YOUR PET IS FAT. NOW WHAT?

The problem of fat pets and kibble.

fat cat

Cute cat?

Chances are that your cat or dog is fat, or you probably wouldn’t be reading this. Perhaps your pet is obese even, because cats, and to a small percentage, dogs, are considered cute when fat. Just feed less, they say, and your pets will lose weight. Really? Then why are they still fat? Still circling you begging for food as though you haven’t fed them for a week?

We have to take a look back at exactly what we feed them.

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This is bordering on cruelty! Read about the world’s fattest sausage dog here.

Kibble is essentially little baked nuggets of, presumably, meat. But meat doesn’t gel together on its own. It needs a binder—and that’s where plant material comes in. Potato starch, pea protein, wheat bran, oat bran…even premium kibble foods have a significant amount of starch in it, but it has to, or else pet food companies could never produce tiny little balls that don’t crumble once you touch them. Ever tried making meatballs? They fall apart at the slightest poke, because we usually do not add flour into our meatballs (at least, I don’t). But again, consider your average wet-market fishball. Does it fall apart? Is it crumbly? No, it isn’t, because there is flour inside!

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Home made crumbly meat balls. (Source)

VS

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Commercial fish balls.

That’s exactly why your kibble is high in carbohydrates. The very nature of kibble is high in carbs, even for those which boast over 50% of protein. No carbs = no kibble. Here is the label of a very famous food brand.

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Look at this nutritional label. Ingredients are labelled according to the % in the food.

  1. whole grain corn,
  2. chicken by-product,
  3. animal fat (from what animal? not sure)
  4. soybean mill,
  5. flaxseed,
  6. chicken liver flavour (not chicken liver, mind you! flavour!)
  7. Corn gluten meal… 

WHERE IS THE MEAT??

The better pet foods use tapioca starch, which is more digestible to animals than, say, rice husks. But plenty of other foods use corn or wheat flour as binders. Corn, wheat and soy are the worst culprits, because they are highly allergenic, causes greater rise in blood sugar (known as glycemic index) and are…cheap. That means that $30 you pay for a bag of food could very well cost much less to produce.

Let’s look at a popular brand of dog food (not sure if I can reveal the brand, I might get sued!) that is selling like hotcakes in Singapore.

Lamb, Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Millet, Rice Bran, Oatmeal, Ocean Fish Meal, Canola Oil, Tomato Pomace, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil (source of DHA), Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Parsley Flakes, Pumpkin Meal, Almond Oil, Sesame Oil, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Thyme, Blueberries, Cranberries, Carrots, Broccoli, Vitamin E Supplement…etc.

What is ‘NATURAL FLAVOUR’?? How natural can your flavour be? Also, it is very nice to see blueberries and broccoli in the ingredient list, but a dog in the wild, unless he lives among broccoli farms, is unlikely to eat broccoli. The most likely way he’d ever eat broccoli is …if he catches a rabbit that just had a broccoli feast.

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Mr. Grey Wolf disapproves.

Let’s look at another popular brand of cat food, very expensive, top-of-the-line product. This is an indoor formula, marketed as ‘grain free’. Sounds good, right?

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Pea Starch, Pea Fiber, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Cellulose, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Chicken Flavor, Whole Carrots, Whole Sweet Potatoes, Cranberries, Blueberries, Barley Grass, Dried Parsley, Alfalfa Meal, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, L-Carnitine, L-Lysine, Turmeric, Dried Chicory Root, Oil of Rosemary, Beta Carotene, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Niacin (Vitamin B3), d-Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin

YES. THERE IS NO GRAIN. BUT.

The carb level is overwhelmingly high! And there is cellulose. As in…cardboard pulp. In your pet’s food. Well now…

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Sand Kitties disapprove.

Now you, the well meaning owner, brings your $30, sometimes $40—in my earlier days I have bought even $70 bags of food, and that was when I was a poor university student…but I spent anyway, believing I got my pets and strays the best— bag of food home to feed your dogs and cats. But you see, the kibble isn’t enough for your carnivores. Where is the meat? Where is the meat? And so they get hungry easily.

Indoor formulas are the worst, because they add indigestible fibre into the kibble to increase bulk and decrease calories, much like how wholewheat bread makes us feel fuller than white bread. BUT bear in mind that our little carnivores cannot as efficiently digest these carbs, which is then stored as fat. If their food is essentially processed cereal, then their blood sugar will rise, placing pressure on their pancreas. High insulin levels causes fat accumulation…and your pet gets fatter, fatter and fatter (because they aren’t getting enough protein to feed their bodies, so they demand more food, remember?) and eventually this may end up in diabetes.

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You may end up having to inject your pet with insulin every day for the rest of its natural life. And neither you, nor your pet, will be happy. (Photo source: Sugarpet.net)

To make things worse, some popular breeds are simply more prone to obesity, such as labradors, golden retrievers and beagles. These dogs are made to run–yes, even that floor-hugging beagle–for miles with their owners on a hunt. But these days, especially in Singapore where land is scarce and lifestyles busy, owners hardly have the time to walk their pets.

Then of course there are the cats, who never go out, if at all. Cats can get depressed from the sheer lack of stimulation and many counter the stress by eating. Many multi-cat households also have cats that eat when they face stress from other cats, and the problem is compounded by free-feeding. At least most dog owners do not free-feed!

So if you must feed kibble, please remember to choose one that is as low in carbohydrates as you can afford, and avoid the ‘indoor formula’ at all costs! You are only buying overpriced corn chips and paying with your pet’s health, which in turn will spell disaster for both of you if your pet is diagnosed with a long-term illness.

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Categories: Problems with commercial pet foods

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