Did you know that over 50% of dogs in North America are obese? Obesity can lead to an array of other health issues such as joint strain or being at risk of developing serious disease/illnesses such as diabetes.
There are many factors that contribute to this however, various studies conducted on overweight dogs and the two factors that impact weight the most are: 1) how and what we are feeding them 2) how much exercise they are getting.
Having an understanding of how the pet food industry has become a 60 billion dollar fast food industry can help us understand the obesity epidemic in our pets.
Firstly, dogs don’t have a requirement for carbohydrates and the average bag of grain-based food is often more than 50% 50% carb primarily from insulin raising corn or potatoes. As Dr. Karen Becker states in her book The Forever Dog that is essentially like diabetes in a bowl.
These carbohydrates rich foods are also high in calories and highly palatable due to chemicals on the kibble to make the food more appealing/addictive to your pups (similar to the addictive nature of fast food in humans) making the food easy to overeat.
Even if you are trying to control your pups portion sizes by following the recommended feeding guidelines on a bag of kibble you are still at risk of overfeeding your pup. These guidelines are a general recommendation only and do not take into consideration factors that influence your pup’s caloric needs such as their age, breed & activity level.
What to do if your pup is overweight?
Start by switching them to a minimally processed, whole foods diet. Even replacing as little as 10 percent of our dog’s daily processed food with fresh food creates positive changes in your dog's body. (The Forever Dog, p.14)
You can change the types of treats you give your pup by swapping out commercial treats with fresh fruits and vegetables such as carrots or blueberries.
Monitor your pups portion control. EVERYTHING your pup eats should be included in their daily calorie intake. So, if you are feeding your pup treats throughout the day ensure you reduce the amount of food you are giving them.
Ensure your pup is getting adequate exercise. For a healthy, active dog aim for at least 60 min of daily exercise!What you feed yourself or your dog has the potential to either heal or harm you. By incorporating minimally processed whole foods into your pups diet and giving them adequate exercise you can reduce the risk of disease and illness and help them live longer and healthier lives! Try incorporating Puppy Gang Fresh Foods meals as either a whole meal or nutritious topper to your pups meals today!