The latest Association for Pet Obesity Prevention survey shows that over half of America's cats and dogs are overweight or obese.
Obesity, continues to be the greatest health threat to pets. It kills millions prematurely, creates immense pain and suffering and costs tens of millions of dollars in avoidable veterinary expenses.
Obesity-related diseases in dogs and cats are entirely preventable, and yet they continue to increase year after year. Many of these conditions can take years off a pet's life and destroy his or her quality of daily life.
Starchy Pet Foods Could Be Contributing To Overweight Pets
The incidence of obesity, cancer, diabetes and several other chronic health conditions in dogs and cats is much worse now than it was 20 years ago. Consequently, many sick pets have been switched to processed
because their owners mistakenly assume they contain less sugar than regular pet foods.
But if you're feeding a dry diet, while it might be free of grains, it can't be free of carbs, because carbs are necessary to form kibble. If you look at the package label, you'll see potato, sweet potato, lentils, peas (pea starch), chickpeas, tapioca and/or other carbohydrate sources. What many pet parents don't realize is starch breaks down into sugar, even though you don't see sugar on the pet food package label.
Unfortunately, many dry pet foods are loaded with carbs (40 to 50 percent of total content in some cases), which can lead to blood sugar fluctuations, insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes and
other health problems in pets
This isn't something many consumers are aware of because pet food manufacturers aren't required to list carbohydrate content on
package labels. Carbohydrate intake above the daily needs (less than 10
percent) of your pet activates internal enzyme factors that go to work storing the excess as body fat.
How To Tell If Your Pet Is Overweight
One of the problems contributing to the epidemic of pet obesity is that overweight dogs and cats have become the "new normal" and as a result, many people can't tell the difference between a fat pet and a normal-sized pet.
If you're not sure about your own pet, look down at her from above. You should be able to see a tapered-in waist. If she's oval-shaped, she's probably too heavy. You should also be able to feel (but not see) her ribs as well as the bones near the base of her tail.
If she's obese, you'll see noticeable amounts of excess fat on her abdomen, hips and neck. Also compare your pet to these body condition charts provided by the World Small Animal Veterinary
Actions To Take For An Overweight Pet
Pet foods high in carbohydrates
- typically kibble - are the biggest cause of obesity in both dogs and cats. Your carnivorous pet needs food high in animal protein and moisture, with low to no grain or starch content, which is pretty much the opposite of what dry pet foods offers.
A high-quality fresh food diet is the best choice for pets who need to lose weight. It's important to adequately nourish their bodies as weight loss occurs, making sure their requirements for key amino acids, essential fatty acids and other nutrients are met.
The key to healthy weight loss is to meet your pet's nutritional requirements through a balanced diet but feed less food (portion control), which forces her body to burn fat stores. The first step is to transition her to a diet free of potatoes, corn, rice, soy and tapioca.
First, convert your dog's ideal body weight from pounds to kilograms by using the following formula. One kilogram = 2.2 pounds, so divide her ideal weight (not her current weight) in pounds by 2.2. 50/2.2 = 22.7, so you dog's ideal weight in kilograms is 22.7.
Daily calories (canine) = Body Weight (kg) x 30 + 70
Now our formula looks like this: Daily calories = 22.7 (kg) x 30 + 70
And finally, it looks like this: Daily calories = 751
If your dog eats 750 calories a day she should drop steadily to her ideal weight of 50 pounds and maintain it.
The formula for kitties has a slight variation to account for the very sedentary lifestyle of most house cats:
Daily calories (feline) = Body Weight (kg) x 30 + 70 x 0.8
Measure your pet's food portions using an actual measuring cup and drastically limit treats (be sure to include any treats you feed in his total daily calorie count). I recommend setting aside a small portion of homemade food that can be rolled into tiny pea-sized bites and used as treats throughout the day.
Other options are a few raw pumpkin or sunflower seeds, berries and frozen peas, and also
. Small amounts of other fruits (melons and
, for example) as well as tiny cubes of low-fat cheese also make good treats. Just be sure to feed quantities that are no more than a one eighth-inch square and all treats for the day fit into a tablespoon for every 30 pounds of dog (and measure it, really
How Can Bark Avenue Help Me And My Pet?
The Bark Avenue team is dedicated to providing the best customer service to you and your furry friends, we strive to educate and help pet parents make the best decision for their pets nutrition and health. If you think your pet could be struggling with obesity come and talk with us!
Sources - healthypets.mercola.com,
Dogs Naturally Magazine 2018
Below are a couple of examples of some super healthy meat treats you will find at Bark Avenue!
Open Farm Meat Treats