http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/rss en Why You Should Not Take Nutritional Advice from a Pet Store http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/october/why-you-should-not-take-nutritional-advice-pet-store-3 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



Why You Should Not Take Nutritional Advice from a Pet Store
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October 10, 2014 / (5) comments


I just had a disturbing conversation with a neighbor about his dog Maggie. Maggie is an elderly black lab who is doing surprisingly well despite suffering from diabetes mellitus, lumbosacral stenosis (causing extreme hind end weakness), protein-losing nephropathy (a disorder that causes her to spill protein into her urine), and allergies. She also recently recovered from a nasty bout of diarrhea, which her veterinarian suspects was a result of some changes she made in Maggie’s medication protocol.
 
My neighbor often asks for my opinion about his animals’ health, so I didn’t think anything was out of the ordinary when he stopped me as I walked past his house… until he related the following story.
 
Maggie’s itching had recently worsened. She has never had a full work up for her chronic, intermittent itching, but all signs point to it being a seasonal allergy to something in her environment (e.g., pollen). Each summer her scratching intensifies, improves with standard, symptomatic treatment for allergies, and then fades when the cold weather returns. John told me that her itching in combination with the recent diarrhea is what sent him to the pet supply store for advice. I didn’t have the nerve to ask why he didn’t first reach out to his veterinarian.
 
Upon his arrival at the pet store, he was approached by a “very helpful” (his words, not mine) sales associate. John described his concerns at which point the sales associate told him that Maggie had a food allergy and should be eating a “limited ingredient” dog food. John bought the food and started feeding it to Maggie that night.
 
Thankfully, Maggie had a regular monitoring appointment scheduled later in the week. Her veterinarian checked her blood sugar level, which turned out to be dangerously high despite the fact that her diabetic control had been excellent in the past. When I replied that I wasn’t surprised Maggie’s insulin needs were very different after starting a new diet, John looked completely shocked. I proceeded to describe what a delicate balancing act diabetes management is and how a change in virtually anything (diet, exercise, insulin dose or type, health status, etc.) can upset the apple cart. Maggie’s doctor had quickly figured out what was going on and encouraged John to put Maggie back on her previous diet. It took a little while, but the old girl (the dog, not the vet) is now back to what constitutes normal for her.
 
Maggie’s story has a happy ending, but if it didn’t, there would have been plenty of blame to go around. Her veterinarian didn’t do a good enough job educating John on the intricacies of diabetic management. John should never have listened to the advice of someone with little training in canine nutrition. The pet store employee’s misdiagnosis of a food allergy and misunderstanding of her case almost cost a beautiful dog her life.
 
If you are responsible for feeding a dog with diabetes, or any disease for which dietary management plays a crucial role, please talk to your veterinarian before changing foods. Pet owners often complain that vets only recommend diets so they can make money off of selling them. If this is true, you shouldn’t seek dietary advice from a business that makes a much bigger percentage of its profits off pet food sales, you should look for a new vet.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Image: Blend Images / Shutterstock


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rodrussell Make new vet holistic 10/10/2014 08:45am You write: "Pet owners often complain that vets only recommend diets so they can make money off of selling them. If this is true, you shouldn’t seek dietary advice from a business that makes a much bigger percentage of its profits off pet food sales, you should look for a new vet." --- Well, that's a big "Duh!" But if nutrition is the question, that "new vet" should be an holistic one, because most conventional vets no nothing about nutrition that has not been drilled into them by vet school programs funded by the same pet food manufacturers that educate the pet store employees. Reply to this comment Report abuse 7 cwaters 10/10/2014 11:30am I have to agree with your comment. When my dog was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the first thing that I asked her specialist - a vet with many years of training past vet school, was whether or not changing her diet would help her. He said to me and I quote "no, changing her diet really won't do anything for her." Fortunately, I changed it anyway and it helped live almost two years after her initial diagnosis, along with additional treatment. If your vet ever tells you that diet doesn't play a part in a dog's well-being, run the other way! As humans we benefit from a good diet, so why wouldn't dogs??? That way of thinking makes no sense to me whatsoever. Reply to this comment Report abuse 3 KLND 10/10/2014 09:11pm No doubt the vet clinic makes money off the food that I buy there. So does the grocery store where I buy food for myself, and where I would buy the ingredients for a raw, or any home prepared food for my dog, if I prepared his food myself.
Someone is making money from everything that I eat.
My dog is on a prescription diet. Maybe a specially prepared home made meal would work too. I don't know and do not want to rock the boat to find out. He is doing amazing on the scrip diet. No one believes me when I tell them he is 12. Most people guess 9 or 10. A big difference for a 60 lb dog.
I trust his vet, and my dog's health is more important to me than the vet's profit margin on the food.
I look at the incremental cost difference between his current and former food. It's not much.
Why not let the vet clinic make a profit as well as the pet store and grocery store?
(I have no connection whatsoever to the veterinary industry other than I am a pet owner.) Reply to this comment Report abuse 2 Frustrated Dog Feeder 10/12/2014 07:33pm I think you're being a little harsh implying vets have 'no' nutritional knowledge. Little knowledge is more accurate.

But you have to give a little mercy to the vet student: They have a lot on their plates during their training, their primary nutrition textbook (Hand, et. al 2010) is pretty antiquated in it's denial of any forward movement in the science of dog nutrition, and they are beaten with the commercial brand flags all through their education.

Not so sure holistic is the way to go either. A dog fed correctly, to his or her individual needs, should not require the trunk of supplements pushed and sold by holistic vets.

The foods pushed by traditional vets vs. the supplements pushed by holistic vets, at least in my opinion, cancel each other out in the long run.

I think the focus of this article, back to the "only your vet can talk to you about nutrition" is the problem.

Can the writer (of the article) really blame the pet store employee for doing his or her job? It appears the discussion between dog owner and pet store employee was about itchy skin - I saw nothing about the dog's owner mentioning diabetes or other health problems. In the instance of 'diagnosing' itchy skin, the journals are filled with studies showing food insensitivies and other health problems connected to feeding a single food, forever. We're not talking Susie's Personal Web Site here, we're talking vet and other peer reviewed research. Changing foods is usually the logical course of action, even when acting under a veterinarian's direction.

I think rather than making the subject of this article another notch in the "It's impossible for anyone outside the veterinary or pet food industry fields to possibly know (or have the capacity to learn) about dog nutrition, it should have been directed at the dangers of trying to take shortcuts in the treatment of serious medical conditions. That the dog's owner went to a pet store (cheaper) than his vet for food was clearly a move on his part to find a cheaper alternative to a portion of his dog's treatment.

Don't blame a pet store employee because the dog's owner wanted to save some money!
Reply to this comment Report abuse 2 TheOldBroad Advice 10/10/2014 05:10pm When it comes to our pets, it's my belief that the first place to go is the veterinarian. If you feel uncomfortable with the information, get a second opinion.

And when it comes to nutrition, find a veterinary nutritionist.

Luckily, my regular vet takes a great interest in nutrition and has always provided sound advice from which my kitties have benefitted greatly. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1

 

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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/october/why-you-should-not-take-nutritional-advice-pet-store-3#comments NutritionNuggets Fri, 10 Oct 2014 11:00:00 +0000 32083 at http://www.petmd.com
The Role of Diet in Treating Epileptic Dogs http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/september/role-diet-treating-epileptic-dogs-32041 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



The Role of Diet in Treating Epileptic Dogs
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September 26, 2014 / (1) comments


Diet is an often overlooked component of treating dogs with epilepsy. No, I’m afraid I don’t have any insider information on a miracle food that prevents seizures. The ketogenic diets that help many human epileptics don’t seem to be very effective in dogs, and research has not shown a link to any particular ingredient that when removed, leads to a decrease in seizures. That said, keeping a close eye on an epileptic dog’s diet is still vital for several reasons.
 
Most dogs with moderate to severe epilepsy receive phenobarbital and/or bromide, and changing the diet can alter the activity of these drugs. Research shows that the proportion of protein, fat, carbohydrate, and other nutrients in the diet has an effect on how long phenobarbital remains in the body. Therefore, a change in diet can effectively result in a dog being under or overdosed with phenobarbital even when the amount that is given remains unchanged.
 
A similar situation exists with bromide and the mineral chloride (a component of table salt and other ingredients). When a dog eats more chloride, bromide is excreted at a faster rate from the body, meaning that higher doses of the drug are required. A study looking at the chloride content of commercial dog foods found levels that varied between 0.33% and 1.32% on a dry matter basis. The amount of chloride in dog food does not need to be reported on the label, so if an owner were to switch diets and inadvertently quadruple the amount of chloride a dog was taking in, breakthrough seizures could result.
 
Avoiding variability in an epileptic dog’s diet is extremely important, but that does not mean dietary changes are forbidden. If a dog is diagnosed with epilepsy and eating a poor diet, he should immediately be switched to something better. I prefer high quality diets made by large, reputable manufacturers because they are more likely to be able to consistently source their ingredients. Even so, changes to formulations do occur, so owners should watch the label for anything new. Home cooking is also an excellent choice for epileptic dogs when owners have the time and willingness to work with a veterinary nutritionist.
 
Another instance when changing an epileptic dog’s diet might be a good idea is when symptoms of food allergy are present (usually chronic itching and sometimes GI upset). Food allergies may (and I emphasize the word “may”) play a role in some cases of epilepsy so putting the patient on a hypoallergenic diet and monitoring seizure activity would be worth a try.
 
When dogs who have been receiving anticonvulsant medications for a long period of time must eat something new, owners should watch very closely for changes in seizure frequency and severity as well as for signs of medication overdose (typically sedation and GI effects). If anything out of the ordinary is noted, a veterinarian can check the dog’s blood levels of phenobarbital, bromide, and/or any other anticonvulsant medications he is taking and compare them to previous results.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Source
Nutritional management of idiopathic epilepsy in dogs. Larsen JA, Owens TJ, Fascetti AJ. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2014 Sep 1;245(5):504-8.
 
Image: Grisha Bruev / Shutterstock
 
 
Related Articles:
 
Seizures, Epilepsy, Idiopathic or Genetic, in Dogs
Seizures and Convulsions in Dogs
Disorderly Conduct Control: Seizure Disorder Treatment in Pets


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TheOldBroad Sound Advice 09/26/2014 04:59pm I would think this is sound advice for any pet on medication and the diet is changed.

It hadn't occurred to me, so thanks for the subject of something to watch. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1

 

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Dietary Fat is Important for Athletic Dogs http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/september/dietary-fat-important-athletic-dogs-31984 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



Dietary Fat is Important for Athletic Dogs
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September 12, 2014 / (2) comments


I’m sure you’ve heard of the term “carb loading.” It refers to a practice, used primarily by endurance athletes, of increasing the percentage of carbohydrates in the diet a few days before an event. Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in muscle tissue, and this is a way of increasing the amount of glycogen available to provide energy to muscles, which can help ward off fatigue.
 
