Over-feeding and under-exercising are the cause of the huge rise in human obesity, so it’s no surprise that we’ve been making our pets suffer from obesity, too! Most dog owners believed the claims of, ‘healthy’ and ‘natural’ and ‘well-balanced’ on dog-food merchandising and labels, not realizing that we have all been well and truly bamboozled!
The fact is that food manufacturers have gone all-out to disguise cheap, unhealthy food as a wonderful, time-saving product. And our pets are suffering greatly from the diseases caused by obesity and processed dog-food! The return to home-cooking dog-food from scratch is now considered a major way to prevent obesity in dogs. And retired vets have been saying for years that dogs who were home-fed in the ’60’s and 70’s had far fewer medical and weight problems.
Dogs’ Body Condition Scoring Chart
Home-cooking helps obese and trim dogs maintain a healthy weight
Cooking for your dogs isn’t difficult or complicated and you can cook food in batches to be stored in the ‘fridge or freezer. In fact, you may start to find it’s actually more convenient than processed dog-food. One thing you can rely on is that a home-cooked, balanced diet will keep your dog healthier and happier, and save you a lot of money!
A well-balanced diet for dogs
Here’s a useful fact-file explaining all you need to know, before you start cooking recipes to prevent your dog getting obese. And if your dog has been diagnosed as obese by a vet, have a chat with them about home-cooked food for your individual dog. Vets are always keen on giving pets natural, unprocessed foods and will give you plenty more tips.
Dogs require a well-balanced diet that includes:-
- 40% protein
- 50% vegetables
- 10% starch
Just like humans, dogs need a varied diet to get all the vitamins, minerals and oils required for a healthy hormone balance. It’s now known that hormones directly control our appetite for food and prevent obesity in dogs and humans when correctly balanced. If you cook a truly natural diet for your pet, they won’t be eating bulking agents put into canned food or any chemical additives that affect correct hormone balance. Dogs and humans with unbalanced hormones find their appetite for food increases and they never feel satiated.
Best sources of protein for a dog’s dinner
Provide a range of good muscle or organ protein sources, but only include small amounts of liver, as this may retain impurities. Keep the diet varied with protein from this list:-
- Beef – can be ground beef or small, sliced strips
- Chicken/turkey – easy to digest and inexpensive
- Fish – oily-fish like mackerel or herring once or twice a week only
- Eggs – now and then
- Beans – well-cooked kidney beans or lima beans in moderation
Safe & nutritious vegetables for dogs
Dogs can digest and benefit from a wide range of vegetables, but they’re not all safe for dogs to eat. Here’s a list of safe vegetables to feed dogs with or without obesity problems:-
- Broccoli – may cause gas
- Cauliflower – may cause gas
- Green beans
Healthy low GI carb list for dogs
These carbohydrates are all low Glycemic Index foods, so they don’t push up the blood-sugar level like processed carb foods. Avoid giving any over-weight dog highly-processed carbs as they are automatically changed into sugar by the body. High fibre, natural food carbs are best because they still contain important vitamins for dogs, and promote a healthy gut.
- Brown rice – this really is ‘natural’ rice with the fibre and vitamins still present
- Potatoes – must be cooked
- Whole-wheat cooked pasta* –without salt or sauce added
*Some dogs are allergic to wheat, so do an allergy test first.
Foods to avoid
- Raw yeast dough
- Spices such a cayenne, curry, paprika, salt, pepper etc.
- Walnuts and macadamia nuts
The idea that dogs can eat anything is a dangerous myth, because certain foods cause severe illness and death. Pin this list up in your kitchen, until you have got into the swing of cooking for your dog regularly.
Foods to restrict for obesity prevention in dogs
- Cooking oils like canola oil
- Corn is a food many dogs struggle to digest
- Dairy foods as they cause digestive upsets in some dogs
Is a raw diet more ‘natural’ for dogs?
The trend for eating more raw foods to prevent obesity in humans, has led to some pet-owners considering a raw-food diet for their dogs. However, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Centre for Disease Control actively discourage feeding raw meat and bones to dogs. They agree that freshly killed and eaten meat in the wild is one thing, but all of the raw meat we buy has been processed and stored. Dangerous bacteria can be thriving and growing on the meat, making it the cause of severe illness or death in dogs and the humans who prepare it at home.
And finally, remember that dogs absolutely need plenty of outdoor exercises every day, so make it a priority to ensure you prevent obesity in your doggy companion.