German Shepherd Dog




since 1968

  Horizontal Navigation Bar w/Rollover Effect


How To Use The Purina Nutrition Guide
Step one: Puppy or Adult?
The first thing to consider when selecting a food for your dog is his age: Is he a puppy or
an adult?
Step Two: Activity Level
On the run or in the ring, your dog’s activity level is a factor in selecting the appropriate
food. Choose the level of activity that best describes your dog: Less Active,
Moderately Active, Active/Competing or Pregnant/Lactating.
Step Three: Body Condition
Like people, some dog's gain or lose weight easily. Dogs who are overweight are at greater
risk for developing certain health problems. You’ll want to choose a food that will provide
your dog with the nutrition he needs without adding pounds. Not sure what your dogs body
condition is? Here are some guidelines:
THIN IDEAL HEAVY Ribs easily felt and may be Ribs felt without excess fat Ribs felt with difficulty, visible with no palpable fat; covering; waist observed heavy fat cover; noticeable tops of lumbar vertebrae behind ribs when viewed fat deposits over lummbar visible; pelvic bones becoming from above; abdomen tucked area and barely visible; prominent; obvious waist and up when viewed from the side. Abdominal tuck may be abdominal tuck. Present.
 Taking care of your pet

     Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in this country. It is now the
 most common nutritional problem we see in our pets. Close to 50% of all dogs
 are overweight and need to shed pounds.  This
 trend closely follows the unprecedented weight gain of Americans. Like their
 owners, overweight pets are unhealthy. They face a variety of weight-related
 diseases and a shorter, more painful life. As their owners, we control what
 they eat, when they exercise, and ultimately, their weight.
     Americans have become inactive. We sit by the television instead of
 exercising, drive cars instead of walking, and use every labor saving device
 we can buy. Yet we continue to eat as though we still walked to work,
 chopped wood to heat our houses and had to catch our own dinner. The result
 is a nation of people with weight problems.
     Unfortunately our attitudes about exercise and food are reflected in the
 care of our pets. Our pets are truly members of our families; they act like
 us and follow our directions when it comes to minimizing exercise and
 maximizing diet.  Our dogs
 sit by us as we watch TV and then take one five-minute walk.
     Then because we don't have time to exercise and interact with our pets,
 we feel guilty. We limit our guilt be replacing attention with food. Fido
 looks sad because he is bored indoors. So, we feed him. Then he looks sad
 again, so we feed him again. And if he bothers us for attention, we give him
 hollow toys stuffed with treats. If he barks when we are gone, we give him
 several toys stuffed with peanut butter. If we try to train him, we use
 hotdogs as rewards. Because we love Fido, we give him his balanced dinner,
 his rawhides, his treats, his pig ears, his bones, a few potato chips, the
 left over turkey, and the rest of the ice cream. We don't exercise him and
 we keep him from running loose. Soon our beloved Fido is one obese dog.
     Although insufficient exercise and excess calorie consumption are the
 major causes of obesity, there are other factors that can contribute to a
 pet's weight gain. Highly palatable pet foods have high fat levels that can
 rapidly add on the pounds. There are also some breeds of dogs, such as
 Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, and Basset Hounds, that tend to gain weight
 easily. Other dogs suffer from medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism,
 that can lead to weight gain more easily than their intact counterparts.
     Breed type, age, and reproductive status are not an excuse for
 uncontrolled weight gain. They simply influence your pet's tendency to add
 pounds and should be taken into consideration in a weight management
 program. The bottom line is that most of our pets are overweight because
 they eat too much and exercise too little.

