Saturday, March 6, 2010

FAT....His, Mine, and The DOGS?

My husband, Dan, had a heart attack a few years ago. Dr. said, "Change, or die". I'm happy to say he chose to change. We both did. Weight wasn't really a problem for us, but eating fatty foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat was. So now, we look at the fat content in everything we eat. Too much, we don't eat it. Hopefully, this will enable us both to have longer healthy lives.

Our dogs are totally dependent on us for proper care and nutrition. They don't have the luxury of choosing their own food or snacks. And I suspect, that like humans, dogs vary slightly in their nutritional health needs. Some of us can eat more fat than others and not be affected. Whereas, some people hardly eat any fat at all, and still have cholesterol problems.

I was reading about fat in dogs and how important it is to have the correct level. Not too much, but not too little either.

According to, this is what they recommend for each stage of life, or type of dog:

Puppy..........................8% minimum, 17% recommended  

Adult Dog..............5% minimum, 9% - 15% recommended 
Performance Dog.........8% minimum, 20% recommended  
Racing Sled Dogs.................................50% recommended  
Lactating dog................8% minimum, 17% recommended
                          Too Little Fat

Problems from too little fat in your dogs diet, can be; impaired reproductive efficiency, a dry dull coat, dry flaky skin, can cause an increase in skin infections and pyoderma. It can cause a slowing in healing, and if developing puppies have too little fat, it can actually cause
developmental problems as well as growth deformities.

Too Much Fat

The obvious, of course being obesity. It is estimated that 50% of the pets in America are obese. I wonder if that includes gold fish? Obesity is just as bad, maybe more so, for your dog, than it is for humans. Problems from obesity that arise are: decreased immune function, increase in cancer, digestive problems, spinal problems, a decrease in liver function, diabetes, a decrease in stamina, a lower tolerance to heat, (especially in summer months), heart disease and increased blood pressure, damage to the joints, ligaments, and bones and a much shorter lifespan. Not to mention, it makes it more difficult to do surgeries and very risky to receive anesthesia. Believe it or not, these are just some of the problems that can arise from obesity, which comes from too much fat in the diet. Who would want to do that to their beloved dog?

It's okay to give your dog treats and even a little table scrapes, (no more than 10% of their diet - which isn't much) but we must use good judgment. Buy treats that are low in fat, good quality dog food, and make sure they get plenty of exercise and hopefully, you'll never have to worry about over feeding fat.

When you consider how short our canine friends live, don't you want them to be as healthy as they can be to live the best life they can?


  1. Too much fat in the diet can also bring on or exacerbate pancreatitis, especially in a middle aged dog. If your dog has had it you know how bad this can be. From then on its really important to watch what they eat to prevent a relapse.

  2. You're absolutely right, Art. Moderation is the key. One problem leads to another, and then another. A balanced diet and the right amount of exercise, can prevent many problems from developing in the first place. That goes for humans and our dogs!