Category Archives: Nutrition

What to feed, and how that works. Impact of nutrition on dermatology and overall health. Feeding trends.

Feeding a Dog in One Page

How to Feed a Dog In One Page

So when my clients come in, the single most common physical exam “defect” I find is the dog’s weight. And the thing is, they’re quadripeds which means they bear a lot of weight straight ACROSS the back and not up-and-down like we do.

And they’re not gifted with endless spinal health so “He can’t get up” is the death knell for the big dogs and DCM / airway embarrassment is the end of a lot of toy breeds –  BOTH mitigate by weight.

So how does LEPTIN play in this? Learn below.

How Leptin Plays in Feeding a Dog Correctly and How Much to Feed.

AMAZING: FOS Fructo-Oligo-Saccharides Chicory Root Soluble Fiber

What is FOS and Why Should I Care?

FOS stands for “Fructo-Oligo-Saccharides” and it’s pure “inulin”  – (not insulin lol)

Inulin is the ‘active ingredient” in all the cholesterol-lowering-good-gut-germ-growing-probiotics in the plant kingdom. Black beans, canned pumpkin, sweet potato, etc.

It turns out, to maintain a decent quality poop for most indoor dogs, “FOS” is great.

Gluten free and powerfully bio active in the gut, FOS slows an irritable bowel, and activates a stale one.

activity of soluble fiber for dogs

Question: Is FOS better than ‘canned pumpkin’?

Answer: Not really better than canned pumpkin, but FOS powder is less bulky and it’s easier. Also more economical.

Question: What is FOS Made of?

Answer: When FOS appeared on the market it was made with Chicory Root. It’s still made with Chicory Root but quite often, it also comes from “Jerusalem Artichoke” and tbh you couldn’t tell the difference because it’s both a white powder that looks like coffee creamer and has a very faint, slightly sweet taste.

Question: How do you use FOS in canine feeds?

Answer:  I use 1 tsp per 15 pounds of dog sprinkled in each feeding. IF the dog gets really gassy, or somehow (improbable) ends up with a loose(ish) stool, you’re giving too much. If the dog isn’t gassy at all and the stools are “better than ever” then you’re doing it right.

FOS is cheap.

FOS Chicory rooth soluble fiber for dogs

FOS in dogs

How Dogs Are Supposed to Eat

How Dogs Are Supposed to Eat

  • A puppy eats BIG
  • A stray eats BIG

A normal dog eats dry dog food with little interest, may even skip meals.

You have to add something to the dry food to keep them eating ‘well’ at every feeding, but then they go past “lean” and into fat.

A dog’s waist should be exactly 75% of the diameter of the chest*.  

  1. A 12 inch chest should have a 9 inch waist.
  2. A 20 inch chest should have a 15 inch waist.
  3. A 30 inch chest should have a 23 inch waist.
*exceptions exist in greyhounds and Salukis which may be < 2/3rds the chest.

When a dog is eventually at a healthy weight it will get PICKY about dry dog food. If we left it at that, our dogs would never get fat.

At that point it’s your call whether you mix something in the dry food to coaxe a lean dog to eat, or simply let her eat per her needs, and stay lean.

“She stopped liking her food. She just wouldn’t eat it.”

This is because they don’t NEED many calories when they’re mostly indoors, lean and healthy.

If I don’t say something about a dog’s overweight it means I gave up. It suggests the dog is an ornament or plaything, not a real creature.

The leading killer of dogs is overweight impacts on heart, airway and joints.

The number one owner error is struggling to convince an overweight dog to eat.

“If I don’t mix something in his dry food he won’t eat it.”

“Yes he will, he’ll regain an interest when he loses a little weight on his bratty hunger strike and he realizes you aren’t going to cave in.”

“No, I let him go hungry for two straight days looking at his dry food, then I gave him his usual milk shake, his peanut butter, Skittles and his bacon, so he wouldn’t die.”

“You just made my entire point.”

controlling overweight in dogs

dogs that are fat

Dogs and Cats Shouldn’t Have Chicken Butts

Dogs and cats should never have chicken in their butt.

Trying to get your attention with that headline.

How does chicken end up in the butts of dogs and cats? (Alternative title: “Inflammatory bowel disease due to whole protein maldigestion in colon” much less provocative.)

The gastrointestinal tract could be broken into three segments. The teeth and stomach handle the initial preparation of food for digestion, small intestine mashes everything together with digestive enzymes and absorbs all of the vital nutrients, and then the large intestine / colon picks up the water that’s left over in the gooey waste that’s left behind.

Sometimes the process is incomplete, as often happens with dogs and cats as they get older. Their digestive system becomes flimsy because they don’t chew their food as well, or can’t chew their food as well and their stomach acid production tends to decline.

