Did you know...

dogs do not know when to stop eating? If you put down an excessive amount of food the dog will continue to eat until it's gone even if they are no longer hungry...

Many a time we have had to discuss a dog's weight with the owner to educate them on the risks obesity has on their dog. This page is not designed to shame anybody, and the dogs used within this page are of a good weight - we would like to help owners understand that spoling a dog too much can lead to issues for the dog later in life.

But look at their background!

Your dog has likely survived on very little food most of their lives, and so when we adopt a dog we want to give them everything they've been missing out on, but please, heed with caution.

It is okay to spoil your dog, but do it the right way.

When these dogs arrive in the UK the rescue will place them on a 2-meal a day diet, it may not adhere fully to product feeding guidelines but this is essential to begin with. As these dogs have lived off of very little food, giving them full meals to begin with is useless. 

A dog's stomach can only digest so much food before the rest is turned into waste. Some dogs are on multiple small meals a day to try to maximise digestion and normalise the dog's digestive system.

As your dog was a scavenger it is likely that they will still scavenge despite being in the home and will eat anything you give them... and anything they can find. It is recommended that you maintain 2 meals a day to help to curb an increase in scavenging behaviour, and provide a Kong or long lasting treat in between to keep them occupied.

When you first begin training with your dog you will be using a lot of treats. We have discussed using high-value treats with you, such as hot dog, cheese, ham etc., however, if you are continuing to train your dog and use treats you will want to moderate the above treats. We advise using plain chicken for training as it contains the lowest fat and salt which will be better for your dog overall. If your dog is on a specific fish-only diet, use plain cod or white fish as salmon is fatty and will increase your dog's weight quickly if used a lot.

If you are using lots of treats you need to begin deducting this from their food intake, otherwise you will overfeed your dog and be scratching your head when they are becoming round. You can always use their meals as treats throughout the day to keep an eye on their waist line.

What food do you advise?

When you adopted your dog you will have been informed of what food they are currently eating. Some can be a higher quality kibble (biscuit) or Chappie - which is good for sensitive stomachs.

We advise you that you can transfer onto a different food in future if you want to, but if you do - where do you start?

We advise avoiding foods that you regularly see advertised on the tv... big brands tend to put lots of money into their advertising, not so much into their ingredients.

When looking for a new brand of food it is important to look at the ingredients. 

In the example opposite there are a large list of added ingredients. The main ingredient is always listed first. 

In the example corn is listed as the main ingredient. Corn and cereals are a filler product used to bulk up the food. Using it as a main ingredient highlights that there is not much nutritional value in this particular type of food. You will also see chicken by-products listed, in many food brands you will see it listed as meat and animal derivatives (same thing) on the label. Animal derivates could be anything from beaks to hooves, claws to eyes - gross right? There is no certainty as to what it could be. You will also see salt listed above - added salt is not needed in animal food, neither is sugar. You will find that well-known pet brands add sugar and salt to their products which is not needed and can lead to weight gain.

You will also find that over-feeding a dog or feeding a dog on a low quality food will result in large and excessive poo's, sloppy poo or watery poo. Feeding your dog the correct amount for their weight and a higher quality diet results in firmer poo and a smaller stool overall. People that feed their dog purely on raw food have found that their dog's stool has less odour, is much smaller and firmer. You don't have to feed your dog raw food, but it is an option if you are interested. If you'd like advice on raw feeding you are welcome to contact the adoptions team.

In higher quality foods you will find that there are less overall ingredients and more meat content, the example to the left shows this well. The main ingredients are listed as chicken (25%), beef (17%) and lamb (8%), making up 50% of the overall ingredients which is pretty good.

It is possible to get higher meat content which you will see in another label below. This example does not include by-products or added sugars or salts making it a much healthier alternative for your dog.

As mentioned above, it is possible to buy pet food with very high meat content, the meat is a lean meat which cuts down the amount of fat in your dog's diet. In the example across you can see that there are very minimal ingredients, and chicken makes up 75% of the meal.

This is a high-quality brand, and you do pay more for a higher meat content - but you get what you pay for.

We cannot tell you what to buy for your dog; it is the owner's decision but we wanted to make owners aware of what they could be feeding their dogs.

If you have a food brand you are currently feeding your dog or wish to switch to, or you don't know what to choose there is a very helpful website that allows you to view the nutritional value of the food. It also takes into account your budget for dog food and shows you suggestions on the best food to buy within your budget.

Click on the following link and have a play with it - try putting in the most popular food brand you know, we can guarantee that you will be shocked by how little nutritional value they have: www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk

Personally, I try to buy my own dog food which hits at least 80% nutritional value. There are very afforable options despite the food being a higher quality.

Body Condition Charts:

You can check your dog's overall body condition in the charts listed below.

As many Rommies are mixed breed it is difficult to give approximate ideal weights, these charts are easier to indicate a dog's overall condition.

Please be aware that obese and overweight dogs are much more likely to suffer with weight related issues such as arthritis, joint issues and pain.