If you are the owner of a canine athlete, you might be tempted to give carb loading a try in an attempt to improve your dog’s performance. Don’t. Dogs and people have very different muscle physiology. Research published in 1998 puts it this way:
 
Canine metabolism is unique. Mammalian muscle fibers have been classified into types I, IIa and IIb based on their metabolism. Type I fibers contain less ATPase activity compared with type II fibers. Types I and IIa are characterized by oxidative metabolism, whereas type IIb fibers are characterized by anaerobic glycolytic metabolism. Canine muscle contains mainly oxidative fibers…. Relative to metabolic body size, dogs also metabolize free fatty acids at twice the rate observed in humans. Dog muscle is, therefore, more adapted to use fat than human muscle and conclusions derived from human experiments may not be valid in dogs.

 
In dogs, carbohydrates stored as glycogen do play a role in short bursts of exertion — say, hat needed to chase a squirrel up a tree — but exercise that lasts for more than a few minutes relies primarily on fatty acids as fuel. Therefore, owners need to pay particular attention to how much fat their canine athletes consume.
 
Most commercially available dog foods designed for adult maintenance have dietary fat levels in the teens. Those designed for weight loss tend to be in the neighborhood of 10 percent fat or even lower for prescription weight loss foods. In comparison, diets designed for extremely active dogs may contain around 25 percent fat. (All percentages are reported on a dry matter basis.)
 
Increasing the fat content of a dog’s diet should be done gradually and at least a month before optimal performance is desired. It takes time for the necessary changes in physiology to occur, and sudden dietary changes, especially those that involve increased levels of fat, put dogs at risk for gastrointestinal distress and pancreatitis, which is a potentially life threatening condition.
 
Before putting your dog on a high fat diet, you need to take an honest look at his or her activity level. The vast majority of pets are not athletes. If your dog, like mine, is the occasional weekend warrior or trots by your side during your morning jog, a “regular” dog food is fine. A lot of exercise is needed before a dog even comes close to depleting his or her stores of free fatty acids. In fact, I suspect that most dogs would perform better eating a diet with normal amounts of fat in comparison to having to lug around the extra weight that would likely result from being switched to a high fat food.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Image: Shev / Shutterstock
 


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TheOldBroad Fatty Dog Food 09/12/2014 06:21pm If someone is tempted to try increasing the fat content of their dog's diet, it would make sense to first determine at what point the dog comes close to depleting the stores of free fatty acids.

How would one tell if a dog is close to that point? Reply to this comment Report abuse 4 Dr. Jennifer Coates 09/15/2014 02:11pm I don't think there is a practical way to do so. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1

 

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Using Omega 3 Fatty Acids Effectively and Safely http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/august/using-omega-3-fatty-acids-effectively-and-safely-31972 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



Using Omega 3 Fatty Acids Effectively and Safely
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August 29, 2014 / (2) comments


Omega 3 Fatty Acids are very popular nutritional supplements for dogs. They are advertised to help with skin conditions, allergies, kidney function, lymphoma, heart disease, cognitive function, arthritis, and more. Research is spotty but supports their use in some cases. As a result, many veterinarians recommend and owners use omega 3 fatty acids to treat or prevent disease, but do you really know what omega 3 fatty acids are and how to use them safely and effectively?
 
Fatty acids are molecules consisting of a chain of carbon atoms with an oxygen double bonded and a hydroxyl group (an oxygen and hydrogen atom) single bonded at one end. Omega 3 fatty acids are “polyunsaturated,” meaning that they have multiple double bonds throughout their carbon chain and their first double bond is located between carbon atoms number three and four when counting from the end of the chain away from the hydroxyl group.
 
Sorry about all the chemistry, but I bring it up for a couple of important reasons. Firstly, all those double bonds make omega 3 fatty acids somewhat unstable and prime candidates for oxidation, which leads to rancidity. Also, dogs cannot make their own omega 3 fatty acids because they are physiologically unable to put a double bond between carbons 3 and 4. This is why dogs have a dietary need for omega 3 fatty acids like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
 
Vegetable oils including flaxseed oil, canola oil, walnut oil, and soybean oil can provide dogs with another omega 3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a precursor to EPA and DHA. However, dogs are not very good at transforming ALA into either EPA or DHA. Therefore, it is much more efficient to provide dogs with EPA and DHA directly. Good sources include cold water fish oils (e.g., salmon oil) and certain types of algal oil.
 
Commercially available omega 3 fatty acid supplements can have very different EPA and DHA concentrations. Also, the dose of omega 3 fatty acid need to optimally treat various health conditions in dogs is really not known with any degree of certainty, which makes figuring out how much to give difficult if not impossible. Several studies seem to indicate that around 22-40 mg/kg /day of EPA can have beneficial effects, but keep in mind that most fish oil supplements contain both DHA and EPA so the total dose of omega 3 fatty acids is higher. Omega 3 fatty acids are quite safe, but when given in extremely large doses can lead to gastrointestinal upset, problems with the blood clotting system, and immune dysfunction.
 
When purchasing an omega 3 fatty acid supplement, choose one made from a reputable manufacturer that provides the following information either on the product label or on their website:
 

How much EPA and DHA does the supplement contain?
How do they purify their products to remove contaminants like mercury?
How is the product preserved to prevent rancidity?

 
High quality omega 3 fatty acid supplements appear to have multiple health benefits. Ask your veterinarian if one is right for your dog.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Source:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Disease: Choosing the Right Product. Cecilia Villaverde. Presented at the American Veterinary Medical Convention, Denver, CO, July 28, 2014.
 
Image: belozu / Shutterstock
 


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commonsense Email about thisconfusing 08/31/2014 10:58am I received an email link to this article, with the lead-in title..."Omega 3 Supplements Not Good for All Dogs", yet the article does not specify any dogs that should not receive them, or how we can tell.
Can you elaborate, please? Reply to this comment Report abuse 13 TheOldBroad Which Cases? 08/31/2014 08:45pm "Research is spotty but supports their use in some cases."

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New Recommendations for Feeding Dogs with Pancreatitis http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/august/new-recommendations-feeding-dogs-pancreatitis-31941 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



New Recommendations for Feeding Dogs with Pancreatitis
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August 15, 2014 / (16) comments


Our understanding regarding how best to feed (or not feed) dogs with pancreatitis has undergone significant changes over the last few years. Back when I was in veterinary school in the 1990s, we learned that dogs with pancreatitis should be fasted for 24-48 hours. This protocol was based on a reasonable assumption — food passing through the intestinal tract would stimulate the pancreas to secrete digestive enzymes, thereby increasing pancreatic inflammation.
 
But now, research in people and dogs is revealing the harmful effects that prolonged fasting can have on the structure and function of the gastrointestinal tract, including its important role in the immune system. The cells that line the intestinal tract depend on absorbing energy and nutrients that pass by after a meal. When a dog does not eat, the lining of the intestinal tract changes: the villi (fingerlike projections that increase the intestine’s absorptive surface) shrink, local immune tissue is reduced, the intestinal wall becomes “leaky,” promoting the absorption of bacteria and toxins, and inflammation increases, both within the digestive tract and systemically. Also, there is some evidence that when the pancreas is inflamed it does not secrete digestive enzymes in response to the presence of food in the same way that a healthy pancreas does, which casts even more doubt on the practice of prolonged fasting.
 
We don’t have studies in dogs that directly answer the question of when and how to best start feeding dogs with pancreatitis, but many veterinarians are switching to an “as soon as possible” mind set. We should still not be feeding dogs that are actively vomiting (there’s no point if they can’t keep it down), but the effective antiemetic medications that are now available (e.g., maropitant) often allow us to get control of a dog’s vomiting within 24 hours of hospitalization. It is at this time that food should be reintroduced.
 
In dogs, dietary fat is known to be associated with the development of pancreatitis and can stimulate the secretion of a hormone that induces the pancreas to secrete its digestive hormones. Therefore, low fat foods are recommended. Refeeding should always begin slowly. A common recommendation is to start with one-quarter of the dog’s resting energy requirement divided into four meals throughout the day. In other words, the dog would get four meals consisting of about 1/16 of what it would normally eat spread over 24 hours. As long as the dog continues to improve, the amount of food offered could increase by one-quarter every day so that at the end of four days, the patient is taking in his or her full resting energy requirement.
 
Because we want dogs with pancreatitis to benefit from as much nutrition as possible even when taking in small amounts of food, a highly digestible diet is preferred. Foods should be low in fiber and made from high-quality ingredients. Several pet food manufacturers make low fat, highly digestible diets for dogs. Most veterinarians carry at least one food like this in their clinics to feed to hospitalized patients and to send home with dogs as they continue to recover. A short-term alternative is to feed a mixture of boiled white meat chicken and white rice, but if a home cooked diet is needed for more than just a few days, a veterinary nutritionist should design a nutritionally complete diet that will meet all of the dog’s needs.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Image: Michelle D. Milliman / Shutterstock
 


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TheOldBroad Makes Sense 08/15/2014 05:06pm This all makes sense.

Does the intestinal tract of humans, cats and other mammals react the same way with the digestive enzymes? Reply to this comment Report abuse 12 klynnway@aol.com 08/16/2014 11:23am I would like to know when and how to supplement the low/fat, lowfiber, highly digestble diet with pancreatic enzymes and which ones (plant/protein/other) are best for pancreatitis at this time?
Thank you, this was very helpdul for my old girl (13.5 y.o)!
Reply to this comment Report abuse 13 Dr. Jennifer Coates 08/17/2014 10:25pm Most dogs with pancreatitis do not go on to develop pancreatic exocrine insufficiency, which is the disease that requires supplementation with pancreatic enzymes. Reply to this comment Report abuse 9 klynnway@aol.com 08/17/2014 10:29pm Thank you do much for responding to me. I am much relieved!

Karen Reply to this comment Report abuse 10 Dr. Jennifer Coates 08/17/2014 10:26pm Not exactly, but very similarly in a big picture sort of way. Reply to this comment Report abuse 9 klynnway@aol.com diet and pancreatitis 08/17/2014 10:39pm Hi again,


Do you have a feeling on the fiber content of the dog food? I have read lower than than 4% and lower than 12% fat for pancreatitris - or is that epi?
Are there any restictions on protein types or starches?

Thanks so much!!

