http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/rss en Feeding Dogs with Intervertebral Disc Disease http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2015/april/feeding-dogs-intervertebral-disc-disease-32645 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 Intervertebral Disc Disease










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April 10, 2015 / (1) comments


Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is the scourge of our “low rider” canine friends, especially Dachshunds. Those long backs and short legs are caused by chondrodystrophy (atypical cartilage development), a condition that also affects the discs of cartilage that lie between the spine’s vertebrae. Stress causes these abnormal discs to bulge or rupture, which puts pressure on the spinal cord, resulting in pain, weakness, and/or paralysis.
 
The best way to treat IVDD depends on how severely affected a dog is. Mild to moderate cases (e.g., those with pain and weakness only) will often recover with pain relievers and cage rest followed by a slow return to normal activity.
 
On the other hand, when a dog’s neurologic function is severely compromised, surgery to relieve pressure on the damaged spinal cord is often necessary. Some dogs fully recover after surgery while others may still have difficulty walking or even remain paralyzed. Unfortunately, chondrodystrophic dogs often have more than one episode of IVDD throughout their lives.
 
IVDD is a heartbreaking condition. The front end of a severely affected dog is essentially normal, but behind the site of the injury, the dog may not be able to feel, move, or urinate and defecate on its own. While there is nothing an owner can do to treat the underlying chondrodystrophy that leads to IVDD, a couple of recent studies show that paying close attention to what and how much a dog eats goes a long way towards reducing the frequency and severity of these dogs’ back problems.
 
A paper looking primarily at the effect of body conformation on the likelihood that a dog would develop symptoms associated with IVDD also found a higher risk in overweight dogs, probably because extra body weight increases the stress on intervertebral discs. The authors concluded that dogs at risk for IVDD should be maintained at a “healthy, lean” body condition score of 4-5 out of 9. Take a look at this chart to see what a BCS of 4 or 5 out of 9 looks like.
 
Another study revealed that a lower body condition score was associated with faster recovery after back surgery (hemilaminectomy). Recovery was defined as the ability to walk without assistance. The dogs included in the project were “7.62 times more likely to have recovered at the initial 3 to 4 week follow-up if they had a BCS of six or less.” The authors concluded that “as weight increased, the time to recovery post hemilaminectomy surgery, also increased.”
 
I recommend that Dachshunds and other chondrodystrophic dogs (e.g., Beagles, Pekingese, Corgis, and Shih-tsus) eat a diet that is moderate in fat and carbohydrates and relatively high in protein. These characteristics help promote muscle mass while not putting dogs at undue risk for obesity.
 
Of course, the amount a dog eats also needs to be closely monitored and adjusted to reach or maintain a body condition score of 4-5 out of 9. Nutritional supplements that can help maintain cartilage health (e.g., glucosamine, chondroitin, green-lipped mussels) are also worth considering.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
Resources
 
How long and low can you go? Effect of conformation on the risk of thoracolumbar intervertebral disc extrusion in domestic dogs. Packer RM, Hendricks A, Volk HA, et al. PLoS ONE 8:e69650, 2013.
 
Does body condition score increase recovery time in dogs treated with hemilaminectomy for acute onset disc rupture? Williams CC, Barone G. JVIM. 26:690-822, 2012.
 
 
Image: WilleeCole Photography / Shutterstock
 
 
Related
 
Slipped Disc, Bad Back, and Muscle Spasms in Dogs
 
Intervertebral Disk Disease... In An Eel
 
Intervertebral Disc Disease and its aftermath: Sophie Sue's success story
 
 



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TheOldBroad Weight 04/10/2015 04:41pm Being overweight is the first thing that crossed my mind in the first two paragraphs.

I'm curious if the "length" of dogs like this is something that has been bred into them. If so, wouldn't it make sense for breeders to go for the shorter model? Reply to this comment Report abuse

 

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The Special Nutritional Needs of Puppies http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2015/march/special-nutritional-needs-puppies-32591 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 Special Nutritional Needs of Puppies










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March 27, 2015 / (1) comments


Puppies are not simply smaller, younger versions of dogs, in the same way that human babies are not miniature adults. Growth and development is hard work, and special nutrition is required to fuel it.
 
Also, young animals are especially sensitive to the effects of dietary deficiencies, toxins, and poor quality ingredients, so owners should pay very close attention to what food they feed during a dog’s first year of life.
 
What are the special nutritional needs of puppies? First, let’s take a look at calories — the gas in the tank, so to speak. Puppies should eat a more calorie-dense food than would be appropriate for a typical adult dog.
 
A high quality puppy food might have 445 kcal/per cup while an adult food in the same line could have 375 kcal/per cup. That might not seem like such a big disparity, but the extra calories are very important in the long term.
 
And the differences don’t just stop with calories. Take a look at some of the American Association of Feed Control Officers (AAFCO) minimum nutrient requirement for puppies and adult dogs:
 

 
You can see that puppies need more of many important amino acids and minerals (and more protein and fat in general) than do adult dogs. Puppies are at risk for nutritional deficiencies if they eat foods designed for adults. Nutrients not regulated by AAFCO are also important.
 
For example, quality diets contain high levels of certain types of omega 3 fatty acids to promote healthy skin, a glossy coat, and optimize brain and eye development.
 
Owners of large breed puppies have an additional concern to deal with when picking out a food: developmental orthopedic diseases.
 
An abnormally rapid growth rate is a major risk factor for hip dysplasia and similar conditions.
 
Diets designed for large breed puppies should have a lower fat content and therefore a lower caloric density than those meant for small and medium-sized puppies.
 
Eating a food with too much calcium and phosphorus and a high calcium to phosphorus ratio also increases the odds that a large breed puppy will be afflicted by a developmental orthopedic disease. Therefore, responsible manufacturers carefully balance the amount of calcium and phosphorus in foods designed for these pets.
 
Whether your puppy is going to grow to be the size of a chihuahua, a mastiff, or somewhere in between, make sure to pick a food that provides perfectly balanced nutrition for this unique time of life, and that it is made from the wholesome, natural ingredients necessary to a lifetime of good health and well-being.
 
