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Dogs + Nutrition

  • With all cancer management strategies, providing optimal nutrition for your dog is essential. The metabolic effects of cancer will persist after treatment but with your veterinarian’s guidance, you can adjust your dog’s nutrient profile and potentially avoid some of these negative side effects. Carbohydrates promote cancer cell growth, while cancer cells have a difficult time using fat as an energy source, so foods that are relatively high in fat and low in carbohydrate may benefit dogs with cancer. The effects of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy will be considered when your veterinarian advises a nutrient profile, formulation, quantity, and delivery method for your dog.

  • The food you feed your dog is the largest factor you can control to give them optimal health. The diet formulation should change over your dog’s life as he moves through the different life stages of puppy, adult, and senior. The diet type can help manage or improve many medical conditions by feeding specific nutritional profiles. Your veterinarian is always ready to help you make the best nutritional choices for your dog.

  • Once your dog reaches adulthood, his nutrient profile changes from when he was a puppy. Your veterinarian can help you determine what proportion of each nutrient is needed based on your dog’s lifestyle and current body condition. Avoid free-feeding and work on a meal schedule. Following these steps can help your dog lead a healthier life and avoid becoming overweight or obese.

  • Adverse food reactions in dogs are either caused by food allergy – an immune response to something ingested or food intolerance – a non-immunological response to something ingested. Signs of food intolerance are usually only digestive in nature. Food intolerance will generally occur on the initial exposure to the food or food additive in contrast to food allergy which requires repeated exposures to develop. Different causes of food intolerance include food poisoning, or inappropriate ingestion of an irritant, reaction to food additives, histamine reactions, lactose intolerance and dietary indiscretion such as eating fat or bones. A dietary history is important in diagnosing these conditions.

  • Megaesophagus is not a single disease. Instead it is considered a combination disorder in which the esophagus (the tube that carries food and liquid between the mouth and stomach) dilates and loses motility (its ability to move food into the stomach). When esophageal motility is decreased or absent, food and liquid accumulate in the esophagus.

  • Picky eaters are often created by their humans offering too much variety of food. It is safe for an otherwise healthy dog to not eat for up to a week. To decrease pickiness, having food available for only 15-30 minutes 2-3 times a day can be beneficial. Human food should not be used as a diet as it will lead to nutrient deficiencies. Certain foods are okay to mix with dog food to make them more appealing but check with your veterinarian before including these in your dog’s diet. Many dogs are not programmed to eat every day.

  • Dogs are omnivores meaning that, under normal circumstances, dogs can meet their nutritional needs by eating a combination of plant and animal foods. Selecting a dog food can be a challenging task. Feeding your dog a proper diet for their life stage is one of the most important aspects to help keep them at optimal health. Your veterinary health care team can help you make good-quality diet choices and determine the correct number of calories your dog needs in a day.

  • Chronic kidney disease is frequently diagnosed in aging dogs. Nutrition plays an important role in managing CKD in dogs. Commercial diets for dogs with CKD are developed to support kidney function while maintaining body condition. A kidney support diet contains less protein, sodium, and phosphorus, and increased omega-3 fatty acids. Your veterinarian will help you choose an appropriate formulation for your dog which will slow the progression of this disease, contributing to both life expectancy and quality of life.

  • Dogs are living longer than ever meaning that they have a greater chance of developing diseases associated with advanced age. Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) is the name assigned to a set of symptoms associated with behavior changes in senior dogs. Diets rich in antioxidants such as vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium, L-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, flavonoids, and carotenoids have been shown to help slow the decline of brain function. Your veterinarian can help you choose a diet with a nutrient profile suitable for your dog.

  • Colitis is a fairly common problem in dogs manifesting as diarrhea. Dealing with colitis may boil down to working with your veterinarian to find a nutrient profile that allows your dog's gastrointestinal system to function as normally as possible. A nutrient profile which contains a high quality, high digestibility protein, low to moderate fat content, and high digestibility carbohydrates. Fiber may also play a role to benefit the colon of dogs with chronic colitis. Work with your veterinarian to assess your dog's clinical and nutritional history, create a nutritional plan, and then evaluate the success of the plan.