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
Brightly colored fruits and vegetables make delicious smoothies and also contribute to healthy eyes. Vitamins in these raw foods can protect against such conditions as night blindness, eye infections, and degenerative eye diseases. Although supplements are plentiful and widely marketed, health professionals stress the importance of a good diet. Making raw smoothies with your high performance blender is one way to give your diet a boost while taking care of your vision.
Seeing Better with Vitamin A
Children and pregnant and lactating women who have a vitamin A deficiency are at a risk for blindness. In fact, night blindness is the first symptom of an eye disease that may be linked to insufficient vitamin A in the diet. This vitamin nourishes cells in the retina that are responsible for creating nerve impulses triggered by light. Vitamin A also helps to relieve dry eyes and can guard against glaucoma. Look for yellow, orange, red and green vegetables and fruits for good sources of vitamin A. Examples include: spinach, pumpkin, kale, collard greens, cantaloupe, and apricot. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient and will build up in the body. It is important to get enough, but not to get too much of this vitamin. The recommended daily intake for girls who are more than 10 years of age and women is 800 mcg; boys older than 10 and men should take 1,000 mcg a day.
Vitamin D Lowers Risks
Vitamin D in sufficient amounts lowers the risk of eye infections as well as protecting overall immunity and helping you maintain good vision. Most recently, studies published in leading ophthalmology journals show a link between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of macular degeneration, a progressive disease resulting in blindness. Fortified juices, daily milk and almond milk are good sources of vitamin D and can easily be used in your smoothies and sauces. Daily requirements of this fat-soluble vitamin vary by age. Those below age 50 should consume 200 IU, men and women between 51 and 70 need 400 IU, and those older than 70 require 600 IU.
Vitamin E and Your Immunity
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and can be found in sweet potatoes and nuts, as well as vitamin-fortified cereals and peanut butter. It helps the immune system and plays a role in reducing the risk of blindness in later years. Foods that are good sources of vitamin E include kiwi, avocado, peach, pumpkin, and papaya. All can be used found in soup, smoothie or sauce recipes. Vitamin E, which is also a fat-soluble vitamin, must come from either supplements or diet because the body cannot manufacture it through any biological function. The recommended daily requirement for vitamin E is 22 IU for men and women. Women who are lactating need 28.5 IU every day, and children between the ages of 4 and 8 require 10.5 IU.
Vitamin C: The Other Antioxidant
Many nutritionists and medical professionals consider this vitamin a good source for making overall immunity stronger. It is also thought to improve eye health because it can protect against eye infections. Other advantages are said to include antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties. Among the raw fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C are peas, strawberries, oranges, kale, broccoli, carrot, apricot, papaya and collard green. The recommended daily dosage of this water-soluble vitamin is 75 mg for women and 65 mg for men
Eye Support with Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Colorful vegetables contain these two important substances, which are referred to as xanthophylls. Both lutein and zeaxanthin are present at high levels in the human eye. Specifically, these compounds are found in the macula and provide an antioxidant benefits that keep the cells in the eyes healthy. Zeaxanthin can protect the photoreceptors in the eye as well as the retina and macula. Some studies *** indicate that these two substances play a larger role in reducing the incidence of macular degeneration than vitamins E or C. Studies suggest *** that adults should eat foods that contain 6 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin a day. If you are in the habit of making raw smoothies with richly colored fruits and vegetables, the changes are good that you are giving your body the right amount of vitamins and other nutrients for optimal eye health. Rather than seeking out supplements and researching to find credible manufacturers, it is far easier to make smoothies using some of the colorful fruits, vegetables along with fortified milk or juices.
(C) 2013 OmniBlender.COM LLC