Popular fad diets are becoming trendy for pets, too, but that may not necessarily be for the best.
According to the International Food Information Council Foundation’s 13th Annual Food and Health Survey, approximately 36% of Americans reported that they were attempting some type of diet in 2019.
The specific diets, however, change rapidly from year to year or even month to month (hence the term “fad diets”). According to Google Search trends, the most popular diets of 2019 include Intermittent Fasting, the Mediterranean Diet, Keto, Flexitarian, Nordic, Veganism, Raw Food, Whole Food, Noom, Paleo, Pagan, Low Carb, and Carnivore.
As many pet owners are taking a closer look at their own health, so too are they looking at their pets’. Many of our pets need to lose weight and improve their cardiovascular health. Nearly 8 million dogs (about 10% of the canine population in the United States) have heart disease. According to the American Pet Products Association, 60 percent of cats and 56% of dogs are overweight.
As mentioned in our previous “Battle of the Bulge” blog, it’s as hard for us to help our pets lose weight as it is for us to lose weight ourselves. That’s why many pet owners are moving towards having their pets follow some of the same dietary principles they are trying to live by. Most veterinarians advise against this type of thinking in general, but that isn’t stopping many from looking for some type of shared diet experience with their pets.
Here are three diets that are on-trend with pet owners, and also how they may or may not align with a dog or cat’s nutritional needs.
The Keto Diet involves eating foods low to no carbohydrates with moderate proteins and fats. This entails consumption of low carbohydrate vegetables, meats, fatty fish, avocados, eggs, cheese, nuts, and seeds. While this may seem very compatible to dog or cat’s diet, there are important considerations. Foremost, our four-legged friends have specific requirements for proteins that exceed the recommendations of the Keto Diet. Additionally, some of the aforementioned foods like dairy and avocados are unhealthy for dogs or cats.
Similarly, the core of the Paleo Diet offers many foods that can be a part of a healthy diet for a pet. These include game meats, poultry, and vegetables. Similar to the Keto Diet, however, there are many foods on a Paleo Diet list that should not be fed to a dog or cat: onions, fatty meats, and butter are just a few. Remember that excessive fatty foods can lead to pancreatitis in dogs.
Finally, the flexitarian diet also promotes healthy levels of complex carbohydrates, plenty of vegetables and lean meats. However, the motivation for a pet owner to adopt a Flexitarian Diet extends well beyond better health. These individuals are typically driven just as much by environmental concerns and want to reduce their environmental footprint and their pet’s as well. Unfortunately for our pets, a Flexitarian Diet contains significantly reduced meat consumption. This desire to reduce meats and decrease our environmental impact has inspired some new pet foods on the market that are made with plant and insect protein instead of from meat. Understandably, there is much debate as to whether or not these alternative sources of protein are as nutritious as meat protein.
For individuals focused on becoming healthier or more environmentally conscious, it’s natural to want to include their pets as well. While well intentioned, it’s important for pet owners to keep in mind that a diet that helps them feel better may not necessarily align with the dietary needs of their canine or feline friends.
NaturPak Pet is focused on manufacturing complete and balanced wet pet food products that provide for the dietary needs of dogs and cats. Using fresh and whole ingredients, NaturPak Pet’s wet foods are fortified with the vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, and proteins that dogs and cats need to maintain optimum health. For more information on NaturPak Pet food, contact a representative today.