Overweight Dogs, Part 1
Blog Article for 3-10-2017, Overweight Dogs, Part 1
Part 1) Why are there so many overweight dogs and
why don't 'Low Fat' dog foods work?
Part 2) The most effective method to help your dog achieve it’s optimal weight and the numbers that prove it.
OVERWEIGHT DOGS - Part 1
WHY ARE THERE SO MANY OVERWEIGHT DOGS AND WHY DON'T 'LOW FAT' DOG FOODS WORK?
In the article Vets Work to Declare Pet Obesity a Disease
by Ken Niedziela published 2017.01.09 in the veterinarypracticenews.com there is a picture of an overweight dog below which is the captiion,
"A 2015 study conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention discovered that 54 percent of U.S. dogs were overweight or obese."
Let’s start by looking at the overweight problem from another perspective and attempt to answer the question, “Why are there so many overweight dogs” by asking a second question which is, “Why are there no overweight Wolves, Dingoes, Jackals or Coyotes in their natural habitat”?
In an article posted on August 9, 2016 in psychologytoday.com titled "A Wolf Is a Dog Is a Coyote Is a Jackal Is a Dingo" "New genetic studies show the closeness of Canids", Mark Derr, author of “A Wolf Is a Dog Is a Coyote Is a Jackal”, makes the observation that “Dogs, wolves, and other canids are closer genetically than some populations of people and should, by rights be considered one species. That means the configuration that says a wolf is a dog is a coyote is a dingo is the correct one.”
It is important to recognize the difference between two types of DNA in your dog - Nuclear DNA and Mitochondrial DNA — this awareness is essential if you want to get a handle on the real cause of the overweight problem in dogs, and how to solve it.
Nuclear DNA determines the personality, size, and physical attributes in a dog, and can be altered through selective breeding to get a 5,000 year old gray Wolf to eventually look like Boxers, Beagles, and Chocolate Labs, among many others.
Mitochondrial DNA, is ultimately responsible for the energy pathways that transform food into cellular energy and protein building blocks to build and repair the body, as explained more scientifically by Mecofe Meha, BS Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado Denver in the following quote from Quora at https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-mitochondrial-DNA-function
“Mitochondrial DNA contains 37 genes, all of which are essential for normal mitochondrial function. Thirteen of these genes provide instructions for making enzymes involved in oxidative phosphorylation. The remaining genes provide instructions for making molecules called transfer RNAs (tRNAs) and ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), which are chemical cousins of DNA. These types of RNA help assemble protein building blocks (amino acids) into functioning proteins”.
Changes in Nuclear DNA, however dramatic, do not alter the Mitochondrial DNA. The Mitochondrial DNA of a 5,000 year old gray wolf is 99.8% identical to that of the present day domesticated dog. Your dog may have the personality and physical characteristics of a Black Lab, a Boxer, or a Pug but its got the nutritional needs of a 5,000 year old gray wolf. It’s not how long the dog has been domesticated by people that determines what food the dogs system is designed to use, it’s the Mitochondrial DNA, plain and simple.
This is a hugely important distinction because the Mitochondrial DNA, unlike Nuclear DNA, has remained essentially constant for thousands and thousands of years and it determines how energy is processed and what your dog should eat.
OK that’s the end of the boring technical stuff, or at least most of it, as promised. Let’s look at another question.
What do we feed our dogs that is different from the diet of wild dogs?
We feed our domesticated dogs certain things that wild dogs don’t eat which include the following:
A) Refined Carbs from Grains (corn, rice, wheat, barley, bread, etc.)
B) High Glycemic Carbs from baked White Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
C) Sugar in any form (Molasses, honey, corn syrup)
The dog food industry standard response for overweight dogs is to recommend a "Low Fat" dog food. If reducing fat intake is the solution, then it would be logical to conclude that eating too much fat is the problem. But if this were true then many of the Wolves, Dingoes, and Coyotes would be overweight since their diet is primarily protein and fat.
Nature designed dogs to eat fat and protein. There are no overweight Wolves, Dingos, or Coyotes and their diet is almost entirely fat and protein. The problem seems to stem from whatever is in commercial dog food that isn’t protein or fat. What if the problem is that we’re feeding dogs food that is inappropriate for a carnivore, such as highly processed carbs, potatoes, grain, sweet potatoes, etc., and those ingredients are what is causing their body to make and store fat?
Does it seem logical or reasonable to assume that all the overweight domestic dogs got that way by eating high quality, nutritionally balanced, healthy, species appropriate dog food? Probably not.
If it were just a simple matter of a dogs tendency to overeat then why wouldn’t wild dogs gorge until they became overweight? Maybe because eating fat chemically triggers a feeling of being satiated or full but eating processed or high glycemic carbs has the opposite effect and chemically triggers the desire to eat more.
Dogs are NOT designed to handle the high glycemic carbs that are so plentiful in dog foods. These carbs cause a huge spike in the dogs blood sugar levels and the dogs system reacts to the assault by releasing a flood of insulin into the blood stream. Insulin lowers the spike in blood sugar by directing the body to convert the excess sugar to fat and store it. So instead of the dog using it's food for energy, it is converted into stored fat to lower the blood sugar levels to a safe level.
The idea that reducing “fat” in dog food is a healthy, or effective, way to lose weight and achieve a sustainable, appropriate weight for your dog may be an effective way to get people to buy the food but it doesn’t work, and, in fact, makes the problem worse.
If it is true that the highly processed, high glycemic carbs are the cause of the weight gain then reducing the fat only increases the problem because when the fat content is lowered it is replaced with more refined or high glycemic carbs - the actual cause of the weight gain.
Dogs don’t become fat from eating fat and they don’t lose weight by eating less fat. They are equipped with the ability to transform fat directly into glucose for energy through a process known as Gluconeogenesis. This healthy process in a carnivore is shut down when they eat high glycemic carbs that boost the glucose levels in the blood and trigger a flood of insulin that aborts gluconeogenesis and directs the body to convert the extra glucose in the blood to stored fat.
Dogs get fat from eating carbs, lots of carbs, high glycemic carbs, and the LAST thing they need to do is eat a “Low Fat dog food” with reduced fat and even more high glycemic carbs.
Losing weight does not require a diet that diverges from a nutritionally balanced diet (and certainly not a diet that reduces fat). The healthy, and most effective, long term weight control and weight stabilizing solution is to simply feed your dog a nutritionally balanced food that consists of high levels of human grade protein with equal calories of high quality, identifiable animal sourced fat and equal calories (or less) of complex carbs with a low glycemic index like any of the Brothers Complete Formulas.
When supplied with a perfectly balanced source of nutrition, like Brothers complete, free of carbs from grain, white or sweet potatoes, or any form of sugar, in the appropriate quantity for the dogs ideal weight (at 1 cup per 25 lbs body weight, up to about 75 lbs) the dog will naturally gravitate to it’s ideal weight and regain a healthy level of energy.
Next week we’ll discuss and examine
Part 2) The most effective method to help your dog achieve it’s optimal weight and the numbers to prove it.