LGD Health and Nutrition: The Role of Body Condition Scoring

Health and nutrition go hand in hand. We all try to ensure that our animals are cared for in the best way, but have you ever been confused by feeding recommendations? We’ve tried a few different dog food brands and every one had a different feeding chart. None of them seemed to take into account that our dogs are working dogs. They aren’t your average pet. Our livestock guardian dogs live with the stock they protect. They spend many nights patrolling the fence lines and alerting potential predators of their presence (isn’t that a nicer way to say “barking”?).

We want our dogs to stay in top condition, but that can be tricky when some feeds offer recommendations like 2% of your dog’s weigh for maintenance up to 6% for newly lactating dogs. How often do you weigh your dog? It sure isn’t often around here…. and now I’m trying to imagine getting any of our LGDs to stand on the scale for me. Yep, not likely to happen this week.

Even worse, depending on the food I’ve seen recommendations from 4 1/3 to 11 1/2 cups per 100 lbs of weight. Talk about a range!

Feeding really comes down to size/bulkiness and nutritional density of the specific food you’re feeding. Whether you’re feeding commercial kibble, wet food, a raw diet, or a combination of food sources, you also need to consider your dogs energy level. In the end, we’ve found the best way to keep your dog at an optimum weight is to use feeding recommendations as a starting place, but to adjust based on their body condition score.

Want to learn more about body condition scoring your dog? Check out this short video:

Remember, if you have any concerns about your dog or start to notice changes to their stool, coat, or condition, always work with your veterinarian. Quality feed is one piece of the health puzzle, but parasite load and other factors can come up… especially for LGDs that spend a lot of time outside.

Want to learn more? Check out our Intro to Livestock Guardian Dog Course.

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