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
Image: Fotyma / Shutterstock
 
 
Related
 
Your Puppy Has Hip Dysplasia; Now What?
 
The 'Other' Dysplasia in Large Breed Dogs — Elbow Dysplasia
 
Feeding the Large and Giant Breed Puppy
 



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TheOldBroad Makes Sense 03/27/2015 06:30pm That all makes perfect sense. Nutritional needs would obviously be different when in a "growing-up" stage, just like nutritional needs would be different for a pregnant female. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1

 

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Dogs Don’t Want Carbs http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2015/march/dogs-dont-want-carbs-32542 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.



Dogs Don’t Want Carbs










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March 06, 2015 / (2) comments


What would dogs eat if they could choose for themselves?
 
That is the question that a recent study tried to answer — at least with regards to the relative concentrations of protein, fat, and carbohydrate in dry, canned, and “home” prepared foods.
 
Scientists ran three experiments using adult Papillons, Miniature Schnauzers, Cocker Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, and Saint Bernards (female and male, neutered and intact).
 
Experiment 1 — the dogs were offered dry foods with variable protein, carbohydrate, and fat levels.
 
Experiment 2 — the dogs were offered commercially available wet foods with variable protein, carbohydrate, and fat levels.
 
Experiment 3 — the dogs were offered wet foods with a standard protein level but variable carbohydrate and fat levels. The foods were made from blended, skinless chicken breast, lard, wheat flour, vitamins, and minerals.
 
In experiment one, the researchers found that the composition of the dry food limited the dogs’ ability to eat what they wanted. To form kibble, dry food requires a relatively high percentage of starch. In essence, the dogs were forced to eat more carbohydrate than they wanted.
 
When eating wet food, the dogs were better able to select their preferred ratios. To quote:
 
Dogs in the wet diet treatments composed a diet that had similar protein concentration to those in the dry diet treatment (all dogs fell within the band spanning 25–35% total energy as protein), but was considerably lower in carbohydrate and higher in fat than dogs in the dry diet treatments. This pattern, taken together with the fact that dogs in the dry diet treatment selected intake points that were close to the minimum carbohydrate concentration available to them, suggests that the dry diets are appreciably higher in carbohydrate than the target diet composition. Indeed, even dogs on wet foods appear to have minimized the proportional carbohydrate content of their diet. Overall, these data suggest that the preferred diet composition of the dogs has low carbohydrate:fat balance, with between 25% and 35% of energy contributed by protein.

 
Experiment three confirmed the nutrient ratios that were revealed in experiment two, while eliminating the chance that the dogs were eating more of one wet food than the other because of differences in palatability.
 
Taken together, these results suggest that the target diet of dogs in our study consists of approximately 30% of energy from protein, 63% of energy from fat, and 7% of energy from carbohydrate.

 
Despite this research, I’m not convinced that a diet consisting of 30% energy from protein, 63% energy from fat, and 7% energy from carbohydrate is right for most pet dogs.
 
These preferences evolved when canine ancestors were extremely active hunters in a feast-or-famine environment. Today’s canine couch potatoes who never miss a meal could get quite fat on this type of diet if their portions aren’t strictly controlled (weight gain was a problem in the study we’ve been talking about). Also, switching to a high fat diet may result in pancreatitis if the transition isn’t done gradually.
 
That said, I do think it makes sense for owners to look for dog foods that get approximately 30% of their energy from protein and are as high in fat and low in carbohydrates as their dog’s lifestyle can support.
 
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
Image: bitt24 / Shutterstock
 



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dogaware Low carbs or high fat? 03/06/2015 01:28pm I don't understand why this study's conclusions are all focused on carbs, when the amount of fat could be equally or even more responsible for the dogs' choices. High fat = high palatability, making it more likely that the dogs are choosing high-fat diets rather than low-carb diets.

I'm not a believer in feeding high-carb diets, but wanted to point out that the conclusions drawn are not supported by the study itself. Not the first time I've felt that way.

I'd actually prefer to feed more protein and less fat. Protein is good for almost everything, with no downside for almost all dogs, while fat adds calories that can lead to weight gain or decreased nutrition (if quantities are limited to prohibit weight gain). 63% of calories from fat is VERY high, equivalent to what sled dogs are fed. Reply to this comment Report abuse 2 TheOldBroad Diet 03/06/2015 05:42pm I wonder how cat poop would have fared in this study. Reply to this comment Report abuse 3

 

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All Fiber is Not the Same http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2015/february/all-fiber-not-same-32501 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.



All Fiber is Not the Same










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February 13, 2015 / (2) comments


Dietary fiber can be used to treat a variety of health conditions in dogs including obesity, anal gland impactions, diarrhea, and constipation. But all fiber is not the same, and adding the wrong type to the diet can actually make some problems worse rather than better.
 
Fiber can be divided into two major subcategories:
 
1. Insoluble Fiber
 
Cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignins are examples of insoluble fiber. They are not digested and pass through the gut essentially unchanged. Insoluble fiber can help dogs lose or maintain body weight by increasing the volume of food they can eat without adding much in the way of calories. Insoluble fiber also adds bulk to the feces, which can stimulate movement within the gastrointestinal tract, making it helpful in some cases of canine constipation. Additionally, this increased bulk puts more pressure on the anal glands during defecation, which encourages them to release their contents in a normal manner, reducing the risk of impaction.
 
2. Soluble Fiber
 
Chicory, inulin, fructooligosacharides, pectins, psyllium, plant gums, oats, barley, beet pulp, and some types of fruits and legumes all contain soluble dietary fiber. The canine digestive tract doesn’t have much of a direct effect on soluble dietary fiber, but  the bacteria that live in the large intestine break it down into short chain fatty acids that are a very important energy source for the cells that line the large intestine. Some types of soluble fiber are also considered prebiotics — substances that increase the prevalence of “good” bacteria within the digestive tract. These characteristics make the presence of appropriate amounts of soluble dietary fiber in the diet very important to the overall health of the large intestine and to the part of the immune system that resides there.
 
