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?