Hypoallergenic Diet for Dogs – The Facts is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide
The culprit in food allergies is a protein or starch that that has been part of their regular menu for up to two years, for example beef, wheat, corn or chicken. A suitable hypoallergenic diet will therefore need to contain ingredients that they’ve never been given before. The only way to check if your pet is allergic to food is to feed a hypoallergenic diet and nothing else for eight to twelve weeks. If your pet is sensitive to something in their diet, switching to such a food should result in a reduction of symptoms.
There are a couple of ways of feeding a hypoallergenic diet:
Novel Protein Foods
These foods contain unusual proteins and starches, such as kangaroo, venison or rabbit, accompanied by tapioca, sweet potato or peas. These ingredients aren’t likely to be found in regular supermarket pet foods, but instead are usually available from your veterinarian.
Prescription hypoallergenic diets are usually more expensive than most other kibbles, but when you have to manage allergies, it’s worth it over the long term. Cheaper foods can be contaminated with allergens such as soy or beef when they are manufactured and this can be enough to trigger a reaction in sensitive animals.
Hydrolyzed Protein Foods
These diets contain commonly used protein sources such as chicken, but the protein is hydrolyzed, or broken down, into particles so tiny that they aren’t likely to cause an allergic reaction. Howeer, some veterinarians think that they are still a problem in food allergic pets, in spite of the extra processing they have undergone.
Home Cooked Meals
Many dog owners like to make their pet’s meals in their own kitchen, and you can still do this if you have to use a hypoallergenic diet. All you need to do is choose one source of protein, such as fish, and one source of starch or carbohydrate, such as tapioca or sweet potato. Cats don’t need the carbohydrate added and will do fine on an all-meat diet for this. You should feed this food for 12 weeks with no extras such as treats or leftovers from your own dinner plate.
The main disadvantage of this feeding method is that this diet isn’t nutritionally balanced and completely unsuitable for long term use. If your pet responds to this diet, then you’ll need to add some supplements to it to make it balanced; your vet can help with this.
Grain Free Foods
Does feeding a grain free kibble help with food allergic dogs? Not necessarily. Although grain free is popular at the moment, these foods are really only of benefit in those animals that have an allergy to that grain and the only way to tell if that’s the case, is to use a hypoallergenic food.
Hypoallergenic diets play two roles in helping to manage the food allergic pet. Firstly, they are used to diagnose the condition – if your pet is food allergic, a change to an appropriate diet will see an improvement in their symptoms. Secondly, they are used to treat the condition long term, and for this, you should choose a meal that is nutritionally balanced.
Hypoallergenic Diet for Dogs – The Facts is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide]]>
Feeding Human Food To Dogs is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide
Feeding Human Food To Dogs is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide]]>
Proper Dog Nutrition Defined is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide
Proper Dog Nutrition Defined is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide]]>
Which Dog Food is Best For My Dog? is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide
Which Dog Food is Best For My Dog? is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide]]>
Dog Feeding Guidelines is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide
Dog Feeding Guidelines is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide]]>
Raw Dog Food Diet Guide is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide
Raw dog food, natural dog food, the BARF diet – all gaining in popular appeal amongst dog owners. In this detailed report Carol O’Herily examines the impact of feeding raw on your dog’s health, behaviour and more.
To BARF or not to BARF – that’s the bone of contention at the moment in the dog world.
Australian vet Dr Ian Billinghurst’s book Give Your Dog A Bone, which introduced the BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) diet for dogs, threw the cat among the pigeons when it was first published in l993.
While we long ago discovered the physical benefits of feeding this species-appropriate diet to our own dogs, we didn’t see it as our place to interfere with or try to convert those people who were happy with the convenience of feeding their dogs a commercially produced product.
After all, dogs are scavengers and will try to pick up nutrients from pretty well anything that even remotely resembles food – sticks, stones, faeces, wood, grass, garden plants, coal, soap, dog food. It’s when they start on other things like the kitchen walls, skirting boards, carpets, the remote control, the post or the family’s pet rabbit that their owners start to think about calling in professional help for a behavioural problem.
The catalyst for one dog owner calling us for help was when she came home from work to find that her new dog had dug up her old dog and was blissfully feeding on its rotting corpse in the garden. It took a lot of talking to get the lady to understand that what her dog did, though horrific from the human viewpoint, was perfectly normal and instinctive behaviour for a scavenger short on nutrition.
Most dog owners try very hard to do the right thing by their pet. They take it to an obedience class and put in a lot of work in an effort to have a well-behaved dog. It can be soul destroying when the dog’s behaviour is great in class but atrocious at home.