Karen Reply to this comment Report abuse 11 Dr. Jennifer Coates 08/18/2014 11:54am One of the commonly used foods for acute pancreatitis in dogs has a fiber content of around 2% and fat content of around 8.5%. This is definitely one of those cases that what works for one dog may not work for another. Also, if a dog has only had one episode of pancreatitis, many veterinarians will not recommend long term feeding of a low fat diet but try to transition them back to a "normal" (but usually not high fat) food. Reply to this comment Report abuse 13 Brittany1 08/21/2014 08:13pm Thank you. We have a 12 year old Bichon who just spent 2 days at the Vet. IV ,pain meds etc. she was released to us on antibiotics and Tramadol. She's been home 10 days and it's a day by day is she ok, is she going to eat. Tramadol wipes her out. She was on metacam and we were wondering if we could use it. We have Purina IM as her food. She seems to be ok and then she seems to be lethargic. She eats very little but eats. Small bits. She is drinking water. She is 13 but just does not seem well. We are done with antibiotics. She seems to be on a roller coaster. We are a little worried. Has any one else had this with the first diagnosis of pancreatitis?
Reply to this comment Report abuse 10 Dr. Jennifer Coates 08/22/2014 11:05am It can take a while to fully recover from a severe bout of pancreatitis, so your Bichon may just need some more time. Ask your veterinarian whether he or she thinks cutting back or discontinuing the tramadol is appropriate as this medication can affect appetite and energy levels. Reply to this comment Report abuse 8 Dr. Jennifer Coates 08/18/2014 11:55am Re. types of proteins and starches - highly digestible is the rule of thumb. Chicken and rice are typical. Reply to this comment Report abuse 10 Famostily Pancreatitis scare 09/01/2014 10:07pm Our dog is an eleven year old English Pointer. He has been reluctantly diagnosed with pancreatitis because although nothing in his bloodwork or internal scans indicate pancreatitis, all of his symptoms seem to point to that. He has been hospitalized for a couple of days now and it's been really scary. My husband read a bunch of stuff on the internet that scared him about our dog's chance of survival, but the doctor just said his treatment will take time. Is there anyone out there that has been through this with their dog and can give us some hope?
Also, at what point is it safe for us to take him out of the hospital and start caring for him at home?
Thank you. Reply to this comment Report abuse 5 Dr. Jennifer Coates 09/02/2014 09:44pm Many dogs with severe pancreatitis dosurvive with appropriate treatment. When it is safe to take him home mostly depends on his ability to keep down food, water, and medications orally. Your veterinarian is in the best position to make this call. Reply to this comment Report abuse 6 Famostily 09/06/2014 01:18pm Thank you. Augie is not throwing up so we brought him home, but he is in so much discomfort he still will not eat very much. When he does try to eat, he eats very little and then pays for it with severe nausea. So our other concern is that he'll associate his nausea with food.
We just got a new combination of nausea meds we tried this morning, but so far it does not seem to be improving his appetite. This article really raises my level of concern about his not eating, (which was already high because of his weight loss). The vet says usually the cases she sees are acute cases that get better in a few days, but Augie's condition has been ongoing for two weeks, and was only diagnosed because of his symptoms and not his bloodwork or internal pictures. Is this more common than she thinks? Reply to this comment Report abuse 6 Dr. Jennifer Coates 09/08/2014 03:44pm It does sound like Augie's case is somewhat unusual. Unfortunately, it's impossible for me to comment directly on what would be best for him since I don't have the ability to examine him and his records. A second opinion never hurts. Ask your veterinarian whether she thinks a visit to a specialist is reasonable at this point. Reply to this comment Report abuse 4 ChristinaLee Pancreatitis or? 09/29/2014 05:11pm I have a 9yr old dachshund that suddenly developed diarrhea in Feb. I did the initial bland diet/ she was put on anti diarrheal and nausea etc../ there was only one vomiting episode. She was always underweight / very thin / she was always in a fish based high quality (instinct or castor & Pollux) never a cheap food. She also got steamed carrots/broccoli/ squash / cauliflower/ for dinner and was getting 1/4 tsp of coconut oil for her skin. And half tsp of pure pumpkin. She never had any health issue until this. Her appetite was always good even when sick. We did blood work and she came back just on edge of pancreatitis (one vet said) the other just said pancreatitis. Her vitamin b12 level was very very very low. We did ultrasound /nothing shown. We could not firm up her poop. Eventually vet said Royak Canin hydrolyzed /hypoallergenic kibble. A soy based protein. And 1/4 tsp Metamucil ea meal. After a while she was regaining weight and her coat looks great. We also did weekly then tapering down vit b12 injections. Her poop firmed up. She started putting on a little to much weight so we tried the same food only moderate calorie. This is interesting because vet wanted HIGH fiber w her and Not high protein and novel protein and LOW fat. I started giving her steamed sweet potato also 1 tbsp per meal. The moderate calorie had more fiber than the reg formula. I've since weaned her off the Metamucil and I would like to get her off this food as I don't think it's the best quality but can't argue it helped her. She looks great. She did not have the typical pancreatits symptoms and the fiber helps her (Metamucil works both ways I guess !). I would love to have another opinion on this as she doesn't fall into a for sure category. I recently started searching for an under 23% protein/ fat below 15% novel protein food. Per her vets directions but what is confusing is the guaranteed Analysis of the RC prescription food was protein min 21.5 fat min 10.5fiber max is 3.1. Brewers rice and hydrolyzed soy protein were first 2 ingredients.
I would like her on a reg food again- the vet isn't to sure though -
I dint understand if possibly she was very underweight that could have done this? Or??
I can provide her blood work details if this isn't enough.
Reply to this comment Report abuse Dr. Jennifer Coates 09/30/2014 03:34pm I can't make specific recommendations regarding your dog's case but in general if a dog with chronic GI problems is doing well on a particular diet that provides complete and balanced nutrition, I don't recommend making a change. The food your dog is currently eating could be helping control her pancreatitis as well as any other concurrent conditions (e.g., food allergy/intolerance, inflammatory bowel disease) that she might also be suffering from. While the ingredient list might not be what your are looking for and the guaranteed analysis not quite "textbook" for pancreatitis, I don't think you can argue with it's success. Reply to this comment Report abuse

 

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Dry Food and Dental Disease in Dogs http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/august/dry-food-and-dental-disease-dogs-31920 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



Dry Food and Dental Disease in Dogs
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August 01, 2014 / (2) comments


Daily tooth brushing and professional dental cleanings on an as-needed basis are the best ways to prevent the formation of periodontal disease in dogs, but diet can play an important role. This is especially true when daily tooth brushing is not possible, either because of a dog’s temperament or an owner’s inability to brush regularly.
 
I commonly hear owners say that one of the reasons that they feed their dogs dry food versus canned food is that they think kibble will help keep their dog’s teeth clean. Scientifically speaking, the effects of “regular” dry food (i.e., diets not specifically designed to promote oral health) appear to be somewhat mixed.
 
Studies from the 1930s, '40s, and '60s showed that dogs who ate dry food had better oral health than did those who ate canned. On the other hand, a large study from 1996 looked at 1,350 client owned dogs in North America and found “few apparent differences” between dogs that ate dry food only versus “other than dry food only” eaters with regards to their levels of dental tartar, gingivitis, and periodontal bone loss.
 
This 1996 study held sway when I completed veterinary school 15 years ago, but more recent research adds an interesting twist to the debate. A study published in 2007 looked at the effects of the size of the kibble in 40 beagles and found that increasing the kibble size by 50% resulted in a 42% decrease in the accumulation of dental tartar. Also, several recent studies have shown that adding a daily dental chew to the diets of dogs fed “regular” dry dog food results in better oral hygiene than does the dry food alone.
 
Many food manufacturers make special dental diets as well, but if these are not an appropriate option for your dog it is good to know that “regular” dry food in the form of large kibbles and/or a daily dental chew can help keep your dog’s mouth healthier than it would be otherwise. The Veterinary Oral Health Council’s website is a good place to find foods, chews, and other products that have been undergone testing to ensure they truly do help to reduce the build-up of dental plaque and/or tartar.
 
But keep in mind that no food — dry, canned, homemade, prescription, or over the counter — will eliminate the need for regular dental evaluations and cleanings performed by a veterinarian. After all, we brush our teeth twice a day and still see our dentists twice a year … or at least we should.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
References
 
Correlation of diet, other chewing activities and periodontal disease in North American client-owned dogs. Harvey CE, Shofer FS, Laster L. J Vet Dent. 1996 Sep;13(3):101-5
 
Effect of pellet food size and polyphosphates in preventing calculus accumulation in dogs. Hennet P, Servet E, Soulard Y, Biourge V. J Vet Dent. 2007 Dec;24(4):236-9.
 
Effectiveness of a vegetable dental chew on periodontal disease parameters in toy breed dogs. Clarke DE, Kelman M, Perkins N. J Vet Dent. 2011 Winter;28(4):230-5.
 
Oral health benefits of a daily dental chew in dogs. Quest BW. J Vet Dent. 2013 Summer;30(2):84-7.
 
Image: Erkki Alvenmod / Shutterstock
 


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TheOldBroad Dry vs. Wet 08/04/2014 05:43pm "increasing the kibble size by 50% resulted in a 42% decrease in the accumulation of dental tartar."

Do you think it's because the dogs were forced to chew prior to swallowing? Was any rationale offered for the decrease of tartar? Reply to this comment Report abuse 6 Dr. Jennifer Coates 08/05/2014 08:45pm I do think the larger kibble forced dogs to chew more thereby physically removing more plaque. Reply to this comment Report abuse 4

 

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Feeding Dogs with Congestive Heart Failure http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/vheuer/2014/july/feeding-dogs-congestive-heart-failure-31875 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



Feeding Dogs with Congestive Heart Failure
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I recently came across an estimate for the prevalence of heart disease in older dogs that shocked me — thirty percent. My first reaction was “that can’t be right,” but the more I thought about all those elderly, small dogs with mitral valve dysplasia and large breeds with dilated cardiomyopathy, the more I came to think that 30% might not be all that far off the mark.
 
Given enough time, many dogs with heart disease will go on to develop congestive heart failure (CHF), an end-stage condition characterized by a heart that is unable pump blood efficiently enough to meet the needs of the body. Blood essentially “backs up” within the circulatory system causing fluid to leak out of the vessels and a whole host of other problems.
 
The details of treatment for CHF depend on the primary type of heart disease involved and how advanced the condition is, but diet is always important. Dogs with CHF tend to lose weight. Specifically, they can undergo a process called cardiac cachexia during which both muscle and fat stores are depleted. Cardiac cachexia usually has several causes, including poor appetite, poor absorption of food, increased energy output, and the effects of the medications that many dogs with CHF take.
 
Therefore, the first thing I look for in a diet designed to help a dog with congestive heart failure is yumminess (officially called palatability). If a dog doesn’t relish eating the food, he or she is unlikely to eat enough to stave of cardiac cachexia. Next, I look for digestible, high quality ingredients. Since nutrient absorption can be a problem, we want to make sure that what is present in the food has a decent chance of making it through the intestinal wall.
 
Homemade diets are extremely palatable and allow owners to have complete control over what ingredients they contain. For owners who are willing to cook for their dogs, I strongly encourage a consultation with a veterinary nutritionist who can put together a recipe specifically designed to meet the special nutritional needs of dogs with cardiac cachexia. In general, diets for dogs with CHF have:
 

restricted sodium levels to limit fluid retention
added taurine and L-carnitine, amino acids that in some cases may help support heart function
added B-vitamins and magnesium to counteract the losses that typically occur when dogs are treated for CHF
potassium levels may be higher or lower than normal, depending on a dog’s particular needs

 
If a homemade food is not a reasonable option, I then recommend a high quality canned food that has at least some of the attributes mentioned above. Prescription diets are available that can work well, so long as a dog will eat them (they tend to be rather bland). A dog’s veterinarian can make a specific recommendation based on the particulars of the case. I prefer canned varieties since they often incorporate higher quality ingredients and taste better in comparison to dry, but if a dog prefers dry to canned (or homemade), I won’t argue.
 
After all, it’s almost always better for dogs with congestive heart failure to eat more of a not-exactly-perfect food than less of precisely-what-the-doctor-ordered.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Image: dezi / Shutterstock
 


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TheOldBroad CHF 07/18/2014 05:59pm Congestive Heart Failure is scary for any critter. Balancing CHR with a pet needing fluids for kidney failure is a real challenge.

I confess that it never occurred to me to ask about my kitty's diet when she had both. She was eating well so it didn't cross my mind.

