The Holidays can pose a problem for our cats and dogs!

By Imelda Lopez-Casper and Celeste Yarnall, PhD
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Succulent turkey or ham, tangy cranberry sauce, creamy mashed potatoes, yummy pies and cookies! Chocolate! Candy Canes! Oh, the smells! Oh, the tastes! Oh, I’m getting full just thinking about it! We have to be careful, though. Overeating can be  a problem during the holidays. Everything is so tempting!  It’s the same for our cats and dogs. They’re attracted to the delicious aromas and will make a bee-line for those platters if allowed to. It’s up to us to make sure they don’t, or there won’t be any holiday dinner left for us, and the evening could be spent at the vet emergency hospital!
Overeating isn’t just a holiday concern. It’s a behavior that has to be kept in check all year long. Easy-to-open cabinets, garbage cans, and food left on counter and table tops beckon our fur children like the siren song to sailors. Leaving kibble out for free-feeding is like leaving the dinner bell on constant ring mode, too! Cats and dogs shouldn’t be free-feeding anyway. They are not grazing animals like cows!  Dogs are carnirvores and cats are obligate carnivores!Overeating can cause your dog or cat to display symptoms such as; excessive drooling, dry heaving, or vomiting. Their stomach can become distended, hard, and uncomfortable to the touch. These symptoms can also be signs of an even more serious problem called Gastric Dilatation Volvulus or bloat, in which the stomach becomes overstretched by excessive gas content. It is also commonly referred to as ‘torsion’ and/or ‘gastric torsion,’ which occurs when the stomach is also twisted.
The word bloat is often used as a general term to cover gas distension of the stomach with or without twisting. The majority of ingested food , such as kibble is usually very dry in the stomach, so fluids from other parts of the body are often absorbed into the stomach, potentially causing your pet to become dehydrated quickly.  Dry foods and commercial pet foods in both bags and cans are not biologically appropriate foods for the dog or cat. You can learn more about that in this article at Natural News by Celeste Yarnall
Overeating can also lead to serious weight gain. We see pictures all the time of fat cats and dogs that are meant to be funny. We find them to be sad, not funny because they are not healthy animals. Obesity in animals, just like in humans, also takes its toll on bones, joints, ligaments, and organs in a cascade of suffering and misery.There are other reasons that animals become over eaters besides indulging in what’s left out for them to be able to get. Being bored, anxious, or depressed can cause them to overeat. It’s important for  our companion animals to have regular stimulation, playtime, exercise and feel important to the family, ie have a job to do.Growth spurts, just like with children, can cause our dogs and cat to eat a little more. Exercising more can also make them hungrier than usual, as can changes in the weather. If it’s cold, and your pets live primarily outdoors, they might eat more to bulk up a bit for insulation and energy.Cats and dogs in multi-animal homes might also tend to overeat because they’re territorial and want to keep others from getting their food. This is also like animals living in the wild. They’ll eat everything they can because they don’t want anyone else to get it, and they don’t know when they’ll be eating again.Internal parasites and some health conditions can also be exhibited with the symptom of overeating, such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, pancreatitis (this inflammatory condition can also be demonstrated by refusing to eat), pituitary gland tumors, or the inability to digest or absorb food due to a poorly functioning digestive system. Another example, is Cushing’s Disease…the adrenal glands produce too much cortisol, causing cravings to eat more because the excess cortisol breaks down muscle and tissue draining the body of necessary protein, and these pets eat more in order to replace what has been lost. Some medications and drugs (like steroids) can also cause overeating. It’s always best to reach for natural anti-inflammatory supplements sooner than later.

The primary cause in our opinion, is simply not being fed a proper diet in the first place.  Cats and dogs are designed to eat RAW MEAT AND RAW BONES. They are designed to get their macro/micro nutrients recycled through their prey animal, and they’re designed to get their calcium requirement (which is also needed to balance the phosphorous in their meat rations) and dental needs taken care of from gnawing on and bone crushing raw bones. When dogs and cats are not getting the nutrients they’re supposed to, they will eat more of what they ARE getting in an effort to make up for the lack thereof. Animals getting what they need will be satisfied and eat less. At Celestial Pets we see this over and over again when helping others transition their animals to the diet we teach people to feed.

The bottom line? Feed a properly balanced, species-specific raw diet to your cats and dogs (not table scraps or cooked foods). Give them lots of love, care, and exercise. Provide a safe environment by pet-proofing your home. Be observant of their behavior and habits…no one knows them better than you do, so only you will be able to detect any changes from the norm that they might exhibit that might warrant a trip to the vet.

It’s a privilege to share our homes with loving animals who are indeed part of our families and experience everything that goes with having them in our lives, and it’s all worth it! May you continue to enjoy the miracles that sharing your life with dogs and or cats can bring.. along with the miracles of the Season. Happy Healthy Holidays!

Find out what and how to feed biologically appropriate food for cats and dogs here at the Celestial Musings Blog and also at  our company website, Celestial Pets.

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4 thoughts on “The Holidays can pose a problem for our cats and dogs!

  1. Pingback: Paleo Dog Holidays! | celestialmusingsblog

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