Frustrated owners often re-home these badly behaved dogs. Some are destroyed because they breached the bounds of human decency by biting somebody. People have come to accept that horses bite. So do cats, hamsters, birds, pigs and rabbits. When a dog bites a person, we kill them rather than try to understand what happened. Dogs and humans are two totally different species trying to live together as friends, but each species has vastly different rules for survival.
What we have come to understand after dealing with numerous problem dogs is the link between diet and bad behaviour. We’ve found that a lot, if not all, of the dog behavioural problems we treat happen for the most part as a direct result of the desperation and stress suffered by dogs when owners innocently give them a diet which is inappropriate for their species.
However, it is simplistic to say that all bad behaviour can be cured by diet. This is not a cure all. Dogs need to be treated individually, not only in relation to diet but also according to their environment, pack, breed and history. However, suitable rehabilitation of problem dogs can be achieved very quickly if re-training is combined with sensible feeding.
Owners are told that their dog will grow out of bad behaviour such as chewing, digging up the garden, jumping up and weeing all over the house. The good news is this is correct. The bad news is that some dogs can also grow into bad behaviour.
The connection is food. Pups are generally fed multiple meals from a variety of ingredients and they are usually very happy little creatures. Something happens between happy puppyhood and out-of-control adulthood. A once happy puppy can become desperate and very badly behaved if its nutrition diminishes at the same time as its growth speeds up.
Frequently the onset of bad behaviour can be traced close in time to when the frequent feeding regime was changed. If the feeds are reduced before the pup’s growth slows down, the puppy will instinctively seek to supplement its diet by trying to find edible items either in the house or garden. Unfortunately they don’t have a reference book of edible items, so they try anything and everything within reach.
These young dogs can become quite loopy in their search for nutritional supplements. One of the symptoms of this desperation is hyperactivity. The owner then tries to do the right thing and take the dog for long walks ‘to use up its energy’. This can actually make matters worse as the dog expends the energy needed for growth.
CASE HISTORY: We work closely with a small, private shelter called Just for Dogs in Derbyshire. Margaret and Doug Smith who run the shelter followed our suggestion and took on the BARF diet for one of the young dogs at the shelter whose behaviour was so atrocious that people would sidle gingerly past her enclosure when they were viewing dogs. No one in their right mind would want Sasha in their home.
Because she was housed in a kennel with a cement floor, she was deprived of her ability to forage and supplement her diet. Also, the stress factor associated with kennelling further depleted her of vital nutrients. She consequently became unmanageable in her desperation to supplement and survive. Her behaviour changed dramatically with proper feeding and Sasha is now happily doing much better.
After this experience, Doug and Margaret gradually adopted the BARF diet for all of the rescue dogs in the shelter. Their feeding and veterinary expenses have markedly reduced and the previously unwanted dogs are being d very quickly. It is easy to re-home a placid, well-behaved dog.
Most people have been through the pangs of dietary excesses and deficiencies at some stage. You may not consciously recognise it as such but you will probably relate to standing in front of an open refrigerator, wanting to eat something but not knowing quite what you want. Mothers of teenage boys will recognise this behaviour. At times of stress and change such as during the teenage years, pregnancy, lactation, grief, loneliness or excessive exercise, our bodies crave different nutrients.
Dogs are no different when some nutrient is missing from their diet. They are even more attuned to their body’s needs than we are and develop all sorts of ways to supplement their diet. They don’t stand in front of an open refrigerator, but they do raid food cupboards and feast on table legs, tissues (particularly used ones) and anything else that comes within teeth range.
Listed below are some common behavioural problems and a brief outline of how the problems link to diet:
• barking – to call the person who supplies the food (or) ‘stay away from my food supply’
• chewing – trying items to find out if they supply nutrients
• destructive behaviour – looking for the elusive “something” to satisfy a dietary deficiency
• digging – searching for nutrients
• pulling on the lead – on the hunt
• inappropriate toileting habits in the adult dog – marking areas in the house where food is regularly eaten
• food stealing – dogs are opportunists, especially when chronically hungry for appropriate nutrition
• obsessive behaviour – often relates to the obsessive need to satisfy a craving or an expression of frustration when stopped from foraging to supplement the diet
• sibling rivalry – the leader gets first go at the food
• separation anxiety – their only source of food supply (owner) has gone
• jumping up – to stimulate vomiting which produces food in the animal world
Any or all of these problems can and do create havoc in the home of dog owners who just want their dogs to behave like the dogs on television.
