Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the second edition of the PET | TAO podcast. I’m Dr. Marc Smith and I’m your host.
And I’ve got a great story for you today, and it centers around the fact that when I was a young kid, my dad, he would always make me eat everything on my plate.
So, when we sat down for dinner, he would say, “Marc, dig in son”, and I’d start eating.
Well like most little kids, I’d already had ten Oreos and probably a push-up and I wasn’t that hungry.
Well my dad used to make me, he’d say “Son, you eat three bites of each thing that I put on your plate.”
Now when that was fried chicken and mashed potatoes, I was okay.
But when it turned out to be Brussels sprouts, I didn’t like it too much.
But my dad was teaching me a lesson; he was teaching me that I have got to learn how to eat a lot of different variety of foods.
And looking back on that, I’m not sure if that was the best advice.
And so what I’m going to talk to you about today has to do with feeding your pets and feeding your pets less food.
About four months ago, I wrote an article on our blog and it’s titled “The Number One Secret to Keeping Your Pet Healthy.”
And basically, the number one secret of healthy pets is: you feed your pet – it doesn’t matter if it’s a dog, cat, horse, whatever – you feed them less food.
And I cited an article in there, a scientific article that studies the effects of calorie restriction on rats.
And it pretty much proved that rats that ate less calories over their lifetime live longer than other rats that consume more food.
And so in my practice today, I give that same advice, I tell people that, “you know what? When you’re in doubt and you don’t know how much to feed your pet, then feed them less.”
And so this gets back to the point of this whole podcast and the point is that I wanted to talk about an article that I read that just came out, well it came out probably six months ago in the Journal of Experimental Biology and it’s a pretty interesting article.
It’s a study done by Butler, Luts, Fokidis, and Stahlschmidt.
And basically the title of this study is “Eating Increases Oxidative Damage in a Reptile.”
And so, most of us know that eating contributes to health, right?
If we eat properly, then we live healthy and we use eating to give our bodies energy so that we can perform necessary functions and so that our body can preform necessary functions to keep us healthy.
But in this study, its actually pretty cool because the authors, they use the corn snake and for those of you who don’t know about the corn snake, corn snakes are a wild snake that inhabit primarily the Eastern coast in the Southeast.
They are a non-poisonous snake.
In fact, many people who have pet snakes have corn snakes.
And so in the pet world, the corn snake is a pretty good pet.
Now I don’t know a whole lot about snakes, but back to the study, in this study, these authors use corn snakes and what they did is they wanted to investigate the collateral damage done by or through digestion.
And they chose snakes because again, for most of you that don’t know, snakes, they don’t eat all the time everyday like we do.
Snakes are opportunistic feeders.
So when a little mouse creeps by, they pop out and eat it and have a meal.
If a mouse doesn’t walk by for two weeks, the snake doesn’t get a meal.
So they had to choose an animal that didn’t eat all the time like a dog or a cat or us, so that’s why they chose the snake.
But anyways, what they did is, they fed the snake a meal and they took a blood sample during the digestive process and they measured how many oxygen radicals were generated.
And what they found is during digestion, it was like 150% more oxygen radicals were generated than during other stressful events, compared to other animals.
And basically oxygen radicals, what they do is they go around and they cause damage to normal cells and they also cause damage to the DNA within the cells.
So what they found was, hey, when these animals, when these reptiles digest a diet, they emit all of these toxic byproducts that cause damage to otherwise normal and healthy tissue.
And they did a comparison and they drew blood also when digestion was not present and there was just a huge increase over when digestion was present.
And so, they presumed that eating causes oxidative damage in reptiles that we really never knew about.
And so, the question is, does this translate over into other animals?
And I would have to say absolutely yes.
And that’s my opinion and that’s based on my experience and a little bit of research. And so the take home message is: feed your pets less.
Now, in Chinese medicine, we have another saying, and that saying is the following: eat until you are ¾ full, and then stop.
It’s funny how a lot of these Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors were so smart.
It seems that they were a whole lot smarter than we are.
So, if you want to learn more about Eastern Food Therapy and how it can help your pet, or if you have more questions about oxidative damage in a reptile, or the number one secret to keeping your pet healthy, or any other thing that you would like to know about your pets, then go to www.pettao.com and download our free e-book on Eastern Food Therapy for Pets and check out our blog.