The result of this, is the arrival of whole proteins in that last segment of the G.I. tract

Pieces of whole pieces of chicken as far as the body concerned, but especially as far as the germs are concerned.

The body sees these proteins as foreign invaders (having never seen them in the previous 10 years of the dogs life), and they very definitely recognize them as “not native protein“ so there is an immune response to these proteins and worse, whole proteins that enter the colon simply rot.

They are not digested any further there, so you can see how “having chicken in your butt” so to speak, would create problems. Rotting chicken in a large bowel that is absorbent, not digestive.

There are two ways to fix this, one is to give proteins that are already fully broken down and those are called hydrolyzed proteins and the second method is to give supplemental digestive enzymes including amylase, lipase, and protease.

Supplemental digestive enzymes are inexpensive, they are mixed with food that has had broth or water added to it to get the enzymes going, ideally you would let the food sit for an hour to pre-digest and then you would give it to the dog or cat.
What happens at that point is that the dog no longer experiences whole protein in the colon. The inflammation immune response and bacterial overgrowth ceases to occur in the bowels, and things proceed more normally.

You can thank me later.

What’s the Best Dog Probiotic on Amazon?

What’s the Best Dog Probiotic on Amazon?

  1. We’ve almost forever known that our gut contains germs.
  2. We learned a little more recently that many of the germs in our gut a “good” and necessary.
  3. In the recent past, science learned that we can implant / transplant beneficial germs to the gut.

Very recently, we realized that if we put “good germs” in the gut while we kill other germs with antibiotics, that the gut remains “pretty healthy” in spite of the antibiotics. Yeasts are less likely to overgrow and the bad germs left in the gut don’t get “the upper hand”.

So until lately, science has been putting milk-based germs (lots of lactobacillus) species into the guts to pretty good effect. They’re easy to get, to grow and to give. But they’re by no means “native” germs. They’re still “outsiders” and just holding a place.

What's the Best Dog Probiotic on Amazon
What’s the Best Dog Probiotic on Amazon

VERY very recently, science has started growing colonic germs (poop germs) commercially in the lab and those are actual REPLACEMENTS that benefit the gut. Since the germs are grown in petri dishes, it’s not like anyone’s being exposed to poop anymore than someone giving lactobacillus are being exposed to milk.

But dogs do better with native poop germs. So do people. (FMT) (These people should have a probiotic supplement!)

And so the probiotics that are the best have germs (in addition to the standard-bearer Lacto’s) germs that are ‘native’ or nearly-so, to the animal’s own gastrointestinal tract. Germs like:

L. Acidophilus, E. Faecium, L. Rhamnosus, L. Plantarum, B. Bifidum, B. Longum, B. Breve, L. Casei, B. Coagulans, B. Lactis, S. Thermophilus, L. Fermentum

When you see a germ with “faecium” in the name, go ahead and get grossed out, because that’s a poop germ, but it’s also a HERO among germs because it literally belongs in there. 

So while some companies are using the trusty old Lacto-team, which is GOOD, more progressive companies are adding actual “proper poop” species. Species that literally belong there.

Where to buy the recommended Probiotic
^Where to buy the recommended Probiotic

What else is in a good probiotic?

FOS. Fructo-Oligo-Saccharides. This is “inulin” (not insulin)  – – a soluble fiber from a lot of sources. Chicory was at one time the most common source but Jerusalem Artichoke is coming on. Inulin is literally “all that’s good” about soluble fiber. When you eat a pumpkin, sweet potato or black bean, you get some “inulin” soluble fiber. When you eat chicory root, or jerusalem artichoke, ALL you’re getting is “inulin” so you can see that FOS Powdered Chicory Root is a the best, purest source for inulin. Better than pumpkin or anything else.

But pumpkin is tasty. Dogs like it. So, we go with that.

What are Probiotic s made with, besides germs?

A great “vehicle” or “powder” to mix your probiotics in is FOS, or inulin powder and that’s often from Chicory or similar as listed above.

Other probiotics are mixed in oat powder. I say “Meh, okay. Overpriced oat meal with some germs in it.”

And some are based on Whey. Which is good. I would be HAPPIER seeing FOS/inulin as the base vehicle / powder, but whey has distinct palatability advantages.

So when you go over to Amazon.com you want to see:

  1. Ingredients only from America. (Not Italy, not China.)
  2. Based on Whey or FOS/inulin. (Not wheat, oats or any other grain)
  3. That contains E. faecium and S. thermophilus at least.

