As some of our older puppies have reached that age where they are becoming more settled and more happily indulging in a little couch potato time, I have had a number of queries regarding weight. It's a very important issue to address and I thank those who have been asking!
Australian's tend to like their dogs and horses TOO FAT! When our children were tiny we had a red Kelpie bitch who didn't stop racing around all day. She would eat no more than I gave her and there were no improvements I could make to her diet. I was a little embarrassed by what I considered at the time to be her light-on condition. A vet came out to one of my horses and on seeing my dog said to me that he wished he could borrow her to take around with him to show dog owners what a healthy dog should look like. She was perfect in weight and muscle tone.
No harm will come to a dog from being on the lean side. There is plenty of harm to be caused by having your dog on the heavy side ...... particularly from a young age when your dog is at its most active. Not only are they more likely to develop metabolic disorders, they are also more likely to develop conditions caused by the extra load being carried by both soft and bone tissue.
Please check your dogs! Can you see a clearly defined waist when they are viewed from above? Can you easily feel their ribs? Can you see a well pronounced tummy tuck? (The tummy should tuck up at the back ..... not be level or hanging down.)
Just because Jack and Tilly in particular are large dogs, doesn't mean it is ok to have a dog with a high mass. Jack and Tilly are both very active and don't carry any extra weight. While Bess isn't as large, she certainly isn't small by modern day Border Collie standards. We struggle to keep Caly's weight down. She is the definition of "Hoover" and much lazier than our other dogs. When we are out and about on the farm we make a special effort to make sure Caly hasn't disappeared off to lick empty food bowls or lie as close as possible to the kitchen, dreaming up scraps. We keep her on the move and feed her less that our other, bigger, more active dogs.
It is important to regularly assess your dog and make adjustments to diet and exercise routines accordingly. Feeding your dog as much as they will eat is not always in their best interest. If circumstances change (age, activity level etc) it is important to make the appropriate changes to cater for this. I am very disapproving of feeding dogs scraps directly from the table as you are eating, but I won't go into that here.
I'm often asked about arthritis and hip dysplasia. A dog who carries too much weight (it doesn't have to be massively obese) increases their risk of such conditions by many times. If you want your dog to live a long, healthy life, it is important to manage weight from an early age.
If you have any questions, or want to send me photos etc, please message me. I don't believe anyone is purposefully trying to harm their dog by loving them so much they become little porky pies, but it is important to align one's thinking with what is best for their total welfare.