The first relationship between a human and our canine partners most likely involved a mutually beneficial hunting arrangement. As we evolved, so did our furry friends. It wasn't until the nineteenth century that our dogs stopped eating with us, as the world transitioned pets to a diet made up entirely of processed kibble.
Cats in the wild are carnivores that eat whole prey. Their prey is 70% water, meaning cats instinctively derive the majority of their water via the food they eat. This results in a lower thirst drive than what we see in dogs. We have brought cats indoors, altering both their lifestyle and their diets drastically. A decrease in physical activity, and the change in diet from whole prey to dry kibble, has largely contributed to the increased rate at which we see obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, urinary tract disorders, cancer, and other diseases in our feline friends.
Three key negative issues associates with dry cat food are: too low of a water content, too high of a carbohydrate content, and not enough animal-based protein (as we mentioned, cats are carnivores!). Cats oftentimes really love their dry food, and this is because the manufacturers make the kibble extremely enticing by spraying animal digest sprays onto the outside of the food that are very pleasing to cats - making a poor quality diet very desirable to their targets. Many cats also love the crunchy texture of the food, similar to humans and our love for chips. The truth is, cats do better on wet, high-protein, low-carb diets, whether that be canned or home-prepared. For tips on how to transition your cat to a store-bought wet food, click here.
Food plays a role in the development and progression of almost every disease - diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, liver disease, obesity, and overall inflammation. It also plays a crucial role in fighting diseases - a diet full of whole foods, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals nourishes the body, allows it to fight off pathogens, and restores internal homeostasis. This is especially critical in patients with cancer, auto-immune disorders, and obesity.
Dr. Byrd is a Certified Veterinary Food Therapist (CVFT), and uses the energetic properties of food to treat diseases based on Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) principals. To put it simply, this means that you treat hot or warm conditions with cooling foods, and cool or cold conditions with warming foods. You wouldn't feed a hot, young, energetic Labrador the same as you would a warm-seeking, geriatric dachshund, right? Food therapy can be used in sick pets to manage disease and restore balance within the body, as well as for healthy pets to help prevent disease in the future. Make the switch today and watch as your pet's energy increases, weight improves, coat becomes shinier, and they dance as you prepare their food!
First, it is important to understand that if your pet is overweight, it does not mean you are not a wonderful owner! Many pets are predisposed to become overweight, and it can be quite difficult to make improvements with weight loss, as well as keeping the extra weight off. Today, over 60% of our pets are overweight. Tackling obesity, as well as preventing it, is one of the most important things you can do to help your best friend live a longer life.
The extra pounds your pet is carrying around are not just more of them to love, unfortunately. Adipocytes, or fat cells, are pro-inflammatory, meaning they turn up inflammation everywhere within the body. This means if your pet has arthritis, not only are they having to carry additional weight, but the increase in fat cells also increases their joint pain by increasing the inflammation within the joint itself.
A good resource for starting your pet's weight loss journey:
Next, calculate how many calories they are currently eating (make sure to include any extra treats!). Then slowly decrease the amount of calories per day over a 3-6 month period (depending on how large this difference is) to achieve the ideal number of kcals/day. If you have an overweight kitty, it is imperative that you encourage slow weight loss, as to not overload their liver in a condition called Hepatic Lipidosis, or Fatty Liver Syndrome.
Food Therapy is a great option for overweight pets as well, as it utilizes whole foods to speed their metabolism. Contact us today about scheduling a Food Therapy Consult!