Brothers earned the Dog Food Advisor Editors Choice Award from 2012 - 2022 for Weight Loss
In the article, Vets Work to Declare Pet Obesity is a Disease, by Ken Niedziela published 2017.01.09 in the veterinarypracticenews.com there is a picture of an overweight dog. “In 2015 a study conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention discovered that 54 percent of U.S. dogs were overweight or obese.” (In 2022 the rate of overweight and obese dogs has increased to 59%).
An article was posted on August 9, 2016, in psychologytoday.com titled, “A Wolf is a Dog is a Coyote is a Jackal is a Dingo” and “New genetic studies show the closeness of Canids." Mark Derr, author of “A Wolf Is a Dog Is a Coyote Is a Jackal”, makes the observation that “Dogs, wolves, and other canids are closer genetically than some populations of people and should, by rights be considered one species."
“That means the configuration that says a wolf is a dog, is a coyote, is a dingo, is the correct one.”
Why are there NO overweight Wolves, Dingoes, Jackals, or Coyotes in their natural habitat?
The obvious difference is the food they eat and the exercise they get. One group eats a diet high in animal protein and fat and almost no carbohydrates, while the domesticated dog is fed a diet low in animal protein and fat and high in carbohydrates; carbohydrates that are predominantly high-glycemic grains and potatoes.
Your dog looks different than a Wolf because its Nuclear DNA has been altered over many generations by selective breeding. This is possible because each sex contributes one strand of DNA to the next generation.
Nuclear DNA determines things like personality, size, and physical attributes in a dog, and can be altered through selective breeding to get a 10,000-year-old gray Wolf to look like a Boxer, a Beagle, or any other dog.
Mitochondrial DNA determines the food your dog should eat for optimal health. It regulates the transformation of that food into the raw materials necessary to build and repair the organism and supply nutrition and energy at the cellular level.
The Mitochondrial DNA of a 20,000-year-old gray wolf is 99.8% identical to that of the present-day domesticated dog and has remained stable and consistent over tens of thousands of years because it is only passed on only by the female.
It’s not how long the dog has been domesticated by people that determines what food dogs are designed to thrive on. Feeding a dog high-glycemic carbohydrates like grain and potatoes every day will not change the Mitochondrial DNA, nor will it result in an optimally healthy dog.
It is true that dogs have developed an increased ability to metabolize high-glycemic carbohydrates over the last hundred years or so BUT because a dog can digest grain and potatoes does not make high-glycemic carbohydrates a healthy alternative to animal sourced protein and fat, as many in the dog food industry are claiming. Especially not in the concentration the carbs are being added to dog food these days.
People are Omnivores and designed to eat carbohydrates but over 60% of this country is clinically obese from eating too many high-glycemic carbs. It is not just the carbohydrates that are a problem but the amount they are putting in the food - it is excessive, and plainly so given that 2 out of 3 dogs are now clinically obese or overweight.
Mitochondrial DNA, is responsible for determining the optimal food, transforming it into raw materials to build and repair the body, and supply cellular energy. To read this explained in more scientific terms, check out an answer by Mecofe Meha, BS Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado Denver in the following quote from Quora at https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-mitochondrial-DNAfunction.
She states, “Mitochondrial DNA contains 37 genes, all of which are essential for normal mitochondrial function. Thirteen of these genes provide instructions for making enzymes involved in oxidative phosphorylation. The remaining genes provide instructions for making molecules called transfer RNAs (tRNAs) and ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), which are chemical cousins of DNA. These types of RNA help assemble protein building blocks (amino acids) into functioning proteins”.
Mitochondrial DNA, unlike Nuclear DNA, has remained essentially constant for thousands and thousands of years and it determines how energy is processed and what your dog should eat. Your dog may look very different from its extinct wolf ancestors, but its energy needs are the same. Their bodies look different, but their nutritional needs are the same.