Therefore, it’s not too surprising that soluble fiber can be used to treat some types of large bowel diarrhea. In addition to promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and healthy colonic cells, soluble fiber also absorbs water, which can help make stools more formed and easier for a dog to control. The symptoms of large bowel diarrhea include:

having to “go” frequently but producing only a small amount of stool at any one time
straining
the presence of mucus or fresh blood in the stool

 
On the other hand, dogs with small bowel diarrhea tend to produce very large amounts of loose stool but do so only a few times a day. These cases tend to respond best to a low-fiber, highly-digestible diet.
 
Healthy dogs should eat high quality foods that contain both soluble and insoluble fiber to gain the benefits of both. If you think your dog’s stools and elimination behavior could use some improvement, try a different food that includes at least one soluble and one insoluble fiber source that I mentioned above in its ingredient list. Supplements that contain a combination of insoluble and soluble fiber are also available and can be used to good effect, particularly when making a wholesale dietary change isn’t advisable.
 
Talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions about the role that fiber should play in your dog’s diet.
 
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
Image: Composite / Shutterstock
 



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TheOldBroad Fiber 02/17/2015 06:01pm Does sweet potato fall in there anywhere? How about pumpkin? Reply to this comment Report abuse 2 Dr. Jennifer Coates 02/18/2015 02:00pm Sweet potato and pumpkin are both good sources of soluble and insoluble fiber. Reply to this comment Report abuse 3

 

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Manage Your Dog's Hyperthyroidism at Home With This Simple Change http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2015/january/manage-your-dogs-hyperthyroidism-home-simple-change-32-32452 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.



Manage Your Dog's Hyperthyroidism at Home With This Simple Change










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January 30, 2015 / (2) comments


Hyperthyroidism, a very common condition in cats, is exceedingly rare in dogs. Off the top of my head, I can only remember diagnosing one dog with hyperthyroidism in the course of my career (other than those dogs who were on supplements for hypothyroidism and needed a reduction in dose).
 
My patient had the classic symptoms of hyperthyroidism: weight loss in the face of an excellent, bordering on ravenous, appetite and increased thirst and urination. Unfortunately, identifying the cause was quite simple. I could easily palpate a large mass on the underside of her neck.
 
A biopsy confirmed what I suspected; cancer of the thyroid gland.
 
Until recently, I had thought that cancer of the thyroid gland was essentially the only disease that could cause elevated thyroid hormone levels in dogs, but it turns out that diet can be to blame also. A couple of newly published papers reveal that eating certain types of foods and/or treats puts dogs at risk for dietary hyperthyroidism, which can also be called thyrotoxicosis.
 
The first study looked at twelve dogs who ate raw meat diets or were fed fresh or dried gullets and had elevated levels of thyroid hormone in their bloodstream.
 
Half of the dogs had clinical signs such as “weight loss, aggressiveness, tachycardia [an abnormally rapid heartbeat], panting, and restlessness,” while the other half were symptom-free. After changing the diet, the eight dogs that were reevaluated all had normal thyroid hormone levels and any symptoms that were present resolved.
 
In the next study, researchers identified fourteen dogs who had high thyroid hormone levels while eating commercially available dog foods or treats.
 
“All 14 dogs were being fed all-meat or meat-based varieties of commercially available dog foods or treats at the time of diagnosis… All samples or descriptions of the suspect foods or treats provided by clients were of a similar” type and included air dried dog foods, jerky treats or strips, and thawed, raw dog food. After four weeks off of these foods or treats, the dogs’ thyroid hormone levels were all back to normal and any symptoms they had were gone.
 
The suspected cause in all these cases was the inclusion of thyroid tissue in the food or treats being fed to the dogs. A similar problem has been identified in people. Ground beef that inadvertently contained thyroid tissue has led to cases of so-called “hamburger thyrotoxicosis.”
 
This is a sort of good-news bad-news scenario for owners.
 
The good news: If your dog develops symptoms and laboratory findings consistent with hyperthyroidism, cancer is no longer the “only” possible diagnosis.
 
The bad news: We all have to be a little bit more careful about what we choose to feed our dogs.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
References
 
Dietary hyperthyroidism in dogs. Köhler B, Stengel C, Neiger R. J Small Anim Pract. 2012 Mar;53(3):182-4. 
 
Exogenous thyrotoxicosis in dogs attributable to consumption of all-meat commercial dog food or treats containing excessive thyroid hormone: 14 cases (2008-2013). Broome MR, Peterson ME, Kemppainen RJ, Parker VJ, Richter KP. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2015 Jan 1;246(1):105-11.
 
 
Image: arosoft / Shutterstock
 



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TheOldBroad I-131 01/30/2015 04:48pm If the hyperthyroidism isn't caused by food and it's truly a thyroid issue, can dogs be treated at Camp Iodine like cats? Reply to this comment Report abuse 5 Dr. Jennifer Coates 01/31/2015 10:52am I131 treatment is rarely used in dogs since the cause of non-diet related hyperthyroidism is almost always a malignant cancer. Reply to this comment Report abuse 3

 

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What To Do When a Dog Stops Eating http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2015/january/what-do-when-dog-stops-eating-32401 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 To Do When a Dog Stops Eating










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January 16, 2015 / (2) comments


Most dogs love to eat, which is why a meal that has been left untouched immediately raises concerns. An almost endless list of problems can cause dogs to go off their food — some are trivial but others are potentially life-threatening.
 
Determining whether immediate action or watchful waiting is the appropriate response can prevent canine suffering and unnecessary veterinary expenses. When your dog stops eating, follow these five steps.
 
1. Think about the last few days
 
Hindsight often really is 20:20. Now that you know something is up with your dog, think over the last few days. Did something occur that could be responsible for your dog’s lack of appetite, for example a change in diet or a “mysteriously” overturned trash can? Has your dog’s appetite been somewhat reduced recently? Have you noticed any other symptoms (e.g., lethargy or loose stools) that may be related to what’s going on?
 
