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obesity the facts
Obesity The FACTS- Diet The FACTS- Intolerance the FACTS-
Dogs and how they are fed has been talked about for thousands of years ;
In 37 BCE Virgil talks about the feeding of dogs in his Bucolics:
Nec tibi cura canum fuerit postrema; sed una Veloces Spartae catulos, acremque Molossum, Pasce sero pingui:]
"Do not let the care of dogs be last; but the swift Spartan hounds, and fierce Mastiff, Feed the whey"
Around 70 CE, Columella wrote his book On Agriculture in which he addresses the feeding of dogs:
Cibaria fere eadem sunt utrique generi praebenda. Nam si tam laxa rura sunt, ut sustineant pecorum greges, omnis sine discrimine hordeacea farina cum sero commode pascit. Sin autem surculo consitus ager sine pascuo est, farreo vel triticeo pane satiandi sunt, admixto tamen liquore coctae fabae, sed tepido, nam fervens rabiem creat.
"Provisions of victuals are almost the same for both [types of dog]. If the fields are so large as to sustain herds of animals, barley meal mixed with whey is a convenient food. But if it is an orchard without grain, spelt or wheat bread is fed mixed with the liquid from cooked beans, but warm, for boiling creates rabies."
In the Avesta, written from 224 to 651 CE, Azura Mazda advises:
Bring ye unto him milk and fat with meat; this is the right food for the dog
In France, the word pâtée began to appear in the 18th century and referred to a paste originally given to poultry. In 1756, a dictionary indicates it was made of a mixture of bread crumbs and little pieces of meat given to pets.
In 1781, an encyclopedia mentioned an earlier practice of removing the liver, heart, and blood of a downed stag and mixing it with milk, cheese, and bread; and then giving it to dogs.
In 1844, the French writer, Nicolas Boyard, warned against even giving tallow graves (the dregs of the tallow pot) to dogs, though the English favoured them (see below), and suggested a meat-flavoured soup:
By a misguided economy dogs are given meat scraps and tallow graves; one must avoid this, because these foods make them heavy and sick; give them twice a day a soup of coarse bread made with water, fat and the bottom of the stew pot; put a half-kilogram of bread at least in each soup.
In England, care to give dogs particular food dates at least from the late eighteenth century, when The Sportsman's dictionary (1785) described the best diet for a dog's health in its article "Dog":
A dog is of a very hot nature: he should therefore never be without clean water by him, that he may drink when he is thirsty. In regard to their food, carrion is by no means proper for them. It must hurt their sense of smelling, on which the excellence of these dogs greatly depends.
Barley meal, the dross of wheat-flour, or both mixed together, with broth or skimmed milk, is very proper food. For change, a small quantity of greaves from which the tallow is pressed by the chandlers, mixed with their flour  or sheep's feet well baked or boiled, are a very good diet, and when you indulge them with flesh it should always be boiled. In the season of hunting your dogs, it is proper to feed them in the evening before and give them nothing in the morning you take them out, except a little milk. If you stop for your own refreshment in the day, you should also refresh your dogs with a little milk and bread.[8]
(Greaves, which was often recommended for dogs, is "the sediment of melted tallow. It is made into cakes for dogs' food. In Scotland and parts of the US it is called 'cracklings'.)
