Volume 2 Issue 2

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Page 30 | Abby's Magazine - Obesity in companion animals is a serious health challenge that leads to an increased risk for many other disorders. The link between excess body weight and many diseases has to do with the adipose tissue (fat) actively producing hormones, such as leptin and resistin, along with cytokines which are inflammatory products that lead to cancer. The persistent, low-grade inflammation secondary to obesity is thought to play a significant role in chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular and lung disease, skin disease, reproductive disorders, urinary tract problems, diabetes mellitus, insulin resistance, oxidative stress (production of excess free radicals), and cancer. As if that were not enough to encourage you to keep your pets lean, obese animals are a higher anesthetic risk and they have a decreased life span. There are a few circumstances where underlying disease such as hypothyroidism or Cushings disease may lead to obesity, but for most animals the amount of physical activity and metabolic energy being used is less than the amount of energy coming in from the diet. Simply put, obesity results when more calories are going in than are being used. The simple solution is to increase protein intake while reducing calorie intake which will facilitate loss of body fat while minimizing loss of lean body mass. Limiting treats to 10% of calorie intake and increasing exercise both aid in successful body weight management. ABC Action Plan for the Obese or Overweight Pet A. Rule out underlying health challenges. Consult your veterinarian. Get a history, physical exam, thorough blood profile, thyroid test and urinalysis for the pet. Any abnormalities found should be addressed. B. Evaluate what you are feeding and how you are feeding it: 1. AVOID GMO ingredients. This includes the meat source that may have been fed GMO corn. If it does not say "organic" or grass fed/grass finished it likely has GMO ingredients. There is overwhelming evidence that GMO in animal feeds causes many health challenges, including leaky gut, inflammation, and chronic gastrointestinal disorders. 2. Do not free choice feed (do not keep the food bowl full). Having a period of digestive rest is important. 3. Feed 2X/day for adult pets (adult is over 6 months of age or over 9 months of age for giant breed dogs) 4. Do not give table food, leftovers, or treats with poor nutrition. Unless you are eating 100% organic, what you are eating may be toxic to you AND your pet. A bite here and a bite there adds significantly to the daily calories! 5. Avoid kibble diets!!!! They have no live digestive enzymes, are excessively high in carbohydrates and are insufficient sources of dietary water. Cats in particular rely on their diet to supply a large part of their water intake. Feeding cats a kibble diet creates chronic dehydration and among many other health risks, results in a high predisposition to kidney diseases. 6. Consider either a commercially available species appropriate raw diet or follow a qualified source for preparing homemade raw diet. Cats and dogs are carnivores (they were designed to eat the animal they killed) and should eat accordingly! The criteria for a good raw diet includes: A high quality grass fed or free range meat that has not been processed above 105 degrees. The diet should be 95% meat with some organ meat and 5% fruits and vegetables. Grain free If a total raw diet is not feasible, try to feed at least 50% raw and the rest a high quality organic meat based processed diet PLUS supplement with a good digestive enzyme and probiotics. C. Exercise and behavior modification. Is your pet asking for food or attention? In contrast to humans and dogs for whom eating is a social function, cats do not have any inherent need for social interaction during feeding times. When the cat initiates contact, owners often assume that they are hungry and are asking for food when they are not. Nevertheless, if food is provided at such times, the cat soon learns that initiating contact results in a food reward. Body Weight Management And Weight Loss By Dr. Marlene Siegel

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