Many owners contact us in the first few weeks concerned that they may be overfeeding or underfeeding their puppy and usually their first reaction is to quote the puppy’s body weight. Whilst body weight is a good indication of whether the puppy (or indeed an adult dog) is healthy, differences in height, gender, bone mass, growth stages and even bloodlines will render such measurements to being less indicative. The Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association have produced a useful visual guide to evaluating your puppy or adult dog’s general body condition.
Standing over the top of your puppy and looking down at his/her back, you should be able to see the puppy’s shoulders, then a slight tuck in before his/her tummy and following the line of the puppy back towards the tail there should definitely be a waist visible. The body should then tuck in again after the end of the ribcage and flare out slightly where the hips emerge – see pictures 2 and 3 above for details. Also, by running your hand along the side of your puppy’s body, the ribs should be easily felt without having to ‘dig’ around for them. Whilst image 3 above is classed as ‘ideal’ body condition it is also perfectly acceptable for a giant breed puppy to be slightly under weight, as in picture 2 above. Just like humans, dog too can suffer from being too fat or even obese and for a giant breed puppy such as a Wolfhound the effects of being overweight can be disastrous! If your puppy appears overweight, you must take steps to rectify the situation and start by cutting out all dietary extras and go back to the basic Salmon & Potato kibble, in addition reduce the quantity of kibble fed.