In 1833, The Complete Farrier gave similar but far more extensive advice on feeding dogs:]
The dog is neither wholly carnivorous nor wholly herbivorous, but of a mixed kind, and can receive nourishment from either flesh or vegetables. A mixture of both is therefore his proper food,] but of the former he requires a greater portion, and this portion should be always determined by his bodily exertions
Pet owners may choose to feed home prepared foods, raw food and raw meat based diets, or vegetarian diets for many reasons. These include both negative feelings about commercial pet foods and positive ideas about these diets. Negative ideas about pet foods include concerns or misconceptions about ingredients, e.g. fillers, by products, road kill, carbohydrates, and concerns about toxicities. Other owners may wish to feed “ natural” or raw foods, to cook for their pet, or want to avoid a real or suspected food intolerance or allergy. Some pets either due to learned preference or illness may not be willing to eat a commercial diet. A major problem for discussing the potential risks and benefits of unconventional and raw food based diets is the lack of good data from high quality studies. Information on nutritional risk or benefit is often from low-quality studies (testimonials, case series, or poor-quality cohort and case-controlled studies) Ingredients in pet foods often contain by-products (secondary products) from human food processing. They don’t include hooves, hair, horns or teeth, but can include offal and parts of the animal which are nutritious but may be unappealing to people, depending upon their culture and beliefs. For example, the stomach or intestines may be included in a pet food. While these may be considered undesirable animal parts to some cultures, they are eaten regularly in others. These products are often nutritious and result in good use of more of the carcass. Toxicities have been found in pet foods, for example melamine, which resulted in a recall of many pet foods in 2007. The industry took active voluntary action during the recall and there has been improved reporting of suspected contaminated food ingredients in response. Feeding a diet similar to that of a wild dog or a wolf, usually low in grains or carbohydrates, has a popular following. These owners often wish to feed bones and raw foods (BARF), thought to be similar to a wolf eating a carcass. The dog has been domesticated over the last 10,000 to 15,000 years. During this association with humans dogs have been eating more grains. Their genetic makeup has changed to accommodate an increase in dietary carbohydrates and they are genetically dissimilar to wolves in several key genes involved in starch digestion and glucose uptake. Many other metabolic traits were unaffected by domestication and dogs as well as cats will select a rather low carbohydrate diet by choice. Cats are obligate carnivores requiring higher protein levels than dogs as well as several specific nutrients. Cats generally require a meat/fish/poultry source of protein. It is possible to balance a vegetarian diet for dogs but much more difficult for cats. Dogs are omnivores and can do well on a variety of animal derived as well as vegetable-sourced foods to receive the required nutrients in their diet. One study in racing sled-dogs showed good performance and maintenance of haematology parameters when fed a complete and balanced vegetable-based diet that included rice, corn and soya proteins compared to a poultry-based diet . The omnivorous dog also has the ability to convert the beta-carotene found in plants to vitamin A, has sweet receptors on its tongue, and is able to digest a variety of starch-based foods. Cats are obligate carnivores and require animal-sourced ingredients to provide essential nutrients in the diet. This includes requirement for pre-formed vitamin A and arachidonic acid, higher requirements for arginine and the sulphur-containing amino acids cysteine and methionine, as well as a requirement for the free amino acid taurine; all of which are low to absent in plant ingredients
Overweight body condition or obesity is currently the most common nutritional disorder that occurs in companion animals in many countries. One estimate is that there has been a 400% increase in the last 25 years in the United Kingdom. Surveys have reported incidence rates of between 24% and 59% in adult dogs. Until recently, it was generally believed that obesity in cats was less prevalent, but recent studies of house cats reported that between 19% and 52% of the cats seen by veterinarians were considered to be overweight or obese. The figures vary with country and with the method of enrolling the pets in the study. Being overweight is the presence of excess body fat, while obesity in considered to be a body weight of 15 to 20% or more above the ideal. Recognition of the condition by owners contributes to the problem. In one study only about 30% of owners with overweight dogs recognized that their dogs were too fat. About a third of cat owners underestimated their cat’s body condition score, especially if their cat was overweight. Owners of long haired cats were more likely to underestimate their cat’s body shape and condition score. The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) showed eight out of 10 dog, cat and rabbit owners believe their pet is the right weight; although when asked which body condition picture resembled their pet, only 33% of dog owners and 23% of cat owners chose the ‘normal weight’ picture. Further, only a third of the cat and dog owners who thought their pet was overweight believed they could do ‘a lot’ about their pet’s weight; 62% of dog and 72% of cat owners believed they could do little to nothing about their pet’s weight. The development of nutritional assessment as the 5th vital assessment may help veterinary surgeons educate owners about proper body condition and weight.
