We’ve all known people who could seemingly just think “donuts” and gain weight. Also, we’ve known people who could eat an entire dozen on a regular basis and stay trim. There is a wide range in people’s metabolic efficiency, and pets are no different.
CONFUSING FEEDING GUIDES
One must approach a feeding guide as just that, a guide. They are a place to start. Often adjusting is required for your pet’s unique metabolism.
Even a feeding guide that shows a range of different body weights and a range of cups to feed for each weight is often inadequate.
It just isn’t possible for a feeding guide to anticipate all the numerous factors that can have bearing: Age -2 years old or 14, male or female, hyper or lethargic, inside or outside, winter or summer, active or sedentary or the amount of dog treats they receive.
SOURCE OF CALORIES
Another part of the discussion is the source of the calories, whether from protein, fat or carbs. This, too, adds to the confusion because calories from fat have a completely different metabolic fate than calories from carbohydrates.
Furthermore, the effect is exactly the opposite of what most think. Even in excess calories are innocent if from fat. It’s the calories from carbohydrates that are fattening, and this distinction is critical. Yet pet food labels make no distinction about where the calories come from. Thus, it is entirely possible that a label claiming 1600 calories can be fattening while one claiming 2000 is not.
And still another aspect of the calorie discussion quietly operates beyond our awareness. The gut microflora on a high carb diet is significantly different compared to a low-carb diet. The typical kibble diet bought at the grocery store is 45% starch. Nature-made carbohydrates are very hard to find.
SIMPLE CONCEPT OF CALORIES
The entire discussion about calories reduces to a simple concept:
- Does your dog look the way you want?
- Does he act the way you want?
Then you’re feeding correctly.
Of course, nobody expects a matron to have the flat tummy of her teens or a grandpa to be as supple as a toddler, but sometimes pet owners fib to themselves about what is ideal body condition or they let the puppy train the person. Responsible pet ownership requires a candid eye and tough love must be close at hand.
Over 90% of all loose stools are due to overfeeding.
Geneticists will point out that the modern dog has more DNA for making starch digesting enzymes than the wolf, but that doesn’t mean high starch intake is harmless. Asians and Native Americans lack the enzyme for metabolizing alcohol (alcohol dehydrogenase) while Northern Europeans have the enzyme and tolerate alcohol better. That doesn’t change the fact that excess alcohol is harmful.