Do you have a paunchy pooch? It seems the obesity epidemic has spread from humans to our dogs. It is estimated that 45% of American dogs are overweight (that’s over 35 million) and it’s not just puppy fat. Obesity tops the list of nutrition related health problems in canines. It is as unhealthy for dogs to be overweight as it is for humans.
How Being Obese Could Harm Your Dog
Obesity isn’t just an aesthetic issue. Being overweight can be life-threatening and significantly shorten your dog’s lifespan. Dogs that are too fat usually die two years sooner than they would if they remained fit. That’s two more years you could spend with your best friend if you help him maintain a healthy weight.
Not only that, obesity lowers your dog’s quality of life. Dogs that are obese have a much higher risk of developing dangerous medical conditions such as:
- High blood pressure
- Lung disorders
- Cancerous tumors
- Immune dysfunctions
How to tell if Your Dog is Obese
Veterinarians report that 50% of the dogs they see are overweight but only 17% of owners realize it.
When you look at your dog do you see a waistline? If you run your hands down her side can you easily feel the ribs? You should be able to do both those things if your dog is fit.
Find out how much your dog weighs by putting him on the scales at home or at the vet’s. How does that compare to standard weight charts for his breed? The smaller the dog, the less excess weight it takes to make your dog obese. For example, a 12-pound Yorkie is comparable to a woman weighting 214 pounds.
What to do if Your Dog is Overweight
A consultation with your vet should always be the first step in creating a weight loss plan for your dog. The veterinarian can rule out any medical causes for weight gain and help you determine how many calories your dog should consume a day.
Dogs that need to lose weight do best on a quality dog food that is higher in protein than average and lower in fat than average. That combination helps protect your dog from muscle loss when losing pounds. Feed your dog the amount recommended for his ideal weight, not his current weight and split that into small meals throughout the day. Be sure you use a real measuring cup (not a coffee cup or scoop) to serve a precise amount.
Exercise is Important
Couch potato canines are more likely to be overweight than active dogs. Encourage your dog to walk or play vigorously at least 30 minutes a day. This will stimulate his metabolism and burn calories. Exercise may also help suppress his appetite.
The bonus is that to get your dog exercising you will need to participate by walking him or playing an energetic game of fetch or another activity. You’ll both reap the healthy benefits.
The Secret to Weight Loss in Dogs
Actually, it’s not a secret. It’s the same formula humans use to lose weight: eat less calories than you burn. That means sticking to the daily calorie budget and adhering to an exercise schedule. Commercial treats are a no-no for your dieting doggie but you can prepare him a smoothie treat that will help boost metabolism and energy levels so dieting comes easier. Just use a powerful blender to emulsify the ingredients. This is a low calorie, high protein smoothie so it should fit right into your dog’s diet plan.
Metabolism-Boosting Smoothie to Help Your Dog Lose Weight
1 cup cooked, unseasoned boiled or baked chicken breast, no skin
1 apple, cored, no seeds
½ cup cantaloupe, chopped
4 or 5 broccoli florets
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
Enough water to create desired thickness
Put all ingredients in your Omniblend or other high-speed blender. Puree until smooth. May be frozen in ice cube trays for individual servings or you may add a spoonful or two to your dog’s food.
(C) 2014 OmniBlender.COM LLC
Health conscious humans put credence in smoothies they create for themselves, firmly believing that these blended drinks provide superior nutrition for their bodies and they’re right. When smoothies are made in a high performance blender fruits, vegetables and other plants are broken down finely enough to release the powerful phytonutrients hidden beneath the plant’s cellulose. Those valuable phytonutrients are essential building blocks of a strong immunity.
Humans aren’t the only ones who reap the benefits of smoothies. Dogs love the nutrient rich concoctions as well. You can make green smoothies, fruit smoothies, or protein smoothies to pump up your dog’s health. There are medleys of ingredients that work well in smoothies for pooches but there are some elements you should never feed your pets. After all, the objective is to improve your dog’s health, not harm it.
Foods You Should Never Feed Dogs
The following foods should not be fed directly to your four-legged friends nor should they be added to smoothies that they will be consuming.
Grapes and Raisins
As juicy and flavorful as grapes are and as much as many of us like raisins, dogs should not eat them. We don’t really know why but these fruits can cause kidney failures in canines. One of the early symptoms of grape or raisin poisoning is recurrent vomiting and within 24 hours the dog will begin acting depressed and lethargic. Don’t leave grapes laying on the table or the counter or anywhere else your dog may be able to reach them.
Some dogs don’t digest milk well and it may cause them to suffer from diarrhea or other digestive disturbances. Milk and milk-based products are also substances that some dogs are allergic to and it will cause intense itching. As tempting as it is to share your ice cream with your pooch on a hot summer day, resist it, for your dog’s sake.
As few as six macadamia nuts can cause severe reactions in dogs. Symptoms include paralysis or weakness in the hindquarters, vomiting, muscle tremors, increased heart rate and an elevated temperature.
