DOG FOOD And NUTRITION

Diet for Dogs with Heart Disease

As the heart disease becomes more severe, you will want to speak with your dogs veterinarian about dropping to 80 milligrams of sodium per 100 calories of food, or even 50. Over-the-counter options are not as plentiful at that level, but they are certainly out there. You dont have to start cooking up the dogs meals at your stove.

Hidden Sodium

While its not difficult to find a dog food thats moderate, or low, in salt, what dog owners often dont realize is that there can be a lot of sodium hidden in people foods routinely given to pets, especially to administer the heart disease medications meant to ameliorate the effects of the disease. Among those high-sodium foods: cheese, deli meats, peanut butter, and even bread, Dr. Linder says. If you want to use peanut butter, she advises, make sure to get a no-salt-added brand. Table scraps are often high in sodium, too - everything from ketchup to potato and rice mixes to soups. Even licking the bowl can add a lot of sodium to a dogs diet.

Will Keeping a Dogs Weight Ideal Help?

Dog owners find that overweight dogs with heart disease who are trimmed down with a sound weight management plan appear to have less trouble getting around and are more comfortable breathing - no surprise there.

The Three Most Common Supplements for Older Dogs

Theres no reason for a healthy dog, even for a healthy older dog, to take supplements. Dog food with a label that says it has undergone feeding trials by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) or has been formulated according to AAFCO standards truly contains everything your pet needs to maintain good health. That said, dog supplements comprise a big industry, in all probability accounting for at least $1 or $2 billion of the $60 billion Americans spend each year on their pets. The three most popular for our geriatric canine companions are antioxidants, glucosamine, and omega-3 fatty acids. Is there ever a reason to administer any of these to your aging pal?

Trimming Down Your Overweight Dog

Kim and Dave Rossi couldnt figure out what they were doing wrong. Their two chocolate Labs, Buster and Dutch, kept gaining weight no matter how much they cut back on the dogs food. The couple was particularly confused because they had chosen the food very carefully, paying attention to marketing claims that it was high quality and also giving the dogs powdered supplements to add to their nutrition. The one thing we didnt know, Mrs. Rossi says, was the calorie content of what we were feeding them.

Feeding the Dog with Liver Disease

A lot of owners want to change their dogs diet if they see any signs that somethings not right with the liver, says Tufts veterinary nutritionist Cailin Heinze, VMD, DACVM. But a change in liver enzyme values on blood work does not necessarily mean that a dietary change is appropriate. Indeed, there are only two main instances where dietary change has been shown to be beneficial for liver disease. One - When the liver disease is severe and the dog has protein intolerance; and two - when there is excess copper in the liver.

Does Your Dog Eat Too Fast?

People are often told to eat slowly, both so that they dont get indigestion and also because its simply whats done in polite company. Dogs - you can tell them to eat slowly all you want. But for many, that advice will go about as far as reminding your pet that the fork goes on the left.

What to Feed Your Pregnant or Lactating Dog

The Tufts study suggests that many of the breeders feeding their pregnant dogs incorrectly may have been paying more attention to specific diet ingredients and other diet factors rather than to the information on the package in fine print that lets a dog owner know whether a food is right for an expectant dog or one who has recently given birth and is still letting her litter suckle.

Take-Home Points

If the diet has been formulated to meet nutrient requirements, it should say for all life stages or for growth in order to be suitable for feeding pregnant or lactating bitches.

How the Dog Food Nutrient Levels Are Decided

Coming up with the recommended levels of different nutrients for dogs at their various life stages - pregnancy and lactation included - is something of a two-step process. It begins with the National Research Council, which is an arm of the National Academy of Sciences. Every 10 years or so, the National Research Council combs the literature for the latest crop of studies on nutrition and writes up the vitamin and mineral requirements according to…

Dear Doctor

Letters to Tufts Veterinarians - Is the percent ash in the diet correct?

Byproducts and Additives and Synthetics, Oh My!

Pyridoxine hydrochloride, poultry byproduct meal, DL-alpha-tocopherol acetate. No wonder some people get freaked when looking at the ingredients lists on dog food packages. The word combinations sounds straight out of a laboratory run by Jekyll and Hyde. A lot of customers would much rather see terms like holistic and human grade. …