As for feeding dogs, dry food and kibble have become more prevalent. Because of this, the number of overweight dogs has increased. Now, more than half of the dogs in the U.S. are overweight. Although correlation doesn’t equal causation, the likelihood, in this case, is that the two are related.
Kibble is often made up of half (or more) grains. This provides your dog with more calories than they can use, causing your dog’s body to burn these calories into fat as a result.
To make matters worse, many dog owners fail to acknowledge that their dogs are overweight or see it as a problem.
They believe that a little extra fat cannot hurt and are reluctant to change up their pup’s diet. Plus, they like to treat their dogs with highly processed food and treats. However, an overweight dog this year could easily become obese in the next couple of years.
If you cannot feel your dog’s ribs when you touch her sides, they are overweight — and it’s time to make a change for the better.
Obesity in dogs is just as dangerous as obesity in humans. Overweight and obese dogs suffer from a large number of dog health problems, including:
+ Orthopedic disease
+ Ligament rupture
+ Urinary disorders
+ Heart disease
+ Joint problems
+ Cardiorespiratory diseases
+ Certain types of cancers
+ Skin problems
The list goes on…
All of these health issues reduce the lifespan of your dog and decrease their quality of life. As pet owners, we want to avoid every condition on this list! Luckily, we can do that through a proper raw pet food diet.
Check out our Intro to Raw Nutrition for Dogs blog!
A raw diet is a biologically appropriate diet for your dog. This kind of dog food is the healthiest food to feed your dog and provides the type of diet for which their body is adapted. Raw dog food is also the most nutritious food they can have.
The best diet dog food is free from chemical additives and a high amount of carbohydrates.
Unlike “light” kibble, raw food is designed to help your dog achieve, and remain at, their ideal weight without cutting vital nutrients from their diet. Dogs on a raw diet receive more proteins, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals than those eating kibble. Additionally, a raw diet is grain-free and cuts out harmful preservatives and fillers from your dog’s diet.
A raw diet is the best dog food to feed overweight dogs (and for all other dogs, for that matter), but the dog food won’t work miracles. You’ll need to provide your dog with the proper amount for their size and activity level. Plus, you’ll need to pick the right raw formulation— good-quality raw food contains all the nutrients your dog needs and is low in calories.
Before you put your dog on a new diet, you need to know how much to feed them.
For overweight dogs, feed only about 2 percent of their body weight a day.
Once they start losing weight, you can increase it to 2.5 percent. To maintain your dog’s current weight, keep feeding them 2.5 percent of their body weight in raw meat.
Bear in mind that these are just guidelines. If your dog is particularly inactive or you notice that the diet fails to have effects, you may need to feed them slightly less. On the flip side, if your dog continues to lose weight once she has reached her ideal, you should feed her around 3 percent.
Our Feeding Calculator is a great starting point for how much to feed your dog. When doing the calculations, you will want to feed your dog based on their IDEAL weight, not current weight.
Never just assume that you are giving your dog the correct amount of food. It takes just a few seconds to weigh their food and will significantly increase accuracy and health. Remember, this calculation is based on your pup’s ideal weight.
When your dog has reached their optimal weight, you can start giving them a more diverse raw diet. At the moment, though, you need to stick to lean meats that have low-fat content. Raw food like Cali Raw´s Chicken and Turkey formulas are ideal, and you should avoid beef, pork, and duck as they have higher fat content.
Some dog owners think that raw dog nutrition is just about giving their dogs uncooked meat. However, this could not be further from the truth. Although your dog does not need to consume grains, they do need vegetables and other ingredients with diverse nutritional values.
If your dog is only eating muscle meat and organs, they will remain overweight while still lacking some essential nutrients. A complete & balanced meal will contribute to reaching an ideal weight.
Take a look at some of the highest-quality off-the-shelf raw food products. You’ll see that the meat content is around 50 to 75 percent. These foods also contain ingredients like vegetables, seafood, eggs, and bone. Compared to dry dog food, this is much better for your dog’s successful weight loss.
Both coconut oil and fish oil can promote weight loss. This is because they improve your dog’s metabolic rate, increase their energy levels, and regulate their thyroid function. Either choose a raw food product that already contains coconut or fish oil, or add the oil yourself. Just never use both in the same meal, as too much oil can cause loose stools.
All the effort you are putting into creating the perfect raw diet for your dog will be ruined if you give them extras between meals. They may beg when you are preparing food for yourself, but stay firm. They will soon realize that their efforts are futile.
If you want to give your dog treats, include them in your calculations along with the food they will receive in meals. Furthermore, stick to healthy treats that form part of their raw diets, such as fruits, vegetables, and single-ingredient dehydrated treats. Remember, not all treats are healthy; single-ingredient treats are the best choice you can make for your pup.
An excellent way to eliminate the need for treats is to give your dog raw bones. They will be able to gnaw at the same bone for hours, satisfying their need for food without gaining many extra calories. Raw bones are great because they won’t splinter, nor do chunks break off that your dog could swallow. They are also all much better choices than commercial chews.
In addition to finding the right raw diet for your dog, you must ensure that they receive enough exercise. Their natural energy levels will determine precisely how much is appropriate, but all dogs need exercise every day. Only when you combine the correct diet with the right amount of activity will you achieve optimal health for your dog.