This might be a dog blog post, but it sure opened my eyes. Hopefully I'll never need the information, but if I do, it's tucked away in my memory.

P.S. "Yumminess" If it's not a word, it should be! Reply to this comment Report abuse 18 rodrussell Raw meats & vegies 4 CHF! 07/19/2014 06:38pm The average percentage for CHF in our breed is close to 90% for dogs aged over 10 years (if they live that long). Our breed suffers from mitral valve regurgitation (MVD), with over 50% having MVD by age 5 years.

We have been feeding homemade diets consisting of fresh raw muscle and organ meats and vegetables, with the occasional grain, for nearly 20 years. The recipes are well supplemented with products such as those from Standard Process, as well as the "usual suspects" -- CoQ10, Vitamins C and E, and fish oils.

Our diets have been reviewed and tweaked by our holistic vet, as we have no confidence in the independence and/or objectivity of most veterinary nutritionists. I have yet to meet one who did not think corn-based kibble was better than fresh raw meat for protein. It just confirms "where they're coming from", if you get my drift. Reply to this comment Report abuse 17

 

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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/vheuer/2014/july/feeding-dogs-congestive-heart-failure-31875#comments NutritionNuggets Fri, 18 Jul 2014 11:00:00 +0000 31875 at http://www.petmd.com
Feeding the Dog that Vomits Every Day http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/june/feeding-dog-vomits-every-day-31825 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



Feeding the Dog that Vomits Every Day
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July 04, 2014 / (1) comments


We spend a lot of time on Nutrition Nuggets talking about what (and what not) to feed our dogs. When dogs have bilious vomiting syndrome, however, when meals occur is even more important than what the meals consist of.
 
The classic symptom of bilious vomiting syndrome is vomiting on an empty stomach. This usually occurs first thing in the morning since most dogs don’t eat throughout the night. Because the dog’s stomach is empty, all that comes up is fluid, mucus, and often some bile, which tinges everything an orangey-brown color. Dogs with bilious vomiting syndrome are normal in all other respects … no diarrhea, weight loss, poor appetite, etc.
 
We don’t know exactly why some dogs develop bilious vomiting syndrome. The most commonly cited theory is that something is amiss with the normal “housekeeping” contractions of the gastrointestinal tract that should occur in between meals. As a result, fluid within the first part of the intestinal tract (the duodenum) moves backwards into the stomach resulting in irritation of the stomach’s lining and vomiting. This explanation has resulted in some veterinarians calling the condition reflux gastritis.
 
Whatever the underlying cause, most dogs with bilious vomiting syndrome respond very well to a simple form of treatment — feeding them their normal food right before bedtime and again first thing in the morning (yes, I mean even before you get a cup of coffee). I do not recommend changing the dog’s food at the same time as the feeding schedule is being modified. As a veterinarian, I prefer to change one thing at a time whenever possible so I can better assess what is working and what is not.
 
If feeding the dog late in the evening and early in the morning doesn’t improve matters, I’ll generally recommend a health work up that consists of blood work, a urinalysis, a fecal examination, and abdominal X-rays to make sure that the dog is truly as healthy as he or she appears to be. In some cases, additional laboratory testing, an abdominal ultrasound, and/or scoping of the GI tract may be in order.
 
When a dog that is suspected of having bilious vomiting syndrome doesn’t get better with more frequent feedings alone and other causes of chronic vomiting have been ruled out, medications can be added to the treatment plan. Some dogs respond to drugs that reduce gastric acidity (e.g., famotidine or omeprazole) while others do better with metoclopramide, a medication that increases the frequency of contractions within the small intestines, or maropitant, a broad spectrum anti-vomiting drug.
 
Even when dogs with bilious vomiting syndrome are treated with medications, they should continue to eat a late evening and early morning meal. If this is inconvenient, an automatic feeder is a worthwhile investment.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Image: violetblue / Shutterstock
 


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TheOldBroad Barfing 07/11/2014 04:54pm Funny, while reading this, my first thought was "famotidine."

To make a parallel, think about how we feel when we haven't eating anything for awhile. Our tummy is empty and all those gastric juices usually make us feel queasy. Surely the same goes for dogs! Reply to this comment Report abuse 16

 

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Why Your Dog's Health Depends on Life Stage Diets http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/june/why-your-dogs-health-depends-life-stage-diets-31820 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



Why Your Dog's Health Depends on Life Stage Diets
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June 20, 2014 / (2) comments


One of the most important breakthroughs in canine nutrition came when veterinary nutritionists recognized the different nutritional needs that dogs have as they mature. This may seem fairly self-evident now, but dog owners and veterinarians used to have more of "a dog is a dog is a dog" mentality when it came to feeding our canine friends.
 
What are a Dog’s Life Stages, and What Foods are Available to Meet Them?
 
The first life stage is puppy. During this period a dog food rated for “growth” is needed because it is specifically designed for puppies and kittens according to the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials, which sets standards for pet foods in the United States). These foods have higher levels of protein, fat, calcium, phosphorous, sodium, and chloride, in comparison to adult dog foods, to support a young dog’s rapid growth, metabolism, and development.
 
Most veterinarians recommend that puppies eat dog foods rated for growth until they are around twelve months of age, but talk to your vet to determine what is best in your dog’s individual situation. Once a puppy has reached about 90 percent of its adult size, its growth rate slows and it can be switched to a dog food rated for "adult maintenance."
 
Large breed dogs are at high risk for developmental orthopedic diseases (e.g., hip dysplasia), and feeding a food that maintains a relatively slow and steady growth rate can help prevent these potentially devastating conditions. In comparison to "regular" puppy formulations, large breed puppy foods have lower energy content and fat, slightly lower levels of calcium and phosphorous, and a very carefully balanced calcium:phosphorous ratio to maintain a healthy rate of growth. Don’t worry; dogs fed a large breed puppy food when they are growing still end up at their expected size, it just takes them a little longer to get there.
 
"Adult maintenance" dog foods are the appropriate choice for most adult dogs. Exceptions to the adult foods for adult dogs rule do exist, however. If your dog is pregnant or nursing or has other lifestyle or health conditions that change his or her nutritional needs, consult with your veterinarian.
 
There is no hard and fast rule as to when to make the switch to a "mature adult" food, but many veterinarians recommend that small dogs make the change at eight years of age, medium-sized dogs at around seven years, large breeds at six years, and giant breeds at about five years of age. The differences between an adult and senior food within the same product line are oftentimes not very great but are important. They may contain lower levels of fat to help prevent obesity, increased levels of anti-oxidants, or moderate levels of protein aimed at maintaining muscle mass while not overworking the kidneys. Mature foods should contain decreased levels of phosphorus for kidney health.
 
Feeding a diet that is appropriate for a dog’s life stage — that is made from superior ingredients and that provides balanced nutrition — can go a long way towards keeping him strong and healthy. Consult your veterinarian for the best food to feed your dog at each stage of his life
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Image: Eric Isselee / via Shutterstock
 


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DiAnPe Dog's diet 06/20/2014 09:07am I am also very concerned with the ingredients in the pet food that I buy. I never buy grocery store food. I look for sources of protein and I stay away from foods that contain artificial coloring or flavoring and by-products (you never know what those by-products are.) Reply to this comment Report abuse 17 TheOldBroad Common Sense 06/20/2014 06:36pm When one sees it in writing, it's just common sense.

And consulting your veterinarian about a specific pet makes the most sense because I understand that there are some breeds that don't reach full maturity until well after being one year old. Reply to this comment Report abuse 16

 

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FDA Issues Another Update on Jerky Pet Treats http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/june/fda-issues-another-update-jerky-pet-treats-31750 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



FDA Issues Another Update on Jerky Pet Treats
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June 06, 2014 / (13) comments


We’ve been following the saga of pet illnesses associated with jerky treats made in China for years now, and I have to say that the latest U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) update is the most concerning yet. It states, in part:
 

As of May 1, 2014, we have received in total more than 4,800 complaints of illness in pets that ate chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats, nearly all of which are imported from China. The reports involve more than 5,600 dogs, 24 cats, three people, and include more than 1,000 canine deaths. The breakdown of symptoms associated with the cases is similar to that of earlier reports: approximately 60 percent of the cases report gastrointestinal/liver disease, 30 percent kidney or urinary disease, with the remaining 10 percent of complaints including various other signs such as neurologic, dermatologic, and immunologic symptoms. About 15 percent of the kidney or urinary cases also tested positive for Fanconi syndrome, a rare kidney disease that has been associated with this investigation.

 
According to NBC News:
 
The humans who consumed the treats included two toddlers who ingested them accidentally and an adult who may have been snacking on the questionable products….
 
One of the children was diagnosed with a salmonella infection, which can be spread by touching contaminated pet food and treats. The other child developed gastrointestinal illness and fever that mirrored the symptoms of dogs in the house that also ate the treats. The adult reported nausea and headache, said Siobhan DeLancey, an FDA spokeswoman.

 
Unfortunately, we don’t seem any closer in determining the cause(s) of all of these illnesses and deaths. The FDA has had the opportunity to perform necropsies (the animal equivalent of autopsies) on 26 dogs who were thought to have died as a result of exposure to jerky treats. Thirteen of these dogs died of unrelated health problems, including “widespread cancer, Cushing’s disease, mushroom toxicity, abscess, or internal bleeding secondary to trauma.” However, eleven dogs had “indications of kidney disease and two involved gastrointestinal disease” that could have been be associated with eating jerky treats.
 
You may have also heard that laboratory testing recently revealed the presence of the drug amantadine in some suspect jerky treats. Amantadine is an antiviral drug that also has pain relieving properties. It has been safely used for years in many species, including dogs, so I doubt that it has had anything to do with these illnesses, but its presence in pet treats raises further questions about the quality control measures employed by Chinese manufacturers.
 
