Thursday, June 7, 2012

Understanding The Differences – A Primer

We share our homes and our lives with our furry friends. We spend special time with them on walks and errands, and many of us allow them to sleep with us in our beds.  We share a lot of things.  Unfortunately, our wonderful companions share many of the same diseases and health issues.  The more I read about this, the more it saddens me, because I feel so much of it is preventable.
These blogs are designed to sift through all that’s out there and bring simple, usable information that will benefit your dog and you!  Our pets are an important part of our lives, as is evident by the multi-billion dollar a year amount we spend on them.  It’s also vital to make better choices for yourself…after all, you need to be around to care of your loving companions! Some of that mindset comes from my upbringing and the other part from my personal trainer background, and two and a half decades of studying nutrition.
So, what is necessary for good health? First, a good nutritional foundation.  It really starts there.  Junk in, junk out.  My hope is that as you read these various articles I post, you will become more aware of what your dog really does need on a daily basis.  A new awareness that not just anything will suffice.  There’s a whole lot of information ‘out there’.  Knowing what and who to trust can be frustrating, confusing and even overwhelming.  It’s an ever changing, seeming revolving door of one thing one day, then something else the next.  What’s a person to believe?
We also need to understand, as much as our lives are shared, there are differences.  It’s imperative to know where the line is drawn. I will only touch upon it here, and I will be blogging more about it in future articles.  There is a lot, and I don’t want to overwhelm anybody with too much information at one time.  While whole grains are an important part of the human diet, it’s not necessarily a requirement in the canine diet.  The need to focus on quality protein and fats are the mainstay for your dog.  In my opinion, dairy products should only be organic in the diet….for doggies and people.  Why? Because ‘commercial’ dairy typically contain what is called Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH).  This is given to the cows to assist in larger yields.  Antibiotics are also a part of their ‘diet’.  A cow with an infection in an udder is not beneficial to a dairy farmer.  BGH has been found to cause premature breast growth in girls as young as 5 years old! Both of these are passed along the food chain to whomever consumes it…no wonder we’ve developed a resistance to most antibiotics!
We seem to be raising a whole generation of overweight and obese children…and even more adults.  Even with all this food we have access to, we suffer terribly from malnutrition.  It’s rampant. Over 1/3 of adults in the United States are considered obese.  Along with this problem comes heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and even cancer.  We’re out of control, and unless we put the brakes on, we’re headed for disaster!   And our canine buddies seem to be following suit.  55% of them are overweight or obese (according to 2010 statistics)  So you think, ‘my dog won’t eat healthy’! Well, I get razzed about what I feed my dogs from my co-workers.  Their comments are, ‘my dog wouldn’t eat stuff like that!’, my response is, ‘how do you know? Have you fed them that way?’  No, of course they haven’t.  Give ‘em a week at the Chaplin Doggie Diner, and you’d have a ‘new dog’! Even picky eaters like it here!  Adjustments periods are needed for change…we don’t want to make changes too quickly.  It’s necessary to allow time to introduce new foods to our furbabies to make sure they don’t have an allergy or adverse reaction.  We need to be flexible, and our attitude toward these changes need to be positive. It can be done, on both sides…human and canine.  The deciding factor will be, how much are you willing to invest in your health and that of your loved ones, including your dog?

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