Sunday, April 02, 2006

Can Low-Carb Living Help Your Pudgy Pooch?

Buster here could stand to start livin' la vida low-carb

We all know how well the low-carb lifestyle works for human who need to lose a few excess pounds. But this Denver Post column says livin' la vida low-carb along with an exercise routine may work well for your pet dog, too!

Recent statistics show that 25 percent of the dog population is overweight and suffering from obesity-related ailments such as diabetes and heart disease.

Yikes! Did you know weight issues for dogs were nearly as bad a problem as they are for humans? It may be time to begin applying the principles of the low-carb lifestyle you have been learning to your favorite family pet.

It certainly stands to reason that an animal can benefit from the positive effects of eating a low-carb diet, but nobody has put that theory to the test -- until now.

Dr. Steven Rosenblatt, who penned a diet book I reviewed at my blog last year called "The Starch Blocker Diet," said research is now pointing to taking a low-carb approach to treating overweight dogs.

Oh really? Is this the same Dr. Rosenblatt who made the following statements about low-carb in an article published in Total Health magazine in May 2005:

"[Low-carb] provides insufficient glucose to fuel the brain...your body's attempts to eliminate ketones (by-products of ketosis) puts a strain on the kidneys...diets high in protein can increase calcium loss from the body, increasing the risk of osteoporosis...diets high in animal protein are usually high in saturated fats, which increase the risk of heart diseases...diets low in carbohydrates are usually extremely low in fiber, since carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables and grains provide most of the fiber in our diets. Low fiber diets have been associated with increased risk of type II diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer."

These opinions were so outrageous that low-carb proponent and nutritionist Jonny Bowden wrote at my blog shortly afterwards that Dr. Rosenblatt's opinions about livin' la vida low-carb are just plain "junk."

"It repeated every stupid, unsubstantiated myth about low carb. The author obviously knows no biochemistry, and stated demonstrably incorrect information in several places. I called the editor [of Total Health magazine] about this and asked for a chance to write a rebuttal. I would LOVE to debate this Dr. Rosenblatt, but I doubt he'd want to debate me."

As far as I know, that debate never ensued. However, perhaps Dr. Rosenblatt has softened his harsh stance against low-carb. Or at least he doesn't see it as having the same supposedly negative effect on canines. Who knows?!

Advocating a carb blocker supplement (oh brother, so we really need to discuss THIS topic again!), Dr. Rosenblatt said dogs should combine that supplement with eating healthier food options and increased exercise.

A study of 17 dogs by Dr. Rosenblatt and a group of veterinarian researchers found that most of the overweight dogs examined who were fed this carb blocker product lost an average of 3 pounds. Yippy skippy! I wonder if the results would have been similar if they just put the dogs on a low-carb diet and exercise alone. Hmmmm?

In an interview with Dr. Rosenblatt, he revealed that dogs were supposed to be hunters, not the lazy human companions they are today all cooped up inside our homes. Plus, they are being fed cheap dog food which is the canine equivalent of "feeding them McDonald's" food all the time.

"You want to try to feed your dog food that is high in protein with as little carbohydrates as possible," Dr. Rosenblatt explained. "The trade off is that it's going to be more expensive."

He warned that pet owners should be aware that their dog is getting fat by doing a quick rib check periodically.

"When you look at the dog from above, there should be a waist indentation. When you look at the dog from the side, it should have an abdominal tuck where the abdomen comes up toward the back of the legs. The dog shouldn't have any fat deposits at the base of the tail. If you find two of these four signs, the dog is classified as overweight or obese," he noted.

This chart will help you determine whether your dog is fat or not

If your dog is either overweight or obese, then Dr. Rosenblatt recommends you take your dog out for exercise that will get their heart rate and breathing rate elevated.

"Don't allow them to stop and sniff at every corner. Keep them going - either chasing, catching, fetching or running. Start slow. Like humans, pets give up if the exercise is too hard on the first day."

So what about a low-carb program for an overweight or obese cat, Dr. Rosenblatt?

This is my fat, lovable, furry little troublemaker named Smokey

"Cats are more finicky," Dr. Rosenblatt stated, explaining the obvious to any cat owner. "We can get the dogs to take [the supplement] because it's liver-flavored. But getting the cats to eat it? Oh boy!"

Yeah, I just mentioned it to Smokey and this was her reaction:

Down Smokey, down! It's okay sweet little munchkin, I won't make you take any of that starchy warchy blocker wocker stuff from that whacked out Dr. Rosenblatty watty. What's he know about my little kitty cats anyway?!

But I think minor changes in your pet's diet to a low-carb plan if they are getting to be a little tubby certainly couldn't hurt. If you care about your pet living a long and healthy life, then how about having them start livin' la vida low-carb with you, too?

4-2-06 UPDATE: One of my readers told me about a low-carb pet food manufacturer named Innova.

