Pantops Pet Salon
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Pantops Pet Salon & Spa
Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

It's what we do -- it's all we do.

(434) 293-2424
Fax: (434) 293-8231
504 Pantops Center
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Calories in, Calories out

Friday, October 26th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

I had a customer pick up his Cocker after we gave him a short hair cut all over. The customer remarked to his dog, “Boy, you really are getting fat, just like the vet said.” He then asked me what I suggested. I asked him what he fed his dog. He said “Iams.” I asked how much – he said he didn’t know, that he just keeps the bowl full and the dog free feeds. No comment.

I don’t imagine when dogs were wild that they were different from any other animal – it’s all about survival and that means food and water 24-7. They gorged themselves not knowing when the next meal would come. My Great Dane, Molly, never stopped eating. I remember that when she was a 9 month old pup I thought I could feed her all she would eat – after all, she was a growing giant breed. Wrong! She ate so much she started to get fat, and there is nothing more pathetic than a fat giant breed dog. I cut back on her groceries quick.

Just because a food is fat free doesn’t mean that it is okay to gorge on it. And it’s not all about carbs either. We need to eat balanced meals and our portions should allow us a trade for the calories which we burn that day. If you have to eat 1800 calories a day based on your activity load and metabolism, then consuming 1900 is 100 too much. It’s that simple and we know it. If you exercise, you burn more calories — you can eat a little more. If you have a big piece of chocolate cake, then you just took a big hunk out of your calories for that day. The same is true for your dog. Calories in, calories out. You need to find out what the recommended portion of food is for your dog’s age and breed and stick to it on top of an exercise schedule. Lizzie is at two cups of Purina One in the morning and 2 cups at night. Period. If you insist on giving your dog treats for training or pleasure, make sure they are healthy and make sure to count the calories and then subtract that from dinner to prevent overfeeding. One vet I know recommends baby carrots for a dog treat — dogs usually love them. 

If your dog is losing or gaining weight over time, adjust your portions accordingly. Obviously age and activity level are a factor. But make no mistake; barring a medical reason, obesity in dogs is a reflection of the owner’s care.

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