A large enough amount of caffeine will kill a dog. There isn’t any known antidote so once a dog suffers a caffeine overdose its chances of recovery are slim. The symptoms include rapid breathing, restlessness, muscle tremors, heart palpitations, bleeding, and fits. Caffeine can be found in coffee beans or grounds, colas, chocolate, cocoa, teas, and energy drinks. It’s also in some medicines and cold treatments which, of course, should always be kept out of reach of pets.
Onions and Garlic
Garlic and onions in any of its forms may cause damage to your dog’s red blood cells resulting in anemia. The occasional small dose may not cause problems but any large amount or regular consumption may be harmful. Signs your dog may be anemic include listlessness, lack of interest in food, vomiting, weakness, and breathlessness.
The jury is still out on avocado but we recommend that you err on the side of safety. Persin, a substance found in the fruit, seeds, and leaves of avocados, may be toxic to dogs when consumed in large quantities so keep your pet on an avocado free diet.
Uncooked eggs are sources of bacteria like E coli and Salmonella. It also hampers the absorption of Vitamin B which can lead to skin and coat issues. So it’s best to ignore the old farmer’s advice about giving your dog a raw egg a day to make his coat shiny.
As you may know, chocolate is toxic to dogs. Dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate are the most harmful but every type contains theobromine, an agent harmful to canines. Symptoms of excess theobromine can include diarrhea, vomiting, and extreme thirst, tremors, seizures, irregular heart rhythm, and even death.
Nutmeg and Mace
Although humans find this spice a tasty addition to holiday favorites, smoothies and baked goods, it’s dangerous for your dog. Nutmeg poisoning symptoms include central nervous problems, tremors, seizures, and death.
Pits and Seeds of Fruits
Apples, pears, peaches, plums, and other fruits are good for your pet but the pits and seeds are not. Not only can they cause a digestive obstruction, many of these also contain cyanide. Don’t restrict your dog from fruits; just make sure to avoid the seeds and pits.
There are numerous other foods that your dog shouldn’t eat but you most likely wouldn’t put in a smoothie to improve health. Some of those include salt, sugar, fat trimmings, bones, baking soda, baking powder, and alcohol. These may cause problems ranging from pancreatitis to obesity to death.
Even though you love your dog like family, it’s best not to always feed him like family. Here’s a tasty treat for Fido that has only healthy ingredients. I just whip this up in my JTC Omniblend and in moments I have a tasty, wholesome treat my dogs love.
Orange Doggie Delight Smoothie
½ c. low-sodium chicken stock
½ c. cooked sweet potato
4-5 baby carrots
3 Tbs. pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
A few ice cubes
Emulsify all ingredients in a three horsepower blender and freeze in ice cube trays
(c) 2014 OmniBlender.COM LLC
Have you ever noticed your dog eating grass? It may strike you as odd to see your dog grazing on greens like a cow, but their instincts are telling them they need something found in green matter. You can help them satisfy that craving by supplementing their diet with the addition of nutritious fruits and vegetables. By creating quick, inexpensive green smoothies for your dogs, you’ll provide them with numerous health advantages and a treat they’ll love.
Benefits of Giving Your Dog Green Smoothies
Just like humans dogs need a healthy, balanced diet. Unfortunately, many commercial foods fail to provide the best nourishment. Many manufactured dog foods contain corn, wheat, and soy but those are not very digestible and often irritate food allergies. They also add a lot of unessential calories to a dog’s diet and contribute to obesity. Choose a kibble that is grain free then give it a boost with the addition of green smoothies.
Fruits and vegetables help build your dog’s immunity and ward off illnesses. Because they provide potent vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, particularly when they are raw, green vegetables are a great way to help your dog stay healthy. They are a rich source of Vitamins A, C, E, and K and fiber, calcium, and protein. Like you, your dog is susceptible to colds, flu, and other illnesses. Why not head off those problems with a daily dose of prevention?
Green smoothies also aid digestion, though because dogs have a short digestive tract fruits and vegetables you give your pet are best served in the form of a smoothie to aid the absorption of the nutrients. The best way to do this is to use a 3 horsepower blender powerful enough to break down the cellular walls of the vegetables to release the potent phytonutrients trapped inside. That is where the real nutrition lies.
Another benefit of green smoothies for dogs includes improved skin and coat. After just a couple of weeks of enjoying green smoothies you’ll notice your dog’s coat has taken on a brilliant sheen and feels softer and more luxurious. This is a result of the extra vitamins and the added hydration smoothies add to your dog’s diet.
Exercise is also important to your dog’s wellbeing and green smoothies will boost their energy levels so they feel more like running and playing. Dogs who lack energy wind up overweight, uncomfortable, and bored. They’ll always feel up to taking a run with you when you make sure they get the right diet to energize them.
