Our dogs’ health and well-being is in our hands.
Our pets rely on us for everything, and their health and well-being is in our hands. We all love our best friends just as they are, but excess body fat is a major risk factor for various dog diseases.
Even the most dedicated pet parent may find it difficult to help their dogs maintain a healthy weight. According to recent research, more than half of the dogs in the U.S. weigh above their ideal weight.
The challenges begin with determining your dog’s ideal weight, weighing them regularly, and choosing between so many pet food brands — all promising the best diet.
Moreover, the exact relationship between nutrition, body weight, and health is complex, and scientists are still working to clearly understand it. But over the past two decades, it is clear that the gut bacteria plays a crucial role in this relationship.
Gut bacteria is central to dogs’ metabolism, the process in which their bodies turn what they eat into energy and absorb molecules vital for the body’s function. The importance of these bacteria means that sometimes losing weight is more than simply burning more calories than eating.
A study examining the relationship between exercise, weight loss, and the dogs’ gut microbiome found that the composition of the gut microbiome, which is the collection of all the bacteria and microorganisms living in the gut, may prevent overweight dogs from losing their extra pounds. What’s more, numerous studies have shown that a less diverse microbiome is one of the main characteristics of obesity both in humans and dogs.
The importance of gut bacteria is the reason why Stay focuses on the dogs’ microbiome. Our recipes are uniquely designed to support a healthy and diverse microbiome. And with our seasonal microbiome checks, we can track how the gut bacteria are responding to the diet and ensure that the meal plan is meeting your dog’s unique needs.
WAIT, WHY SHOULD I CARE IF MY DOG IS CHUBBY?
Different breeds have very different body shapes, and each dog has their own ideal body weight. In general, dogs who are ten percent over that ideal body weight are considered overweight, and the excess of fat tissue carries a cost for the dog’s body. This fat tissue typically causes a low-grade but chronic inflammation throughout their body, and may lead to the development of different diseases ranging from joint pains to heart, lung and kidney diseases.
Excess body fat shortens the life of dogs and hurts their well-being. Even a drop of five to ten percent in their body weight will have a positive impact on an overweight dog’s overall health. Weight management and the right nutrition tailored to the needs of each dog can prevent many diseases before they develop — instead of trying to deal with them after they appear.
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY DOG NEEDS TO LOSE WEIGHT?
The best way to determine if your dog needs to lose some pounds is an easy-to-use chart accepted by the global nutrition committee of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. Stay’s onboarding process relies on this chart to calculate the accurate meal plan for your dog.
Different breeds have very different body shapes, and each dog has their own ideal body weight. In general, dogs who are ten percent over that ideal body weight are considered overweight, and the excess of fat tissue carries a cost for the dog’s body. This fat tissue typically causes a low-grade but chronic inflammation throughout their body, and may lead to the development of different ailments ranging from joint pains to heart, lung, and kidney diseases.
Excess body fat shortens the life of dogs and hurts their well-being. Even a drop of five to ten percent in their body weight will have a positive impact on an overweight dog’s overall health! Weight management and the right nutrition tailored to the needs of each dog can prevent many diseases before they develop — instead of trying to deal with them after they appear.
HOW CAN I HELP MY DOG LOSE WEIGHT?
Many factors influence the risk of gaining those unhealthy extra pounds. Genetics are important, and some dog breeds are genetically predisposed to gain weight, such as Retrievers, Beagles, Pomeranian, Pug, Pekinese, Shetland sheepdog, Rottweiler, Dachshund and Cocker spaniels. Age and sex also matter. Female dogs tend to gain more weight than male dogs. Weight gain can happen at any age, but it is most common among dogs aged 5–11 years.
Our dogs rely on us to monitor their weight and health. Acknowledging the problem is the first step. According to recent research, pet parents who didn’t consider obesity as a problem were more likely to have dogs who are over their ideal weight.
Additionally, the importance of exercise cannot be overstated in its role for both mitigating weight loss, and in the long run, helping maintain their desired target weight. Of course, adding exercise to your dog’s routine should be done gradually and you should consider your dog’s needs and health-related conditions that may be associated with their current body condition.
Treats play an important role in bonding with our pets, but most are usually fat-rich and high in calories, which can turn treats into an extra meal. No matter what the situation is for your dog, treats should make up no more than 10% of their total daily caloric intake.
Like humans, weight loss in dogs will be faster and more pronounced at first, and later becomes more challenging and takes longer to shed the extra pounds. In response to the change in the body’s caloric balance, the metabolism slows down and more calories are extracted from each piece of food the dog eats.
Today we know that changes in the populations and activities of bacteria in the gut play a crucial role in those metabolic changes and what is known as “the rebound effect” in diets. The typical microbial population of obese dogs is very different from the gut bacteria of average-weight dogs. With a successful weight loss diet, a large portion of the gut bacteria composition of the dieting dogs becomes almost identical to that of dogs who were never overweight.
Nevertheless, recent research found that some differences in the microbiomes of previously obese dogs remain. These differences affect the metabolic rate of the dogs’ body and re-encourage weight gain. Furthermore, researchers were even able to predict the post-dieting weight gain in mice, based on analysis of the microbiome.
HOW CAN STAY HELP YOUR DOG REACH THEIR IDEAL WEIGHT?
Based on the information our members provide, Stay’s algorithm calculates how many calories each dog needs according to their size, age and sex, their regular activity levels, snacking habits and whether they need to lose or gain some pounds.
Stay’s recipes are also loaded with fresh ingredients that are picked for their quality, high levels of important nutrients, including fiber, and most importantly, their contribution to a healthy and diverse ecosystem of beneficial bacteria living in your dog’s gut.
Blautia is one of these beneficial bacteria. This bacteria is a permanent feature of a dog’s healthy gut. A reduction in its levels is indicative of an imbalanced microbiome, which is associated with gut illness and obesity. Stay’s fiber-rich recipes, which include ingredients such as psyllium seed husks and sprouted lentils, help Blautia to flourish in the dogs’ gut.
Our seasonal microbiome checks, combined with your feedback of any changes in your dog, will allow us to proactively give any recommendations about your meal plan. This is how we improve your best friend’s gut health so they live a happy and healthy life!