Obesity in pets: What can we do about it?
Before beginning a diet, it is important to have your pet checked by a vet for any existing medical conditions that could be causing the weight gain. If existing illnesses have been ruled out, the owner should consider certain things in their overweight pet’s daily life.
Adjusting a pet’s diet: Good carbs
If you give your pet carbohydrates, it is important to choose good carbohydrates with a low glycemic index. This means pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, which are also gluten-free, irritate the intestinal mucosa less and therefore help to reduce weight.
Unhealthy carbohydrates (e.g. pasta, bread, cereals) irritate the intestinal mucosa and have a high glycemic index, which also promotes the storage of fat. Many of these unhealthy carbohydrates are found in mass market commercial feeds that contain processed grains. Sugar and starchy foods are also pro-inflammatory, which can ruin the animal’s weight loss efforts.
Adjusting a pet’s diet: High quality and bioavailable protein
Protein is an important part of nutrition and helps to build and regenerate tissue. When reducing weight, it is important to maintain lean mass by not neglecting proteins. An ideal diet is high in protein, moderate in fat and low in carbohydrates.
Among fats, one superfood example is coconut oil, which is full of health-promoting properties that strengthen the immune system and protect the heart. It is digested differently than other fats and produces more endogenous heat, which increases metabolic activity and helps you lose excess weight.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also essential in inflammatory processes because they have an anti-inflammatory effect and are a type of protein that activate the genes responsible for burning fat.
L-carnitine is an amino acid produced in the kidney and liver from lysine and methionine. By administering L-carnitine, nitrogen is retained, which causes an increase in lean mass and a reduction in fat mass.
Special food for overweight pets: Yes or no?
Of course, it is easier for pet owners to use commercial diet food. This question can be answered with a cautious “yes”. But be aware that industrially produced food often contains:
- numerous bad carbohydrates,
- pro-inflammatory ingredients (such as corn gluten meal, soy, whole corn, or whole wheat) and
- not enough high-quality or bioavailable animal proteins (often called animal meal).
It is usually best to consult a qualified vet or nutritionist to create a slow weight loss eating plan based on fresh and whole foods. Your pet can enjoy a healthy and vital life without being overweight.