If you take the time to whip up your furkid’s meal from scratch, you might not want to remove the fat and skin from the meat. Here’s why…
While you might reflexively think that all fat is unhealthy and should be eradicated from your dog’s diet, this is not always the case.
Much like how protein is an essential component of a dog’s diet, so is fat!
In this week’s article, we challenge and debunk the conventional belief/myth that your pooch should be consuming a fat-free diet; and reveal the benefits of including a healthy amount of fat in your pooch’s diet.
Man vs Dog
As pet lovers and/or owners, we want the best for our furkid. Often, we hold our pets to the same dietary standards we adopt.
Often, pet parents choose to remove all or most of the fat and skin from the meats that they feed their furkids, because fat is bad, right?
Removing the skin and fat from a cut of meat
Photo credits: http://canigivemydog.com/fat
Nope, that is not necessarily the case!
But, how, and why???
For starters, our canine companions have a different physiology as us humans.
That means that while fat in human diet is usually deemed as unhealthy and to be avoided as much as possible, it is actually nutritious and important for our pets.
Unlike their human counterparts, dogs do not have to worry about cholesterol levels like humans do, and will not have the same health issues as humans from a fat-infused diet.
Plus, while humans get their energy from carbohydrates, fats are what “provide the most concentrated source of energy in [canine] diet”.
The matter of fact is that dogs actually require a certain amount of fat, or rather, fatty acids for a well-balanced diet.
Fats are actually important building blocks for your pooch’s health: they are essential for healthy and normal “development and function of body cells, nerves, muscles, and body tissues”.
According to the esteemed veterinarian Dr Karen Becker, dogs also rely on fats to stay warm, hydrated, and maintain the health of their skin and coat:
Omega-6 fatty acids found in dietary fat “play a major role in the health of your pet’s skin and coat. A deficiency can result in dry, flakey skin and a dull, brittle coat which leads to hair breakage and loss. In this compromised condition, your pet’s skin can become prone to bacterial infections and itchiness”.
Thus, dietary fat should not be associated with pet obesity or health issues, instead, should be viewed as an essential building block for our furkid’s dietary health and well-being.
Photo credits: Google Images
In fact, a certain amount of fat ought to be incorporated into Fido’s diet:
According to Petmd, a “balanced diet that provides about 10-15 percent fat is essential for health in the majority of adult dogs”.
Fat sources in dog food typically come from three types of ingredients: the main protein source (e.g. salmon or beef), fat itself as a separate ingredient (e.g. duck fat), or in the form of added oils.
Eradicating fat from your dog’s diet may implicate calorie intake, and inadvertently, affect your pooch’s nutritional input.
Dogs, on average, need about 60 calories per kilogram to maintain their current weight, and receive the proper and essential nutrients.
Here is an approximate amount of calories dogs of various sizes require per day:
Fat is a natural flavor carrier, and is part of the reason why food tastes and smells good to us.
Removing all the skin and fat from the protein results in a less appetizing meal for your pooch.
We humans enjoy flavorful foods; meals that are well seasoned and tasty.
Our furkids deserve the same flavour explosion that we enjoy too, and incorporating skin and fat into their meal is the answer!
Photo credits: Google Images
Fat also gives structure to foods, and helps with the absorption of certain fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E, K).
Removing fat from, for example, the protein in your pooch’s diet would inadvertently decrease flavor, nutrients, and the calories that come from the fat.
There would thus be a need to supplement these nutrients, calories, and even flavor with alternatives – a rather troublesome process.
*Check out our article (coming soon) on ways to introduce, include, or supplement fats into your pet’s diet.
Although we recommend incorporating natural skin and fats into your pooch’s diet, portion control is a must.
As with all foods, too much of anything is no good.
While fat is an essential component of your dog’s diet, problems with fat in the diet only arises when:
- your pooch is allowed to eat too much fat and calories (commonly in the form of treats or scraps), and
- does not get enough exercise to burn the excess calories.
This is not to say that we encourage you to feed your pooch seasoned fat trimmings like ham, bacon, or leftovers from your dinner.
Those fat trimmings are often salt-infused, and include a plethora of seasoning that might be dangerous for your furkid.
Remember, dogs, like humans require a healthy and carefully crafted diet for optimal health, so before you settle for an off-brand kibble, or a bland blend of meats and grains, bear in mind the nutrition intake your pooch needs!