A healthy puppy is a happy one. Check your puppy regularly for early signs of sickness.
How to assess the body condition of your puppy
It’s not enough to simply follow food label instructions and hope for the best. Like people, every dog’s body uses food differently and their nutrient requirements change with age.
If you feed your puppy more food than he needs, the extra energy may be stored as fat and could lead to obesity, which can cause a number of health complications.
The best way to figure out how much to feed your puppy is by keeping tabs on their body condition from any early age.
Maintaining ideal body condition
Here are three ways to check your pet’s body condition:
Step 1. Rib Check
Place both of your thumbs on your pet's backbone and spread your hands out across his rib cage. You want to be able to feel his ribs.
Step 2. Profile Check
Look at your dog’s profile and see if his abdomen is tucked up behind the rib cage. It helps if you’re level with your puppy.
Step 3. Overhead Check
Looking at your dog from overhead, see if you can see his waist behind his ribs. Most dogs at a healthy weight should have an hourglass figure.
Adjusting food accordingly
Once you’ve identified your puppy’s body condition, you can adjust the amount of his food.
- If your dog is underfed, increase the daily ration for two weeks, then check body condition again. Continue feeding the increased amount until the ideal amount is reached.
- If your dog is severely underfed, talk to your vet about the best way to bring him to an ideal body condition. Make sure you also check for other health issues which might be causing weight loss.
- If your dog is overfed, reduce the amount you feed daily and check your dog’s body condition every two weeks until he reaches his ideal body condition.
- If your dog is obese, consult your veterinarian. A weight management food may help make reaching ideal body condition easier.
If your dog is at ideal body condition, continue feeding the same amount you have been feeding at a scheduled time every day. Monitor your puppy’s health every two weeks and make adjustments as needed.
About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre
The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.