What is dog portion control?
For anyone not familiar with the term, portion control is about controlling the portion size of a meal. In this case, it’s about controlling the size of your dog’s meals. Too large a portion (too many calories) and your dog will gain weight. Too small a portion (too few calories) and your dog will lose weight. Neither scenario is particularly desirable. Unless of course your dog is either over or under weight in the first place.
Why is portion control important?
Portion control is just as important for dogs as it is for human beings. Even more important perhaps. Studies have proven that an overweight dog is likely to live a shorter life than if he or she was the ideal weight. He or she is also likely to be more susceptible to health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory disease and arthritis. To say nothing of heart problems and even certain cancers.
How do I know the right size portion for my dog?
Ascertaining the right size portion for your dog is a matter of trial and error. No two dogs are the same. Even if you feed your dog commercial dog food, you cannot rely on the portion sizes recommended. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to feeding a dog. Manufacturers are notorious for over estimating the amount of food dogs require. That’s one of the reasons an estimated 60% of UK dogs are overweight.
I have two dogs. My 7-year-old entire male weighs 48kgs. My 3-year-old neutered female weighs 35kgs. And yet the smaller female eats more than the larger male. I know I have their feeding regime just right because I weigh them every month. It’s just that the smaller dog is far more active than the larger dog. I home cook for them so practicing portion control is not a problem. If I fed them commercial food and followed the manufacturers guidelines, it would be a different story. I’d either have one very overweight male or one very underweight female.
As a responsible pet parent, I also have to bear in mind that activity levels fluctuate with age. One day, even my energetic female will start to take life a little easier. When that point arrives, I’ll need to practice dog portion control and reduce the size of her meals otherwise she’ll start to gain unnecessary weight.
See my daily feeding guides to help you determine just how much to feed your dog in order to maintain a healthy weight.