Hello pet owners!
Jasper hamming it up in the snow. He’s loving this weather!
I hope you and your family – furry and not – are staying warm this winter season. As I write, my own three-dog Bernese pack is enjoying the heat of the oven and, I suspect, the smell of the roast I'm cooking too. It will be difficult to keep them out of the kitchen once it's finally ready to come out! While it can be hard to resist their pleading though, it's better the dogs not snack too much outside their normal meals.
Like many cat and dog breeds, my pack is prone to obesity. And just like in humans, obesity can increase their risk for all sorts of health issues - from arthritis and dysplasia to an increasingly prevalent problem among pets – blood sugar imbalance, pre-diabetes, and type I or II diabetes.
Today, it's estimated that as many as 54% of pets in the United States are either overweight or obese and as a result, blood sugar imbalance is an increasingly prevalent issue too. Fortunately, if caught early, diet and lifestyle interventions can reverse the condition and restore homeostasis in your pet, but many owners are unaware of the behaviors that may point to a blood sugar issue.
Free-feeding works well for some pets, but not for all. Controlled meal times and portions are the best ways to ensure a healthy weight and to monitor intake.
Tips for Maintaining Your Pet’s Healthy Blood Sugar Balance
- Choose their food wisely. For dogs, look for at least 40% calories from protein and less than 30% from fat and carbs. For cats, the ideal calorie balance is 52% protein, 36% fat, & 12% carbs. (Subtract moisture from wet food to calculate. I like EVO brand dog and cat food.)
- Feed on a schedule. Caloric needs vary depending on size and activity levels. Adjust portion accordingly and divide between two daily meals to avoid blood sugar dips and spikes.
- Get them moving. Exercise needs vary depending on breed and age, but generally dogs should get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. Cats should get at least 15 minutes a day engaged in active play.
- Incorporate a probiotic. Preliminary studies show promising results on the use of probiotics to help maintain balanced blood sugar levels.
If you suspect your cat or dog may have a blood sugar issue, please don’t delay. Early intervention is key to blood sugar management, and untreated diabetes type I and II can be deadly. Contact your vet and have them tested. Your fur buddy is relying on you to keep them healthy!