Dogs and cats occupy special places in our hearts and for some of us, they are our first love! Despite such care and compassion, sadly almost 80% of dog owners are under the impression that nutrition for dogs and humans is similar and less than 10% of dog owners are aware of the correct proportion of key nutrients their dog needs. Ask a pet owner and he/she would come up with umpteen reasons for loving his/her pet and the love is unconditional, unlike humans who have clauses and terms attached! They talk about incidents during which they had taken their pet for a vaccination, given a haircut or treated it for a cut or injury. Nowadays, there are even pet spas for those luxurious few! In recent times, I heard from one of my friends that her dog is obese and needs to shed a few kilograms to avoid complications such as diabetes and obesity-related diseases. Until then, diseases, illnesses and other disorders in pets had never crossed my mind! Poor creatures, if only they could speak to convey their feelings and needs!
We follow the standard notion that dogs love bones and cats love to feed on fish and milk. If given a choice, what type of foods do these animals love to delve into? A study conducted shows surprising results and also negates the strong opinion that cats prefer and need a protein-heavy diet. Researchers involved in the study are frenzied over their discovery that could become a real challenge to the pet food industry.
Dietary proteins are involved in different physiological functions such as blood clotting, hormone production and enzymes, vision and cell repair. It also has the maximum potential to make a person feel extremely satiated after which carbs and fats follow suit. The study involved 17 healthy adult dogs and 27 cats over 28 days who were fed with four different types of food that were designed to taste good equally. This cuts out any preferences and the animals tend to feed on foods that their body commands them to! This comes of the understanding from previous studies which proved that when animals were fed foods without any palatability balance, cats love to eat high levels of protein and dogs wish to eat more of fat. Once palatability is balanced, cats and dogs choose different macronutrient-based foods than what they would choose based on taste. Know your macronutrients, get a detailed information about each of them and learn about their impact on health from the website www.firsteatright.com.
Choose Your Food
The animals were given four different food choices: high-fat, high-protein, high-carbohydrates and balanced foods. Every day, dogs were given one hour during which they were allowed to eat all they can up to a predetermined calorie value. Similar strategy was followed in the case of cats too. Only difference was that, cats were given 24-hour food access until it reaches the caloric threshold. Care was taken even to change bowl positions daily to prevent ‘bowl position bias’. Results showed that:
Today’s canine creatures also follow masters and prevail as couch potatoes. If these couch potatoes are fed with foods high on fats and carbs, obesity and other problems are sure to crop up! The sedentary master puts off these pets from activities such as walking or ball game resulting in fatter animals with poor physical activity.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.