The more desperate the dog, the more desperate the behaviour. If dogs knew that biting whilst living with us in our world would result in them being destroyed they wouldn’t do it, particularly since all their actions are about survival. So why do they do it?
If you have ever embarked on a weight reduction diet with determination and have been very good for weeks eating all the right things and seeing results, you will know that there comes a time when you would happily rip the arm from someone to get a chocolate bar.
Inappropriate dieting can produce aggression in the most amiable of people. This can happen also with the sudden withdrawal of previously often-taken substances such as nicotine, alcohol, barbiturates or sugar. Quite a lot of commercially produced dog food contains addictive ingredients, some as innocent as sugar. The rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels has a lot to do with dogs that have ‘a mad half hour’ either before or after eating.
Left to their own devices, dogs will forage all day and feed on a large variety of plants, insects, bacteria and animal matter. They will roll themselves in all sorts of smelly muck. They come home and spend hours “cleaning” themselves. They pick up a lot of nutrients this way and can become quite aggressive if owners try to wipe them clean or bath them. It’s not that they don’t want to be bathed, but more that they see your behaviour as robbing them of the vital dietary supplements they have managed to pick up and bring home on their feet and fur.
CASE HISTORY: Stroller, a fourteen-month-old Blue Roan Cocker Spaniel was booked in for destruction when the owner contacted Bark Busters. He had attacked his owner. In unravelling the story, we found that Stroller had jumped up on the table, snatched a tissue and run under the table guarding his trophy aggressively. What Stroller didn’t know was that the owner’s engagement ring was inside the tissue. She naturally went under the table to retrieve it and Stroller attacked her. She was heartbroken because she thought that Stroller had turned on her.
He was brought to Bark Busters’ head office farm for rehabilitation. One of the first things we noticed about him was the putrid smell from both ends. This is one of the signs of dietary stress that we look for. We started him on the BARF diet immediately. Over the next four weeks, the smell disappeared and so did his aggressive possessiveness with items. He took naturally to the diet as do most dogs and that, with a combination of training, exercise and manipulation, produced an absolute treasure of a dog that anyone would be proud to own. He doesn’t now need to ‘hunt’ to supplement his diet, as he was doing when he snatched the tissue. It would have been so easy to destroy him for his ‘aggressive’ behaviour.
Dog or Food Aggression
Dogs also learn to jealously guard areas where they regularly collect minute dietary supplements. This can lead to what appears to be dog aggression if a dog from another pack approaches what they see as their hunting grounds. They have no idea that the area they’re guarding is a public park.
Dogs that are regularly fed from a bowl placed always in the same place can become aggressively protective of the bowl since they see it as their only source of food.
They are particularly driven by food, as are most animals. If you want your dog to be well behaved, study what dogs are meant to eat and feed it to your dog. Don’t just take our word for it. Do your research. There is a huge groundswell of change happening as people become more and more aware of how diet affects behaviour.
Zoo keepers go to great lengths to supply food which animals in their care instinctively eat in a wild situation – bamboo shoots for the giant pandas, leaves from the eucalyptus tree for koalas, fresh fruit and vegetables for the monkeys. Zoo keepers go to these lengths because they know that this ensures their animals remain happy and healthy.
We are our dog’s keepers. Why then would we not feed them a diet which is biologically correct for their species? We should try to ‘listen’ to what they’re trying so desperately to us with their ‘bad’ behaviour.
About The Writer:
Carol O’Herlihy is a director of Bark Busters UK www.barkbusters.co.uk
She is an experienced dog trainer and has helped to rehabilitate many dogs with behavioural problems.
Raw Dog Food Diet Guide is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide]]>
Dog Obesity Statistics is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide
The UK’s pet owners are warned today that they are killing their pets with kindness, as new PDSA figures show dog obesity is rising at a dramatic rate!
Leading veterinary charity, PDSA, is using the first day of Crufts to reveal its dog obesity map. This ties in with the launch of its ‘Long Live Pets’ campaign, the PDSA’s biggest ever pet health initiative, designed to promote a healthy life for all pets and starts by addressing the weighty issue of obesity.
PDSA has also developed its own version of Body Condition Scoring to help owners learn more about a healthy body shape and to help them identify when their pets are piling on the pounds.
Sadly, dogs, like humans, are failing to win the battle of the bulge, with many owners putting their animal’s lives in danger by feeding them chocolate*, ready meals and fatty foods. One in three dogs seen by PDSA PetCheck nurses are overweight.
This means that the life ‘pet-spectancy’ of many beloved UK pets will be cut short as a result of this obesity epidemic, warns the charity for pets in need of vets. An overweight Labrador for example, could have its life cut short by as much as two years and is more likely to develop chronic diseases such as arthritis when younger. Overweight pets are more likely to develop conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, heart and kidney problems.
