There are many commercial therapeutic diets available for various individual medical conditions in dogs. There are diets for heart, kidney, liver, pancreas allergic and intestinal diseases. But what if a dog has multiple conditions and one may be incompatible with the ingredients in the commercial foods? These dogs are more satisfactorily managed with homemade dog food diets.
Kidney Disease and Food Allergies
Dogs with kidney disease and food allergies need a low protein diet made with a protein that does not cause a severe skin reaction. Commercial diets for kidney disease are all made with common proteins, chicken, beef, etc., that are not hypoallergenic. The carbohydrate sources, generally grains, in these diets also contain proteins that are incompatible with food allergic dogs. A homemade diet can use small amounts of protein from novel, hypoallergenic protein sources like bison, duck, fish, or lamb. Potato, sweet potato and quinoa are hypoallergenic carbohydrate sources never used in commercial kidney diets.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Fat Malabsorption
Inflammatory bowel disease in dogs is caused by the dog’s own immune cells attacking the lining of the intestine and sometimes the stomach. This causes severe swelling of the intestinal and stomach linings that interferes with the digestion and absorption of nutrients from the food and causes diarrhea and/or vomiting. Often the swelling is so disruptive that it can cause difficulty with fat absorption, a condition called lymphangectasia. This condition can also occur separately in patients with milder forms of IBD. The dietary management is choosing a novel protein to reduce the IBD reaction, much like allergies. However the diet must also be very low fat to manage the lymphangectasia. Few proteins in commercial therapeutic diets meet those standards. With a homemade diet you can use cod, goat and beans to satisfy both conditions.
Homemade Dog Food Tastes Better
Many dogs with multiple or single medical conditions simply do not like the taste of commercial therapeutic diets. Refusal to eat the diets results in inadequate nutrition. This can lead to weight loss and failure to thrive. Homemade diets tailored for the disease condition can provide a tastier alternative.
The more you research homemade, the more sense it makes, in wellness as well as during illness. But make sure to choose sensible homemade and sources that guarantee a complete and balanced approach.
Dr. Ken Tudor,
THE DOG DIETITIAN