Two Common Pet Health Issues Affected by Nutrition

A study published by the Royal Veterinary College in March 2021 has revealed the scale of overweight epidemic in dogs in the UK Vets recorded 1 in 14 dogs as overweight each year.

According to the study certain breeds were especially prone to weight gain. These include Pugs, Beagles, Golden Retrievers and English Springer Spaniels.

We can therefore safely say that one of the most common forms of malnutrition among dogs within the United Kingdom is excessive body weight. Obesity is harmful to your pet’s health. Overweight dogs and cats are at increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, joint and mobility problems, and some types of cancer. Plus, overweight pets often have a decreased quality of life that tends to be shorter than that of normal-weight pets.

For overweight pets, food is both the cause and the solution to the problem. Overfeeding, which often occurs when pets are fed “free choice,” is a common pitfall. With free choice feeding the pet can consume as much food as is desired at any time during the day. This method of feeding relies on the pet’s ability to self-regulate food intake so that energy and nutrient needs are met.

Some pets naturally limit how much they eat, but others simply can’t, especially when the food is really tasty and of high value. That’s why many nutritionists recommend feeding portion-controlled meals at least twice daily and paying special attention to the number of calories your dog or cat eats.

If you’re concerned that your pet is overweight, be sure to talk with your veterinarian or our nutritionist here at FourFriends Pet Foods. There are many weight management pet foods are available, A good starting point is FourFriends Weight Control, designed to provide all the essential nutrients that are require while reducing the number of calories eaten.

Diabetes is a condition caused by a lack of, or resistance to, the hormone insulin, and is one of the most frequently diagnosed endocrine (hormonal) conditions in dogs and cats. The most common causes of diabetes are:

  • Obesity contributes to insulin resistance and is a risk factor for pancreatitis, which can lead to diabetes.
  • Age While diabetes can occur at any age, it mostly occurs in middle-aged to senior dogs. Most dogs who develop it are age 5 or older when diagnosed.
  • Gender. Unspayed female dogs are twice as likely as male dogs to have diabetes.
  • Chronic or repeated pancreatitis. Chronic or repeated pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) can eventually cause extensive damage to that organ, resulting in diabetes.
  • Steroid medications. These can cause diabetes when used long-term.
  • Cushing’s disease. With Cushing’s disease, the body overproduces steroids internally, so this condition also can cause diabetes.
  • Genetics. Diabetes can occur in any breed or mixed-breed, and it seems genetics can play a role in either increased or reduced risk. A 2003 study found that overall, mixed breeds are no less prone to diabetes than are purebreds. Among purebreds, breeds vary in susceptibility, some with very low risk and others with higher risk. Some that may be at higher risk include miniature Poodles, Bichons Frises, Pugs, Dachshunds, Samoyeds, Keeshonds, Australian Terriers, Fox Terriers, Cairn Terriers, and Beagles.

The primary treatment for diabetes is daily insulin replacement. However, which diet and how it’s fed play important supporting roles. The goals of diabetes management are to:

  • provide the nutrition a diabetic pet needs for moderate body condition
  • coordinate feeding times with insulin injections for blood glucose (sugar) control
  • manage coexisting diseases or complications of diabetes

A pet’s body weight and condition at the time of diabetes diagnosis will influence the veterinarian’s pet food recommendation. Typically, a diet for a diabetic dog will have a controlled fat content and increased amounts of complex carbohydrates and fibre. For a diabetic cat, a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet takes advantage of a cat’s unique ability to use a high percentage of food protein to make glucose in their liver, which provides a consistent, steady release of glucose into the bloodstream.

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Article by Just For Friends,