PDSA Chief Veterinary Surgeon, Richard Hooker, says: “Our Long Live Pets initiative will address key pet health issues, starting with pet obesity. It is our biggest ever pet health campaign, and our objective is to implement a number of pet health care initiatives such as our Pet Fit Club slimming competition and national sponsored dog walk, which will raise awareness and hopefully achieve positive results for obese pets and address the burgeoning waistlines of the UK pet population.
“As the UK’s leading veterinary charity we provide over 1.8 million treatments to sick and injured pets every year, which means we have a wealth of knowledge and expertise on important pet health issues. As such, we have a duty of care to educate owners about the health and lifestyle needs of their pets to ensure they have the best quality of life possible.”
PDSA pet health checks of more than 9,000 dogs** during 2006 and 2007 reveal which UK regions are home to the portliest pooches. Nationally, PDSA data also shows a dramatic rise of 9 per cent in the number of overweight dogs seen in 2007 – 30 per cent of dogs health checked in 2007 were considered overweight, compared to only 21 per cent in 2006.
When applying PDSA’s 30 per cent overweight figure to the entire UK dog population (around 6.5 million) it means that around 1.95 million UK dogs are overweight! And, if each of those pets was carrying just one extra inch around their waist that would make for one gigantic waistline – stretching the length of more than 500 football pitches!
The PDSA study also shows that hotspots for overweight pets are areas where people are more likely to be obese. PDSA found the number of fat pets in the Midlands stood at 29 per cent in 2007 compared to 19 per cent in 2006. Recent human obesity figures*** showed the Midlands had the largest number of people classed as obese. Meanwhile, the lowest dog obesity figures were in London at 19 per cent. Human obesity is also low in the Southeast. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all score poorly on dog obesity with 30 per cent classed as overweight by PDSA veterinary staff. The overall worst region for dog obesity is the Northwest where 31 per cent of dogs seen are overweight.
Interestingly, child obesity figures also mirror PDSA’s dog obesity statistics with one in three Year 6 children classed as overweight or obese.****
Richard Hooker, adds “Kindness can be misplaced and feeding any animal too many treats can have serious health consequences. The research we have done shows that there is a real need for owners to help their overweight pets lose those excess pounds. Controlled portions of pet food and regular exercise are vital to ensure a healthy life for all our pets. In a nutshell, exercise, nutrition and body awareness are key.”
PDSA pet slimming success story, Scooby, will be the star of Crufts after losing 2.5kg and four inches from her waist while taking part in PDSA Pet Fit Club, a 100 day diet and exercise programme. A table will be laid out with the food Scooby ate before her diet including fish and chips, curry, pizzas and ice cream. Scooby now enjoys a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle and has continued to lose weight in recent weeks.
At the start of her diet, Scooby was carrying 81% extra weight and 8 inches too many around her waist! If all of the overweight dogs in the UK were carrying Scooby’s extra inches, that would mean 15.6 million excess inches or 246 miles of dangerous flab, nearly twice the length of the M25! And this is probably just the tip of the iceberg as most dogs in the UK are a lot bigger, and wider than Scooby.
Thanks to her weight-loss, Scooby now has a much improved quality of life and will no doubt live a lot longer than she would had she remained dangerously overweight.
For more information about PDSA visit www.pdsa.org.uk
* Chocolate can poison dogs and other pets, because of the toxic effects of theobromine – a common component of chocolate intended for humans. In dogs the effects of chocolate poisoning appear within 4 to 24 hours of ingestion and can have fatal consequences.
** Results are based on over 9,000 dogs given PDSA pet health checks between March and October 2006 and March and October 2007.
*** Human obesity research by Southampton and Portsmouth Universities on 18,000 adults. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=454673&in_page_id=1770
****Results from the National Child Measurement Programme launched in 2005.
Dog Obesity Statistics is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide]]>
Vets Welcome Dog Food Labelling Change is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed the European Parliament vote to improve the labelling of food, including new country of origin labelling and a requirement to label meat from animals slaughtered without stunning (according to certain religious traditions).
The European Parliament has voted in favour of labelling for meat from slaughter without stunning. The BVA believes that all animals should be effectively stunned before slaughter to improve the welfare of these animals at slaughter.
However, as long as slaughter without stunning is permitted the BVA has argued for any meat from this source to be clearly labelled to enable all consumers to fully understand the choice they are making when purchasing such products.
