The magic pill

"The Vet put him on Hill's Prescription weight loss Diet," the woman tells me as we stand talking about weight in the park.  I shudder as she tells me.  Her dog is obviously overweight and like many humans who are overweight, the owner is looking for a simple solution.  Is there a magic pill?  A secret to losing weight?  Yep, it is to take in less wasted calories and move more.  The equation is simple but we must do it to make it work.  As humans we are constantly searching for the secret to quick and simple weight loss.  Because many people think that there must be an easy way; they pop pills in attempt to find the path of least resistance.

First off let's get this out of the way.  The best food for dogs is real food, not overly processed food out of a bag.  That said we have become a society looking for simplicity and yes dog food is very simple.  I am not condemning those who feed dog food.  I use to feed only dog food like the vet told me.  I also have a bag of it in the kitchen.  Although my dog's main food source is real, and they are given a huge variety.  For the longest time I have been trying to lose weight myself and the only way that it is going to happen is to consume less garbage calories and move more, just like our dogs.  But the difference is that I am eating real and very nutritious food and cutting out the crap.  Sadly our dogs are given more crap when they need to lose weight.  This comes in the form of many of the "diet" foods out there.

There is a huge difference in dog foods.  I am constantly searching for a better and better one.  I stay away from anything that resembles a big company and tend to go with the little guys who do it themselves.  I don't want any ingredients going into my dogs that are "sourced out."  If you have a dog that needs to lose weight then get at it.  Carrying around extra weight is tough.  I see lots of dogs in the parks that are restricted in their movement just because they are too heavy.  Not only is it sad that they cannot run and jump and play but it is very damaging to their body.  Dogs with a weight problem often have short life spans as their organs are taxed to the limit.

Keeping dogs in shape is much easier than keeping ourselves in shape.  They cannot go to the refrigerator themselves and get a bowl of ice cream like we do.  They eat what they are given.  Oh sure they often use the "poor me" eyeballs to convince us that they are starving but we need to know better.   Feeding your dog extra treats does not make them love you more, this is a big misconception.  But taking them out for a great long walk surely strengthens your bond.

Years ago I saw a National Geographic documentary on digestion.  It was about humans but it changed me forever.  The big change was how I look at what I eat and how there was a realization that our body is much like a machine needing fuel.  The better the fuel the better the body.  The documentary literally showed food as is went through the whole digestion process from start to finish.  Depending on what you put into your body there may be very little nutrients to extract for your body to use.  The same goes for our dogs; how much nutrition is being extracted from the food you are feeding your dog?  I know that I feel a huge difference between eating a piece of toast and eating a piece of cheese and an apple before hitting the gym.

I have talked to many people who tell me that there dog is on a low calorie food and they are not losing any weight.  Of course I ask if they are walking their dog, getting out and moving them?  The answer is always no, they are going with the Vets recommendation of just feeding this new "magic diet food."  Oh don't I wish there was a magic diet food?  Yep, but there isn't and that is a fact.  It is all about knowing what to put in, just like our dogs.  What should you cut out?  Lower?  to help your dog to lose weight?  Less food is not always the answer.  Moving is by far the best way to turn things around.  Just by moving more you kick your dogs metabolism into gear.  All of a sudden their body has needs and it will start working better.

Our digestive systems are different from our dogs; and our nutritional requirements are very different as well but the means to gain and lose are the same.   It amazes me how much little waste comes out of a dog when you put really great food in.  My poop bags have much less work to do when my dogs are eating great food.  Both Luke and Elsa drink very little water when eating real food vs. dry dog food.  There is a great need for large amounts water when dogs eat a dry dog food diet.  Dry dog food is taxing on their organs because of the lack of moisture so keeping your dog hydrated is very important.  With my breed and other large breeds there is a constant threat of bloat which has been linked to water consumption so it must be spread out over time and not gulped down in large quantities.

Nutrition and feeding requirements may seem complicated but the more simple you keep it the better it is for your dog and for you.  Last night Luke and Elsa had a dinner of chicken, rice, arugula and ground egg shell.  For breakfast they will have something completely different, not sure what yet.  But they just finished a morning snack of cheese and turkey with me.  Now I will finish my apple and head to the gym while they continue their morning snooze.  Nice.