Make note of when your dog’s first symptom developed. When dogs are going to get better on their own, improvement will usually be noted within 24-48 hours, but you need to know when that clock started ticking. If skipping breakfast is honestly the first sign of trouble and your dog seems to feel fine otherwise, waiting a day or two to call the vet is perfectly reasonable. If, however, a loss of appetite is just the latest in a series of symptoms that have developed over the course of a few days (or longer), the “wait and see” train has already left the station.
 
2. Ask other people in the dog’s life if they’ve noticed anything
 
Unless you are the only person looking after your dog, ask his or her other caretakers whether they’ve noticed anything unusual over the last few days. Perhaps your spouse pulled the dog out from under a bush with something “icky” in his (the dog’s!) mouth on a recent nightly walk, or your neighbor’s dog who routinely comes over to play is ill.
 
3. Examine the dog
 
Perform a “quick and dirty” physical exam on your dog. Gently push on his or her belly. It should be soft and your dog should not react in pain. Look for evidence of diarrhea in the fur around the rectum or vomit around the mouth. A dog’s gums should be pink (unless they are pigmented) and moist. Dry or pale mucous membranes can be a symptom of dehydration and/or other serious conditions. If you find anything worrisome on your physical exam, call your veterinarian immediately.
 
4. Inspect the food
 
Whether you feed a commercially prepared or homemade diet, something might be wrong with the food itself. This is especially true if you just fed the first meal out of a new batch of food, or if the bag, can, etc. has been open for quite awhile. Look at and smell the food. If anything appears “off,” try feeding your dog again from a different lot of food. I don’t recommend making a wholesale diet change at this point, since it will be difficult to determine if a dog is not eating because he or she does not like the new food or is continuing not to feel well.
 
5. When in doubt, talk to your veterinarian
 
It’s always better to err on the side of caution. Problems caught early are easier (and cheaper!) to resolve.
 
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
Image: Muh / Shutterstock
 



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KLND #6, a change in meds 01/16/2015 08:23pm Much to his vet's surprise, my dog doesn't tolerate ketaconazole. It wasn't until I said "He's lost 10 lbs (15% of his body weight) in two weeks." did the vet stop giving me advice on how to feed a fussy eater and change to fluconazole. Reply to this comment Report abuse 5 Bai C #7 teeth/gums not healthy 01/29/2015 09:44pm Or, if it's normal, just wait for him to eat again. My dog has gone a good week or so without eating. Up to ten days, really. He's 17 and has no known medical problems. He just has never eaten much, and been fussy with his food (not with treats and anything he's found on the floor, of course). Okay, when he was 13-14 he had a benign tumor, but that's it aside from his gums rotting a little. That's to be expected of an elderly dog, though.

Which brings me to #7: if he's 5 or older and you don't brush his teeth, or 15 or over and his gums are starting to rot. If this happens, and you feed him crunchy/hard kibble he will find it uncomfortable and stop. Try mixing in more wet food. Reply to this comment Report abuse 2

 

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How to Feed Older Dogs http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2015/january/how-feed-older-dogs-32373 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 to Feed Older Dogs










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January 02, 2015 / (0) comments


Nothing beats a good, old dog. The relationship between canine senior citizens and their owners is exceptionally deep and multifaceted. Good nutrition can help keep this relationship going strong for as long as possible.
 
Definitive guidelines regarding what constitutes the best diet for older dogs do not exist. Owners and veterinarians need to work as a team to assess every dog’s individual nutritional needs and make appropriate dietary choices.
 
The first step is to screen the dog for disease. Nutritional management plays a role in the treatment of many illnesses that are commonly diagnosed in older dogs (e.g., chronic kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, some types of cancer, and heart disease). If a dog has a nutritionally responsive disease, he or she should eat whatever diet is recommended for dogs with that condition. Considerations based on age take a back seat in these cases.
 
Owners have a lot more leeway when feeding healthy, older dogs. Senior dog foods occupy a lot of shelf space in stores, but they can be quite different from one another. Picking the right product is very important. For example, most senior dog foods are somewhat lower in fat than are traditional, adult foods. Because most older dogs require fewer calories than they once did, reducing the fat content of their diet can help prevent obesity. A lower fat food is perfectly appropriate if your older dog does, in fact, have a tendency to gain weight. On the other hand, if you have a skinny old dog who struggles to maintain his weight, a low fat dog food will make the problem worse rather than better.
 
Older dogs can also have trouble maintaining their lean body (muscle) mass, and some senior dog foods contain less protein than those designed for young adults. I assume this choice is based on the misguided assumption that lower protein levels will protect an older dog’s kidneys from damage. In fact, many dogs actually need a little more protein in their diet as they age if they are to maintain a healthy lean body mass. Avoiding excess protein is important if a dog is in kidney failure, but research has shown that feeding reduced protein foods to older dogs “just in case” is a mistake.
 
Look for the following characteristics in diets designed for older dogs:

High quality ingredients to maximize digestibility and nutrient absorption and reduce the formation of potentially damaging metabolic byproducts
Antioxidants (e.g. vitamins E and C) to promote immune function
Fish oils or other sources of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids to maintain brain, skin, and joint health

 
Because of the variability in senior dog foods, there is no guarantee that the first one you try will be the right one for your dog. If after a month or so on one diet you are not pleased with your dog’s response, try another… and another… and another, or ask your veterinarian for help picking out the right food for your dog.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Image: sisqopote / Shutterstock
 



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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2015/january/how-feed-older-dogs-32373#comments dogs lifestage nutrition NutritionNuggets senior Fri, 02 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32373 at http://www.petmd.com
Are 'Natural' and 'Organic' Just Words on a Dog Food Label? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/december/are-natural-and-organic-just-words-dog-food-label-322-32294 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 'Natural' and 'Organic' Just Words on a Dog Food Label?










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December 19, 2014 / (1) comments


Take a close look at the front of a few dog food labels the next time you are at the pet supply store. Do you know what’s behind the phraseology that you see there? In some cases, what is written is defined by a regulatory body, but other terms are essentially meaningless. Read on to learn which words and phrases you should look for and which are pure marketing hype.
 