So, how is the diet of our domesticated dogs different from the diet of wild dogs?
We feed our domesticated dog's certain things that wild dogs don’t eat which include the following:
- Refined Carbs from Grains (corn, rice, wheat, barley, bread, etc.)
- High Glycemic Carbs from baked White Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
- Sugar in any form (Molasses, honey, corn syrup)
The dog food industry standard response for overweight dogs is to recommend a “Low Fat” dog food. If reducing fat intake is the solution, then it would be logical to conclude that eating too much fat is the problem. But if this were true then many of the Wolves, Dingoes, and Coyotes would be overweight since their diet is almost exclusively protein and fat.
Nature designed dogs to eat fat and protein. There are no overweight Wolves, Dingos, or Coyotes and their diet is almost entirely fat and protein.
Does it seem logical or reasonable to assume that all the overweight domestic dogs got that way by eating high quality, nutritionally balanced, healthy, species appropriate dog food? Probably not.
It seems the problem is we are feeding dogs food that is inappropriate for a carnivore, such as highly processed carbs, potatoes, grain, sweet potatoes, etc., and those ingredients are what is causing their body to make and store fat because they trigger the release of the hormone Insulin and that is exactly what Insulin directs the body to do. Meat and fat do not trigger the release of Insulin.
If it were just a simple matter of a dog's tendency to overeat, then why wouldn’t wild dogs gorge until they became overweight? Probably because eating fat chemically triggers a feeling of being satiated or full but eating processed or high glycemic carbs has the opposite effect and chemically triggers the desire to eat more.
Dogs are NOT designed to handle the high glycemic carbs that are so plentiful in dog foods. These carbs cause a huge spike in the dog's blood sugar levels and the dogs system reacts to the assault by releasing a flood of insulin into the blood stream. Insulin lowers the spike in blood sugar by directing the body to convert the excess sugar to fat and store it in muscle tissue. So instead of the dog using its food for energy, it is converted into stored fat to lower the blood sugar levels to a safe level.
The idea that reducing “fat” in dog food is a healthy, or effective, way to lose weight and achieve a sustainable, appropriate weight for your dog is not working in the real world. People buy the “Low Fat” food because the nutritionists tell them it's the best way to lose weight. But it doesn’t work, and, in fact, makes the problem worse.
The fat removed from the low-fat diet foods is replaced with even more high-glycemic carbs – the actual cause of the weight gain to begin with.
Dogs don’t become fat from eating fat and they don’t lose weight by eating less fat. They are equipped with the ability to transform fat directly into glucose for energy through a process known as Gluconeogenesis. This healthy process in a carnivore is shut down when they eat high glycemic carbs that boost the glucose levels in the blood and triggers a flood of insulin that aborts gluconeogenesis and directs the body to convert the extra glucose in the blood to stored fat.
Dogs get fat from eating carbs, lots of carbs, high glycemic carbs, and the LAST thing they need to do is eat a “Low Fat dog food” with reduced fat and even more high glycemic carbs.
Losing weight does not require a diet that diverges from a nutritionally balanced diet. The healthy, and most effective, long term weight control and weight stabilizing solution is to simply feed your dog a nutritionally balanced food that consists of equal calories of animal sourced protein and animal sourced fat with the fewest amount of carbs possible, and preferably complex carbs (like peas) rather than high-glycemic carbs like grain and potatoes.
The following effective Diet is balanced on a calorie basis between protein, fat, and carbs has been used successfully for 15 years and outperformed the low fat diets by far for reasons explained below. It is a painless, efficient way for your dog to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Read about A Balanced Calorie Diet that has been effectively reducing weight naturally and painlessly and maintaining it going forward. The diet is balanced equally between animal protein, fat, and carbohydrates, that looses weight naturally then maintains it naturally because it is concentrated, effectively balanced nutrition.
Written by Richard Darlington, CEO
Brothers Dog Food, LLC
Updated June 25, 2023