National Pet Obesity Day: How to Make Sure Your Pet Is Healthy

Mom says that according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, more than 100 million pets are obese – 60% of cats and 56% of dogs. YIKES!

Not good news obviously!

Lifestyle Related Health Problems

And of course, it all starts with the diet – we are what we eat – just like you humans. And in the same way you are learning to become a more health-savvy person to prevent adult onset diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and cancer, us pets are now coming down with the same diseases because our diets are unhealthy!

Many vets say they are seeing many more cats and dogs with diet and lifestyle related health problems all of which cost a lot of money to treat and takes a big toll on our lives.

Benefits of a BARF Diet

When in fact, if our pet parents took a PROactive position versus a REactive position and shifted our diet to a BARF diet – Biologically Raw Food Diet – we would lead a more healthy lifestyle to begin with – and this phenomenon of “modern-day human diseases in pets” would start to reverse itself and fewer pets would get sick.  And they would be slimmer and trimmer too!

Independent and family-owned pet stores are leading the way in this new awakening by passionate pet owners who want their pets to live a long, healthy life just like they are trying to do with shifting their own diet to healthier options.

Independent pet stores are becoming the “411” in their local communities by getting on board quicker than the big competition in the area of raw food for optimum health – remember biologically appropriate raw food comes either frozen, freeze-dried or dehydrated for felines and canines – it is never baked or processed.

At a recent visit to a pet products trade show, mom was so glad to see that the independent and family-owned pet food companies were coming out with more organic raw food for us pets. She said that the trend to “raw food” is out of the barn – and it’s not going back in. That is good news for us pets!

And, in addition, even if the company was considered a producer of traditional pet food (baked and processed), they too were focusing on their limited ingredients and trying to give their customers healthier choices.

Meow Mini Mart is incredibly passionate when it comes to the BARF diet. You can learn more about the differences between “raw” and “baked” here.

The Importance of the Timing of Meal Time

Besides transitioning your pet to a more authentic diet, timing is a big issue when it comes to feeding us…particularly us felines!

Ancestrally we are used to hunting for our food, catching it and eating quickly – if the catch was too big, we would either bury it or drag it up a tree for later consumption.

So this idea of putting out a bowl of dry food for all day grazing is simply wrong for two reasons!

  1. Cats don’t graze by nature – never ever! And if your cat appears to “graze”, it is only because you have left the food out, and they are bored and just poking around to see if any “fresh kill” showed up since the last time they visited.

  2. Traditional kibble is basically POISON – we don’t believe in it for cats or dogs as it is baked and processed…just read the ingredients, no whole animal protein plus a lot of chemicals you can’t pronounce! Good news though - lately we are seeing more dry food that is very high in whole animal muscle meat that is lightly baked with limited ingredients.

Mom serves us breakfast and dinner with delicious raw food - un-frozen and room temp…Bouvier, Beau and I happen to be food hounds and my two buddies eat everything in 3 - 4 minute…as for me, I take a leisurely 8 - 10 minutes to savor every drop!

Mom says when she first adopted me, I would eat some food, then take a break, then come back and eat some more maybe. She said it was what I was used to in my former foster’s house because the food was left out all day.

Meanwhile she didn’t like that idea because my appetite was not “robust” and cat-like…after all if you had a banquet set out all day, would you be that hungry? So she started to shorten up the time that the food was left on the floor from a couple hours down to 30 minutes – I can assure you I never starved as I got the message that I couldn’t dawdle while eating.

How a Raw Diet Changed My Life

When she switched to an all raw diet 3 months later to solve my food allergy, I started to finish my meal in one sitting – and quickly because it was so delicious – much more cat-like mom said!

They say that it is a good idea if your pet is always “a little hungry” for the most fit and healthy body mass index – and don’t forget many of us act hungry out of boredom even when we are not!

And mom says she hears all the time from certain friends that their cats beg for food all day…and you know what mom says – SO WHAT! Who is TOP CAT in your house?  Mom says let the kitties cry – we are just testing you! Throw a toy to distract us, and if we get too annoying – just put us in another room for a quick time-out with the door closed. We’ll get the message.

Now she does give us a treat around lunchtime – 4-5 days out of the week. She often puts freeze-dried treats in an interactive toy that we can bat around and chase the treats that fall out. That’s fun and we get some exercise too…all the better to keep our weight in check!

So we say if you can just start to introduce a raw diet and adjust the timing of the meals, you will see that it only takes a couple lifestyle adjustments to lead to a sustainable long life for your cat or dog with fewer to none of the diseases that obesity can bring on. Meow-za!

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