Pet obesity (fat and overweight pets) is a growing concern. Currently, 25% of dogs are overweight. Being underweight is very unhealthy also!
Just as with humans, this happens when the amount of calories that a dog consumes is more than a dog burns.
Should you put your dog on a diet? How do you know if your dog is fat? Beside from an unattractive appearance, will your Boxer suffer health issues from being overweight?
We will discuss: What to do if your Boxer dog is overweight and deal with this issue in a healthy and productive way. And what to do if your Boxer is underweight.
Your Boxer dog can stay at a healthy weight, no matter what his or her age
Weight VS Size
First, let's be clear that size is much different than being under or overweight.... While the breed standard tells us what the general size of the Boxer is, individual dogs can vary quite a bit. So, if you are concerned about the actual physical body structure of your dog, you may first wish to read: Size.
Puppies VS Adult
This breed is naturally muscular. This obviously adds to the weight of the dog. With this being said, how do you know if your dog is tipping the scales too much? First, let us state that no one should be concerned about puppy fat. Puppies grow rapidly...They will gain and look a bit plump....And then have a growth spurt which increases body length and height and will slim down...And then that may happen again. So, there can be a lot of changes going on while your Boxer puppy is growing. After about 1.5 years, the dog usually reaches their full height, however for the next 6 months after that, the chest area often fills out, becoming wider and more broad.
Puppies should not be put on diets (unless there is such a major weight concern that an experienced and reputable veterinarian has strongly suggested to do so). The time of growth dictates good nutrition, lots of health foods for a growing pup and exercise as well, to keep the body strong and to develop and maintain muscles.
Is My Dog Overweight?
Your vet will tell you if your Boxer is overweight to the point of needing to lose...However, an easy way for you to make a determination at home is to look at your dog from the side. You are going to want to notice his or her profile and pay attention to the rib area. Ribs should be seen....They should not be sticking out (too thin!), however they should be defined. If a Boxer weighs too much, they will be covered by a layer of fat and not able to be seen nor felt when running your hand over them.
If you take notice of this and think that your Boxer weighs too much, you can confirm it at the next vet visit and then take steps to make a change. Just like us humans, proper nutrition and proper exercise will change body structure and body fat percentage in dogs.
How Did My Boxer Gain So Much?
It probably happened without you really noticing, your dog had a nibble there, a bit too much of your dinner leftovers there, days that you didn't feel like taking your dog for a walk...it all added up until one day you looked at your Boxer and realized he or she was out of shape.
What makes a dog overweight? It is usually a combination of factors. This will include:
Free feeding. This is a method of feeding a dog by leaving out dog food and allowing the Boxer to eat whatever he wishes for the day. When the bowl is empty, it is refilled. This is not the recommended method of feeding a Boxer dog. It not only will lead to an overweight dog, but when a Boxer eats too much food at one time, Bloat can occur. Bloat is a sometimes fatal condition that happens to this dog breed.
For details regarding Killer
Bloat in the Boxer breed
Eating your food. While it is very tempting to give into a dog who pleads for your pizza, it is important to stay firm in a commitment to only feed your Boxer high quality dog food or to home cook (Recommended). Having this rule from when you first bring your Boxer home makes things easier. This is quite a big habit to break if your dog is already used to eating everyone's leftovers; however it can be reversed.
Manufactured dog food has fillers, empty ingredients with zero nutrients or calories. Your dog consumes these, but then what? Since they fill up your Boxer's stomach but offer no nutrition, a dog will then tend to want to eat more food at the next meal because they did not receive the needed nutrients from the previous meal. This is one reason we only recommend home cooking. Read More about Home Cooking Here
How to Help
First, it must be determined that weight gain is not being caused by a medical issue with your dog. Thyroid problems is the most common medical reason for a pet being overweight. Your Boxer should have a complete checkup with their veterinarian. Only then, once a condition is ruled out, should a diet be implemented.
Ask your veterinarian how much your Boxer dog should weigh. This will depend on 3 factors:
How many calories does your Boxer dog need to eat? Adult Boxer dogs that are healthy and active need appropriately 40 calories per pound of body weight to maintain. For example, if your Boxer should be 50 pounds (22.68 kilograms), his/her needed calories will be 2000 per day. Keep in mind that this number varies quite a bit depending on age, activity level, neutered VS non-neutered and personal body metabolism.
Once you know what your Boxer should be receiving, a diet plan can be written out. Your dog should be given 2 meals per day, with the calories split between the 2 meals. If your dog is very used to receiving treats, you may count the calories in 2 or 3 treats and subtract that from the amount of food given at mealtime.
Aside from keeping a very close eye on what is fed to your Boxer, exercise is very important. It must be noted that an overweight dog cannot suddenly be expected to walk, jog or run for miles. Exercise should be provided daily; however with a n overweight Boxer, it must begin slow and then steadily
Puppies should have one good walk per day...It is important to not over-exercise a pup...Growth plates are not yet fully formed and it can cause growth problems and injury.
For adult dogs, a good brisk walk 2 times a day is recommended. 3 times is even better if the goal is to help your Boxer lose weight. Begin with short walks and allow your Boxer to be reminded of just how great it can feel to be outside and walk around! Make it as fun as you can...switch up the route so that they have new things to look at, new scents to smell, new things to explore. As your dog slowly begins to lose weight, he or she will have an increased desire to head outdoors.
As they get into better shape, you can add some variety to your exercise routines. Taking your Boxer for a hike through the woods can be a great way to bond with your dog. Teaching him or her to run alongside you as you bike can be fun. Toss around a Frisbee or throw a tennis ball in a large yard. Your Boxer will enjoy the time spent with you and get healthy while doing so.
Be sure to supply plenty of water. Do not exercise your dog outside if the weather is hot and/or humid. Having bloodlines tied to the Mastiff family unfortunately makes breathing difficult in certain instances.
The important thing to remember is that you will be providing your dog with enough calories; he or she will not starve! Taking it slow and steady is the only healthy way to help your dog. You will be helping them live longer with proper exercise that keeps their heart pumping and burns off the extra fat. Once your dog is at the recommended weight, be sure to keep up with your healthy routines.
While canine obesity is a problem, there are owners who have a dog who is underweight. If ribs are very prominent, most likely, the dog is not receiving enough nutrition or there is a health issue.
When you have an underweight dog, the 1st step is to have a complete vet exam. Countless health issues can cause weight loss or an inability to put on weight. This, in turn, can lead to dangerous secondary issues such as malnutrition and dehydration.
If your Boxer is deemed to be 100% healthy, it is time to look into the dog's nutritional needs. While our feeding guidelines are general since every dog is different, if your Boxer is very active, he or she may need more food to keep their body going. With a dog who is otherwise healthy, but too skinny, increase the food intake. You may wish to add a feeding time or to add more food to each meal.
Most importantly, not only is it suggested to offer more food to the underweight dog, but to always and only offer healthy home cooked meals or high quality dog food. Inexpensive dog food may save you a dollar but will be destructive to your Boxer. Cheap dog food is not easily digested, many of the nutrients are not absorbed into the dog's body and are expelled when the dog eliminates. Both regular meals and snacks should be only of the highest quality.
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