Should You Put Your Dog on a Low Calorie Diet?

How Many Calories Does Your Dog Need?

Wondering if your pooch needs to go on a diet? People aren’t the only ones who can end up with a few extra pounds! And just like humans, carrying extra weight can have a major impact on a canine’s health. Here’s a look at when and how to put your dog on a calorie-restricted diet.

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A study of so-called light or low-calorie pet foods performed at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University revealed a confusing variation in calorie density and feeding recommendations among brands. Researchers found dry dog foods making weight management claims ranged in calorie density from 217 to 440 kilocalories per cup (kcal/cup), and that the recommended intake ranged from 0.73 to 1.47 times the dog’s resting energy requirement.

What this means is that well-meaning dog owners following manufacturer guidelines might not see promised weight loss in their chubby pups—in fact, they might see weigh gain—leading to frustration for people and ill health for dogs.

Knowing and counting calories is a priority for weight management, according to veterinary nutritionist Edward Moser, MS, VMD, DACVN, with whom we talked about the Tufts study and canine weight management.

A good way to set a calorie baseline is with a visit to your veterinarian. Since only about 17 percent of owners think their dogs are overweight, according to one study, the first step is breaking through denial. Your vet can help. There are several ways to set a daily calorie count, such as aiming for a one percent of total weight loss each week, or 75 percent of the calories required to maintain a goal weight, etc., Dr. Moser says.

– via The Bark

Lower Calories Could Make Your Dog Live Longer

Studies have shown that a restricted calorie diet may even extend the life of your pooch! So not only is it good for his health in the short term, but the long term as well. But you’d never want to drop Fido’s calories without medical advice! Check out this guide for considering a reduction in your dog’s calories.

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Changes caused to bugs in the gut by restricting calorie intake may partly explain why dietary restriction can extend lifespan, according to new analysis from a life-long project looking at the effects of dietary restriction on Labrador Retriever dogs.

Bugs in the gut are known as gut microbes and they live symbiotically in human and animal bodies, playing an important role in metabolism. Abnormalities in some types of gut microbes have recently been linked to diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

Today’s research, published in the Journal of Proteome Research, was based on a study in which 24 dogs were paired, with one dog in each pair given 25% less food than the other. Those with a restricted intake of calories lived, on average, about 1.8 years longer than those with a greater intake and they had fewer problems with diseases such as diabetes and osteoarthritis, plus an older median age for onset of late-life diseases.

The researchers, from Imperial College London, Nestlé Research Center (NRC) and Nestlé-Purina, found long-term differences in the metabolism of the dietary-restricted and non-dietary-restricted dogs. Metabolic profile plays a key role in determining animals’ response to illness and their susceptibility to disease.

The scientists believe that differences in the makeup of gut microbes between the two sets of dogs could partly explain their metabolic differences. The dogs that were not on a restricted diet had increased levels of potentially unhealthy aliphatic amines in their urine. These reflect reduced levels of a nutrient that is essential for metabolising fat, known as choline, indicating the presence of a certain makeup of gut microbe in the dogs. This makeup of gut microbes has been associated in recent studies with the development of insulin resistance and obesity.

– via ScienceDaily

Could you be feeding your dog too much? Have you ever asked your vet how many calories your dog should be getting?

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