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Cut the Diet Noise, Get Weight Off Your Pet, and Don’t Stop Feeding Raw!

By Kate Bendix; broadcaster, journalist, founder of My Itchy Dog 2 years ago 2859 Views


So, your dog needs to lose weight, you’re up to your eyes in advice about what to feed, and you don’t have a clue where to start. Sound familiar?

To add to your confusion, guilt and misery, the pet food weight loss message now mimics the human version and you’re being sold – either directly or through advertising - diet foods that, more often than not, don’t work.

And, as we all know (I certainly do) these ‘diets’ are unsustainable and you always put the weight back on when you go back to ‘normal’ eating, if not more. Well, Yo-Yo diets don’t work for dogs either.

And another thing! Forgetting the weight loss aspect for a minute, your dog has been happily eating the food they love for years, it might even be keeping their colitis, pancreatitis or itchy skin under control as well. So, what is a change of food going to do to that little lot?

OMG, then comes the marketing and you’re stuffed.

We all understand the foods that attest to being ‘light’ and ‘low calorie’ but what are the marketing people trying to sell you with these catchy titles?

• Canine metabolic

• Overweight sterilised

• Intestinal moderate calorie

• Perfect weight

I know I’m menopausal and sometimes my brain gets a little foggy but I’m not stupid and my head is just mashed when it comes to figuring that little lot out.

Messages are seldom aimed at raw feeders.

Weight loss food messages always relate to cooked pet food; packets, tins, trays and pouches, heavily weighted in favour of dry food. So, losing weight seems far harder if you feed your dog raw.

So, we’re in a tizz and we don’t know what to do.

Here is your solution

Cue heavenly choir and angels coming down to save the day.

It’s a simple calories in / calories out scenario. Feed less calories and the weight will come off.

The trick is to make sure those calories come in the form of real food, packed with good proteins and complex carbohydrates (e.g. broccoli) not refined carbohydrates (e.g. processed cereals.)

If your dog or cat is getting whole foods, they’re utilising all the available nutrients, fats, proteins and carbs. So, their energy stays level for longer with no spikes in blood sugar (up or down). This means your dog is getting the food he needs and isn’t craving more every five minutes. It also means that you’re not feeding diminishing quantities of food with a hungry dog, and no weight loss to show for it.

Raw food is the perfect food for weight loss.

For all the reasons above, feeding raw is a brilliant way to get the weight off, keep it off, and maintain energy levels. Natural Instinct’s range has lower calorie options, including treats. So, if you’re a newbie* to raw, or already on say, Chicken & Lamb simply move over to their Special Diet recipe, but also the Natural Beef Tripe and Working Dog Turkey are lower in calories too. Add to this healthy treats; Fish Skins, Liver Treats, Lamb Lites and Fish Fingers and you’ve got one happy dog on your hands, losing weight with no dramas, satiated and full of beans.

*Remember if your dog/cat is new to raw then you must gradually transition over a 7-10 day period!*

Before you embark on any weight loss plan. I’d always get my dog or cat checked over by the vet. If they’re otherwise fit and healthy you’re good to go. And don’t be talked into moving on to diet food if you don’t want to, especially if you’re already feeding raw.

How do I know if I’m feeding too much?

Depending on your pet’s activity levels etc. a dog needs to eat between 2-3% of their ideal bodyweight in food daily in order to maintain their current weight.

You’re aiming for a healthy, steady weight loss. Your dog doesn’t want to lose more than 5% of their bodyweight per month. Any more than that is too much and you want to get the weight off safely.

So, start by feeding 2% of their bodyweight in food per day. For example, if your dog weighs 10kg they require 200g of food. This includes treats too, you don’t want to be putting a handful of chicken hearts in front of your dog if they’re not being counted in that 200g.

ALWAYS WEIGH THEIR FOOD

You know how much you need to feed. But if you don’t weigh food before serving it you’re undermining yourself. Feeding by eye never, ever works. It always looks too little to our eyes but really it hardly ever is.

I feed my dog and cat raw food because that’s what suits them and keeps the weight off. But I also make sure I weigh it each time. It’s all about calories in, calories out. Wildly unsexy but true nonetheless.

And remember to let them pee first before weighing them. If we can do it before our weigh-ins it seems rude not to let them do the same.

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