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
Can Vitamins and Antioxidants Improve Eye Health?
After recently released study results, doctors are beginning to pay attention to their patients’ vitamin D levels and ask them more questions about eye health. Researchers are finding that when vitamin D as well as other vitamins, minerals and foods rich in antioxidants are present in sufficient amounts, the risk of blindness is reduced. Smoothies made with ingredients for proper nutrition can keep your eyes healthy in later years.
The two main causes of blindness in the elderly are age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Studies published by the Archives of Ophthalmology and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed a link between nutrients and eye health.
Antioxidants and Protection Against Cataracts
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye and can result in blindness if not treated. Current medical technology allows those with cataracts to undergo an operation that removes the clouded lens and replaces it with an artificial one.
Although surgery procedures have become routine and most people with cataracts can be treated on an outpatient basis, it is better to take steps to reduce the risk of getting them in the first place. One study that was published in June 2008 by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the combination of antioxidants lessened the cataract risks of 2,400 older adult subjects.
Fruits and vegetables have been rated on the degree to which they function as an effective antioxidant. The standard measurement is called the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), and the chart below lists raw fruits and vegetables that have a high ORAC score (see below). All of these foods can be used to make raw smoothies, soups or sauces in your high performance blender.
Red bell pepper
The macula is the central point of vision in the retina. Macular degeneration is a progressive disease characterized by a dying off of light sensing cells, which eventually results in blindness. There is no medical treatment available that will reverse the disease process of macular degeneration at this time. Of the men and women in the United States who are 40 years old or older, 15 million are said to have some degree of age-related macular degeneration.
One study conducted by the University of Buffalo’s School of Public Health*** found that women younger than 75 with above average vitamin D levels had a decreased risk for age-related macular degeneration. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 400 IU up to age 18, 800 IU for ages 19 through 50, and 1200 IU for those over 50 years of age.
Unlike the water-soluble B and C vitamins, vitamin D is fat-soluble and can collect in the liver and tissues. While the skin when exposed to sunlight absorbs some amount of vitamin D, this method alone will probably not provide the recommended daily dosages. Dietary adjustments need to be made to reach the recommended allowance.
You can find out what whether your vitamin D intake is sufficient through a simple blood test. Many lab forms used by doctors to order these tests include a place to indicate that vitamin D assessment is necessary. Doctors consider that someone with less than 30 nanomoles of vitamin D per liter of serum is deficient.
If you want to increase your intake of vitamin D to protect your eyes, try including these foods in your diet: canned tuna, herring, salmon, dairy milk, almond milk, orange juice with vitamins added, and fortified cereals. Follow smoothie recipes that use milk or orange juice and whip up a few in your smoothie blender each day to increase your vitamin D level.
A healthy diet throughout life that includes raw fruits and vegetables can keep you seeing clearly in your older years. The antioxidant benefits of berries together with the vitamin D advantages of dairy milk or fortified orange juice is a recipe for delicious smoothies and healthy eyes.
(C) 2013 OmniBlender.COM LLC