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has established rules about how the front of a dog food label can reference ingredients. For example:

Chicken for Dogs — the product must contain at least 95% chicken, not including water used for processing.
Chicken Dinner for Dogs — the term “dinner,” or similar words like “entrée” or “formula,” can only be applied to products that contain 25% or more of the ingredient in question.
Dog Food with Chicken — the word “with” implies that at least 3% of the food is made from that ingredient.
Chicken Flavoring — “flavoring” indicates that specific tests were able to pick up the presence of the ingredient, but no particular percentage is mandated.

 
Other terms that have specific definitions include:
 
Natural
 
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) defines “natural” as being derived “solely from plant, animal or mined sources, either in its unprocessed state or having been subjected to physical processing, heat processing, rendering, purification extraction, hydrolysis, enzymolysis or fermentation, but not having been produced by or subject to a chemically synthetic process and not containing any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic except in amounts as might occur unavoidably in good manufacturing practices.”
 
Organic
 
Agricultural products labeled as organic are produced in accordance with the provisions of the Organic Foods Production Act and the regulations of the National Organic Program as outlined by the USDA. The term indicates that an agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.1
 
Human Grade
 
Human food safety and sanitation standards are described in regulations adopted by the FDA. Description of a product as human-grade indicates compliance with these standards. For a manufactured pet food, both the ingredients and final product processing must comply with the standards. Thus, unless a pet food manufacturing facility complies with human food safety standards, once ingredients enter the facility they are no longer human-grade and it would not be appropriate to describe the finished pet food or ingredients as human-grade.1
 
Many of the other terms that you’ll find on dog food labels are really just hype. Simplify your dog food shopping experience and ignore any references to a food being holistic, ancestral, instinctual, premium, super-premium, or containing no fillers.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
References
 
1. Awareness and evaluation of natural pet food products in the United States. Carter RA, Bauer JE, Kersey JH, Buff PR. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2014 Dec 1;245(11):1241-8. 
 
Image: StepanPopov / Shutterstock
 



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TheOldBroad Flavoring 12/19/2014 04:49pm If there's an AAFFO display, I'm guessing that even those foods that have flavoring still have to meet nutritional standards, it's just that may not really have chicken in the food. Reply to this comment Report abuse 3

 

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How You Feed Your Dog Is As Important As What You Feed http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/december/how-you-feed-your-dog-important-what-you-feed-32247 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 You Feed Your Dog Is As Important As What You Feed










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December 05, 2014 / (3) comments


Let’s say you’ve already figured out what type of food you’re going to feed your dog. I hate to break it to you, but your work’s not quite done. There are three more aspects of feeding dogs that require your attention.
 
How Much to Feed Your Dog
 
Determining how much food to feed your dog is like trying to hit a moving target. Amounts will vary with growth, reproductive status (e.g., decreasing after spay/neuter), exercise levels, health status, and even with something as basic as ambient temperature. I recommend that you use the pet food label’s directions as a starting point and then make adjustments based on your dog’s body condition.
 
Your goal should be to feed your dog the amount of food that keeps him or her slightly on the skinny side of normal. Research has shown that thin dogs live longer and experience fewer health problems than do dogs who are overweight or even at a “normal” body condition. It can be difficult for owners to accurately assess their dog’s body condition so there is no shame in asking your veterinarian for help in this regard.
 
How Often to Feed Your Dog
 
Most healthy adult dogs do best when they are fed twice a day (roughly twelve hours apart). Puppies need to eat two to five times a day depending on their age and breed. In general, the younger and smaller the puppy is the shorter the time between feedings must be to avoid potentially dangerous low blood sugar levels. As puppies mature, you can gradually decrease the number of feedings aiming for the adult’s schedule of twice daily by 12-18 months of age.
 
Method of Feeding
 
Owners can pick from three different feeding methods, or a combination thereof:
 

Free Choice – an essentially unlimited amount of food is available at all times
Time Limited – the dog has a certain amount of time in which to eat after which the food bowl is picked up
Amount Limited – owners determine the size of each meal

 
Most dogs do best with amount limited feeding, with a touch of time limited thrown in for good measure. By controlling the amount your dog eats, you have the best chance of meeting the “slightly skinny” benchmark that is associated with optimal health and longevity. By keeping an eye on how long it normally takes your dog to finish his or her meals, you can identify health problems that adversely affect appetite in their earliest stages when treatment is at its most effective and least expensive.
 
If your dog normally grazes throughout the day, you don’t have to pick up the bowl between meals. Just watch how much is food normally left before the subsequent feeding. If it begins to increase, this is a sign that the dog’s appetite is decreasing.
 
You’ve spent a lot of time, effort, and money to pick the right food for your dog; don’t mess that all up by feeding the wrong way.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Image: dogboxstudio / Shutterstock
 



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TheOldBroad Dogs vs. Cats 12/05/2014 04:43pm Guess I'd have a really hard time feeding a dog. (Luckily cats usually just graze and eat a little at a time.)

I'd have a really hard time saying No if they looked hungry and gave me "the look."

