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Diet Options

 

Home Vitamins Herbals Diet

 

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:

The food should have an AAFCO guarantee that references "feeding tests" or "feeding protocols" rather than nutrient profiles.

Avoid foods that contain by-product meal or meat meal.  These are rendered products and the source of protein is unknown.

In general avoid any food that lists by-products as an ingredient.  Although some by-products are high quality and nutritious, others may contain meat or grains that are unfit for human consumption.  

The protein source should be named.  For example chicken meal or lamb meal instead of meat meal or poultry meal.

Select products that are advertised as "natural" (but still check the label).

Avoid products that contain preservatives such as BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquine.  Foods should be preserved with natural antioxidants such as vitamin E or vitamin C.

Do not select products with high amounts of sugar.  The ingredients to avoid include corn syrup, sucrose, and ammoniated glycyrrhizin.

Select products that contain an expiration date and always check the expiration date to ensure freshness.

Smell the dog food when you open it.  It is smells rancid, return it for a refund.

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"
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical  Association
(JAVMA), Vol 218 No.5 March 1, 2001 p. 705.
Drs. Lisa M. Freeman and Kathryn E. Michel.

"Nonetheless, the results of the small number of diets analyzed here
indicated that there are clearly nutritional and health risks
associated with feeding raw food diets.  All the diets tested had
nutritional deficiencies or excesses that could cause serious health
problems when used in a long-term feeding program.  Of equal concern
is the health risks associated with bacteria in the raw food diets,
especially the homemade diet that yielded E. coli O157:H7. Although
owners feeding raw food diets often claim that dogs are more resistant
to pathogenic bacteria, we are not aware of evidence to support that
claim."

Green, J Should Your Dog Eat BARF? VetCentric.com
LeJune JT, Hancock DD. Public health concerns associated with feeding
raw meat diets to dogs. JAVMA 2001;219:1222-1225
National Reasearch Council's Nutrient Requirements of Dogs (NRC).
Ohio State University Web Site 
Wolfs TF, Duim B, Geelen SP, Rigter A, Thomson-Carter F, Fleer A,
Wagenaar JA.Neonatal sepsis by Campylobacter jejuni: genetically proven
transmission from a household puppy.

Site Map

Home

Primary Epilepsy

Epilepsy Meds and treatments

Secondary Epilepsy

Diet and  Supplements

Common Concerns

 

FAQ'S

 

What Can I do

My Beagles

Radar's Triumph

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Last Updated August 2009