Food is love. That’s how I have often felt about it, especially when I was feeding my dogs. But over the years, I realized that without really knowing it, I’ve fed them too much. Not a ton, but enough to make them progressively overweight.
In fact, an estimated 54 percent of cats and dogs -- about 93 million animals in the U.S. are overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity and Prevention. And like their pet parents, obesity puts them at higher risk for life- shortening diseases.
I’ve lost 3 dogs to cancer before age eight. According to my interview with leading pet immunologist, Dr. Ronald Schultz, the genetic component is strong in such cases, but I also know that obesity is a risk factor that I could do something about for my pets. It’s not exactly like they can decide to do that for themselves. So with my current two dogs, I was determined to make sure that this didn’t happen again. But you know something, slowly but surely they became overweight as well.
I then spoke with holistic veterinarian, Dr. Judith Shoemaker, and she suggested the ancestral diet. This diet is based on the fact that our dogs’ ate mostly meat, some fish, with lesser amounts of food and grasses. It is the antithesis of the processed grain based pet foods that are so popular. I researched some products on the market and began feeding this new diet to my two pugs.
As you can see from the before and after pictures, Alfie, my three year old pug dropped from 24lbs to 17lbs in about a year. It was astonishing. Results were similar for his brother Bailey. My vet and I were thrilled. They are each just a little less pug to hug but just as loveable.
Their weight loss inspired me to start to drop the pounds as well. Because one thing is for sure, animals need their pet parents to be healthy as much as we need them to stay well. So we are all eating healthier and taking longer walks. Getting to a goal weight is one way to increase our chances of spending more quality years with each other.
For more information and tips about getting your pet to a healthy weight, click this link for my interview with Dr. Shoemaker.
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