DOG FOOD And NUTRITION

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. …

A Homemade Dog Food Diet or Store Bought?

The team of scientists, all veterinarians, analyzed 200 recipes for homemade dog food found in pet care books, on websites, and elsewhere and found that 190 of them (95 percent) had at least one essential nutrient in concentrations that did not meet official standards for healthy dogs. Almost 170 of the recipes (more than four out of five) had multiple nutrient deficiencies. The results were reported in the prestigious Journal of the American Veterinary Association.

A Reduced-Sodium Diet When Your Dog is Diagnosed with Heart Disease

Your dog is diagnosed with heart disease, so your veterinarian says to put him a on a lower-sodium diet. But how do you decide? As Your Dog reader Beth Acikgoz of Boca Raton, Florida, told us in reference to her 12-year-old shepherd mix Bob, who was diagnosed with heart disease last year, I have been trying to feed him a lower-sodium diet, but it is very difficult to find sodium content listed for any…

Probiotics For Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs

When Dr. Weese analyzed 25 canine probiotics available in regular retail outlets, 10 did not even list the bacterial counts in their merchandise. Of the 15 that did, only one in four actually contained what the label said. Some products mentioned that they contained bacteria that dont exist; that is, they made up or misspelled bacterial names. Other problems: no growth of the bacteria supposedly in the supplements, bacterial counts that were too low to effect any beneficial change in the gut, and no expiration date. In the end, only two products out of the 25 met the criteria Dr. Weese looked at for quality control. His research was peer reviewed and published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal.

How do Probiotic Manufacturers Get Away With Their Health Claims?

Even some of the better made probiotic products on the market come with claims that they will maintain your dogs digestive balance, promote intestinal and immune health balance, and reestablish healthy intestinal balance. How can they get away with that if the evidence for probiotics beneficial effects is so scant? …