Within days of the FDA’s most recent announcement, two major pet retailers announced that over the course of the next few months, they would join others and stop selling jerky treats made in China. This is good news, as a surprising percentage of pet owners are still unaware of the illnesses and deaths that have been linked to these products. For the sake of all our dogs, cats, and toddlers, please spread the word.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Image: Africa Studio / Shutterstock
 


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suebee720@gmail.com It's about time! 06/06/2014 09:08am I can't believe it has taken this long for them to remove these products from their shelves. The FDA should make it mandatory! I'm sure they would if it were human lives being affected. I just don't use any jerky treats anymore because you really don't know where the ingredients come from even though they are made in the USA. Reply to this comment Report abuse 26 lcridesherown My Auzzie Had Seizures 06/06/2014 09:58am My Auzzie suffered Seizures that were so bad we had to put her down this past week . She was only 3 yrs old. There was nothing in her blood nor were there any signs on her brain scan to show why she had seizures so it had to be the jerky treats. She was the only one of my 4 kids that got them because my other kids don't do well on chicken. What am I supposed to think? I wish I could sue the dam company! My poor furbaby! Reply to this comment Report abuse 27 bellaboo112111 06/08/2014 09:27am So sorry about your baby.
I am a co founder of Animal Parents Against Pet Treats Made in China and a victim of Nestle Purina's Waggin Train chicken jerky. My Bella died 11/21/11 after consuming the jerky. I am a plaintiff in the class action lawsuit against Nestle Purina that has been settled on 5/30/14.
We are looking for new victims such as yourself to have your jerky tested no matter what brand it is. If by chance you have any of your jerky left and vet records please contact me and I can direct you as to where to send it to for testing. Please remember you do not need proof that it was the jerky, it just needs to be suspect.
Again, I am so sorry that you have to go through this. Reply to this comment Report abuse 20 lcridesherown 06/10/2014 04:20pm Did you get my replay? I wasn't too sure on how to do this at first when I received your email so I thought ZI would check and see if you got my reply. Reply to this comment Report abuse 19 lcridesherown 06/10/2014 04:23pm P.S> I would love to be added to the suit agains the jerky company that did this to my furbaby.!
Reply to this comment Report abuse 19 lcridesherown 06/12/2014 11:35pm Still waiting to her from you :) Reply to this comment Report abuse 16 LovemyCami 06/22/2014 09:13pm My Bichon Frise just LOVED those chicken jerky strips that I finally realized were from China!! I stopped giving her those about 2 years ago and kept looking for a good replacement. Around January 4014 I found a jerky brand from [i]Pure Ocean Botanicals/The Sakura Tree [/i]from Petaluma, Calif (made in USA), also a month later found a brand from [i]AmericanPetFoodCompany[/i] from Williamsburg, KY--they're called "dog gone chicken wraps". Cami LOVES both of these treats. I hope to God these are safe, good ones. Cami's liver enzyme count has gone up during the last few months...as of last Thursday's blood re-check it was at 404. Her Vet wants to do another round of Amoxicillan 100MG for a month before her annual dental cleaning. I'm extremely concerned about Cami at this point!!! Reply to this comment Report abuse 14 TheOldBroad FDA 06/16/2014 06:37pm What fascinates me is why anyone is still purchasing jerky treats. We wouldn't have to wait for the FDA to ban them if no one bought them. If sales were zero, I have no doubt that the stores wouldn't carry them any more. Reply to this comment Report abuse 19 angelamclean Thank You 06/16/2014 09:45pm Thank you so much for writing about this. Personally, I haven't heard about these recalls. Thank you so much for writing about these issues and illnesses. I have two dogs, and I can't imagine them becoming sick because of treats. It is amazing to me that this many cases have been reported and nothing major has been thus far. I have less and less faith in manufactured dog food. Reply to this comment Report abuse 18 Tariq Hossenbux Buy North American! 06/26/2014 12:03am Buy American or Canadian products. There is too much at risk with our pets. Even chinese people are worried about their standards. Industrial wastewater is used to irrigate crops sometimes, and it's possible that sewage is used to fertilize crops. Your pet's body is small and may not be able to handle the toxins in there. Reply to this comment Report abuse 14 inquisite2014 Recall of Jerky Treats. 06/30/2014 05:21pm Can anyone give out the information necessary to test the treats or what needs to be done. My dog has serious liver disease contracting withing the last month or two and has eaten Trader Joes Chicken recipe jerky sticks. Thank you. Reply to this comment Report abuse 14 Dr. Jennifer Coates 06/30/2014 09:49pm The following page has the information you need (towards the bottom).

http://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/safetyhealth/productsafetyinformation/ucm295445.htm#Testing_of_Jerky_Pet_Treat_Products Reply to this comment Report abuse 14 danalynng 07/10/2014 06:42pm Can anyone recommend a treat their dog likes that is not a natural treat? Katie does not like the all natural treats. Any suggestions? Thanks. Reply to this comment Report abuse 13

 

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Feeding Dogs with High Blood Fat http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/may/feeding-dogs-hyperlipidemia-31721 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



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May 23, 2014 / (1) comments


Dogs with hyperlipidemia, also called lipemia, have higher than normal amounts of triglycerides and/or cholesterol in their blood stream. When triglycerides are elevated, a sample of the dog’s blood can look a bit like a strawberry smoothie (sorry for the food reference), while the serum, the liquid part of blood that remains after all the cells have been removed, will have a distinctly milky appearance.
 
Hyperlipidemia can have several causes, the most common of which is a normal physiological response that occurs after a dog has eaten a meal containing moderate to high levels of fat. Blood lipid levels generally fall back into the normal range 6-12 hours after eating. Therefore, the first thing a veterinarian will do when faced with a dog with hyperlipidemia is to repeat the testing on a sample of blood that was unquestionably taken after a 12 hour fast.
 
If hyperlipidemia persists despite fasting, my next step is to rule out other diseases that can cause fat levels in the blood to rise. Diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease, pancreatitis, hypothyroidism, and a type of kidney disease that causes protein to be lost into the urine are the most common primary diseases that can result in hyperlipidemia. Adequately controlling the primary problem in these cases will usually take care of the hyperlipidemia as well.
 
Retesting a fasted serum sample and a thorough health work-up to rule out other diseases will eliminate most cases of hyperlipidemia … unless the dog in question in a schnauzer. This breed is predisposed to a condition called idiopathic hyperlipidemia. “Idiopathic” simply means that we’re not sure of the cause, though in this case an inherited deficiency in lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme needed for normal lipid metabolism, is suspected. Other breeds can also be affected by idiopathic hyperlipidemia, but it is seen at a much lower rate.
 
Some dogs with hyperlipidemia have no clinical signs while others become quite sick. Symptoms of hyperlipidemia can include:
 

loss of appetite
vomiting
diarrhea
abdominal pain
eye disorders
skin problems
abnormal behavior
seizures

 
Dogs with hyperlipidemia are at higher than average risk for a very serious form of pancreatitis, so fat levels in the blood should be reduced even if the dog is currently asymptomatic.
 
Dietary changes are at the center of treating idiopathic hyperlipidemia. Mild cases may respond to over the counter low fat dog foods, but more significantly affected individuals will benefit from eating one of the very fat restricted diets that are available by prescription only. Since fat plays an important role in palatability, getting dogs to eat these foods can be challenging. When this is a problem, feeding the dog a home-prepared diet based on a recipe formulated by a veterinary nutritionist will usually do the trick.
 
If dietary changes alone aren’t sufficient, omega-3 fatty acid supplements, niacin (a type of B-vitamin), or chitin (a fiber supplement that comes from shellfish) are worth a try. Some veterinarians will also prescribe gemfibrozil, a drug that can reduce the body’s production of tryglicerides and other fats, but clinical experience with the medication is very limited.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Image: Jaromir Chalabala / Shutterstock
 


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TheOldBroad Fat! 05/30/2014 04:59pm A sudden intake of fat can certainly cause problems in cats so I assume it's probably the same for dogs.

I know a kitty that got into a bowl of hamburger grease. (The owner had put it in a container and set it in the sink to solidify before throwing it out.) The cat had a real feast until lipidosis set in. Poor kitty even had grease on his whiskers and didn't feel well enough to clean them off. The cat almost died.

The human is very, very careful about grease now.

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“How Much” is As Important As “What” Your Dog Eats http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/may/how-much-important-what-your-dog-eats-31651 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



“How Much” is As Important As “What” Your Dog Eats
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May 09, 2014 / (1) comments


Nutritional deficiencies were common back when dogs were fed table scraps supplemented by whatever they could scrounge. All that changed with the advent of commercially prepared, complete and balanced dog foods. Now, nutritional excess is enemy number one … specifically, an excess of calories.
 
Determining just how much food dogs should be eating is not simple, however. Calculations must take into account their size, metabolic rate, the amount of exercise they typically get, the environment they live in, and, of course, the caloric content of all the foods they eat. Mathematical formulas can only give you a ballpark figure, which is why the feeding guides on pet food labels are limited in their helpfulness.
 
(Note: Click the charts to see the larger image.)
 
They are typically presented as charts that look something like this for a dry food:
 

 
… or this for a canned food:
 

 
These recommendations are far from precise and are only a starting point. I generally recommend that owners begin by feeding on the low end of the range given for their pet’s weight, for these two reasons:
 

Pet food manufacturers have an economic interest in encouraging us to overfeed our dogs.
Most dogs could stand to lose a few pounds.

 
Feed the amount you’ve selected for 2-4 weeks and then start monitoring which way your dog’s weight is moving. If you have ready access to a scale, regular “weigh-ins” are the simplest way to determine if you need to feed a little more, a little less, or if you’re right on target. If this is not practical, then aim to keep your dog at his or her ideal body condition. Most breeds should:
 

have an “hourglass” figure when looked down upon from above. The abdomen should be narrower than the chest and hips (you can click here to see a body condition chart)
be “tucked up” when looked at from the side. This means that a dog’s chest is closer to the ground than his belly when he is standing
have ribs that are not readily visible but are easily felt with only light pressure

 
Reassess your dog’s weight and/or body condition frequently throughout the year as his or her caloric needs fluctuate and, of course, whenever you start feeding a different food. Adjust how much you offer based on your findings. Catching weight gain early allows us to easily address it with just small changes in the amount of food we offer.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Image: Javier Brosch / Shutterstock
 


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TheOldBroad How Much 05/09/2014 05:14pm I confess that it bothers me a little when I see or hear something about "cut down the amount Fido gets" because Fido might still be really hungry.

I know how it feels and it's not pleasant. However, with humans, we understand why we're hungry. When a critter is hungry and doesn't know why, the guilt creeps in. Reply to this comment Report abuse 32

 

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Are Life Stage Dog Foods Credible? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/april/debate-over-all-life-stage-dog-foods-31604 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



Are Life Stage Dog Foods Credible?
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April 25, 2014 / (2) comments


Recently, a reader posted a comment in response to an old post about life stage feeding. In part it said:
 

Life stage feeding is nothing but clever marketing. A quality food formulated for "all life stages" (in other words — a food which adheres to the more stringent "growth" nutrient profile set forth by AAFCO) is sufficient in most cases.

 
For those of you who are unaware of the minutiae of pet food labeling, manufacturers have to meet a set of standards published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to be allowed to print statements like the following on their labels:
 
Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Brand A adult dog food provides complete and balanced nutrition for maintenance of adult dogs.

 
Dog foods can be placed into one of three categories — adult maintenance, growth and reproduction, or all life stages.
 
Now, to get back to the aforementioned comment. The standards for growth and reproduction are not “more stringent” than are those for adult maintenance, inferring that the latter are somehow inferior. In fact, it could be said that the adult maintenance standards are more stringent in that for many nutrients, minimums and maximums are dictated while only minimums growth and reproduction foods only have to adhere to a set of minimums. All life stages foods have to meet both sets of parameters, which isn’t as hard as it might sound when you actually take a look at the table.
 
This is what it looks like, courtesy of the Merck Veterinary Manual.
 

(Click image for larger view)
 
At the beginning of the comment, the writer specifically brings up the topic of protein. In fact, I agree that with regards to this nutrient, feeding a growth and reproduction or all life stages food to a healthy, adult dog would be just fine. High-quality adult maintenance, growth and reproduction, and all life stages foods will all have more than the 22% minimum protein put forth by AAFCO for growth and reproduction.
 
AAFCO standards are simply a floor beneath which pet foods cannot fall if they are to carry a “complete and balanced” statement on their labels. Highly regarded manufacturers go much further, fine-tuning their diets to optimize nutrition for specific populations.
 