"keeping an eye on how long it normally takes your dog to finish his or her meals"

Serious question, when one gets a "new" dog (assuming an adult), about how long do you think it takes to determine the amount of time the critter usually takes to eat a meal? How many meals would you suggest the human monitor to see how long it takes for Fido to clean his plate? Reply to this comment Report abuse 6 Jim Dandy 12/06/2014 01:31am A constant supply of dry kibble has always been available to all of my dogs. They have gotten enough "treats" and "goodies" as reward and variety feeding that they have used the kibble as a source to hold them over until the next "treat". That may be a little while or more than a day. The kibble is there when they get hungry enough to eat it but they don't hog it all down and want more because they hold out for the "good stuff". By leaving a constant supply of food for sustenance and controlling the "good stuff" it's not too hard to monitor and control their eating habits. I've never had a dog who would get fat on kibble nor completely ignore kibble when hungry. I've never had a "fat" dog, nor one who was underweight. They have a way of eating just enough when not tempted with that was too good to pass up, but they will easily eat until they're sick if given enough food that's just "too good". Regular exercise is important too, (for me and the dogs). They need to work off what they eat and will soon develop a routine that's right for them and their lifestyle. Constantly available kibble with no goodies should keep most dogs at a good weight with little intervention, they won't starve themselves and most probably won't overeat dry food unless they're bored.
Disclaimer: This is what I've learned through personal experience, I've had dogs in my life since I was a little kid and have been personally responsible for the well being of 4 healthy dogs in the past ≈40 years. (The previous three lived to be about 14 - 15 years old and my current canine companion just celebrated his 3rd birthday anniversary). Reply to this comment Report abuse 8 Dr. Jennifer Coates 12/08/2014 02:58pm I would let a dog settle in to his or her new home for a week or two and then monitor how long a "normal" meal lasts for a few days in a row. Reply to this comment Report abuse 4

 

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Is Grain-Free Really Better for Dogs? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/november/grain-free-really-better-dogs-32132 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.



Is Grain-Free Really Better for Dogs?










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November 21, 2014 / (3) comments


Doesn’t it seem like “grain-free” dog diets are taking over the pet food aisle? I’m surprised at just how omnipresent they’ve become. While there is nothing inherently bad about grain-free dog food, I worry that owners are being led to believe that grain-free foods are necessary for dogs. This is simply not the case.
 
Let me first say that there are times when a particular individual will benefit from a grain-free diet. For example, a dog who is allergic to wheat should obviously not be fed a food containing that type of grain. The question I want to look at, however, is, “Are there any benefits from going grain free for healthy dogs?” I believe the answer is “no” and that the popularity of grain-free diets is based on a couple of basic misunderstandings.
 
First of all, “grain free” is not the same as “carbohydrate free.” Starch, a type of carbohydrate, is essential to the formation of dog food kibble. Therefore, if you are feeding dry dog food, it has to contain a certain amount of carbohydrates. A quick look at the ingredient list will reveal the presence of potato, sweet potato, tapioca, or other carbohydrate sources. The phrase “grain-free” is not a substitute for “carbohydrate-free” or even “high-protein,” which is what most owners who buy these products seem to be looking for.
 
Contrary to what you might have heard, dogs do have all the digestive enzymes needed to break down, absorb, and utilize nutrients from grains. I’ve heard proponents of grain-free diets argue that dog saliva does not contain the enzyme amylase, which is needed to break down carbohydrates from grains. While it is true that dogs don’t make salivary amylase, their pancreas does make the enzyme, and since dogs tend to swallow large chunks of food without chewing, the need for salivary amylase is questionable. The lining of the dog’s small intestine also produces brush border enzymes that are responsible for much of the carbohydrate digestion.
 
Don’t get me wrong. Even though dogs digest carbohydrates quite well and grains are a healthy source of carbohydrates for most dogs, pet food manufacturer can overdo it. Carbohydrates are cheaper than animal-based sources of protein, so the financial lure of maximizing the former while minimizing the latter is hard for some companies to resist. If what you’re looking for is a low-carb, high protein dog food, you need to be looking at the guaranteed analysis on the back of the bag rather than the marketing hype on the front.
 
A food’s carbohydrate percentage does not have to be included in the guaranteed analysis, but it’s quite easy to estimate. Add up the percentages for crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, moisture, and ash and subtract the result from 100%. The result is a ballpark figure for the food’s carbohydrate percentage. If a number for ash is not provided, use 6% as an estimate for dry food and 3% for canned.
 
If you want to compare dry and canned foods, you’ll probably need to do a bit more math because most companies report their guaranteed analysis on an as fed rather than dry matter basis.
 

Find the percent moisture and subtract that number from 100. This is the percent dry matter for the food.
Divide your carbohydrate percentage by the percent dry matter and multiply by 100.
The resulting number is the carbohydrate percentage on a dry matter basis.

 
Analyzing a food’s guaranteed analysis is not as simple as buying into the buzz around grain-free, but the work will let you make an informed decision about what to feed your dog.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
Image: Jaromir Chalabala / Shutterstock
 



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TheOldBroad Substitutions 11/21/2014 04:51pm I"m thinking that maybe "grain free" might be something like the human "Sugar free" because I believe that to keep the taste pleasurable, the amount of fat is increased in "Sugar free" items.
Reply to this comment Report abuse 4 GSDMama Carbohydrate Analysis 11/22/2014 09:27am What is the ideal carbohydrate percentage that we should be looking for during the analysis? I would love to know the percentages for a moderately active mature adult, an active adult, and a highly active/working adult dog. Also, are there different carbohydrate goals in males vs. females? I'm not 100% sure if ideal body fat percentages and resting metabolism differ in females vs. males like it does in humans. Thank you in advance for further clarification! Reply to this comment Report abuse 7 Dr. Jennifer Coates 11/24/2014 02:55pm Dogs don't have a specific need for carbohydrates so it's difficult to recommend a particular number to look for. The information that comes closest to what you are looking for is found in the National Research Council's recommended allowances for dogs. Take a look at this post:

http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/jcoates/2013/sept/recommended-daily-allowances-for-nutrition-cat-dog-foods-30907 Reply to this comment Report abuse 3

 

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Tips for Feeding Dogs with Megaesophagus http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/november/tips-feeding-dogs-megaesophagus-32123 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.



Tips for Feeding Dogs with Megaesophagus










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November 07, 2014 / (4) comments


In the past, a diagnosis of megaesophagus was usually a death sentence. Severe cases of the condition make it virtually impossible for a dog to hold down food and water. In health, the esophagus is a muscular tube that pushes what is swallowed into the stomach. A “megaesophagus” is like a deflated balloon. It passively collects food and water until it can take no more, at which point the dog regurgitates all that he has just swallowed.
 
