According to Dogfoodadvisor.com, “Finding and maintaining your dog’s ideal weight can significantly extend your pet’s life. A fourteen year landmark study from Iowa State University confirms…Dogs fed to ideal body condition lived 1.8 years longer than their overweight litter mates.1That’s a bonus of nearly 2 extra years of life… just for keeping your dog close to his ideal body weight.”
So what is this ideal body condition? This chart may help:
Too often, we let our dogs move from the ideal weight to heavy and before we know it, obese. Keep in mind, that an adolescent dog is going to be thin as he grows. This is normal just as it is normal for most teenagers to go through a skinny stage as their body shoots up and their limbs shoot out. In adulthood, that will moderate to the ideal weight. Study these diagrams to make sure that you are not confusing Heavy with Ideal. From above, the waist line should indent. From the side, there should be that pleasant body tuck.
An adult German Shepherd from Candle Hill should weigh between 55 lbs and 70 lbs for a female and 70 lbs to 90lbs for a male. Even within this range, it is possible that you are taking years off your dog’s life by allowing him to be overweight for his body type. These dogs are bred to want to do things, one of which is to want to eat. This means that free feeding or allowing your adult dog to eat all he wants is likely going to result in an unhealthy overweight dog.
Find a high quality feed and then stick with the instructions. For most feeds and most of our dogs, this means an average of two cups of food twice a day, less if your dog has been spayed or neutered.
Have mercy on your dog. Do not overfeed.
For further reading, we recommend Dr. Patrick Mahaney’s article on Pet Obesity.