Which is the best one? (Best germs but Whey based, more tasty)

Which is the SECOND best one? (Most of the same germs but FOS based)

Runner Up With a Twist:  I’m including this because this company has done a little more research and decided: “You know what? Screw the milk germs, all a dog’s actually gonna benefit from are native species anyway, so give ’em LOTS of E faecium!” and so they did. Then they chocked it full of Vitamin C and Taurine, zinc and other goodies. They’re one of VERY few manufacturers who “put it in writing” that their germs are LIVE. Sadly, there’s no inulin, or soluble fiber, or whey in it, but it’s a good one:

 

Consequences of Atkins style, or ultra low carb feeding

Weight loss in dogs by feeding Atkins style is extraordinary, nothing short of exciting, when dogs are not given carbohydrates for a while their appetite planes down as they are no longer on the blood sugar roller coaster. Weight peels off of them and it’s just fat weight so it is very healthy.
My two-year-old dog Ajax just got too ripped. I didn’t like it when his ribs appeared and his flanks would ripple so I put him on the average American carbohydrate-based diet and his ribs have disappeared now now I limit the quantity so he does not get fat which is very easy on carbohydrate-based diet‘s. The following recording discusses Atkins feeding and will illuminate how to do that and diets to satisfy that goal.

What Does Ajax Eat Now? Grain Free Nutrition?

What Do You Recommend for Dogs on Grain Free, DCM-List feeds?

My priorities IN ORDER:

  • Quality Nutrition
  • Rice instead of peas / lentils
  • Cost
  • Deliverable
  • Not Chewy.com

My reason for changing foods was that Ajax was eating ultra low carb and that had cut him down to super-lean. Like, muscular with veins showing. As low-carb / raw often does. But that ‘ribby’ look, (despite his super thick muscle mass), just didn’t please my eye so I decided to go with carb based nutrition again. At least for a while.

I actually took Ajax off that (Ultra low carb) for a minute.
He was FRICKING bulky with the muscle, (he’s 3 years old) so I wasn’t worried about it, but his ribs were showing.
That is SO healthy.
*But* ….he looked like I was starving him (to the neighbors eyes) and frankly, he isn’t as much fun to pet because, I mean, he was SKINNY  – –  bordering on ‘creepily’ skinny (new word you’re welcome)
So I put him on Chicken Soup For The Soul dog food and he’s smoothing out FAST.
It’s DISTURBING how fast carbs in the diet put the weight back on. It’s not belly fat. Just overall sleekness.
Sadly, you can’t feed ‘atkins’ AND give carbs. That’s a metabolic “limbo” and they pack on UNHEALTHY pounds.

So I got on Amazon to find a diet that could be delivered.

(I don’t trade with Chewy these days, until Amazon buys them out and boots their “Fisher-Price pharmacy”.)

And I looked for something without corn or soy. Grains were okay, and Rice, preferred.

I wanted something not-very-expensive. But I don’t mind paying SOMETHING for dog food. I’m not going to settle for the basic Purinas*, or the Pedigree foods.

*Many of Purina’s diets are excellent nutrition. But the price matches that. I needed a better “deal”.

AFFORDABLE NUTRITION

I was doing the math on a decent-sized bag. And I found MANY diets that were like, 28 pound bags for $35 but when I dug down into the ingredients, most of them were poor.

Until I ran into “Chicken Soup For The Soul” Dog Food, Chicken, Turkey and Brown Rice formula.

The food acknowledges the benefits of Omega FA’s and includes those deliberately and at additional expense. The diet ALSO capitalizes on the health benefits of Zinc and Selenium which helps skin a VERY great deal.

nutrition
Chicken Soup for the Soul Dog Food is available in a puppy formula and two bite sizes.

good dog nutritionThe diet also has additional ‘soluble fiber’ in the form of chicory root but the amount is doubtfully “enough”. There are blueberry antioxidants which is also “near and dear” to my heart. But again, there’s more salt in the diet than Blueberries so it’s not “rich in antioxidants” but at least they’re added – –  in a diet with a great price point. Further down the list, are some probiotics of note in the ‘fermentation products’ which only speaks to the percolation of the cultures to produce them, after which they are dried (lyophilized) which kills a lot of those beneficials but many also survive.

Ingredients are IMPRESSIVE with animal protein over-represented in the top three ingredients:

Ingredients

Chicken, turkey, chicken meal, turkey meal, cracked pearled barley, whole grain brown rice, peas, oatmeal, white rice, faba beans, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), lentils, natural flavor, ground flaxseed, salmon, duck, calcium carbonate, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, mixed tocopherols (preservative), citric acid (preservative), dried chicory root, dried kelp, carrots, apples, tomatoes, blueberries, spinach, cranberries, rosemary extract, parsley flakes, zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, yucca schidigera extract, manganous oxide, manganese proteinate, copper sulfate, vitamin A supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate, niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, cobalt carbonate, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement.

