We at ASSARO take our own Australian Shepherd's and our rescues weight VERY seriously.
Obese Australian Shepherds are predisposed to a number of different health issues. These issues include diabetes, joint disease, heart disease, liver disease, skin disease, respiratory disease, and heat stroke. Even some forms of cancer have been linked to obesity.
Keeping your aussie at a lean body weight and avoiding obesity can add years to their life. Lean aussie's tend to be much healthier and more comfortable than obese aussie's. For instance, staying lean can help prevent joint disease and the pain that accompanies arthritis and similar diseases. The list goes on.
The secret to keeping them at a good weight is very simple:
- Feed the right quality food
- Feed them for the right stage of life
- Feed the right quantity of food
- Treats in moderation
- Exercise them
- If they are already overweight
The type of food you feed is very important and it has to be a nutritionally balanced food like Hills. If a food is unbalanced, the Australian Shepherd is not getting in all the nutrients they require. One also needs to look at the age of the aussie as this affects their food type too. The stages of life for food is 0-1 years puppy for medium (10-25kg) and large breed (25kg up). If you are unsure whether the aussie is going to be over 25kg or not, it is better to feed large breed as this is better for their bone growth. Adult is 1-6 years medium breed and 1-5 years large breed. Senior is from 7 years medium and 6 years large breed.
Each stage of life has different nutritional needs so it is very important to feed the right stage of life.
If you are wanting to do a raw food diet, it is VERY important to get this food from a reliable source. So many raw foods claim to be balanced but aren't.
FEED THE RIGHT QUANTITY OF FOOD
Feeding the right quantity is also very important. On the back of each bag you will find a recommended feeding guide. This is a GUIDE only. What I mean by that is that each Australian Shepherd requires a different amount of food as they are individuals with different energy needs. Amber my 18kg girl needs more food than Ms Bennett who is also 18kg as Amber is a much busier, higher energy girl than Ms Bennett.
So within the feeding guideline ask your Vet or Vet Nutritional Advisor what you should be feeding and them monitor their weight religiously.
TREATS IN MODERATION
We all use treats in training and just because we like to spoil our Australian Shepherds. However these need to be taken into account with the amount of food you give them at their meal times. The more treats, the less kibble given for meals.
Exercise is very important for Australian Shepherds, not only for their weight but also for their mental stimulation.
Again, each Australian Shepherd is unique and they will have unique needs for exercise. Older and arthritic aussies get different kinds of exercise to younger more energetic aussies etc. Always check with your Vet with regards to your Australian Shepherds needs.
If your Australian Shepherd is already overweight you need to take them to be assessed immediately at your vet who has a Hills Pet Slimmers Clinic that does the Hill's Prescription Metabolic Diet! Here they will tell you how much the aussie needs to lose/weigh and how much they need to eat. They will also register you with the Hill's program which has a lot of incentives.
We call overweight dogs passive abuse! Please love your Australian Shepherd enough to keep him/her healthy and slim!