For example, the AAFCO minimum for a food’s calcium to phosphorous ratio is 1:1 with a maximum of 2:1 added for adult maintenance and all life stages foods. Research has shown that to help avoid developmental orthopedic diseases like hip dysplasia, the ideal ratio is 1:1 to 1.3:1 for large breed puppies. Large breed puppy foods are formulated to meet this more restrictive ratio, even though AAFCO has nothing to say on the matter at all.
 
This is one instance when life stage feeding is far more than “clever marketing.”
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
Image: WilleeCole Photography / Shutterstock
 


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TheOldBroad Large Breed Puppies 04/25/2014 06:23pm "Large breed puppy foods are formulated to meet this more restrictive ratio"

I surmise from this sentence that for optimal health, one should feed according to not only life stages, but the type of dog.

Nutrition is a very complicated subject! Reply to this comment Report abuse 29 Tariq Hossenbux Life Stages 05/02/2014 08:11pm If you are using a super premium quality food I don't think you have anything to worry about with using an all life stages food. They are so packed with nutrition that it would be hard for the dog to be nutrient deficient, and thoroughly tested by their manufacturers. When it comes to large breed and small breed stuff people in the industry have even told me openly that it is just marketing. Reply to this comment Report abuse 22

 

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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/april/debate-over-all-life-stage-dog-foods-31604#comments NutritionNuggets Fri, 25 Apr 2014 11:00:00 +0000 31604 at http://www.petmd.com
Nutrition's Role in Treating Kidney Disease in Dogs http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/april/nutritions-role-treating-canine-kidney-disease-31564 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



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April 11, 2014 / (8) comments


Chronic kidney disease (also known as renal disease) is an irreversible and progressive loss of kidney function that ultimately results in illness and death. It is most common in older pets, but can occur at any age. Even though the disease is progressive, appropriate treatment helps many dogs live comfortably for several months to years.
 
In the past, even with medical treatment that consisted of controlling high blood pressure, the loss of protein through the urine, and hyperparathyroidism (resulting in an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus), dogs were likely to die shortly after diagnosis. However, numerous studies now show that feeding these patients a therapeutic renal diet is the most successful tool in managing chronic kidney disease in dogs. Kidney diets help to reduce the progression of the disease and prolong survival times.
 
Several nutrients are important in the dietary management of chronic kidney disease:
 
1) Phosphorus – a mineral that is consumed in the diet and needed for all living cells in the body. It is present mostly in the bones and teeth, less so in soft tissues and extracellular fluids. It is excreted from the body through the urine. Studies show that restriction of phosphorus in dogs with Stage 3 (out of 4) kidney disease increases survival time.
2) Protein – Two schools of thought have duked it out with regards this nutrient.
Reduced protein diets result in less nitrogenous waste that needs to be excreted by the kidneys and lower phosphorus levels (because protein contributes to increased phosphorus levels).
Increased or normal levels of good quality protein help to maintain lean body mass (and maintain strength, coordination and good immunity) and have no adverse effects on life expectancy as long as phosphorus intake is restricted. Current recommendations are to provide adequate, good quality protein and reduced phosphorus levels.
3) Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids – essential fatty acids that are not made in the body and need to be present in the diet. In particular, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation and reduce glomerular hypertension (glomeruli are part of the kidneys), consequently improving kidney function. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are most abundant in fish oil.
4) Antioxidants – substances that help neutralize free radicals. If not dealt with, free radicals can cause significant cellular injury and produce more free radicals. Renal diets that have both omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants combined are better at slowing the progression of chronic kidney disease than either one alone.
5) Fermentable Fiber – adding this type of fiber to the diet promotes the excretion of nitrogen in the feces and allows dogs to consume adequate amounts of protein. Renal diets that are supplemented with fiber from beet pulp, fructooligosaccharide, and gum arabic help increase the number of intestinal bacteria, which draws urea (a nitrogen-containing waste product) into the feces.
 
Multiple studies show that in dogs with Stage 3 kidney disease, renal diets are superior to regular maintenance diets in slowing the progression of chronic kidney disease and prolong survival time. In one study, 70 percent of dogs on a renal diet survived three times longer than did dogs who ate a maintenance diet.
 
Dogs should only be switched to a renal diet once any dehydration, nausea and vomiting has been corrected. If a dog feels sick when offered a new food, he may associate the new food with the illness and develop an aversion to it. A veterinarian familiar with the details of a dog’s case is in the best position to recommend a particular food and how best to make the transition to it.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
References:

Sanderson, S.L. Nutritional Management of Renal Disease: An Evidence-Based Approach. Today’s Veterinary Practice. 2014, Jan/Feb. 
Vaden, S.L. Can We Halt Progression of Renal Disease? Presented at the British Small Animal Veterinary Congress, Raleigh, N.C. 2007.

 
Image: Thinkstock
 


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TheOldBroad Sub-Q LRS 04/11/2014 05:35pm Would dogs with kidney disease benefit from sub-q LRS like cats do? Reply to this comment Report abuse 23 Dr. Jennifer Coates 04/13/2014 10:38pm Sub-Q fluids are an important part of treating both canine and feline chronic kidney disease. Reply to this comment Report abuse 21 Tasmyn Puppy with Parvovirus 04/30/2014 04:17pm Hi recently our 5 month old puppy had Parvovirus and fortunately pushed through. I would like to find out if the kidneys can be affected due to the virus being in the digestive tract. If so would this diet help with any after effects. Reply to this comment Report abuse 12 Dr. Jennifer Coates 05/01/2014 02:56pm Most dogs recover from parvovirus without longterm damage to any of their organs. It is possible that the kidneys could be adversely affected, for instance if the dog's blood pressure became very low at any point, but as long as blood work and a urinalysis is normal, there would be no benefit to feeding a "kidney" diet anyway. Reply to this comment Report abuse 14 14023581 Prevention 05/04/2014 03:41pm Are there any other ways except nutrition that could help to prevent chronic kidney disease? Just for interest, could a person replace a dogs kidney to prevent further infection? Reply to this comment Report abuse 13 Dr. Jennifer Coates 05/05/2014 03:30pm It's hard to say since there are so many potential variables at play (genetics, kidney trauma, etc.). At specific times there are things that can be done to protect the kidneys, for example maintaining adequate blood pressure with IV fluid therapy during anesthetic events, but those are relatively rare.

Kidney transplants are possible, but still fairly experimental in dogs. Reply to this comment Report abuse 12 GloryBe Kidney Disease dog food 06/16/2014 03:58pm Three weeks ago my 9 year old female lab got into Advil. She was hospitalized for two nights. Other than drinking and peeing a lot more she seems perfectly fine. Her creatin levels are at 2.4. I have seen the posts about diet and am very confused. I have always fed her (68 lb. labrador) high-quality dry dog food but I can't tell if I need to switch supplemented with no-salt green beans from the grocery store. Is there a commercial food out on the market that you could recommend? I don't think I am up for cooking her meals - just trying to be realistic. Is wet better than dry so that she gets more moisture? I have tried evaluating/comparing phosphorous levels but am having a hard time understanding as each company seems to report it differently. Also, are there any supplements, homeopathic remedies that would help support her? Reply to this comment Report abuse 10 Dr. Jennifer Coates 06/16/2014 04:35pm I can't make specific recommendations since I'm not familiar with the details of your dog's case. Your vet is in the best position to do this. Did he or she recommend a prescription diet? If so, go with this, at least in the short term. In general, all other things being equal, canned diets are best for dogs with questionable kidney function. Reply to this comment Report abuse 10

 

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Feeding the Critically Sick, Injured, or Recovering Dog http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/march/feeding-critically-sick-or-injured-dog-31477 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



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March 28, 2014 / (3) comments


We all know that good medicine helps to bring a return of good health, but good nutrition is just as important.
 
Dogs who are fighting their way through a critical illness, have had extensive surgery, or have sustained a major injury need calories and nutrients to recover optimally. When nutritional needs are not met, dogs enter into a negative energy state and begin to lose lean body mass in the form of protein from muscle tissue. This is because sick animals cannot make the adaptive responses necessary to utilize fat for energy like healthy animals do. This negative energy balance can also result in digestive tract dysfunction, organ dysfunction, poor immunity, poor wound healing, and possibly death.
 
Critical care diets have been developed to deliver the nutrients that recovering animals need. They are:
 

highly palatable (tasty)
highly digestible (little waste produced)
nutritionally dense (a little goes a long way)
have added electrolytes (e.g., potassium) for replacement of losses

 
Critical care diets have increased calories, protein, and fat, and reduced carbohydrate levels as compared to maintenance diets. They are meant to be fed during states of illness and recovery and not for long term feeding. However, in the severely ill dog, or when there is an “end-of-life” situation, continued feeding of a critical care diet may help deal with appetite loss and ward off a quicker decline that comes with inadequate nutrition.
 
Enteral feeding (through the digestive tract) is the best way for dogs to receive their nutrition. If the patient will eat, oral feeding is the way to go. Appetite stimulants and anti-nausea medications can help improve the appetite. If the dog will not eat and the digestive tract is healthy, a feeding tube should be placed. Long term feeding is possible through a feeding tube. In rare cases, severe digestive tract dysfunction may necessitate parenteral feeding. This means the dog will receive a sterile mixture of basic nutrients through a central intravenous line directly into the bloodstream.
 
Two types of critical care diets can be used for enteral feeding:
 
1) Liquid or modular diets

Made up of small molecules (e.g., small peptides, medium and long chain fatty acids, mono/di/tri-saccharides)
Easier to use with small-diameter feeding tubes
May cause diarrhea
More expensive

 
2) Blended foods

More palatable
Less expensive
Less likely to cause diarrhea
Must be thinned with water and blended well to reduce the risk of clogging the feeding tube

 
Many manufacturers make critical care diets. Veterinarians tend to have a favorite brand, usually one that they have had success with in the past, but if that product isn’t working for a particular individual other brands should be given a try.
 
Veterinary nutrition has seen many advances in recent years. Critical care diets are a great help when it comes to providing optimal nutrition for recovering pets.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Reference
Freeman, L.M. (2012) Critical Care Nutrition. Presented at the 64th Convention of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, Montreal QB, Canada.
 
Image: Thinkstock
 


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TheOldBroad Critical Care Diets 03/28/2014 04:47pm I'm a firm believer that when there is no cure, the critter should eat whatever it would like. I know that critical care diets cannot be fed in lieu of a maintenance diet, but if any meal might be a "last meal," they should have anything they want.

What little experience I've had with stomach tubes makes me think they're pretty nifty. I once baby-sat a cat that had a stomach tube during chemo treatments and it was quite simple and the cat was happy as a clam.

