The answer to the above question varies, depending on your dog's age, build and sex. There are Norfolks that are not overweight at 15 or 16 pounds and those that are not underweight at 10 pounds. The breed standard calls for dogs to be in the 11 to 12 pound range, and this is appropriate for most dogs.
It is especially important for dogs involved in sporting events such as agility, flyball, or obedience to be at an appropriate weight since individuals engaging in strenuous activities are at a much greater risk for muscle or joint injury if they are overweight. Plus, they are more susceptible to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
How do you tell if your Norfolk is at an appropriate weight? With your dog standing still, gently run your fingers over his rib cage starting near his front legs and moving back toward his hips. If your dog is in good condition, you'll be able to feel each rib.
Stand over your dog. Can you see a waistline? If his sides actually round out, he is obese.
Unfortunately, many dogs that spend their lives in the conformation ring are allowed to get pretty chunky. However, a knowledgeable judge won't mistake fat for muscle!
Keeping our dogs in proper weight is one of the best gifts we can give them to ensure a long, healthy life. If you need help in a doggy weight-reduction plan, consult your veterinarian. If you don't have the will power to resist limpid brown eyes and a wagging tail, get someone else in the family to handle the feeding chores. If you must give treats, consider the low fat variety. Better still, offer your dogs raw carrots, green beans, and chunks of apple instead of fat-filled commercial biscuits.
Remember, a cocktail peanut contains something like 10 calories. Half of that cookie you're eating may contain 100 or more calories. It takes very little in the way of seemingly innocuous treats to pack on the calories which, in the end, will ultimately shorten your Norfolk's life.
ANTIC, June, 2001
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