Do you know someone who feeds their pet table scraps mainly comprising what they eat – refined carbohydrates? Are you one of those people? I have witnessed this several times and the poor pet usually resembles a bowling ball and is on every medication that the veterinarian has in their medicine bag.
Interestingly, pets that are fed our (often unhealthy) table scraps often suffer from asthma, allergies, hypertension, poor eyesight and fatigue. Do some of these conditions sound familiar? In contrast, I know people who feed their dogs lean meat, spinach, and carrots, which would be closer to a canine’s diet in nature. These dogs are lean, happy and full of energy.
Of course it could be argued that we have a different physiological make-up than our pets, and there are irrefutable differences between humans and animals and between different species of animal. However, consider what happens when any mammal makes an unhealthy “Western” dietary change, including our all-too-often unhealthy pets.
Dogs in the wild don’t have access to sugar and flour, just as our prehistoric human counterparts would not have had access to refined and processed foods. Consumption of such items affects our furry friends, and it affects us as well. Same food, different species, but with the same results: Our food is making us, and anything that eats it, sick!
Consider that according to a recent survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) approximately 53 percent of cats and 55 percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese. APOP further indicates that pet obesitycontinues to be a serious problem, stating that:
The number of obese pets is growing. This is troubling because it means more pets will be affected by weight-related diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease costing pet owners millions in avoidable medical costs.
It is estimated that 93 million pets in the U.S. (over half of all domestic dogs and cats) are considered overweight or obese. Moreover, it appears there is a direct relationship between the health of the owner and his or her pet. The problem has become so alarming that veterinarians are not only giving advice to owners to help with the weight issues of the pets, but they are also giving health advice to animal owners to improve their own states of health.
I find the APOP survey very interesting. Did you notice that the percentage of overweight pets in the study is similar to the percentage of how many Americans are overweight or obese? Not only are we killing ourselves with poor dietary habits, but we are also putting incredible stress on the health of our domestic animals by feeding them our own foods.
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