Many Dogs Need Less Food. Coaxing a Dog To Overeat May be Bad for her Health.

Question:

I have a 3-year-old black German Shepherd that rarely eats. She usually only eats once a day, if that. She gets a whole lot of exercise everyday. The only way we usually get her to eat is to throw her ball at the food bowl until she finally eats.

 

Dr. Nichol:

I assume that since this girl plays hard and often that she is a healthy dog. If she is free if symptoms of disease and is happy and active you are lucky. Robust health in a well-loved friend is a beautiful gift. If she eats a little or a lot doesn’t matter if she’s doing well. All of us are individuals; some are more fuel-efficient. On the other hand, if your dog is lethargic, has diarrhea, vomiting, poor haircoat, or any suspicious signs-she needs to see her doctor.

 

We Americans have a lot of things right but we have the eating and nutrition thing screwed up. Every year there’s a new study showing that we are fat and unhealthy and slated for early deaths. McDonald’s wants to “super size” your fatty fun meal and even Mom wants you to join the “clean plate club”.

 

Sorry for being so heavy on the philosophy this week, but I must remind you that food is not the meaning of life. Your beautiful German Shepherd is a large breed dog. The maker never meant for the canine to exceed about 35 pounds. Big dogs carry a lot more load on joints designed for a smaller creature. Adding more pork for her to lug around will hasten degenerative joint changes as she ages. Fat and arthritic in mid-life and beyond, she’ll need drugs and a walker just to make it to the shuffle board court. Give her a break and trust Mother Nature to give her an appropriate appetite.