Canine Health and Nutrition Information from Dr Ken Tudor.

3 Reasons Why Older Dogs Don’t Need a Low Protein Diet

Ken Tudor - Friday, April 01, 2016

Why Older Dogs Need ProteinA common belief among dog owners, and believe it or not many veterinarians, is that older dogs should be on low protein diets to protect their kidneys. The logic, or illogic, is that as dogs age they suffer from kidney disease and need lower protein diets to manage the condition. Dietary protein does not promote kidney disease and aging dogs actually need more protein. Here are 3 reasons your older dog should be on a higher protein diet.

1) Kidney disease is not common in dogs. Only 10% of geriatric dogs suffer from chronic kidney disease and failure. The cause of chronic kidney disease is unknown and there is no evidence that a moderate or high protein diet causes kidney disease. Low protein is only necessary if a dog has proven kidney failure.
2) Older dogs have decreased intestinal absorption of dietary protein. Studies show that dogs, like humans, have decreased ability to absorb protein and amino acids from their intestines into their blood stream as they age. The studies also show that this aging process can be overcome by significantly increasing protein in the diet.
3) Aging muscle loss. After the 30’s in humans and 6-8 years of age in dogs, the body begins to lose muscle. This natural aging process is called sarcopenia, or literally “small muscles.” Decreased muscle mass and tone limits mobility, exercise and the quality of life. Research shows that increased dietary protein and exercise slow, and even reverses, sarcopenia.
Protein is the most expensive ingredient in dog food, so commercial manufacturers use as little as AAFCO requirements will allow. That is why the majority of commercial dog food brands, regardless of price, contain only the minimum 22-24% protein. Aging dogs should have protein levels greater than 30% and ideally, 35-38%. Unfortunately, all protein in commercial dog food is meat scraps and is only 80-85% digestible. Increasing the quantity of protein, does not always increase the quality of its digestibility and promote muscle health.
Better is homemade dog food that includes human cuts of meat in recipe quantities that provide 25% or more dietary protein. Human cuts of meat are 90-95% digestible so your dog is capturing a far greater amount of protein from its diet.






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Avoid 5 Problems Caused by Omega-6 Shortage in Your Dog's Diet

Ken Tudor - Thursday, February 11, 2016

Is Omega-6 Fat Important in Your Dog's DietYou have heard a lot about omega-3 fats and how important they are in our diet. Well, they are important in dogs’ diets as well. Omega-3 fats calm dogs’ red, itchy skin and relieve joint pain in arthritic dogs. You probably also know that omega-3’s even improve learning in young puppies and decrease the symptoms of old age dementia and improve heart function in senior dogs. But these positive effects require only small amounts of omega-3 fats in the diet. Dogs actually need 8 times more omega-6 fats than omega-3 in their daily diet.  Read more...

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Is Your Dog Food Good? Look at Your Dog’s Poo

Ken Tudor - Thursday, January 28, 2016

Dog poop can tell you a lot about dietFor 33 years I have amazed my veterinary clients with what they think are my psyche powers. Dog owners will tell me they feed a certain, popular brand of premium pet food. And I will make an off-hand reply that their dog probably makes stools nearly as large as elephant stool. If it is a cat I will tell them the size of the stool is probably the length of a cigar. Amazed, every client (no exceptions in 33 years) will say “how did you know?” My answer is always the same, “I know the food.” This food brand, despite the company’s astronomical advertising budget, is a low quality food and the proof is in the poop.

High quality dog food is highly digestible. That means that the ingredients are easily broken down by digestive juices and the nutrients are readily absorbed from the intestines into the blood stream. That leaves very little undigested and non-absorbed food. That means small to moderate amounts of poop. The only thing that came out of your dog was the part of the diet that could not be digested.
But this undigested food is important. It feeds the good bacteria in the colon that promotes a healthy gut and healthy internal immune system. Every diet needs a certain portion of undigested material that produces your dog’s poop.
But a large amount of poop means that too much of the diet is indigestible. Most of the ingredients in the food are passing right through your dog and adding no value to its nutrition. In fact, indigestible protein, which is common in commercial dog food, actually is food for “bad gut bacteria” and is the cause of farting in many breeds of dogs. You are spending a good deal of money on this premium food and those dollars are passing out of your dog’s anus. To add insult to injury you are scooping up those dollars from the yard and throwing them into the trash can. Talk about flushing money down the toilet!
So how do you know your selection on dog food is good? How much stool does your dog make? That is the key question to evaluate any dog food. Our customers at Hearthstone Homemade report that their dogs make very little poop and generally only once a day. And that is because good quality homemade dog food is far more digestible than most popular commercial dog foods.

