Your sick dog probably needs special nutrition.
Diets for Sick Dogs
One important indication that your dog is not feeling well is a loss of appetite. Vomiting or diarrhea might also indicate a dietary problem. Before you switch diets, though, you should make an appointment and have your veterinarian check her out. Eating and digestive problems may be indications of medical disorders unrelated to your dog’s diet.
Dogs and diets medical needs sick dog graphicCancer, renal failure (that’s kidney failure), and heart failure are the most common non-accidental causes of death in dogs. As your dog ages, your vet can screen your dog for these diseases by performing simple bloodtests and urinalysis. Yes, that does mean you’ll have to follow Fido around the yard with a jar!
Meanwhile, if your vet does suspect one of these three major diseases, she may prescribe a special diet to help control the condition:
1) A diet with a controlled amount of high quality protein, but low in sodium and phosphorus is indicated for a dog with kidney problems.
2) A diet low in sodium for dogs with heart disease.
3) A high fiber diet for a dog with diabetes.
4) A diet that is highly digestible, with carefully controlled sodium intake, for dogs with liver disease.
Your vet must take many factors into consideration when recommending dietary changes for your dog. For example, if your dog is overweight and is a good candidate for heart disease, your vet may prescribe something different from what she’d recommend for a younger dog who has been diagnosed with colon cancer. Above all, work with your vet by observing your dog carefully, noting any changes, and reporting them to your vet during regular checkups. Every special diet calls for constant monitoring.
If you don’t know calcium from phosphorus and you think the major food groups are chocolate, movie food, fast food, and frozen food, then this page is for you.
Dog food is full of good nutrients!
This is the first principal to remember in checking nutrients in your dog’s food. Major dog food brands—which means all but the cheap-o unfamiliar brands—are backed by great research labs, scientists, nutritionists, and tons of data. Look around you: most dogs are in great shape and are getting good nutrition without major expenditures from their owners.
The most important ingredient of your dog’s diet is water. Healthy dogs ingest as much water as they need. Since dry food has lower moisture content, dogs drink more water when fed dry food. They need about 2.5 times as much water as dry content, so they drink to supplement whatever moisture is in their food. No matter what you feed your dog, all you have to do is provide clean, fresh water and make sure the water dish is never empty.
Most of us have a good idea what carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are, because in this day and age, it’s what we pay attention to in our own diets. Fad diets are often based on eating almost no fats, eliminating most carbohydrates, or on cutting calories.
Calories, by the way, are just a measure of how much heat energy is given off when a sample of food is burned. In energy terms, the calorie content represents the amount of gross energy yielded by a particular food. You’ll also see terms like digestible energy and metabolizable energy with corresponding calorie levels that are less than the gross energy figure. These measurements account for the fact that our bodies are not as efficient as a blast furnace and thus don’t completely utilize every calorie identified in the gross energy number.
A last note: if your dog is undergoing surgery (for spaying, for example), chances are a special diet is not recommended unless another condition exists.