Thursday, December 17, 2015

How much fat is in your dog's food (and why should you care)?

Liam the pug needs to watch his weight

During this week's vet appointment, Liam got a little bad news: He needs to watch his waistline. As soon as I heard that, I knew we were in a lot of trouble.

Like most pugs, Liam lives for food. He will do anything for food. The only way I could get him to pose for these photos was to promise him a little morsel when we were done. And given that he smacks his lips while he's sleeping, he probably even dreams about food. 

But, he's at the top end of what his doctor deems an appropriate weight for his age and breed. He doesn't need to lose weight, but he simply cannot afford to gain any more.

And I think I may have a solution.

Liam and Sinead are both raw food addicts. Twice each day, morning and night, they get a bowl of dehydrated raw pellets, along with a few veggies. They love this food, and it's good for them. But it's also really high in fat.

The average raw food diet contains about 27 percent fat, per Dog Food Advisor. That means the average raw food diet could be contributing, at least in part, to Liam's weight woes. Adding in another food for a supplemental feeding, while slightly reducing his raw portions, might help him to avoid weight gain.

This is a good option for Liam, as he simply will not tolerate eating smaller portions at meals. He likes to eat, and he lives to eat. My job is to find a food that he can eat to his heart's content that won't make him chubbier.

Dry food could do the trick.

That same Dog Food Advisor article points out that dry kibble has an average fat content of just 16 percent. That could qualify this food as a low-calorie option, good for pets with weight issues. Using this food as a lunchtime meal could allow Liam to continue to enjoy the benefits of raw, without ruining his waistline in the process.

And, kibble makes for an excellent training tool. Rather than handing out dehydrated meats, low-fat cheese or preserved meats, I can give him one or two nibbles of kibble when he's been good. It's a low-cal snack he'll work for that won't ruin his health.

So what kibble will I be using? Glad you asked.

Sinead the Boston terrier with Weruva products

Last week, I had a chance to sit in on a sales presentation by Weruva, held at my local pet store. The food I've chosen to try in the new Caloric Harmony line, Venison and Salmon, has just 13 percent fat. That's a very low fat content, and it makes this food appropriate for dogs that are a little higher on the weight spectrum.

The Weruva team gave me this big bag of food to try, and I'll be keeping notes over the next few weeks. Watch for my review on this blog in January.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to try something new. Here's hoping it helps Liam stay slim and fit during the holidays!


  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    1. Thanks for the visit! And I love any and all comments. Even emoticons make me happy. I'll have to check out your blog, too!

  2. I will be watching to see how it works for Liam. Basset Hounds pretty much live for food too so we feel your pain.