How to Make Green Smoothies for Dogs
Green smoothies for both humans and dogs traditionally contain about 40% green vegetables and 60%fruit. You can follow a recipe or get creative and make up your own. Many recipes are designed to be enjoyed by people and animals alike or you can add some special ingredients to please the canine palate. Those might include items like low sodium chicken, beef, or turkey stock or the addition of some lean meat.
It only takes a couple of minutes to whip up a batch of smoothies but the benefits last a lifetime. It really is as simple as throwing the ingredients in your high performance blender (I prefer the Omniblend) and letting it whir away. There’s no cooking and cleanup only takes a minute. Isn’t your fur baby worth it?
Here’s a recipe that both the dogs and their humans will enjoy.
Green Smoothies to Share with Your Dog
2 apples, peeled and sliced (be sure to avoid getting any seeds in the mix)
3 stalks celery
2 handfuls baby spinach
Several kale leaves
½ cup parsley
½ cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1 cup crushed ice
Blend in high power blender until smooth and enjoy.
Those of us who are dog lovers and have taken one or more furry friends into our family know how deep the love between canine and human can run. Many people think of their dogs as precious family members and make their health a top priority. We want them happy, healthy, and with us as long as possible. Like humans, good nutrition is vital to a pet’s health and can add years to your dog’s life.
CLICK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BLENDERS THAT MAKE THE BEST DOG SMOOTHIES
There has been a lot of talk recently about the best way to feed dogs. Should we use purchased kibble or feed raw? Grains or no grains? Do raw meats put your dog at risk of ingesting dangerous bacteria or parasites? There are many questions and no one really knows the exact formula for the perfect dog food.
A combination of the possibilities can be an excellent option. Many pet parents have chosen to follow the raw food diets but many others simply don’t have the time or desire to make their own dog food. Another factor is that manufactured kibble offers consistency which is often hard to duplicate in raw diets you make yourself. If you choose a manufactured kibble carefully, you can offer your dog a wholesome diet. Whichever diet you choose, however, delicious, nutritious smoothies help ensure that your dog is getting the best nutrition possible and your dog thinks of them as a yummy treat and a sign of your affection.
Why Smoothies for Dogs?
Smoothies are an excellent way to add vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to your diet and are just as nutritious for your pets as they are for you. They are also a great source of phytonutrients, special nutrients found only in plants that, when broken down, help build strong immune systems and play a vital part in long term fitness. The best way to release phytonutrients? By using a powerful 3 horsepower blender that is capable of fracturing the cellulose that traps the phytonutrients inside the plants. If that is not broken down enough the beneficial phytonutrients are never released and the body fails to ingest those hidden healthy resources.
It’s easy to make smoothies for yourself or your pets. When making smoothies for your dog, choose a base of plain, unsweetened low-fat or fat-free yogurt, low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese, low sodium chicken or beef stock, or water. Smoothies may be served to your pet just as they are, mixed in with their regular food, or you can freeze individual servings in ice cube trays for a frosty treat. Here is a recipe for one of my dog’s favorite smoothies.
Before we further discuss smoothies for dogs, though, let’s take a look at how to choose a commercial kibble that will be the most beneficial for your dog. There are so many choices on the market it can be difficult to figure out which food is best. The secret to selecting the healthiest dog food is learning to read the labels
How to Select a Manufactured Dog Food
Like human food, the ingredients are listed on dog food labels in the order of amount of content, highest to lowest, so the first five ingredients are what make up the majority of the food. Dogs are carnivores so it is important that a meat protein is the first ingredient. It can either be listed as meat or meat meal. The difference is meat meal has had most of the liquid removed from it so it can be weighed more accurately.
There is an ongoing controversy over whether dog food should include grains or not. Healthy grains like brown rice or oatmeal are good sources of carbohydrates and easily digested, however, it is often advised that grains like corn, soy, and wheat be avoided because they offer little in the way of nutritional value, are hard to digest, and many dogs have developed allergies to those particular grains. Grain free foods often substitute potatoes or peas as an alternative source of carbohydrates.
It is most beneficial for your dog to eat as natural a diet as possible. Artificial dyes and preservatives are best avoided. If you choose to feed commercial kibble, select one that is holistic or organic. Look for a food that is rated four or five stars on a reputable dog food rating site.
Berry Banana Smoothie for Dogs Recipe
1 container plain yogurt (8 ounces)
1 cup blueberries
1 ripe banana
5 hulled strawberries
1 tablespoon organic honey
1 cup ice water
Place all the ingredients in your high performance blender and puree until smooth. My dog loves frozen treats so I like to freeze this in ice cube trays to make individual servings. It will keep in the freezer for up to six months or can be stored in the fridge in its liquid state for one week.
Remember, whenever you offer you dog new foods start with small amounts and be alert for allergic reactions. Most dogs can eat fruits without any issues and enjoy healthy benefits when it is added to their diets.
(C) 2014 OmniBlender.COM LLC