How Much Should I Feed My Golden?
Keeping your Golden Retriever lean and fit is probably the best thing you can do to ensure his good health and longevity. Fat dogs are much more susceptible to health problems, including diabetes, cancer, heart problems, skin problems, bone and joint malformations, and injuries. If you feed your dog commercial food in the form of kibble or canned, do not use the label as a guide on how much to feed your dog. Most labels on the major brands recommend feeding way too much of their food compared to the weight of the dog. Is this because your dog has to eat huge amounts of the food in order to meet the dietary requirements for a dog his size? Or do they simply want to sell you more of their food? Whichever is the case, the result is a fat dog that is not going to enjoy a problem-free life if you don't reduce his caloric intake and trim him down to a leaner form.
First of all, you'll want to be sure you are feeding a very highquality dog food. The higher the quality of the food, the more calorie-dense the food. High-quality dog food has very little if any filler, which makes the food less bulky and more compact. This means your dog needs less of it to be healthy and fit. A cup of high-quality dog food per 60 pounds of dog is a good general rule of thumb for feeding your Golden Retriever. If your dog weighs slightly more or less, you can adjust it accordingly.
Feed your dog this amount for about four to six weeks, and then observe his weight. If he looks too thin, then gradually increase the amount by a quarter of a cup at each meal until he is at his ideal weight. If he's looking heavier than when you started, back off on the amount at each meal by a quarter of a cup and re-evaluate his weight in a month's time to see if you are moving in the right direction.
Dogs on a Diet
The quickest way to get extra pounds off an obese dog is to decrease the amount of food he is consuming and to provide more exercise. A very overweight dog should not be exercised vigorously. A short game of fetch or a short walk in the neighborhood is better than nothing.
Of all activities that dogs participate in, swimming is by far the safest. Most Goldens love to swim, and even an overweight dog can get in and paddle around a little to burn a few calories. Swimming is actually a pretty safe way to exercise an obese dog because there is virtually no impact on the joints. It goes without saying that you should provide exercise in moderation, and always observe your overweight Golden for signs of fatigue. If you observe him carefully and go at his pace, you will find that in time your Golden will be able to last longer than you will at his newfound activity.
To avoid adding calories to your dog's daily intake, use his dog food for training sessions or cut back the amount you give at mealtimes to make up for a busy day of training.
We owe it to our dogs to make sure they live the longest, healthiest lives possible, and they cannot do that if they are over-weight. With a little help from you, your Golden will soon be lean, healthy, and be able to look forward to a long and happy life.