Is Your Pet an Easy Target for These 6 Diseases?

October 7, 2014

Frankie likes healthy treats.
Diet plays a huge role in the overall health of dogs and cats. That old adage, “you are what you eat,” holds true for our pets as well as for ourselves.  A number of diseases that can attack dogs and cats are directly related to what they eat.

Obesity would certainly be the most obvious. Any pet food high in carbohydrates is likely to cause weight gain. Obesity can lead to diabetes in both dogs and cats, and a diet of all dry kibble (with grains) is one culprit. Too many treats or treats high in carbs also cause weight gain. People food can add to obesity in pets.

Switch cats to a diet of canned food, if possible. Canned food is also better for dogs that need to lose a few pounds.

Kidney disease is a common food-related problem in cats. Kidney problems usually follow chronic dehydration. Cats don’t drink enough water to fulfill their bodies’ needs for hydration and if they eat a diet solely of dry food, the problem becomes serious.  The best way to avoid feline dehydration is through a diet of a quality wet – or canned food.

Dental disease is considered the most common health problem in pets. I read an interesting quote: “Humans do not floss with crackers and dry pet food does not clean teeth.” A dry food diet alone is not good for teeth.

Bloat. Dogs that are prone to bloat should eat 2 or 3 smaller meals per day. Feeding only 1 large meal a day could contribute to bloat.

Urinary tract disease, or UTI, is a common problem in cats. Cats that eat only a dry diet are more susceptible to UTI’s due to chronic dehydration. Both cats and dogs can suffer from calcium oxalate and struvite stones. According to bornfreeusa.org, the “manipulation of manufactured cat food formulas to increase the acidity of urine” has caused the increase in stones in our pets.

Heart disease in cats and some dogs is known to develop because of a deficiency of taurine in their diets. The incidences of this problem have increased as more pet owners give their cats (and dogs) commercial food with plant-based proteins and less real meat.  Dry cat foods are supplemented with taurine. The question is: Is that enough to replace the taurine that occurs naturally in real meat but is destroyed in the rendering process of many dry pet foods?

With research now suggesting that some dog breeds are also susceptible to taurine deficiency, it may well be that dog foods using corn as the protein in the food should also contain taurine supplements.

So there you have it! You can eliminate or at least lessen the chances of your pet developing any of these 6 diseases by feeding him or her a food that begins with real meat. It could be a fresh, named meat or a quality named meat meal. Just make sure it is a meat-based food and not a plant-based dog or cat food.

Spend a bit more on pet food now or pay the vet later!

 

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