The Rhodesian Ridgeback is known for having quite a hearty appetite. This is due in part to their beginnings as a hunting dog in the African bush. For wild dogs, gulping down food has always been a necessary survival instinct. Since there is no way to tell when food will come again, the only way to ensure one is fed is to devour a meal in large chunks; thus comes the term of wolfing something down. After hundreds of years of domestication, the Rhodesian Ridgeback still possesses this trait. Upon wolfing down their meals, the Ridgeback often looks up expecting more. This often tempts owners to feed them more than they should. The key to helping a Ridgeback feel full is not in the quantity of food but in the quality.
A good blend of protein and carbohydrates can make a stomach feel fuller for a longer period of time. It will be tempting to feed the ever hungry breed snacks and treats, leftovers, and tablescraps. However, doing this can result not only in weight gain but in the build up of toxins over a period of time. All too often liver, kidney, and pancreatic problems are the result of foods too high in ingredients such as salt or sugar. There are just some things a dog's body is unable to digest. Owners must not only learn to efficiently feed their Ridgeback but know how to say no.
Because the Ridgeback is not one who will wait on their owner, foodstuff should be kept in cabinets out of reach. It is not uncommon to hear of a Ridgeback who is quite skilled at opening cabinets, refrigerators and tipping over trash cans. Not only is this inconvenient for the owner, this can lead to the Ridgeback getting a hold of things they shouldn't. Although a vet can probably recommend a good product, the Ridgeback should be fed a diet consisting of a mixture of dry and canned dog food. The bulkier the dry dog food product, the better. Diets high in protein can take longer to burn but carbohydrates make the stomach feel fuller. A couple of high fat dog treats during the day may also help.
Diet requirements also depend on the age of the dog and whether or not he or she is highly active or only fairly active. Calorie counts will also go up if the dog is used for hunting, agility competitions, or search and rescue training. A common trick for dogs that are already somewhat overweight is mixing canned pumpkin with daily meals. Not only is the fiber in the pumpkin filling, it cuts down on calories. Owners can start by adding one quarter of cup of pumpkin to their Ridgeback's regular food, increasing each week until the dog begins to lose weight. A gradual increase is necessary for a smooth transition; otherwise, stomach upset can occur, turning the dog off from mealtimes.