The Nutrition I Chose For Ajax

Ajax Dog Food Nowadays

Case: Can My Dog Food Cause DCM? Cardiomyopathy?

Hi, Dr. Johnson,
Just ran into this article on the internet and was horrified that the food from Costco that was recommended to us is on this list. Should we stop feeding the “Nature’s Domain” to our dog?

Answer to: Can My Dog Food Cause DCM? Cardiomyopathy?

A diet that’s truly “grain free” BUT IS ALSO based on Peas and Lentils = Lacks Taurine.
And that lack of Taurine can (in SOME DOGS) result in Dilative Cardiomyopathy.
It’s a popular article for news agencies to pick up. And more is being made of it than is necessary.
Still, since release of the ‘concept’ however much I do or do NOT attach to it – –   I have been feeding my dog Ajax a diet with rice in it, and NO peas and lentils.
A few months ago.
There really isn’t MUCH to be worried about.
What I Feed Ajax Since Leaving Ultra Low Carb
Can My Dog Food Cause DCM? Cardiomyopathy
Can My Dog Food Cause DCM? Cardiomyopathy
Could this “DCM” Effect be real?
I think so. More than a decade ago they discovered that cats have a requirement for Taurine and cardiomyopathy (among other morbidities) could be the result. In the scheme of things, it was a minuscule problem, but dietary modifications were made across the board. In this case, I believe that a small number of dogs which are fed highly refined grain free diets MAY be missing a core ingredient we have not discovered yet. I believe the problem is being overdiagnosed, and is not yet fully understood. It’s also important to understand: DCM (Dilative cardiomyopathy) occurs in degrees of severity. The degree of DCM suffered by a dog is what determines the fatality of it. There are a lot of dogs walking around with DCM that we wouldn’t even look at, until now.

Can My Dog Food Cause DCM? Cardiomyopathy?

Video:
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Hydrolyzed Protein Diets For Food Allergy?

What do you think about the limited ingredient foods such as kangaroo food for food allergy? Or do you think we should stick to the Rachael Ray food?

Hydrolyzed Protein Diets For Food Allergy
Hydrolyzed Protein Diets For Food Allergy

ANSWER:
That is an excellent question
You can feed a food that has brand new proteins the dog has never seen, and of course they will have no food allergy to that.
But.
Instead of guessing what proteins would be considered “new“ to the dog, there are also what are called “hydrolyzed protein“ diets in which the proteins are broken down from kangaroo into the essential amino acid’s, thereby no longer being chicken, beef, or kangaroo. Just raw, antigen free protein building blocks. It seems to me in cases of food allergy that, that is the best result we are getting.
However, food allergy is minor, compared to adverse food reactions, which is usually the body rejecting various insecticides and herbicide’s that are used on the ingredients that go into dog food.

Hydrolyzed Protein Diets For Food Allergy

I don’t know what comes up when you keyword search “hydrolyzed protein diets” on Amazon. But that is the most sure fire way to find a diet that will not trigger an immune response.

That being said, I really do like the Rachael Ray Peak, just six, and nutrish lines. Simply avoid her diets that contain lentils and peas.

.Hydrolyzed Protein Diets For Food Allergy

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What’s better? Kangaroo? Limited ingredient? Or hydrolyzed protein?

There are quite a few ways to supply proteins to a dog. I think that’s an understatement. But in consideration of food allergy, there are three main considerations. That’s novel proteins, limited ingredients, or hydrolyzed proteins. But what’s best?
What do you think about the limited ingredient foods such as kangaroo food? Or do you think we should stick to the Rachael Ray food for her?
ANSWER:
That is an excellent question
You can feed a food that has brand new proteins the dog has never seen, and of course they will have no allergies to that.
But.
Instead of guessing what proteins would be considered “new“ to the dog, there are also what are called “hydrolyzed protein“ diets in which the proteins are broken down from kangaroo Into the essential amino acid’s, thereby no longer being chicken, beef, or kangaroo. Just raw, antigen free protein building blocks. It seems to me in cases of food allergy that, that is the best result we are getting.
However, food allergy is minor, compared to adverse food reactions, which is usually the body rejecting various insecticides and herbicide’s that are used on the ingredients that go into dog food.
I don’t know what comes up when you keyword search “hydrolyzed protein diets” on Amazon. But that is the most sure fire way to find a diet that will not trigger an immune response.
That being said, I really do like the Rachael Ray Peak, just six, and nutrish lines. Simply avoid her diets that contain lentils and peas.