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Are Preservatives Harmful to Dogs?

Ken Tudor - Friday, January 22, 2016

Research Regarding Safety of PreservativesPreservatives are used in food products to decrease spoiling and increase the shelf life of food. There is no question that without them packaged and canned meat products would probably not exist. That is true for most of the packaged products in the middle isles and freezer section of the supermarket. Fresh meats, fruits and vegetables without preservatives are always in isles along the walls. But are these chemicals that make food convenient safe for our dogs? Are they safe for us? Honestly after all of these years of using preservatives in food, we still don’t know for sure. Here is what we know. Read more...

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Important Supplements for All Dogs and Puppies (Part 2)

Ken Tudor - Thursday, January 07, 2016

Important Supplements for All Dogs and PuppiesA balanced homemade or commercial diet should contain all of the essential nutrients your dog needs for adequate health. But who wants just adequate health for their dog? The key to great health is a good diet. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, put it best when he said “Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Two supplements can help transform your dog’s diet into a great diet- fish oil and probiotics. Last week we discussed the first. Now find out about the second. Read more...

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3 Ways to Judge Hypoallergenic Dog Foods

Ken Tudor - Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Is your food hypoallergenic? Here are three ways to check. Do you think your dog’s itching is caused by food allergies? Does your veterinarian think you have a dog with food allergies? Do you just want to try a new diet to see if it will improve your dog’s fur coat? These days many dog owners, like you, are asking themselves and their vets these same questions. They want to try a hypoallergenic diet for their dog. But how do you tell if a dog food is hypoallergenic? How do you compare different brands of hypoallergenic dog foods? There are  3 important requirements for hypoallergenic dog food.  Read more...

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What You Need to Know About “Fillers” in Dog Food

Ken Tudor - Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Why is one type of carbohydrate given the bad name “filler” and another type of carbohydrate considered better nutrition?“I only feed my dog a grain-free dog food because it doesn’t have fillers which are bad for pets.” I hear this a lot during my nutritional consultations with pet parents. So, what is a “filler”? The word “filler” is used to describe a “bad” ingredient and generally refers to grain products in pet food. Grains are carbohydrates. But so are the potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans and tapioca used in grain-free diets. So, why is one type of carbohydrate given the bad name “filler” and another type of carbohydrate considered better nutrition?  Read more...

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How Can Diet Help Dogs With Kidney Disease?

Ken Tudor - Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dogs with Kidney Disease do Better with Homemade Dog Food All of the sudden your dog starts drinking a lot of water. He needs to go out more frequently to urinate. You also notice that the urine is clearer and less yellow than it used to be. After blood and urine tests your vet tells you your dog’s kidneys are failing and will need a special low protein diet for the rest of its life. You leave the vets office with so many unanswered questions. What is kidney disease? What caused it? Why my dog? What do these treatments do? Why does my dog need a special food? What if my dog won’t eat the food, then what? You need answersRead more...

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Vomiting and Diarrhea in Your Dog: It Could Be Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Ken Tudor - Sunday, February 15, 2015

Vomiting or Diarrhea may indicate Inflammatory Bowel Disease Your neighbor tells you her dog has had long episodes of vomiting and diarrhea for the last two years. She is convinced that it is some sort of reaction to the ingredients in the food. She just hasn’t found the right food that will stop the symptoms and recover the lost weight. You tell her that those symptoms may be a sign of something more serious and she should take her dog to the vet. Instead she says she is going to the pet store and find out which food the 18-year old dog food expert behind the counter recommends for her sick dog. You’re right. This dog needs a trip to the vet, not the pet store. The dog could be suffering from inflammatory bowel disease or IBD. With proper treatment and diet, her dog could enjoy a quality, symptom free, longer life.  Read more...

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Why the Type of Protein in Your Dog’s Food is Important

Ken Tudor - Sunday, February 08, 2015

The Type of Protein Matters for the Health of your Dog You shop for a dog food with lots of protein. But did you know that the type of protein in the food is even more important than the total amount of protein? Proteins are not all the same. It turns out that the proteins used in regular dog food are not as healthy as you would like to believe.  Read more...

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