Obesity and behaviour are closely related, and pet owners will need guidance on behavioural issues whilst the weight reduction programme is being undertaken. Some owners will need re-educating that rewarding their pet doesn’t need to be in format of food; social interaction, toys, exercise and grooming are all examples of a form of reward that can be utilised. Training issues may need to be addressed, so that exercising to full potential can be met. This may be due to dogs not being able to exercise to their full extent as recalls may be poor, and therefore the owner may not want to exercise the dog off the lead. The behavioural aspect of multi-cat households can be difficult to address. Owners need guidance on feeding more than one cat, cats should be fed separately. This means that they should not be able to see any other cat whilst eating. Cats when stressed can eat, and although the owner may only note that their cat eats a very small number of meals, large amounts of calories may be being consumed in this period. Play behaviour in cats is also greatly misunderstood. Play behaviour needs to mimic that of hunting, which tends to made up of a period of stalking followed by a fast explosive pounce. This will occur several times a day and will only normally last for up to 30seconds. Play behaviour therefore needs to stimulate the cat to react, (movement, noise etc), and allow the cat to catch the object. Obesity is the most prevalent form of malnutrition in pets presented to veterinary practices. Obesity is deemed as, when body fat exceeds 15-20% of body weight. Excessive weight is an associative cause or exacerbating factor for specific orthopaedic, endocrine, cardiovascular and neoplastic disease. Obesity will also make the animal less tolerant or resilient to metabolic stress. The weight and volume of fat in the abdomen of an obese animal can exert enough pressure on the bladder to induce leakage of urine. The animal needs to change from a positive energy balance to a negative energy balance. Nutritional management only comprises part of a weight loss management programme; the animal’s exercise levels and lifestyle also need to be considered. Types of nutrient deficiencies that can occur with inadequately formulated commercial or home-prepared vegetarian diets include zinc-deficient dermatosis caused by phytate (a phosphate compound found in plants) binding to and preventing absorption of zinc by the animal; higher fibre diets preventing absorption of essential fatty acid (EFA) resulting in poor skin and haircoat; inadequate arachidonic acid intake in cats resulting in not only skin and haircoat issues but poor reproduction performance in breeding cats, and inadequate taurine intake for cats resulting in taurine-deficient cardiomyopathy or retinal degeneration. These problems can occur with improperly formulated meat based diets as well, but the likelihood is lessened when a balance of animal and plant ingredients are used in the diet.Obesity is increasing not reducing. Studies (peer reviewed) should be done to see if a correlation exists with the uptake of BARF or dry foods in comparison to either quality commercial wet or dry food and home made diets, or whether timed feeding is part of the wider problem with an ever increasing companion animal obesity levels- globally.
 Treats and snacks are an important part of the human-animal bond and many clients will not stick with a weight loss programme if they are eliminated entirely. Treats should be limited to 10% or less of the animal’s daily caloric intake. There are low fat commercial treats on the market, or alternatively, treats such as unsalted, unbuttered popcorn, raw carrots or plain rice cakes may be fed. If possible feed the animal several times a day. Multiple meals may help increase the animal’s metabolic rate, and may help reduce begging by the pet. A nutritional study of the BARF diet showed the diet to be deficient in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc, and excessively high in vitamin D Varying the foods or the recipes is unlikely to balance out the deficiencies as they often share deficiencies or excesses. Pets may not show signs in the short term; and some adult pets could cope with some of these imbalances, but they may affect the health and bone strength of growing animals. Homemade diets often include higher amounts of protein and fat and relatively low total carbohydrate and dietary fibre amounts than are typically found in commercial dry extruded and moist foods. Adult pets often consume unconventional diets without developing any health problems, but sometimes even healthy adult dogs and cats can develop adverse effects, ranging from relatively benign effects (e.g, increased colonic fermentation, and gas production with higher protein intakes) to more overtly life threatening concerns (e.g, higher fat diet fed to an animal with a history of pancreatitis), as a result of consumption of these diets. No diet has ever been shown to be able to maintain clinically healthy gingiva, no matter how much of it is fed. Diets are only a part of the plaque control program and should be used as well as, not instead of brushing. A study in African wild dogs found that they had similar dental diseases to domestic dogs. Many of these dogs had periodontitis without sings of dental tartar, so while the teeth may appear cleaner, the gums are not necessarily healthier. Studies of large wild cats have also shown feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORL) similar to those of domestic cats. There is a conception that feeding raw bones is safer than feeding cooked bones, and although there is no evidence for or against this concept a raw bone has more “give” and is less likely to fracture teeth. Bones that become stuck in the stomach, or more likely in the intestine, may perforate the gut causing a potentially fatal peritonitis. Chewing on large bones will not provide sufficient calcium in the diet. However more dogs are seen in veterinary clinics because owners think their pet has an obstruction in the intestine caused by getting the chicken carcas from the bin.
It has long been felt that feeding a cat or a dog a dry kibble diet is better for the teeth than feeding them a processed, canned diet. The logic goes that dry food leaves less residue in the mouth for oral bacteria to feed on and so plaque accumulates at a slower rate. Despite that, many animals fed on commercial dry diets still have heavy plaque and calculus accumulations as well as periodontal disease. This is because most dry pet foods are hard but brittle so that the kibble shatters without much resistance and so there is little or no abrasive effect from chewing.
Seven commercially available pet foods currently have received recognition by the Veterinary Oral Health Council as having a significant effect on plaque and calculus. These are Prescription Diet Canine t/d Original Bites and Small Bites, New and Improved Prescription Diet Feline t/d, Friskies Feline Dental Diet, Science Diet Oral Care Diet for Dogs, and Science Diet Oral Care Diet for cats.
