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Educational Articles

Dogs + Nutrition

  • Dogs are generally full grown at about 1 year of age (a bit older for giant breeds, such as the Great Dane). They are considered middle aged by 5 to 7 years of age. In between is the young adult life stage. Other than obesity, dental disease, and osteoarthritis, unless there is some unusual medical crisis like cancer, this is typically a healthy period of a dog's life.

  • Megaesophagus is not a single disease. Instead it is considered a combination disorder in which the esophagus (the tube that carries food and liquid between the mouth and stomach) dilates and loses motility (its ability to move food into the stomach). When esophageal motility is decreased or absent, food and liquid accumulate in the esophagus.

  • Colitis – inflammation of the colon or large bowel – is a fairly common problem in dogs, and diarrhea is the most common sign of colitis.

  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the most common kidney-based disease in dogs. Waste products are normally filtered out of the blood by the kidneys and excreted in the urine, but dogs with CKD will end up with an accumulation of these waste products in the bloodstream as the filtering process breaks down.

  • A food with high levels of appropriate antioxidants has been shown to slow the rate of cognitive decline in older dogs, and the positive effects of antioxidants on cognition happen fairly rapidly when the dog is a responder to this approach.

  • Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the body can no longer appropriately manage the use of glucose for its energy requirements. The single most important lifestyle factor that contributes to the development of DM in dogs is body weight.

  • The first step toward determining the best nutrient profile to feed your dog with heart disease is to work with your veterinarian to determine what, if any, other medical conditions might be present in your dog.

  • The liver is the second largest organ in the body and provides about 1500 critical biomechanical functions. The goals of nutritional management of liver disease focus on controlling the clinical signs as opposed to targeting the underlying cause.

  • Over 50% of dogs in North America are either overweight or obese, so paying attention to the balance between activity and calorie intake is important.

  • The first inclination of some people when feeding a home-prepared diet to their pet is to simply feed the animal leftovers of what they are eating. It should be realized, however, that the nutritional needs of dogs, cats and humans differ.