we will discuss is how to determine if your dog is overweight and some tips and tricks on how to take that weight off.

A quick and easy way to check your dog's weight is the "rib slide." Run your hands down your dog's back-you should easily be able to feel each and every rib. There should be a small layer of fat over them but you should be able to feel the rib, then the space between each rib. Another way to tell is to look down on your dog's back. There should be a slight indentation after the ribcage. If your dog looks straight all the way back to the rump do the "rib slide" to make sure there aren't a few extra pounds hiding underneath all that hair. If your dog looks like an orange (bulges in the middle) it's time to diet.

Don't Give In to a Sad Face

Is your Newf chubby? - Take the rib test today

Obesity is the number one nutrition-related problem in dogs, and while it can be caused by a metabolic disease, the main cause is over-feeding by the dog's owners. Unfortunately, many owners are in denial that they have a fat dog, known as the "fat gap". To tell if your dog is overweight, do the rib test, and let us know your results:

While your dog is standing, run your hands down the side of the dog

See results

We've found that our dogs will generally gain weight in the summer as their activity level decreases due to the heat and lose weight in the winter as their activity level increases due to the cold. Dogs will generally gain weight as they get older. These are all times to keep a very close eye on your dog's weight.

In addition to changes in temperature, changes in exercise may require changes in amounts of food being feed. If your dog is overweight and you're starting a weight reduction exercise program that's one thing. But, if you dog is in good weight and you're starting to train for obedience, draft or water work, or conditioning for a dog show you need to keep a close eye out for I) weight loss. All those practice sessions {, burn calories quickly and you may need to adjust the amount of food you are feeding. If you feel your dog is losing weight increase the amount of food slowly cup every few of days until your dog is back at his/ her optimum weight. Don't forget, once the training is over reduce the amount.

The first step in beginning a diet is to visit your veterinarian. You may need to do different things (such as adding vitamins or beginning an exercise program) depending on how many extra pounds your dog is carrying. An exam will rule out weight gain due to an underlying medical condition. If your vet has a walk-on scale ask if you could stop by occasionally to weigh your dog to check on your progress. This will help you to know if your plans are working.

Now, let's look at just what your dog is eating. Are you using a measuring cup to feed? If not, buy a set just for measuring dog food. You will need a 2-cup, 1-cup, 1/2-cup and 1/4-cup measures. Only feed your dog food that you've measured so you know exactly how much your dog is getting. Start by cutting back on the amount of food fed by 1/4-1/2 cup. If you don't see any weight loss cut back more. This is much cheaper and easier than buying those expensive "lite" foods.

If you really feel bad about cutting back your dog's food there are some things you can add as fillers. Green beans, fresh or cooked carrots, low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese (no more than 1 tablespoon), rice (boiled in water or low fat/low salt chicken broth with a ton of garlic) or pasta. Don't forget to measure these additives. You don't want to overload your dog with extras.

"How many "cookies" does your dog get during the day? Take that number of cookies and put them in a plastic bag then break them all up with a meat tenderizer or hammer. Put the "crumbs" in a measuring cup. Surprising, isn't it! The average "large" dog cookie equals 1/2 to 3/4 cup of food and your dog was getting three a day! That equals 1-1/2 to 2-1/4 cups of food. Cut back to one cookie a day and you will save 1 to 1-3/4 cups of food! The alternative is to buy smaller cookies if you absolutely must give three cookies a day.

Cut out any table-scraps that have fat. No meat drippings, no leftover au gratin potatoes, no corn in butter sauce, no pizza crusts. Check with the other members of your family-has somebody been sharing their lunch or feeding extra cookies?

Our dogs all get "special" meals for the holidays or their birthdays (well, we have to admit they also get special meals just because). Left over turkey or chicken (no skin or gravy), low fat hot dogs, lean ground beef, vegetables or apple slices are added to their regular kibble for that "special" meal. You can make a birthday cake using a small container of custard style yogurt (it holds it's shape right out of the container) lined with sliced turkey hot dogs and a carrot stick "candle" on top.

If you are training, buy a sample bag of "lite" dog food and use this as your training aid. Measure out 1/4 cup and vow to use no more than that during a training session. If you do this you cut back on the amount of food given for a meal by the same. You might consider low-cal training snacks such as apple chunks, carrots or croutons. Ok, ok, you can use liver-just make sure you are giving small pieces. Boil the liver in extra water with a bunch of garlic and save the water. A couple of tablespoons poured over your dog's food is a welcome treat. A neat trick is to buy several extra ice cube trays and make "liver ice cubes." These are a wonderful treat. A good rule of thumb is to take only what you need for training and no more. If you take extra you may be tempted to use it.

Speaking of training-this is an excellent way to begin an exercise program. Enroll in an obedience class. Your dog will enjoy the outing and it's an excellent way to burn those extra calories! All that practicing at home will help the weight-loss process. Who knows-by the time you get those extra pounds off, you just might be ready to go get that CD!

© 2010 Newfoundland Club of America


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