     Our need to confine our pets and over feed them may feel like love, but
 it is not. The combination creates a very unhealthy situation. Obese animals
 can have a number of weight related illnesses. There is extra stress on the
 heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and other body organs. So fat animals are more
 likely to suffer from cardiac disease, respiratory problems, digestive
 disorders, and high blood pressure. Their joints, ligaments, tendons, and
 bones suffer from excess wear and tear, so they endure arthritis, joint
 injuries, leg problems, and back ailments. They are at greater risk during
 anesthesia and surgery. Overheating, skin disease, and reproductive problems
 are common complaints. Obese animals are prone to life threatening chronic
 diseases such as diabetes, Cushing's Disease, pancreatitis, and liver
 disease, including feline hepatic lipidosis.
     As the pet ages, these physical problems increase and the quality of
 life decreases. The animals have difficulty rising, walking, climbing
 stairs, running, and lying down. They are more prone to develop fatty
 tumors. These tumors can interfere with motion and make the animals
 uncomfortable. Obese dogs are also have a greater risk of developing certain
 malignant cancers. In general, obese pets lead shorter, less comfortable
 lives than those kept at the proper weight.
     Breed type and body structure should be taken into consideration when
 determining ideal body weight. In general, the best way to tell if your dog
 is overweight is to examine the dog. Start by looking at the dog from the
 side as he stands. You want to be able to see good definition between the
 rib cage and the abdominal area. If you cannot tell where the ribs end and
 the abdomen begins, your dog is most likely overweight.
     The most accurate method uses touch. While the dog is standing, place
 your hands on both sides of the rib cage. If you can just feel the dog's
 ribs, your dog is within the optimal weight range. A dog within his normal
 weight range should have a thin layer of fat over the ribs. If you can
 actually put your fingers between each rib, the dog is too thin. If you
 cannot feel the ribs, your dog is fat. The more overweight the dog becomes,
 the heavier the layer of fat will feel. Fat can also be present along the
 back, over the hips and over the abdomen.
     Breed weight averages are not helpful as there can be several pound
 range within one breed type. In addition, even an extra few pounds on a
 small dog can be the difference between a fit animal and an obese
     All overweight animals should have a veterinary examination before
 starting treatment. The treatment is designed for gradual, long-term weight
 reduction. It combines changes in lifestyle for both the pet and the owner.
 The entire family must be involved in the process so that a member with no
 will power does not undermine the program by sneaking treats to the pet. The
 basis of treatment is reduction in unnecessary calories and an increase in
 exercise. Simply feeding a reduced calorie is typically not the answer. The
 pet usually does not lose weight and low fat diets fed long-term can result
 in both skin and internal problems.
     Before beginning, document the calories that your pet consumes. Calories
 can be found in the pet's regular food, as well as treats, biscuits, table
 scraps, chews, gravies and coat supplements. Compare this to the calorie
 total that your veterinarian recommends for your pet. Next, document the
 exercise that your pet receives. Sitting in the backyard is not exercise.
 Walking, running, fetching, and swimming are exercising. Playing with other
 dogs, catching a ball, and chasing a Frisbee also count.
 1. Eliminate table scraps. They are typically high in fat and calories.
 2. Replace treats with raw vegetables such as raw carrots, green beans, low
 salt pretzels, rice cakes, plain popcorn (no butter!), apple, or banana
 slices. Use these in place of high fat meats as training rewards. Treats
 should make up no more than 10% of the pet's total diet.
 3. Make your own low fat treats at home. Use low fat recipes for treats and
 biscuits or slice and bake canned low fat foods until they are dry and
 crispy. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Remember to
 consider these calories as part of the animal's total dietary intake for the
 4. Learn to ignore "begging eyes". This will eventually diminish the
 5. Replace your need to give treats as a sign of love. Instead, give your
 pet a massage, a walk, some obedience work, or other attention, instead of
 6. Slightly reduce the amount of commercial food you are feeding. Your
 veterinarian can tell you if the food is appropriate and the amount to feed
 your pet. Cut back approximately 15-20% of the ration. Measure the food each
  meal for accuracy.
 7. Examine the fat content of your pet's food. Dog food should have a fat
 content of approximately 12-16% during a weight loss program.
 8. Consider a "diet food". Available as prescription products or from your
 local store, these products are usually lower in fat and higher in fiber.
 They allow the pet to consume the same volume of food with fewer calories.
 Not all animals can digest these diets. Any changes in diet should be made
 gradually over one to two weeks. Ask your veterinarian for advice.
 9. Feed smaller portions more often. If your pet is usually fed once per
 day, two, three or even four smaller feedings can actually reduce calories
 and help the animal feel full.
 10. Weigh your pet regularly so that you know if your plan is working. Aim
 for a gradual weight reduction of less than 1% of the pet's body weight per
 week. Most animal can lose between 1/4 and 1 pound per week. A large dog may
 be able to tolerate up to a loss of 1 1/2 pounds per week. Rapid weight loss
 is dangerous. 
 11. If you have other pets, separate the dieting one during feeding. This
 reduces competition and the urge to eat more.
 12. Practice obedience training. This way you can tell the dog to lie down
 before begging begins.
 13. Remove the dieting animal from the table when family members are eating.
 This prevents begging and reduces the urge in the family to feed the dog.
 14. Keep water available at all times.
 1. Keep exercise simple and moderate. Over-exercising an obese animal can
 cause more harm than good. DO NOT place excess strain on the pet's already
 stressed cardiac, respiratory, and musculo-skeletal system. Watch an
 overweight animal for signs of fatigue and stop exercise if necessary.
 2. As the dog adapts to the exercise and weight loss starts to occur, the
 amount and intensity of exercise can be gradually increased. Start with two
 easy, short walks per day. Five to fifteen minutes each walk may be enough
 for the obese dog. Slowly increase to two or three 30 minute, brisk walks
 per day.
 3. Provide water every few minutes for the dog to help prevent overheating.
 4. Utilize joint-friendly activities such as swimming.
 5. Play games, such as fetch, catch or Frisbee.
 6. Allow play with other dogs, if appropriate.
 7. Increase your household activities and let the dog join in. The more you
 walk around the house, the more the dog will walk, if invited.
 8. As your pet starts to feel better and lose weight, jogging can help
 accelerate the weight loss process.
 9. Consider exercising and playing in group activities, such as agility
 10. Exercise your pet every single day.
     Our pets are members of our family. We love them and want to keep them
 safe and healthy. To do this, we must keep them fit, not fat. So the next
 time your pet wants to play and you want to watch television, remind
 yourself that a healthy pet is an active pet. Put down the potato chips, get
 off the couch, and go play fetch with your best friend!

FOR MORE INFORMATION on True Haus Kennel or any of our dogs:

530-534-5678 James Reed