New Year, new you!
It’s that time of year again, where we resolve to make important changes to our health and improve our wellbeing.
Have you ever stopped to think about whether your dog might need a change too though?The incidence of obesity in dogs has risen dramatically over the last few decades. In the 1980s, approximately 22% of the dog population was obese (Edney and Smith 1986, Donoghue et al. 1991). By 2005, this had increased to 40% (McGreevy et al. 2005), and to a staggering 53% of the US dog population in 2016 (Association for Pet Obesity Prevention).
Just think… more than 1 in 2 dogs are currently classified as obese or overweight.
Coincidentally, these weight increases match the increase in use of commercial dry dog food.
The funny thing is, while we might recognise our dogs are carrying a little extra padding… we don’t seem to have any concern about the impact this will have on their health. To back this one up, out of a survey of 1,104 pet owners in America, while 32% reported their pets as overweight or obese, only three people considered this to be a health concern for their pets (Freeman et al. 2006).
Here’s a few reasons why you should absolutely be concerned if your dog is carrying a few extra kg...
One of the most common causes for concern in Australia, especially in big breed dogs are osteoarthritic issues, such as hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis.
Studies have shown that elevated energy intakes, i.e. feeding food full of carbohydrates (= energy) increase the incidence of skeletal disease, hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis (Kasstrom 1975, Kealy et al. 1992).
Essentially, feeding dogs’ excess energy while they’re growing leads to maximal growth (not optimal). The dogs are growing too fast for their skeletal structures to support them, which ultimately leads to painful, debilitating issues later on in life and shortens their time with you.
You’ll probably get where I’m heading here (clue: biologically appropriate feeding), but stay with me here!
Aside from orthopaedic problems, obesity in dogs has also been linked to causing:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Pancreatic diseases
- Respiratory and heart diseases
- Urinary diseases (linked to kidney dysfunction)
- Reproductive disorders
- Increased risk of cancer
- Dermatological diseases
- Increased risk of anaesthetic complications
And all of these issues are increasing in frequency every year.
Why are so many dogs now obese?
- Kibble and other processed foods are high in carbohydrates, fillers and nutritionally useless calories. If your diet was 60% bread, you’d put on weight too!
- Additives in processed food and its low nutritional value encourage dogs to keep eating, even after they’re physically full.
- Many commercial ‘treats’ may look small but pack a huge calorific punch, sometimes up to 1000 calories in some brands of ‘dental bones’
- Most kibble is loaded with corn. This comes in many forms; corn dust, high fructose corn syrup, corn oil…this stuff is fattening! We’ve also written before about how this doesn’t even have to be labelled – but they’re still allowed to put it in.
So… what can you do?
It’s pretty simple: FEED RAW!
- It’s a natural diet, that has the appropriate balance of proteins, carboydrates and fats that your dog was supposed to eat
- Your dog will get the nutrients they actually need, not just load up on useless cereals and fillers
- A species-appropriate diet will allow their metabolism to function at optimal levels meaning their life expectancy and overall health outlook is significantly better
Obviously, the other side of the equation is sufficient exercise. While exercise is essential to get out excess energy and ensure they have stimulation – the saying “you can’t exercise off a poor diet” stands as much for them as it does for us.
So, for 2018, give your dog the gift of life and vitality. Make the change that will have them happier, healthier and with you for longer… and join the raw revolution!
Because we’re so passionate about your dog’s health, we’re offering all new customers 1 week’s free food of the best raw dog food in Sydney. Head here to organise yours!
We are always available to help out and offer advice, including working with you to tailor a meal plan specific to your dog’s needs. If you have any questions, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.
Happy New Year – and what a year it will be!