Megaesophagus can be a symptom of another disease (anatomical abnormalities, neuromuscular disorders, etc.), and in these cases, addressing the primary problem may also result in less regurgitation. Unfortunately though, most cases of megaesophagus are idiopathic, meaning that no underlying cause can be found. When a dog has permanent megaesophagus, whatever the reason, feeding management is the most important part of treatment.
 
The goal of feeding management is to get food and water out of the esophagus and into the stomach as quickly as possible. This is important for several reasons:
 

Dogs obviously need to digest and absorb food and water to survive.


Once food and water is in the stomach, it cannot be regurgitated. (Vomiting is still possible but not likely with megaesophagus.)


Repeated episodes of regurgitation puts dogs at high risk for aspiration pneumonia.

 
As we have gained more experience with megaesophagus, we have been able to develop guidelines that work for many dogs:
 

Feed multiple, small meals throughout the day.


Feed a high quality, calorically dense food to limit the volume necessary to meet the dog’s nutritional needs.


Prevent the dog from having access to food and water outside of monitored feeding times (e.g., on walks or by raiding housemate's bowls).


Feed the dog in an elevated position. Dogs with mild megaesophagus may be able eat from a raised food bowl, ideally either seated or with their front feet on a block of some sort to increase the angle of their esophagus. In most cases, however, dogs with megaesophagus need to eat in a truly vertical position and remain upright for 20-30 minutes after a meal. This is best accomplished by training dogs to use a Bailey chair.


When all else fails, a permanent feeding tube can be inserted into the dog’s stomach through which owners can administer food and water.

 
Exactly what to feed is still a matter of trial and error. Each patient seems to have an ideal food consistency, but this can vary greatly between individuals. Options to try include meatballs of canned or homemade dog food, a thin slurry of food and water, a thicker gruel, and thoroughly soaked kibble. When dogs are unable to keep down enough liquid to meet their needs, they can be supplemented with gelatin squares (often called “Knox blocks”) or subcutaneous fluids.
 
There’s no doubt that taking care of a dog with megaesophagus requires a truly dedicated owner, but if you fall into that category, the disease no longer has to be a death sentence.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
Image: Jaromir Chalabala / Shutterstock
 



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TheOldBroad Breeds 11/14/2014 05:18pm Are there some breeds that are more prone to get this?

Reply to this comment Report abuse 1 Dr. Jennifer Coates 11/15/2014 11:08am Shar Peis, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Greyhounds, Irish Setters, Labrador Retrievers, Miniature Schnauzers, Newfoundlands, Wirehaired Fox Terriers. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1 Purrsngrrs Age 12/01/2014 12:32pm Does age also play role in this disease?? Reply to this comment Report abuse 1 Dr. Jennifer Coates 12/02/2014 03:20pm Idiopathic megaesophagus is most commonly diagnosed in middle aged or older dogs, but other forms of the disease more typically affect younger animals. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1

 

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Study Finds 45% of Raw Pet Foods Contaminated with Dangerous Bacteria http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/october/study-finds-45-raw-pet-foods-contaminated-dangero-32104 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.



Study Finds 45% of Raw Pet Foods Contaminated with Dangerous Bacteria










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October 24, 2014 / (0) comments


I have recently developed a special interest in the bacterial contaminants in dog food that can be transmitted to people. Why? Because my one year old son has an obsession with our dog’s kibble. The second my back is turned he scoots his cute little butt over to Apollo’s bowl and finds that one (or more) stray kibble that escaped my notice and vacuum.
 
Thankfully, my dog’s food is made by a reputable manufacturer under strict quality control measures (it’s a hypoallergenic diet only available under veterinarian’s orders). That doesn’t completely eliminate the chances that my son could become sick after handling a kibble or two, but I’m confident the risk is quite small.
 
A recently published study shows the same could not be said if I was feeding my dog a commercially prepared raw food. Researchers analyzed dry and semimoist dog and cat food (no canned products were tested), raw dog and cat foods (e.g., those packaged in tubes), exotic animal feeds, chicken jerky products, pig ears, and bully stick-type products looking for Salmonella, Listeria, Escherichia coli O157:H7 enterohemorrhagic E. coli, and Shiga toxin–producing strains of E. coli (STEC). The scientists picked these potential contaminants because of their ability to cause illness and even death in people who handle pet foods.
 
Scientists evaluated 480 samples of dry and semimoist food and found only two incidences of contamination, both in dry cat foods. One was positive for Salmonella and the other for Listeria greyii. This comes to a 0.4% contamination rate. None of the exotic animal feeds were contaminated.
 
On the other hand, of the 196 samples of raw dog and cat food, a total of 88 were found to be contaminated — 65 for Listeria, 15 for Salmonella, and 8 for STEC – a 45% contamination rate. The authors also found that two of 190 chicken jerky products, pig ears, and bully stick-type products were positive for STEC, and one was positive for Listeria — a 1.6% contamination rate.
 
In the past, significant disease outbreaks in people have been linked to contact with dry dog and cat foods (most notably the Diamond Pet Foods Salmonella incident in 2012). It now appears that the greatest risk associated with commercially available foods lies elsewhere. I strongly discourage the practice of feeding raw dog and cat foods, especially if someone in the household has a weak immune system (including young children and the elderly). If you choose to feed raw anyway, follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines to prevent infections associated with the handling these products:
 

Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds) after handling raw pet food, and after touching surfaces or objects that have come in contact with the raw food. Potential contaminated surfaces include countertops and the inside of refrigerators and microwaves. Potential contaminated objects include kitchen utensils, feeding bowls, and cutting boards.


Thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces and objects that come in contact with raw pet food. First wash with hot soapy water and then follow with a disinfectant. A solution of 1 tablespoon bleach to 1 quart (4 cups) water is an effective disinfectant. For a larger supply of the disinfectant solution, add ¼ cup bleach to 1 gallon (16 cups) water. You can also run items through the dishwasher after each use to clean and disinfect them.


Freeze raw meat and poultry products until you are ready to use them, and thaw them in your refrigerator or microwave, not on your countertop or in your sink.