Do you think it would make a difference if the animal was high-energy and could possibly dislodge the cap on the tube? (Of course, the high-energy part would probably be unlikely since the critter must be pretty sick to have a stomach tube.) Reply to this comment Report abuse 20 Dr. Jennifer Coates 04/08/2014 11:22am I've always been able to bandage feeding tubes in such a way that even when the patients are feeling better and their activity levels increase, the tubes stay put... most of the time, at least. Reply to this comment Report abuse 20 CatNurse Care of feeding tubes 04/21/2014 12:11pm Hello, I am a CVT who works with people all time that have pets with feeding tubes. I recently published a book entitled The Feel Better Book for Cats & Dogs - Nursing Care for All Life Stages. Included in the book is a chapter (written with the help of a veterinary internal medicine specialist and her technician) devoted to in home care of feeding tubes and detailed instruction on feeding. The entire book has been reviewed for content by multiple veterinarians and contains info on other aspects of nursing care including feeding, medicating, good hygiene, encouraging water consumption and giving SC fluids, first aid, senior care, end of life decisions and very importantly - when to seek veterinary care. Thank you for letting me pass this information on to you and your readers. Also, I love the topics you write about! Reply to this comment Report abuse 15

 

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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/march/feeding-critically-sick-or-injured-dog-31477#comments NutritionNuggets Fri, 28 Mar 2014 11:00:00 +0000 31477 at http://www.petmd.com
The Risks and Benefits of Raw Meat Diets for Dogs http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/march/risks-and-benefits-raw-meat-diets-dogs-31455 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



The Risks and Benefits of Raw Meat Diets for Dogs
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March 14, 2014 / (3) comments


We love our dogs and want to provide them with the most nutritious food possible, but deciding which food is best is not easy. Pet food industry marketing often complicates the issue and presents conflicting viewpoints. One type of diet that is becoming increasingly popular, the raw meat-based diet, is also one of the most polarizing topics in veterinary nutrition.
 
A recent article in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association reviews the potential risks and benefits of raw meat-based diets. One of the main points put forth in the article is that there are strong opinions on each side of the argument but little scientific data supporting either side.
 
Advocates cite the following reasons for why feeding a raw meat-based diet is beneficial:
 

Better palatability (taste)

Cleaner teeth and less odor to the mouth, body and feces

A shinier haircoat and healthier skin

Improved immunity, behavior and energy

A more natural diet, resembling what a dog in the wild would eat

Avoids the harmful effects caused by processing and the inclusion of by-products or chemically synthesized additives and preservatives, which might increase the risk of some cancers

Avoids the potential contaminants that commercial dog foods may contain (e.g., the 2007 recall due to melamine)

Reduced poop production and improved colonic health (extrapolated from human studies)

 
Opponents of raw diets point to the following:
 

Increased health risks to humans from handling raw meat and everything it touches as well as from exposure to increased numbers of bacteria in the dog’s feces

Increased health risks to the dog and other pets in the household

A high incidence of nutritional imbalances

 
Several professional veterinary organizations recommend against feeding raw meat-based diets, including the American Animal Hospital Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, and Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. The Delta Society’s Pet Partners Program excludes animals eating a raw meat-based diet from participating in their therapy animal programs. These organizations cite the risks to the pet, other animals, and humans as the basis for their decision.
 
Studies show that Salmonella is found in one-fourth to one-half of raw meat-based diets, with a high number of resistant isolates being found. This means many of the antibiotics commonly used to treat infections caused by these bacteria will not work. Salmonella can be found in commercial diets also, but the risk is much lower. Dogs and cats can become ill due to Salmonella, but the greatest risk is to the humans in the household. Many other types of bacteria are also found in raw diets. If bones are included, fractured teeth, penetration of the digestive tract, and gastrointestinal impaction are all possible as well.
 
Many raw meat-based diets have nutritional imbalances which can be harmful to the dog. One study evaluated 200 recipes for healthy dogs and found that 95 percent of the recipes had at least one essential nutrient below the recommended minimum amount. Many had multiple imbalances. Because it is very difficult to formulate a nutritionally-balanced home-prepared diet, a veterinary nutritionist should always be consulted first.
 
Further research is needed to substantiate the risks and benefits of raw diets. Each individual animal and the characteristics of the household should be evaluated (with input from a veterinarian) before deciding which diet is best.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Reference
Current knowledge about the risks and benefits of raw meat-based diets for dogs and cats. Freeman LM, Chandler ML, Hamper BA, Weeth LP. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2013 Dec 1;243(11):1549-58.
 
Image: Thinkstock
 


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TheOldBroad Balance 03/14/2014 06:14pm Besides the scary part about 1/4 to 1/2 of the meat having salmonella, it would seem to me that a balanced diet might be difficult to manage (as with any home-made diet). I'd love to see comments from some of the folks on this site that feed raw and how they assure their pet is getting balanced nutrition. Reply to this comment Report abuse 42 Kayteenm 03/16/2014 09:03am If I'm not mistaken, most of the recalls for commercial dry dog food are a result of salmonella contamination. I do agree that homemade raw diets might be a detriment to our pups if they're not formulated correctly. I think it's very hard to get all of the nutritional elements in the proper proportion when concocting a raw diet. I feed my guy commercial raw and he does very well on that. Reply to this comment Report abuse 34 ladyfairy 06/08/2014 07:36am I don't feed my dogs or cat a raw meat diet. I've been developing & getting cooked dog food recipes for a little while now. My dogs & yes even the cat, loves the stuff I've been coming up with. I'm very careful not to include foods that might be bad or dangerous to my animals. I started doing this because of my little chi mix, has a kidney stone problem. If anyone would like a recipe for cooked dog food let me know. I have a few & if you do an internet search you can find others as well. Reply to this comment Report abuse 10

 

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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/march/risks-and-benefits-raw-meat-diets-dogs-31455#comments NutritionNuggets Fri, 14 Mar 2014 11:00:00 +0000 31455 at http://www.petmd.com
Meals on Wheels for Pets http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/february/meals-wheels-pets-31425 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



Meals on Wheels for Pets
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February 28, 2014 / (2) comments


I want to bring to your attention a program for low-income or disabled seniors: Meals on Wheels for Pets. Many people who are struggling to feed themselves also struggle to care for their pets, sometimes the only companionship they have.
 
We know that the human-animal bond can be very strong. During Hurricane Katrina, many people would not leave their homes because they couldn’t take their pets with them. They opted to face a very dangerous situation so as not to abandon their pets. Situations like these continue, so much so that when historic floods hit my part of Colorado last year, the National Guard made a point of evacuating people with their pets. They realized it was the only way that many people would leave.
 
But what would you do if you could not afford pet food? In the past, many people were left with only one option — taking their pets to the local animal shelter. However, these facilities are overrun and often must euthanize healthy animals. According to the Humane Society of the United States, three to four million dogs and cats are euthanized each year.
 
In recent years, workers from Meals on Wheels have begun to notice that their clients were giving some or all of their food to their pets. This can result in the person not getting the proper nutrition he or she needs and may be dangerous for the pets as well.
 
Owners are often unaware that some human foods can be toxic to pets. Grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, chocolate, avocados, and macadamia nuts are just some of the foods that can be deadly to animals. Fatty foods (like some cuts of meats and bacon grease) can cause problems ranging from mild digestive tract upset to very serious cases of pancreatitis. Bones are especially dangerous to dogs in that some types (like chicken or turkey bones) can splinter, potentially causing serious damage to the mouth, esophagus, or intestinal tract. Bones can also cause gastrointestinal obstructions. Digestive tract upset may occur when dogs eat a variety of different foods as they tend to do better on a consistent diet.
 
Over the past 15 years or so, several animal groups have partnered with the Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) to provide pet food in addition to feeding seniors. In 2006, MOWAA established a program called “We All Love Our Pets” (WALOP), a national initiative to help provide high quality meals for both seniors and their pets. People who qualify for Meals on Wheels will likely qualify to receive pet food as well.
 
Most of the pet food comes from donation bins in pet stores and markets. Organizations and individuals can also give money to Meals on Wheels. There is never enough food in these programs, and donations are always welcome. Other sources for pet food for low income owners include pet food banks and pantries, which are found in almost every major city in the United States.
 
Additionally, Pets of the Homeless is a nonprofit volunteer organization that provides pet food and veterinary care in communities across the United States and Canada. This group states that 5-10 percent of the 3.5 million homeless people in the U.S. have pets. Feeding their pets is one way to help the homeless.
 
As the cost of food skyrockets and the average median income remains the same, it gets more difficult to feed ourselves and our pets. These programs help keep owners and pets together during the difficult times when we need each other the most.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Image: Anna Hoychuk / Shutterstock
 


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TheOldBroad Great Idea! 02/28/2014 05:43pm What an excellent idea! I'm glad to see the Meals on Wheels people saw the value in it.

Years ago I met a representative of an exceptional group: P.A.W.S. which stands for Pets Are Wonderful Support. Volunteers assisted seriously ill people with caring for their pets so both the human and pet could stay in the home. I believe it was focused on terminally ill HIV patients, but with the improvements in medical care for HIV, perhaps this group isn't necessary any longer.

It's so great to see pets and humans being able to stay together. Reply to this comment Report abuse 37 TheOldBroad 02/28/2014 05:46pm Just Googled P.A.W.S. and, yes, it's still around and they've expanded services to include seniors and the disabled. It appears to be mostly West Coast. Reply to this comment Report abuse 39

 

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Help! Why Won’t My Dog Eat? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/february/help-why-wont-my-dog-eat-31313 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



Help! Why Won’t My Dog Eat?
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February 14, 2014 / (7) comments


Pet owners understandably become concerned when they think that their beloved companion is not eating enough. When I’m presented with a case like this, the first thing I do is try to determine if a problem truly exists. Sometimes owners mistake picky eating for not eating. As long as the pet is not too thin and is maintaining his or her weight, then caloric intake is fine. Conversely, if the pet is underweight or has been losing weight, we do have a problem. The challenge is to find out why the dog is not eating enough.
 
A few questions will usually identify or rule out a problem with the food itself. If the owner purchases 40 pound bags of kibble for a 10 pound dog, the food is either losing its appeal at best, or at worst, starting to turn rancid. Dry food remains fresh for about one month after the bag is opened. It stays fresher in a tightly closed bag or container. Canned food is only good for about 3-5 days after opening if it is kept refrigerated.
 
Most dogs readily accept new foods, but if the type of food was recently changed, the dog may truly prefer the old variety. Trying the previous food again will determine if this is the case. Environmental factors can play a role too. If it’s too cold or hot, the aroma (or lack thereof) of the food may not be enticing the pet to eat.
 
Once I’ve ruled out a problem with the food, I’m left with the possibility of a medical problem. Unless the answer is readily apparent on a physical examination (e.g., an oral tumor), I next recommend a complete blood profile, urinalysis, and fecal examination to rule out diseases that affect the taste and smell of foods. Conditions such as kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and liver disorders can reduce the dog’s sense of smell and taste (extrapolated from studies in humans and expected to hold true for dogs as well), but any disease that makes a pet feel nauseous or weak can reduce his desire to eat. Most conditions can be identified through some combination of a good physical examination, lab work, and imaging studies (e.g., X-rays or ultrasound).
 
Once a medical problem is identified and treatment started, how can you make food more appealing to your dog? Warming it to body temperature (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit) using a microwave or warm water will increase its aroma, but take care not to overdo it and burn the dog’s mouth. Serving the meal right after an enjoyable activity, like a walk, hand feeding, and praising the dog after he takes a bite may also help encourage him to eat.
 
If a dog just won’t eat a particular food, try a different brand or formulation. Older dogs (over 7 years of age) may enjoy a senior diet as these foods are made to be more palatable for dogs that may have a reduced sense of smell. You can also try adding small amounts of other foods to encourage him to eat. Adding a small amount of syrup, honey, or salt-free chicken broth may entice him. Fruits and veggies are also good additives, but avoid grapes, raisins, and onions, which can be toxic.
 
