Can real food help overweight dogs?

It’s National Pet Obesity Awareness Month and we’re here to give you the scoop on the affects of canine obesity! Canine obesity is a very real problem among our furry family members—In fact, 41% of puppers in Australia are considered overweight dogs, according to the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia Incorporated. Aside from predisposing pupper to various illnesses like osteoarthritis, heart disease, reproductive disorders, diabetes, and more, obesity can dramatically affect their quality of life, and ultimately yours too.

Canine obesity can be prevented if you make the right decisions for your pupper. Let’s learn more.

What causes canine obesity?

It’s common for fur parents to struggle in achieving perfect nutrition for their pupper. Overfeeding or providing incorrect nutrients can lead to obesity, especially when combined with too little exercise. Just like in humans—when food intake is greater than the energy your pupper burns, the excess food energy is stored as fat.

This situation could prove to be more dangerous than just giving pupper a few extra pounds. According to our in-house veterinarian, Dr. Matthew Muir, we now know that fat cells don’t just sit around doing nothing. They produce a range of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body, known as adipokines, that can contribute to metabolic inflammation, including within the joint and nervous system—a phenomenon known as neuro-inflammation. But—the good news? Canine obesity can be easily reversible once you know exactly what you’re feeding your pupper, and exactly how much to feed them.

How can you tell if pupper is overweight or underweight?

Of course, a pupper’s ideal weight depends on their breed and other factors, so it’s helpful to rely on a standardised scoring system to help measure our puppers’ health.

The score scale ranges from 1 (emaciated—the most underweight) to 9 (grossly obese—the most overweight). A BCS score of 4.5, right in the middle, is ideal, but a score of 5 can also be considered healthy. Dr. Muir endorses a score of 4.5.

At an ideal weight, your pupper’s ribs should be easily felt to the touch with minimal fat covering. You should be able to distinguish their waist when looking at your pupper from above. If you can see your pupper’s ribs and pelvic bones from a distance, they are likely underweight. If you can’t distinguish your pupper’s waist and if there are fat deposits over your pupper’s spine and base of their tail, this may be common in overweight dogs and your pupper may be likely overweight or obese. Here’s a quick visual guide, according to The World Small Animal Veterinary Association Committee:

While it is possible to assign your pupper a position on this scale at home, you might be able to get a more accurate result from your preferred veterinarian.

Dry kibble-based foods are typically calorie-dense and of higher glycaemic-index (GI) carbs. Portion sizes can depend on the calorie-density of foods, so dry kibble-based foods can be harmful to puppers since they break down into sugars to be used as either energy or fat.

Not all fat is bad fat. Just like humans, puppers need a balance of good fats, too. It’s all about choosing the right ones! omega-3s are one of the best choices for your pupper. Animal foods high in omega-3s, like many oily fish, for example, have less saturated fat than other proteins.

Our Lyka bowls have a maximum omega-6 : omega-3 ratio of 3:1, that’s 10 times more omega-3 than the required amount according to AAFCO standards! omega-3 works inside the body to reduce cellular inflammation, potentially protecting your pupper from diseases like osteoarthritis and cancer.

Each Lyka product is low-lectin and legume-free. We don’t want to add higher-GI carbs, like white potatoes, rice, and corn, to your pupper’s food. These types of foods have been shown to cause glucose spikes in puppers, which could lead to diabetes and metabolic inflammation, like we mentioned earlier. Fortunately, there are healthier carbs that are low-GI, including many fresh vegetables. These carbs do not cause blood sugar spikes—instead, they provide healthy micronutrients to boost pupper’s overall diet. A proper balance of healthy oils, and fresh vegetables gives pupper a healthy dose of antioxidants that help promote good health.

Choosing the right ingredients isn’t enough – accurate nutrient levels and portion sizes are equally important!

Here at Lyka, we customise serving sizes to help ensure your pupper maintains a healthy weight. Each meal is prepared using a veterinary algorithm that considers your pupper’s breed, size, weight, age, activity level, and body shape.

Our bowls aren’t just for puppies either! Our food has helped support puppers of all ages, including senior dogs like Noodle and Baxter. Throughout all stages of pupper’s life, it’s important to maintain good health while preventing disease.

Canine obesity is a serious but preventable condition. If your pupper needs a little extra help maintaining their weight, it’s never too late to make a positive change. Try our Starter Box and see for yourself—pupper will look and feel healthier than ever!