New year, new challenge- is it time to review your dog’s diet?

Written by Zoe Russell, BSc (Hons)  

Nutrition Officer, Skinner’s

For many of us, we’ve thought about our New Year’s resolutions ready for the start of 2022. Lots of us make resolutions like ‘exercise more’ or ‘join a running club’, or ‘try a new sport’ to motivate us for the next 365 days. Being a dog-loving nation these resolutions often involve participation from our dogs who are usually more than obliging to join in on a run or two. While making changes to our dog’s exercise routine and our own can be a great move, this means we often need to take a step back and review the diet we are feeding them. 

Reviewing your dog’s activity levels

Dogs will never be regularly exercising at the same level all year round, as the intensity, duration and frequency of their activity is often altered. This can be due to a number of different reasons, perhaps due to health reasons, the owner’s time constraints, or even the weather conditions. Therefore it is important to regularly review your dog’s activity levels as often as you can. Think about the three areas mentioned: the intensity of their activity, the duration of their activity and the frequency of their activity. For example, are they running a fast 5km parkrun once per week? Or are they having a slow 45-minute walk once per day? No matter what they are doing, it is important to regularly assess their activity levels and identify any changes or consistencies. If there have been changes to their exercise routine, then maybe it’s time turn your attention to their diet.

Reviewing your dog’s diet

It’s great when you find a diet that works for your dog; one they do well on and enjoy eating. However we do need to regularly review our dog’s diet to ensure it’s the right one for them. Is your dog maintaining a healthy weight and condition? Are they sustained through periods of activity? If you’ve answered yes, then there may be no immediate reason to make any dietary changes.

On the other hand, if your dog is dropping or gaining weight and condition, then it may be time to make some adjustments. Firstly we would suggest following our feeding guidelines for a dog’s ideal, current weight (that’s the weight you would like them to be right now) and reducing the recommended amount by about 10% if a dog has been spayed or neutered. If you find that your dog isn’t maintaining a healthy weight and condition on this amount, then the feeding guidelines can be adjusted by a further 10-20% either above or below the recommended amount. However if this is still not sufficient for them, then this is where we may need to look at their diet.

For dogs dropping weight and condition, you may want to take a nutritional ‘step-up’ with their diet by moving onto a more energy-dense food. For example, if they are currently on Get Out & Go! Everyday Energy, you may need to ‘step-up’ to a diet such as Get Out & Go! Extra Energy. On the other hand, if your dog is looking a little rounder than you’d like them to be, then the opposite principle applies- at this stage you may want to take a nutritional ‘step-down’ with their diet and move to a less energy-dense diet, lower in the key energy provider: fat. For example if your dog is currently on Get Out & Go! Everyday Energy, then you may need to ‘step-down’ to a diet such as Get Out & Go! Lower Energy. Of course with any dietary change, we would suggest making changes slow and gradual over approximately 7-10 days to minimise the likelihood of digestive upset.

Contact us

If you need any more information about our diets, then please contact our nutrition team at nutritionsupport@skinners.co.uk or call us on 01379 384247.

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