Italian Greyhounds are built slim and sleek by nature-they are supposed to be on the thinnish side. Those pencil stick legs are designed to carry around trim athletic builds, not Chunky Monkeys!
Many people feel they need to show their IG how much they love them by sharing food every time they eat and by giving lots of treats. It is important to monitor what you are putting into your beloved iggy, because before you know it...you have a ticking time bomb-leg breaks, poor heart health, diabetes, early organ failure, painful joints, forced sedentary life-the list just goes on and on =( Good news...YOU ARE IN CONTROL!
Keep a close eye on your iggy and listen when friends mention that Fido has put on a little weight. We don't always notice because it can happen slowly over a long period.
An IG at good weight should look like this:
NOT like this:
and CERTAINLY not like this!
HEALTHY WEIGHT GENERAL GUIDELINES:
Able to feel the ribs just under the skin with no fat pad accumulation.If the skin is sunk in between the ribs-too thin. If there is some marshmallow under the skin-too heavy.
The neck and shoulders should be sleek and muscular with NO fat rolls.
Along the back, you should be able to see the silhouette of a couple of vertebrae at the highest part of the spine from the side. Multiple prominent vertebrae-too thin. A flat back that you could balance a coffee cup on-too heavy.
The hip bones should be just barely noticeable beneath the fur and the muscles in the rump and legs should be defined. Hip bones that protrude way out and are visually obvious from all angles-too thin. A rounded squishy booty-too heavy.
The body should be overall lean and defined with a deep chest, narrowed waist, and obvious tuck from chest to tummy. An iggy that looks like a sausage from the top or side view is too heavy. There should never be large fat pad accumulations on the sides behind the front legs, on the front chest between the front legs, or migrating down the tail-at this point the IG is likely already entering a 'morbid obesity' category.
TIPS TO SLIM YOUR IGGY
It CAN be done!
Leaving dog food out all day is not recommended for this breed. Measured twice daily feedings of a premium dog kibble should be your goal. The average IG should maintain a healthy weight on 1/4 to 1/3 cup of premium kibble twice a day. Premium means you are feeding a kibble that is concentrated nutrition made with mostly meat and NOT made from corn and fillers. There are LOTS to choose from. Check this link out to see where your current kibble ranks: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/
Snacks are STILL okay. Look into purchasing low calorie biscuits and treats at you local pet supply store. The industry understands that the public has become health conscious for their pets, and there are many on the market to choose from-just limit to 1 or 2 a day. Fresh fruits and veggies such as baby carrots, frozen green beans, and small pieces of melon or apple are WONDERFUL treats as well-again...in moderation. Be sure to avoid GRAPES, RAISINS, CHOCOLATE, ONIONS and anything that is SUGAR FREE/ARTIFICIALLY SWEETENED as these can cause severe illness, organ damage, or even death.
Structured Exercise-we all need it! Walks with a leash and harness or martingale collar are a great way to spend some special time with your IG. If your iggy is heavy you will need to start off with a short distance and gauge his endurance as you work up to longer distances. His leg joints may only be able to handle as little as a half block and back until he loses some weight. Be sure to avoid hot surfaces in summer and take some water along.
If your IG is not shedding those extra pounds with these changes in place it is time for a trip to the vet! There are some health conditions that can cause significant weight gain AND difficulty in getting it off without proper veterinary intervention.