"Regarding your blog post today about overweight pets, I thought you might like to share with your readers a relatively new dog and cat food on the market which is much lower in carbs than most. I've only really checked out the cat food, but I know they make dog food too. It's called Innova EVO (stands for evolutionary diet). It's 50% protein, 22% fat and 7% carbs, the rest being moisture. The highest protein dry cat food I'd ever found before was about 35% protein. The ingredients seem superior as well. My cats love it, but have been on it for only about 2 weeks. I think it's well worth the extra cost."

THANK YOU for sharing this information with us! If you are interested, here are some links where you can get some of this low-carb/high-protein dog and cat food:

Innova Adult Cat Food Dry

Innova Adult Dog Food Dry

If you love your pets like family, then why not serve them the best food possible? Check it out and let me know what you think about it.

4-16-06 UPDATE: Well, well, well, look at this news story I found just TODAY regarding a low-carb diet for your CAT? Maybe livin' la vida low-carb for your feline friends isn't so bad after all?


Blogger Newbirth said...

Thanks. I heard about this before. I used the store locator and found two places near here that sell it. Cats are carnivores and do NOT need corn in their diet. I'll pick up a small bag of this and see if they like it.

4/03/2006 12:46 AM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

I just did some tracking of ways to get to the two Oakland stores by bus. "Paws and Claws" is, I think, the store about 4 blocks from where I buy groceries, and a place I've been meaning to check out for a while. I'll see if they have the EVO.

My only concern is that I have one cat who wants to be overweight, so both the cats normally get a diet food and the EVO doesn't have a diet variety.

Xena can control her weight pretty well, but Abby can and will eat herself into oblivion, so she gets measured portions of diet food. And since it is WAY too hard to feed them different foods (I've done it), normally they both get the diet, Abby with measured portions, and Xena is allowed as much as she wants. They are both indoor cats and so don't get a lot of exercise except wrestling with each other.

Anyway, neither of them are picky and will eat anything I put down. Out of a good dozen plus foods they've been fed they only didn't like one (Meow Mix); everything else they seem to like just fine. (Not all cats are picky!) I have FIVE different kinds of cat food in the house right now!

But I'll buy a small bag of the EVO (if the store has it) and see how it goes over. It'll have to wait until I have more free time at the end of the month.

4/03/2006 1:44 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

I've been wondering when Low Carb would finally be applied to pets. I will look for this product. One of my cats is overweight, she doesn't go outside and the other one does, coincidence? I had been getting kitten food for my adult cats because it is higher in protein. Also the first ingredient in a cat or dog food should not be grain. They are not adapted to eat grain but rather a meat based diet. Cats, at least I suspect, are better able to tolerate carbs because their preferred prey, field mice, eat grain so that the cats digest small amounts of grain in the preys stomach.

4/04/2006 9:21 AM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

I'll try and pick up a bag tomorrow. I actually blogged about cat food today. How crazy any I, lol?

I do agree with Mark that the first ingredient in cat food shouldn't be grain. That's why my cats rarely get anything cheaper than Iams, and usually Eukanuba.

I'll let everyone know how the Innova Evo goes over with them.

4/04/2006 10:26 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

You know...what if the Innova is GOOD for Abby's weight? I was shocked to discover that my carnivorous cats were eating a cat food that was 46% cabohydrate! Yike! I'll finish off the 2 1/2 bags I have, but no more of that for them!

Anyway, carbs make us hungry and want to eat more. What if that is happening with Abby? And I know protein can be satiating. Innova Evo is about 50% protein and only 7% carbs so shouldn't it be more satiating? This will be interesting.

4/06/2006 1:22 AM  
Blogger Ken said...

I work with a holistic vet Dr. Jane and she's so upset with what's used in most branded foods she's started her own line of products made with human quality ingredients. Her new cat food is specially designed to fit their BIG CAT lineage and dietary needs.

Happy to say more to anyone interested. Can get me via the website.


1/30/2007 8:54 PM  
Blogger dcohn said...

Dr. Jane Hicks must be more interested in the all mighty dollar and refuses to listen and learn that ALL DRY foods are extremely bad for cats. If you moderate me out I fear you may fit that mold as well. If you truly care about cats then you will learn that DRY FOOD is not for cats. NO TYPE of dry food can be fed to them.

The list of reasons is beyond this post but water alone (LACK OF) should suffice as Cats by nature (evolution etc) get their water from their food. Dry food cannot give them that water.

Dr. Hicks refuses to get more info about this. She simply references her 25 year old books that are out of print (for good reason). I have emailed her several times and asked her to consult with Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, a vet with extensive years of field research on this exact subject. She replies but goes no further. I can only assume it is either financial or stubbornness because the facts are just so clear.

Furthermore even her dry still has much too much carbs when you compare it to even the highest carb wet food. The ONLY SAFE food for Cats is wet food without grains or RAW. You must add the nutrients if you feed raw or feed a raw that has them like felines pride.

Here is a No profit no advertisement website about diabetes in cats that has lots of valuable info. Your FAT CAT is very very liable to get diabetes. SAVE HIM NOW. STOP ALL DRY NOW.

6/10/2007 6:14 PM  

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