Special Dog Diet for Obesity, Allergies and Illness
Of course, you should always check with your veterinarian to get tips on special dog diets.
Obesity in Dogs
Dogs are considered obese if they are very overweight, approximately 15 percent more than the average for their particular size and breed.
Obesity in dogs can be harmful to the:
Determining Obesity in Dogs
Many owners don't realize that their dogs are obese, sometimes due to the fact that the weight gain was gradual. The absence of a waistline, waddling, or laziness can all be signs that a dog is overweight.
If you can run your hands along your dog's sides and not feel his ribs, then you may want to consider a change in your dog's diet.
Food deprivation is not usually the way to go with dogs. Instead, your dog's balance of nutrients should be adjusted. High-fiber, high-protein diets can help obese dogs to lose weight and be healthier overall.
Certain dog foods are designed specifically for obese dogs and will provide the correct number of calories for weight loss and balanced nutrients.
Explaining Obesity in Dogs
Certain breeds are prone to obesity, so special diets may be needed to prevent obesity. These breeds include:
- Cairn terriers
- Cocker spaniels
Food Allergies in Dogs
Often, if a dog has a food allergy, he will frequently scratch himself due to itchy skin. If this causes a rash, see a veterinarian.
If a food allergy is to blame for itching skin and scratching, the allergen, or the ingredient causing the allergy, could be an ingredient in many other types of dog food. This is why simply switching dog food brands may not be helpful. Your veterinarian can make dietary recommendations that may help you identify the allergen.
Follow these steps to help identify an allergen in your dog:
- Give your dog food that includes only one or two ingredients. Dog food that is labeled hypoallergenic can fall under this category, or a vet can give you recommendations.
- Provide only distilled water for your dog.
- After a few weeks pass and you see improvement, switch your dog to regular water.
- After about another week, if improvement continues, add a small amount of one of the ingredients from your dog's former diet.
- If the allergy symptoms don't recur after another week, add another ingredient from the original dog food.
- Continue adding ingredients weekly until symptoms recur and you've identified the ingredient that is the allergen.
While this may seem like a great deal of effort, it is necessary to treat your dog's problem. Many dog owners switch their dogs to a diet of lamb and rice as soon as they suspected a food allergy, but there is no guarantee that a commercial diet of lamb and rice doesn't also contain the ingredient causing the allergy.
Sick Dogs and Special Diets
Dogs who are sick often need special diets. Vomiting and diarrhea can be indicators of an illness, so take your dog to a veterinarian if you notice these symptoms. Don't switch your dog's diet before having a vet check him out.
If your dog's vet suspects a major disease or medical problem, she may recommend a special diet to help control the condition or problem:
- Suspicion of Diabetes: A high-fiber diet will likely be recommended for your dog.
- Suspicion of Heart Disease: A diet low in sodium will likely be recommended for your dog.
- Suspicion of Kidney Problems: A diet with a high-quality protein but low in sodium and phosphorus will be recommended for your dog.
- Suspicion of Liver Disease: A diet that is easily digestible and a carefully controlled sodium intake will be recommended for you dog.