We’re all well aware of the huge variety of low fat foods available for humans, but is reducing fat good for our four legged friends as well? While humans rely mostly on carbohydrates for energy, dogs and cats use fat as their main energy source. They burn it more rapidly and more effectively than humans. Dogs and cats do well on diets that are 25-50% fat, as long as they are getting adequate exercise.

Commercial dog foods are baked at such high temperatures that the fat found in the food is often inactive or altered, becoming unhealthy trans-fat. Unfortunately, dog food companies are not required to put the amount or type of digestible fat on the label. A lack of fat in the diet can cause an animal to become deficient in the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, and several minerals. An animal lacking the optimum amount of these vitamins and minerals may develop a whole host of problems, including: skin infections, hair loss, excessive shedding, hot spots, brittle hair, flaky skin, greasy skin, liver and kidney degenerations, weakness, retarded growth, impairment of vision, loss of ability to learn, symptoms similar to arthritis, and heart and circulatory problems.

In order to avoid these deficiencies, it is best to feed animals their natural diet, which is raw food. If another diet option is chosen, it is important to make certain that your pet is getting the recommended amount of fat in the diet. Commercial pet foods should be supplemented with essential fatty acids.

Ensuring that your animal is getting the appropriate amount of fat will assist them in leading a high quality life. Fats help our animals to have normal cell membrane synthesis, normal healing, normal skin and coat, and successful reproduction. So, while you stay away from most fats, go ahead and give them to your animal friends.