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Do Dogs Ever Get Full?

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Do dogs ever get full? My dog, like most, seems to be a bottomless pit. I know its unhealthy to overfeed them, but he always seems so hungry!! Do they ever get full or stop wanting food?

A: I love this question. My wife just asked the question about me after visiting one of those Mexican resorts where you can eat (and drink) all you want. And the answer might be much the same. It seems some dogs never fill up. Of course, you can’t expect them to maintain their hour glass figures if allowed to free-feed. Actually, the same is true for most cats. We think they will self-regulate, but some will, many will not.

I’m not anti table snacks (particularly items like carrots, which are healthy), just don’t overdo it. If you have a small dog, consider that dog is only, say 15 lbs., a slice of lunch meat is like you or I eating a quarter a packet.

Actually, I’m on my way to the Conference of the American Animal Hospital Association as I write this, and will present on a topic where I speak about overweight pets. And I will quote data pointing out that about half our pets are flabby around their middles. And each time I say that at a conference, the veterinarians point out what they know – more like 60 percent are overweight, at least. Weight gain in our pets is associated with many illnesses and even behavior problems.

I don’t believe free feeding is a good idea for dogs or cats. Instead measure the food. Mostly label guides on pet food packaging errors on the side of offering too much food. If you believe you are offering plenty – especially the so- called premium brands – see your veterinarian for guidance and to rule out a physiological problem.

Steve Dale is a pet expert and certified dog and cat behavior consultant. His new books,Good Dog! and Good Cat! are available for purchase here.

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