Has your dog put on weight over lockdown?
Apparently the most common food eaten over lockdown in the UK is cheese on toast. All our waistlines have expanded as very sadly with the new routine of having such close access to our kitchens and fridges and the need to regularly comfort ourselves on an hourly basis sometimes, we have all overindulged……..but sadly so too have we shared in this guilty pleasure with our ever present and adoring pets!
To share in our food with them is a learned behaviour started by our dog who stares at us expecting the food, he is rewarded and both dog and owner get an oxytocin surge from the act of giving and bonding. It is called an oxytocin loop and the end result is a surge of the happy hormone in both of us but very worryingly, so too is the extra weight that builds up in your pet.
The biggest worry is your dog being unable to breath properly (especially our flat-nosed breeds), their loss of energy, but ultimately, we are just leading them into a very painful old age that is all our fault!
Our dogs are part of the family and they jump on sofas and beds regularly. Any extra weight even very little in a small dog, makes them prone to knee ligament rupture when jumping onto that sofa or bed! The result is expensive and painful operations, enforced rest so no walks that our dogs just love, and when they are older, they will need a lot more medication for arthritis, and a shorter more painful life.
NONE OF US WANT THIS FOR OUR PETS AS WE LOVE THEM TOO MUCH AND WE ALL JUST WANT THE BEST FOR THEM
But, a day’s ration of Boneos, pizza crusts, bacon fat, cheesy snacks and an evening dental chew are all devastating to the health of our pets and shortens their lifespan considerably.
What can be done and why is plant-based a solution?
I am passionate about helping owners with their pets. I am a GP vet based in the UK, a pet owner, a mother and a forces wife, and I fully understand the strength of the human-animal bond. I choose to only consult as I love it and I am fascinated by owners and their love for their pets as I relate to it fully.
My journey as a plant-based vet came from a passion to help owners with their overweight pets. We are an army family and we were posted abroad for 7 years. It meant moving home every 2 years with children, dogs, cats, guinea pigs and even a chicken Coco who moved to 4 different countries with us as we loved her so much!
Upon returning to the UK after 7 years away, I was struck by how obese the pet population had become and how owners were overfeeding their pets out of pure love. After one particularly emotional day where I had to put 4 dogs to sleep for either being too overweight that they couldn’t get up, or obesity related issues such as cancer; I returned to my family and vowed to do something about this crisis as it really affected me.
I threw myself passionately into dog nutrition and human behaviour, completing as many nutrition courses as I could and I listening to each and every client who walked through the door. There is so much differing information out there for us as pet owners with so much of it being dictated by the large pet food companies as they dominate the veterinary world with their advertising.
We are taught so little about nutrition at vet school as it is a given that as vets, we just use what the pet food companies have provided for us, but as a Mum and pet owner, this wasn’t good enough for me – especially listening to the concerns of my clients. I have learnt so much just by listening to you the pet owner.
EVERY BIT OF RESEARCH THAT I COMPLETED TO FIND THE HEALTHIEST DIET FOR OUR DOGS ALL POINTED TO A PLANT-BASED HIGH NUTRIENT DIET
I have worked with two top vet nutritionists to come up with the best homemade diets available and our little dog Ruff just loves his food. His coat is shiny, he has bundles of energy and as a dog owner and vet I just know that the nutrient-rich immune-boosting homemade food and homemade treats have made all the difference.
I am so passionate about this and about sharing it with you and everything I have learnt from listening to pet owners and clients as just like all of you who love their dogs more than you can say, we all want them to live for as long as possible and have the happy, healthy pain-free lives that they deserve. Lockdown has exacerbated everything and like so many of us putting on the ‘lockdown stone’; so too are our pets suffering with extra weight that is impacting so much on their quality of life.
Feeding plant-based for us and our pets is so easy! It is quite remarkable and after just a few weeks on a plant-based diet, you will notice the weight just falling off your pet and their energy returning.
Join our Green Paws Challenge today and let me prove to you how easy it is!
Dr Arielle Griffiths BVSc MRCVS
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