If your dog or cat is looking a bit overweight or showing one or more symptoms of obesity, you'll want to get your beloved pet back to a healthy weight as quickly and efficiently as possible. Finding the right diet pet food ingredients can be as important as portion control and exercise.
By choosing the right foods to help your pet maintain their muscle mass during weight loss, you’ll help increase their capacity to burn fuel. This is because muscle burns more calories than fat tissue does.
These 6 great ingredients will actually boost your pet’s metabolism, and help their body to burn fat:
This amino acid, which is typically made by the body, can be useful during weight loss. Not only can it help burn fat, but more importantly it helps your pet maintain their lean body mass during weight loss. This is especially true for cats. To add to your pet’s natural production of L-carnitine, look for supplements that will:
- give your cat around 10 mg a day.
- give your dog 10 mg per 10 pounds of your dog’s weight each day.
A useful isoflavone found in soybeans, genistein is like L-carnitine in that it may have the ability to help cats maintain a lean body mass. It may also help prevent fat deposits from forming in dogs. It’s been shown to help neutered and spayed pets decrease their overall food intake, too, although these effects are short-term. Check with your vet to see if a supplement is appropriate for your pet.
3. The Fiber Fill
Feeding your pet foods that are higher in fiber content will dilute the calories in your pet’s diet while helping your pet to feel full. Since the fiber and calorie content across food brands differ quite a bit, it may be best to do your diet shopping within a specific brand of food to make sure the higher fiber food is actually lower in calories.
4. Higher Protein
When restricting overall caloric intake, it has been shown that higher-protein diets help your pet retain more muscle mass. More muscle mass means a better fat burn.
- If you use canned food for your dog, look for one that’s over 8% protein and less than 3% fat.
- If you feed dry kibble to your dog, look for a food that’s over 24% protein and less than or equal to 10% fat.
- For cats, look for canned food that’s around 10% or higher in protein and 3% or less in fat.
- If you feed dry kibble to your cat, look for 36% or higher in protein and 12% or less in fat.
5. Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The fatty acids in fish oil have been associated with decreases in inflammation. This can result in better insulin signaling, which regulates the way the body metabolizes carbohydrates and fat.
Though it may seem counter-intuitive to feed your pet a type of fat in order to help them lose weight, fish oil as a source of fat may be beneficial to combat the metabolic syndrome associated with obesity, particularly in cats.
6. Green Tea Extract
French studies suggest that green tea extract may improve lipid and fat metabolism and insulin sensitivity in dogs. Some dog and cat foods already contain green tea extract, but if yours doesn't, it is possible to supplement your pet's diet with the green tea you buy for yourself. However, check with your veterinarian before using products intended for humans, to make sure you are not overdosing on your pet.
Armed with this knowledge, you can choose the right foods and supplements for your pet’s weight loss program, and help make the transition to a lean and healthy body mass proceed more quickly and easily.
Poodle Diet Food
Of the three poodle types recognized by breed registries -- standard, miniature, and toy -- the standard poodle is the original and the largest. These medium-to-large, active dogs were originally bred as water retrievers. They require a diet rich in protein and fats to fuel their energy. A high-quality, palatable diet keeps your poodle healthy and the curly coat lush and soft. Because poodles are prone to some health conditions that can affect their appetite, it is important to carefully monitor a poodle's diet and weight to detect these conditions early if they occur.
An adult standard poodle usually weighs between 45 and 65 pounds. The National Research Council of the National Academies recommends that inactive dogs of this size eat between 989 and 1,272 calories per day. Active poodles, including those who are active in sports or shown professionally, require between 1,353 and 1,740 calories daily. Older, less-active poodles will require fewer calories, especially if they are affected by conditions that can impair their mobility, such as hip dysplasia.
Feed your standard poodle a commercial dog food labeled as meeting Association of American Feed Control Officials standards. Foods meeting those standards provide or exceed all the nutrients required in a complete diet for dogs, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA says dry dog foods that meet AAFCO standards contain at least 18 percent usable protein for adult dogs and 22 percent usable protein for puppies and pregnant or nursing mothers. Digestible proteins provide the essential amino acids your poodle needs.