The mechanism of action for these diets is based on the physical properties of the kibble. Each nugget is quite large and so must be chewed before swallowing. The nuggets are hard, but not brittle, and so the teeth sink deep into the nugget before it splits. As the tooth is penetrating the nugget, the fibres in the food gently abrade the tooth surface, thereby removing plaque.
These diets are high-fibre maintenance diets for average mature animals but would not be appropriate to support growth, gestation/lactation, or a very athletic lifestyle. Each of them is intended to be fed as the main calorie source. Research by Hill's found that the best results were obtained in this manner, but that there was still a measurable (but declining) benefit when the t/d diets were fed as 75%, 50%, and even 25% of the total calorie intake. Using t/d simply as a treat will not meet expectations for the product.
Iams has a line of diets under the name Dental Defensetm and Innovative Veterinary Diets has a Dental Formulatm. These diets have been coated with HMP to reduce calculus accumulation. Keep in mind that calculus does not cause gingivitis or periodontal disease, bacterial plaque does. Calculus just makes it easier for the plaque to adhere to the tooth surfaces. Reducing calculus accumulation alone will not prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease, but it may make the job easier. The Iams Dental Defense diets have the VOHC Seal of Acceptance for calculus.
For a puppy a commercial low-allergenic diet is preferable until the end of the growth phase and quality breeders recognise this and suggest using foods that are clean and lean and not varying diets until after the pup reaches 12 -15 months of age. Vaccinations provoke an increase in the synthesis of IgE in dogs (Hogen-Esch et al., 2002). This increase of IgE synthesis to dietary allergens in the experimental models of dietary allergy is however not accompanied by the appearance of symptoms.
Tyrosine, Tryptophan
These amino acids are essential to the synthesis of the melanins responsible for hair pigmentation: pheomelanin (red, brown) and eumelanin (black). A dietary deficiency leads to a lightening of the coat or the red dening of black hairs. Methionine and cystine are essential to the growth of hair, as they participate in the production of keratin . These amino acids are abundant in animal proteins and are rarely deficient in dog food, with the exception of non-supplemented vegetarian diets
The most common causes of urticaria in dogs are allergies to medication (vaccines, anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-infection drugs including antibiotics, anti-viral, anti-fungal agents, allergens, etc) or reactions to anthropod bites . A dietary cause is less commonly identified. In this case, it may be due to an immunological phenomenon (immediate allergic reaction), the ingestion of a food that is high in vasoactive amines or anaphylactiod reactions (mastocyte degranulation without IgE intervention).
 Main Causes of Urticaria Described and Suspected in Dogs·        Food
·        Medication: penicillinampicillintetracyclinecephalexinvitamin K, oxopirvedine, vaccines, diethylcarbamazineamitrazdoxorubicin
·        Radiolographic contrast agents
·        Antiserums
·        Allergenic extracts
·        Arthropod bites: bees, wasps, mosquitoes, caterpillars, termites, spider crabs, fleas
·        Plants
·        Intestinal parasites
·        Heat, cold
·        Dermographism
·        Aeroallergens
The allergic reactions to vaccines have some things in common with dietary allergies, in that, in the majority of cases, the allergy is due to residues of calf fetal serum in cell cultures (IgG bovines) or to protein additives (casein, gelatins) (Ohmori et al., 2005). As a consequence, it is possible that these vaccine reactions are due to dietary sensitivities to these same proteins, as some vaccinal allergic reactions are observed during initial vaccination, so theoretically without prior sensitivity to the vaccine.
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic pruriginous dermatitis of the face and the extremities, characterized by a genetic predisposition to developing hypersensitive reactions to environmental allergens. The allergy to aeroallergens is not however demonstrated in 20 - 25% of referred or university atopic dermatitis cases.
This phenomenon, which is also described in humans, has led the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) to propose the term atopic dermatitis syndrome, covering all cases of atopic dermatitis of whatever cause, with or without a demonstrated allergy.
In canine medicine, the term atopic-like dermatitis was recently proposed by the International Task Force on Canine Atopic Dermatitis (ITFCAD) to designate cases of atopic dermatitis without a demonstrable allergy. All these variations of definition are the origin of confusion and controversy. If the results of allergological explorations are taken into account, as they are in human medicine, it is impossible to differentiate an atopic dermatitis due to aeroallergens from an atopic dermatitis due to dietary allergens (Hillier & Griffin, 2001Jackson et al., 2005

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