Meat from slaughter without stunning currently enters the mainstream food chain without being labelled as such, leaving consumers unaware.
The Parliament also voted to extend country of origin labelling to all meat, poultry, dairy products and other single-ingredient products as well as all meat, poultry and fish when used as an ingredient in processed food. Importantly, meat labels should indicate where the animal was born, reared and slaughtered.
The UK enjoys some of the highest animal welfare standards in the production of food and the improved country of origin labelling will allow consumers to make a more informed choice.
The BVA is calling for one clear EU welfare label that takes into account the welfare of animals use in food production from birth to slaughter, including the production system, transport and method of slaughter.
Commenting on the European Parliament vote, Professor Bill Reilly, President of the BVA, said:
“This is a huge step forward in improving the welfare of animals at slaughter. The more consumers understand these issues, the more consumer power can make a difference.
“The BVA has argued for some time for meat from animals slaughtered without the more-humane method of stunning should be labelled as such and we are delighted that the European Parliament supports this view.
“However, there are many issues associated with the welfare of animals in food production and the BVA would like to see the development of a clear welfare label that consumers recognise as a mark of higher animal welfare.
“Currently there are too many different labels that mean different things, which can be confusing for shoppers. One higher welfare label would go a long way to improving consumer choice and animal welfare.”
Vets Welcome Dog Food Labelling Change is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide]]>
Is Natural Dog Food Better? is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide
All too often pet owners assume that because certain foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are healthy for them, they are also healthy for their pets, said Susan Nelson, K-State assistant professor of clinical services.
“Natural and veggie-based pet foods are based more on market demand from owners, not because they are necessarily better for the pet,” she said.
Natural pet food isn’t necessarily unhealthy for pets, and there are good brands on the market. But cats and dogs have specific nutritional needs that some of these foods may not provide, Nelson said.
For instance, a natural dog food may provide antioxidants through fruits and vegetables, but it may be deficient in other nutrients the dog needs. If pet owners opt for natural pet food, it’s important to make sure pets still receive a well-balanced diet, she said.
Before buying any pet food that is labeled natural, owners should make sure it comes from a reputable company. Nelson said the Association of American Feed Control Officials, or AAFCO, sets guidelines for the production, labeling and distribution of pet food and sets minimum standards for the nutritional adequacy of diets.
To ensure that food contains the proper nutrients a pet needs, pet owners should only buy pet food that has at least one of the two AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements on its label, Nelson said. The association’s standards determine whether a pet food company’s product is complete and balanced for a specific life stage according to one of two criteria: the diet’s formula meets the minimum nutrient requirements established by the association or the diet has undergone association feeding trials.
Feeding trials, while not perfect, generally give the best assessment on how well the food performs for a specific life stage, Nelson said. Owners should look closely at the feeding statement on the label, as some foods are intended for intermittent feeding or only for specific life stages, and they could be detrimental to a pet if fed long-term.
Nelson said it is important to differentiate between terms such as natural, organic and holistic. Organic and holistic currently have no specific definitions for pet foods under the Association of American Feed Control Officials guidelines. Organic is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for human food, but the department has no definition of natural foods for humans.
The feed control association defines natural products as those that don’t contain any chemically synthesized ingredients except vitamins or minerals. The labels for natural products containing any of these ingredients must state: “Natural with added vitamins, minerals and other trace nutrients.” Consumers should be wary of any pet food company that claims to have organic or holistic food because they don’t exist by the association’s definition, Nelson said.
Consumers should also pay attention to food ingredients. For instance, cats and dogs should not eat onions or garlic. While flaxseed oil can provide fatty acids for dogs, cats can’t use it for this purpose. Any manufacturer that uses these ingredients should be avoided, Nelson said.
“Most reputable companies have a veterinary nutritionist on hand,” Nelson said. “These companies also conduct nutritional research and have their own internal quality control in place.”
Because dry pet food needs preservatives, there is often debate about whether artificial or natural preservatives are better. Studies show that synthetic preservatives seem to work better and aren’t bad for pets at the levels contained in the food. However, market demand is for using vitamins E and C because they are natural preservatives.
As with any pet diet, pet owners who opt for natural pet food should keep an eye on their pets to make sure the food is not negatively affecting them, Nelson said.
“Assuming the diet you have chosen meets AAFCO minimum standards of nutritional adequacy, and if your pet looks healthy, has good coat quality, is in good body condition, has good fecal consistency and is able to do its job, the diet is probably adequate for him,” she said.
What Say You?
Do you agree that natural dog foods are not always the best?
Is Natural Dog Food Better? is a post from: Dog Nutrition Guide]]>