Carefully handle raw and frozen meat and poultry products. Don’t rinse raw meat, poultry, fish, and seafood. Bacteria in the raw juices can splash and spread to other food and surfaces.


Keep raw food separate from other food.


Immediately cover and refrigerate what your pet doesn’t eat, or throw the leftovers out safely.


If you’re using raw ingredients to make your own cooked pet food, be sure to cook all food to a proper internal temperature as measured by a food thermometer. Thorough cooking kills Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and other harmful foodborne bacteria.


Don’t kiss your pet around its mouth, and don’t let your pet lick your face. This is especially important after your pet has just finished eating raw food.


Thoroughly wash your hands after touching or being licked by your pet. If your pet gives you a “kiss,” be sure to also wash your face.

 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
Reference
 
Investigation of Listeria, Salmonella, and Toxigenic Escherichia coli in Various Pet Foods. Nemser SM, Doran T, Grabenstein M, McConnell T, McGrath T, Pamboukian R, Smith AC, Achen M, Danzeisen G, Kim S, Liu Y, Robeson S, Rosario G, McWilliams Wilson K, Reimschuessel R. Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2014 Sep;11(9):706-9. 
 
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2014/october/study-finds-45-raw-pet-foods-contaminated-dangero-32104#comments NutritionNuggets Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:00:00 +0000 32104 at http://www.petmd.com
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 9 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 7 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 4 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 7 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 2

 

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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 4

 

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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 5 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 2

 

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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 15 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 / (25) 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 15 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 29 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 12 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 22 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 20 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 11 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 7 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 1 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 Dogsrus513 Dog food for pancreatitis 02/07/2015 05:32pm Hello,
My 8 yr old dog just recovered from pancreatitis. She was sick for almost a week, but is doing much better now. I'm looking for a good quality dog food for her. She has allergies so it is difficult to find food for her that she doesn't react to. The vet is recommending hills prescription RD dry and hills prescription WD canned. (Before she got sick with pancreatitis she was eating the WD canned and natural balance lamb and rice dry food.)
I would prefer to feed her something with more protein.
Would really appreciate any feedback you could give me.
Thanks.
Holly Reply to this comment Report abuse ChristinaLee 02/08/2015 11:58pm I already posted with some info about my 9 year old Doxie w the pancreatitis / she was very sick, and we tried all the typical things but in the end what has stabilized her is A prescription
Royal Canin Hypoallergenic Hydrolyzed moderate calorie kibble. It is a hydrolyzed ( so easier to digest) and a novel protein (soy). Only available w prescription. I didn't want to feed her Royal Canin but I can't argue that it has worked , the only re occurrence has been when she gobbled up food from the other dogs bowl accidentally. It was really hard for me because I always fed her a very high quality dog food / veggies/ etc..... This illness just came out of nowhere and she was so very sick.
She's now put on weight that she lost, she's back to a happy excited little Doxie again
Good luck Reply to this comment Report abuse Dr. Jennifer Coates 02/09/2015 10:32am A simple way to add some extra protein but little extra fat to the diet your veterinarian recommended would be to add a small amount of cooked, white meat chicken to each meal. To be on the safe side, run this idea by your vet before proceeding. Reply to this comment Report abuse Dogsrus513 02/12/2015 12:42pm Thank you for responding. Unfortunately, she is allergic to chicken. This dog is allergic to a lot of different proteins which cause constant licking. It's been a challenge just finding her regular dog food. Now trying to find a good quality low fat, moderate protein dog food that she can tolerate is a problem.
She has already tried the Royal Canine hydrolyzed dog food and can't tolerate it.
Could you please recommend another dog food?
Thanks again. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1 Dr. Jennifer Coates 02/12/2015 04:08pm These types of cases are tough. You could ask your vet to set up a consultation with a veterinary nutritionist who could either make a recommendation for a commercial diet that would fit all your dog's needs (assuming one exists!) or design a recipe for home cooked food. Reply to this comment Report abuse majeromero Recurrent Pancreatitis 02/17/2015 11:04pm Our 5-year old Golden Retriever is recovering from his third bout of pancreatitis in 4 months. Our vet has given us a prescription dog food. Do you recommend more frequent, smaller feedings? We would appreciate any words of wisdom that may help stave off a fourth attack (exercise, meds, etc). Thank you! Reply to this comment Report abuse Dr. Jennifer Coates 02/18/2015 02:33pm I can't comment specifically on your dog's case since I don't know all the details but general recommendations for reducing the chances of future flare ups can include a fat restricted diet and omega-3 and antioxidant supplements.

Reply to this comment Report abuse sephoraz Please help me help dog 03/25/2015 11:35am Hello, I have a 4 year old, 26lb. Frenchie Pug that was diagnosed with Pancreatitis about a year ago, but I seem to have it in check for the moment. She takes PancreaPlus tablets daily while eating Wellness Core Grain Free - Reduced Fat Formula which I believe has 12% crude fat. I’ve been doing some research and from what I read, the fat content should be much lower for dogs with Pancreatitis. Is this true? Do you have any suggestions on a specific food? I just want to make sure I’m feeding her the best food to prevent another pancreatitis attack. Her vet told me to give her liquid iron & B vitamins for the anemia. A few hours after giving them to her, she started foaming at the mouth and didn’t move for 2 hours. I thought she was going to die! I didn’t give her the vitamins again. Any suggestions on what to do for the anemia? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Reply to this comment Report abuse Dr. Jennifer Coates 03/25/2015 04:36pm A general rule of thumb is to feed a diet lower than what the dog was eating when it developed pancreatitis. It sounds obvious, but if a dog was eating a very high fat diet, dropping to a "regular" fat content may be all that is needed. On the other hand, if pancreatitis developed while the dog was eating a low fat diet, an extremely fat restricted diet may be necessary to prevent relapses.

I can't really comment on whether or not vitamin supplementation is necessary since I don't know the details surrounding your dog's anemia. Tell your veterinarian that your dog can't tolerate the current supplement and ask what he or she recommends. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1

 

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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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July 18, 2014 / (2) comments


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 19 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 19

 

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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.



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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 17

 

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