If none of these recommendations do the trick, talk to your veterinarian. Some dogs need the help of an appetite stimulant or feeding tube as they recover and regain their appetites.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Image: Patryk Kosmider / Shutterstock
 


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TheOldBroad Dog Food 02/17/2014 06:45pm "If none of these recommendations do the trick, talk to your veterinarian."

Quite honestly, I would think that the first step should be talking to your veterinarian. In my opinion, a full history is essential, especially if there have been eating problems in the past. Reply to this comment Report abuse 39 ChocolateAndDogs 02/21/2014 06:10pm You should never give brown chocolate for an encourage. Continually give healthy and balanced food and also Scientific research Diet programs or you just encourage the dog with lots of love and particular attention.

source:
http://www.chocolateanddogs.com/ Reply to this comment Report abuse 42 KLND Drug reaction 02/21/2014 12:02am My dog was on a combo of cephalexin and ketaconazole and stopped eating. The vets treating him did not believe me. On the first visit, I was told this drug combo is well tolerated. The second visit I was told If my dog wasn't eating it was because I was over feeding. The third visit I was told he was a healthy weight. At that point I pushed back and said he had lost 10 lbs in 6 weeks. "Oh, he's anorexic" was the response.
He tolerates cephalexin, but ketaconazole makes him sick. Reply to this comment Report abuse 41 Mayuri Could it be psychological 04/28/2014 11:52am It is well known that animals, especially dogs, enjoy food. In the case of my own 13 year old dog, which has wrongfully been brought up as a "human" in the family, gets her bowl of dog food but is constantly a beggar and scavenger for food.

I recently left my family home to study. Since my departure my mother had noticed that my dogs behaviour had changed. Among many things she had stopped eating, lost a lot of weight, and was disinterested by food. Naturally she thought it was because the dog was now old and had gotten sickly. The vet had no diagnosis for my dog, she was clear of any medical conditions, but we had no answer to the sudden distaste in food. He did however suggest to my mother that I, having left home, may have had an impact.

The only thing my dog would drink was milk. This confirmed my vets theory, dogs can get depressed and stop eating, as I would leave my dog the left over milk in my cereal bowl every morning.

Dogs are very possessive and loving animals with which humans strongly bond with but we must also realise that they too feel this bond. Could the reason for a dog's change in eating habits be psychological?
Reply to this comment Report abuse 16 Dr. Jennifer Coates 04/28/2014 03:27pm Grief can cause pets to stop eating, but even if that is the "only" cause, it needs to be addressed. Your dog's symptoms are serious enough that they warrant a complete health work up and if nothing of significance is found, symptomatic treatment. Reply to this comment Report abuse 17 dixiebrit Dog may be starving 09/10/2014 06:08pm Our dog recently had a large number of infected teeth removed - we took her in to remove 2 abscessed teeth and the vet removed 16! We were stunned, to say the least. Now, about 6 weeks out, she has lost a great deal of weight (she was overweight, but now so boney we can seek her spine and ribs and she looks starved to death) and has quit eating. We have tried tempting her with all kinds of favorite foods. Some have been accepted initially, and then she won't eat (but will drink water) anything at all. Not sure what to do, but we are really worried.
Any suggestions? She is actually mother's dog and mom can't stand the idea of going back to the vet. Reply to this comment Report abuse 10 Dr. Jennifer Coates 09/11/2014 12:58pm I'm afraid that the only way to find out what is going on and how best to address it is to have her examined by a veterinarian. If your mom is not comfortable returning to the original vet clinic, she could always see someone else. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1

 

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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/february/help-why-wont-my-dog-eat-31313#comments NutritionNuggets Fri, 14 Feb 2014 11:00:00 +0000 31313 at http://www.petmd.com
Microminerals: Tiny Amounts, But Big Effects http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/jcoates/2014/february/microminerals-importance-in-dog-diet-31405 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



Microminerals: Tiny Amounts, But Big Effects
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February 07, 2014 / (3) comments


I’ve found that whenever I talk about the nutrients that dogs require in a balanced diet I tend to gloss over the microminerals – minerals that are required in the diet in relatively small amounts. The big players like protein, carbohydrates, and fat get the most attention.
 
I’ve found that whenever I talk about the nutrients that dogs require in a balanced diet I tend to gloss over the microminerals – minerals that are required in the diet in relatively small amounts. The big players like protein, carbohydrates, and fat get the most attention.
 
Vitamins also have their spot in the limelight because of their importance as antioxidants and in immune support. Macrominerals (minerals are needed in relatively large amounts) like calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, chloride, and magnesium also get their fair share of press. Microminerals, however, are the Rodney Dangerfield of nutrients. They don’t get much respect.
 
 
Let’s fix that today with a brief primer on what roles microminerals play in a dog’s diet.
 
Copper
Adequate dietary sources of copper are needed if a dog’s bones, connective tissue, collagen, and myelin (the protective covering of nerves) are to form properly. Copper helps the body absorb iron, making it an important part of red blood cell function. It can also act as an antioxidant, is a part of many enzymes, and is necessary for the formation of melanin, the pigment that darkens hair and skin. Copper can be found in meat, liver, fish, whole grains, and legumes, and is typically added as a supplement to commercially prepared foods.
 
Iodine
Iodine’s primary role in the body is in the manufacture of thyroid hormones that regulate growth and the body’s metabolic rate. Iodine is found in fish and iodized salt. It can also be included in pet foods by adding calcium iodate, potassium iodide, or other supplements.
 
Iron
Iron is a central component of hemoglobin and myoglobin, the molecules that carry oxygen in blood and muscle respectively. It also is a part of many enzymes, particularly those that are catalysts to energy production in cells. Iron is naturally found in meat, liver, fish, green vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Supplemental iron may also be added to dog foods.
 
Manganese
Dogs need manganese to produce energy, metabolize protein and carbohydrates, and to make fatty acids. Manganese is an important part of many enzymes and plays a role in the health and maintenance of bone and cartilage in joints. Meat is not a good source of manganese, but the nutrient can be found in whole grains, legumes, eggs, fruits, and green vegetables. To ensure that dogs get enough manganese in their diets, most manufacturers add it as a supplement to their foods.
 
Selenium
Selenium is a potent antioxidant that acts in concert with Vitamin E to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Selenium is found in high concentrations in plants grown in selenium-rich soils. The meat of animals that eat such plants can also be a source, as can eggs and some types of fish. To ensure that dogs get enough selenium, pet food manufacturers add supplements to their products.
 
Zinc
Adequate amounts of zinc are essential to the health of a dog’s coat and skin, ability to reproduce, and for the functioning of many enzymes that are essential to normal metabolism. Zinc also plays a role in helping muscles work optimally during high intensity exercise. Zinc is present in relatively large amounts in meat, eggs, and dairy products, but is also added as a supplement to dog foods.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
Image: Little Moon / via Shutterstock


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TheOldBroad Conversely... 02/24/2014 06:28pm What would be the dangers of getting an overabundance of any of these? Reply to this comment Report abuse 19 Dr. Jennifer Coates 02/25/2014 03:32pm Excesses of each micromineral has it's own set of symptoms. For example, dogs with zinc toxicosis typically develop intravascular hemolysis (their red blood cells burst while in circulation) leading to pale and/or yellow mucous membranes and skin, weakness, rapid breathing, multiple organ failure and death if left untreated. Reply to this comment Report abuse 15 dseng Great Post! 02/27/2014 11:53am Loved This Post! Reply to this comment Report abuse 16

 

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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/jcoates/2014/february/microminerals-importance-in-dog-diet-31405#comments hill's and nutrition ingredients NutritionNuggets quality therapeutic wellness Fri, 07 Feb 2014 07:00:00 +0000 31405 at http://www.petmd.com
What Foods Taste Good to Dogs? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/january/what-foods-taste-good-dogs-31287 Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.



What Foods Taste Good to Dogs?
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January 31, 2014 / (2) comments


The next two installments of Nutrition Nuggets will cover food preferences in dogs and cats. Then, in the third week, we will discuss reasons why your dog might not be eating and what you can do to try to encourage him. So stay tuned!
 
Have you ever heard that cats are finicky eaters? Cats do seem to be very discriminating creatures, but I don’t think the same is often said about dogs. In my experience, most dogs will eat just about anything … things that are edible and things that aren’t, like tennis balls, socks, hair ties, cow manure…
 
Ever wonder what makes something tasty to a dog? Turns out that it is the smell that is the attractant, not necessarily the taste. If something smells good to a dog, it will likely go down the hatch. After a couple bites, the texture or taste might play a role, too.
 
Most dogs like a variety of flavors and readily accept new foods, but some dogs do seem to have preferences. What a puppy is exposed to early on in life may play a role in what he will like later. If he was offered a variety of foods (including dry and canned) early on, he may be more likely to try different foods as an adult. Canned food gives off a stronger aroma and is therefore sometimes more enticing to the picky eater.
 
Another factor is the freshness of the food. As foods age, they lose their aroma and flavor. The fats in the product also start to oxidize into peroxides. This degradation is known as rancidity and results in undesirable odors and flavors. Dry food remains palatable for about one month after the bag is opened. Keeping the kibble closed tightly in the original bag will help to keep it fresh. If you prefer to transfer the food to another container, make sure it has a tight-fitting lid. Even though it may be more economical to buy in bulk, the food’s palatability may suffer.
 
Unopened canned food has a shelf life of approximately two years before the vitamins start to break down. After opening, the can should be covered and stored in the refrigerator for no more than 3-5 days. When the food comes out of the refrigerator, it will not have as strong a smell, so you may need to add warm water or warm it slightly in the microwave to get the aroma. Take care not to serve it too hot or your dog might burn his mouth.
 
Environmental temperatures can affect appetite too. If it is hot outside and your dog is panting, he cannot sniff (smell) at the same time and may not want to eat. If your dog is an outside dog, cold temperatures can reduce the aroma of his food or it may have a different mouth feel and be less appealing. Again, warming might do the trick.
 
Like most mammals, dogs have a sweet tooth (not so for cats — stay tuned for next week’s article). Dogs tend not to like salty foods, however. Salt (i.e., NaCl) is essential in the diet, but does not increase a food’s palatability for dogs.
 
These preferences may also play a role in food selection, but they still don’t explain why dogs like to eat socks!
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Image: Thinkstock
 
Related Articles:
 
Ingestion of Feces and Foreign Objects in Dogs
 


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TheOldBroad Aroma 01/31/2014 05:22pm I think it should be obvious that most dogs don't differentiate by taste because most don't bother to stop, chew and taste.

I've wondered if some dogs eat things like socks, toys, underwear - you name it! - because they smell like the human the dog loves. I've heard that dogs eat the solids out of litter boxes because cat poop may smell like cat food. And what dog can resist cat food?

However, that doesn't explain why I've heard of dogs that eat things like rocks.

Reply to this comment Report abuse 32 lorance Buy Pet food Online 02/24/2014 02:08am some dogs cant differentiate by taste.... but some can differentiate with the aroma of [url=http://www.petgenie.in/]pet food[/url]...

thanks for sharing the information with us...

http://www.petgenie.in/ Reply to this comment Report abuse 25

 

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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/january/what-foods-taste-good-dogs-31287#comments NutritionNuggets Fri, 31 Jan 2014 11:00:00 +0000 31287 at http://www.petmd.com