Wholesome nutrition is essential to the overall good health of any dog, however, in general there is no scientific evidence that diet plays a role in causing or preventing seizures in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy.
Having said that, there are some veterinarians who believe that some dogs are sensitive to chemicals used to preserve commercial dog food and/or to the artificial colorings used to make the food appear attractive to humans. These chemicals include Ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT and dyes. To the best of my knowledge there are no studies that prove that these chemicals can cause seizures, however, some of them have been implicated as cancer causing agents.
Choosing a Healthy Commercial Dog Food
Proponents of home prepared meals (cooked or raw) claim that commercial dog food contains such unsavory ingredients as meat unfit for human consumption, fecal matter, moldy grains, rancid fat from restaurants, euthanized animals etc. This may be true of some pet foods, however there are many high quality commercially prepared foods on the market today that are made exclusively from human grade ingredients. The only way to determine if a pet food is high quality is to read the label. The following are some things you should look for when choosing a commercially prepared diet:
Please be aware of the ingredients not only in the food that you choose, but in the treats that you feed to your dogs. And remember that dog food companies often change their formula so it's necessary to check the label frequently.
Home Cooked Diets
Home cooking allows you to select fresh wholesome ingredients and can be very healthy for your dog IF you have the right combination of ingredients to provide proper nutrition. Please consult your veterinarian for guidance prior to implementing a home cooked diet. If your vet is reluctant to advise you on a proper home cooked diet, please ask her for a referral to a vet who is more versed on nutrition. Do not turn to one of the many "self proclaimed" veterinary nutritionists that have an internet presence as there is no way to validate their credentials.
What About RAW diets?
As raw diets are home prepared, there is the same risk of not providing proper nutrition as with home cooked diets.
The internet is overwhelmed with claims that diet plays a role in seizure activity, however, at present there are no scientific studies that substantiate these claims for dogs who have idiopathic epilepsy. In fact a raw diet (or home cooked diet) may be detrimental to a dog's overall good health if proper nutrition is not provided. In a recent study the nutritional content and microbial analysis was evaluated in five types of raw food diets. The conclusion was:
Nutritional analysis of 5 types of
"Raw Food Diets"
"Nonetheless, the results of
the small number of diets analyzed here
Green, J Should
Your Dog Eat BARF? VetCentric.com
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Last Updated August 2009