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Is My Dog Underweight - a Problem of Perspective?

by John Burns BVMS MRCVS

Some of our customers have mentioned that some of the dog forums on the internet advise to avoid feeding Burns because dogs lose too much weight.

I would like to address this issue.

Firstly – we speak to several owners every week who are concerned that their dogs are too thin. However, once we talk to the owner (and sometimes ask for a photo) it is often the case that the dog is a perfect weight but the owner (and unfortunately sometimes their vet) simply thinks it is too thin. There are so many fat dogs in the UK at the moment that a nice lean, healthy one may appear too thin but this is how a dog should look! Many people seem to have lost sight of this.

Secondly – some breeders and judges of show dogs still prefer their dog to be carrying more weight. Owners ring us to say that although their dog is fit and healthy it is simply not fat enough for the show ring. This is an issue we will be battling against at Crufts this week. Instead of trying to get the dogs fatter we should be trying to change this outdated view that a heavier dog is healthier!

So, how can you tell if your dog is an ideal weight?

  1. You should be able to EASILY feel the ribs (without having to push too hard!)
  2. You should be able to see an abdominal tuck after the rib cage (they should have a waist line!)
  3. In a short coated dog you may be able to see the last few ribs…this is fine.
  4. You may see your dogs ribs when she is twisting and turning during exercise…this is fine!

A lean dog will suffer fewer health problems and studies show they live longer too.

So what if your dog really is too thin?

If you are changing from another brand to Burns please do so slowly. A sudden change in diet can cause weight loss if the dog does not have time to adjust.

However, if your dog does lose weight then please contact us! There are five nutritionists waiting to hear from you. We have several higher calorie foods that you can use instead if necessary.

by John Burns BVMS MRCVS
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