Many dog food manufacturers formulate high-quality dog foods for various stages of a dog's life. Young poodles will thrive on a dog food labeled for puppies during the first year of life. Such dog foods contain the proper percentages of fats and proteins required for optimum growth. Senior poodles, those 8 years old or older, need less protein and fat and more carbohydrates to help prevent obesity and related health problems.
A good diet for poodles will provide all the proteins, carbohydrates, fats, grains, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals they need to thrive. Ingredients must be listed on the dog food package in declining order by weight, according to the FDA. Select food that lists whole meat, such as lamb, chicken, turkey, or beef, as the first ingredient on the label. After the first ingredient, the food must contain healthy fats like vegetable and fish oils, which supply your poodle with energy and keep your dog's curly, thick coat shiny and soft. Carbohydrate-containing grains, including brown rice, barley, and whole oats, are easier to digest than corn, cornmeal, soy, or wheat. Fruits and vegetables listed on the label are excellent sources of fiber for your poodle.
For white or cream-colored poodles, avoid foods containing artificial colorings or large quantities of grains and cereals such as wheat or corn. These can stain the fur on your dog's face through contact as the dog eats. It's a good idea to wipe a light-colored poodle's face following a meal.
Gastric Dilation and Volvulus
The standard poodle is a deep-chested breed. Such dogs are more susceptible than others to bloat, also known as gastric dilation and volvulus, according to the Purdue University Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. Bloat occurs when gases fill the stomach like an inflating balloon. Often the gas-filled stomach rotates cutting off normal escape routes for the gas as well as blood supply to the stomach. This is an emergency condition that can kill a dog, and immediate medical help is essential. Early signs of bloat may include attempts to vomit, excessive drooling, a swollen stomach, lethargy, weakness, and collapse. If you suspect that your poodle has bloat, seek the help of a veterinarian without delay.
To help prevent bloat in your standard poodle, divide the daily ration into two or three meals, rather than giving one large meal. According to "Your Poodle's Life: Your Complete Guide to Raising Your Pet from Puppy to Companion," smaller meals spaced through the day also help to maintain an even blood-sugar level in your poodle.
Other factors that may help prevent bloat: Feed your poodle on an established schedule, at approximately the same times every day. Do not feed your poodle immediately before or after strenuous exercise, and don't feed on an elevated dish. Provide a constant supply of good, fresh water at all times. If you do that, your dog will not gulp excessive water during or after a meal.
Keep track of your standard poodle's weight, and feed according to the manufacturer's directions for the dog's weight, adjusting according to the dog's individual needs. To determine whether your poodle is overweight or underweight, look at the dog and feel the area of the ribs. If you can see your dog's ribs, your dog is underweight. If you can't feel the ribs without probing through a layer of fat, your poodle is overweight. Adjust the ratio accordingly.
Poodles are prone to hip dysplasia, a congenital disorder that causes malformation and degeneration of one or both hip joints. This problem can be worsened if your dog is obese because the affected joints must carry the extra weight. An obese poodle may benefit from reduced-calorie dog food that contains more fiber to keep your dog feeling full longer after a meal. Consult your veterinarian before you switch your dog to a new food.
Standard poodles are known to be susceptible to some inherited conditions that can affect appetite and how well your dog is able to thrive. Addison's disease is one such condition, according to the Poodle Club of America. A dog with Addison's disease may suffer the loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting, leading to weight loss and malnutrition, according to VetInfo. Addison's is more common in females than in males. If you notice that your poodle is no longer eagerly eating well and is losing weight, take the dog to your veterinarian. Tell your veterinarian about any recent dietary changes, as these changes can also cause gastrointestinal upset.
An increase in appetite or thirst with no increase in your poodle's activity level may indicate hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease, also often seen in poodles. Both Cushing's disease and Addison's disease are caused by improper functioning of the adrenal glands. These glands produce cortisol, a hormone that regulates both potassium and sodium in the body. Hypothyroidism is caused by inadequate functioning of the thyroid, which produces the hormones that control metabolism. Consult with your veterinarian to decide whether a special diet should be part of your poodle's treatment for these conditions.
More on Pet Weight Loss and Nutrition
Overweight Dogs and Cats: Causes and Treatments
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This article was written by PetCareRx Consulting Nutritionist Dr. Joe, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and graduate of Cornell University's program for Veterinary Medicine. The information contained, however, is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis, or treatment by, your veterinarian.