Educational Articles

Dogs + Nutrition

  • This handout discusses the pros and cons of feeding a raw food diet to your dog. Topics included are nutritional imbalances, potential bacterial contamination, the risk of foodborne illnesses involving both you and your pet, and other concerns that may arise from feeding a raw food diet.

  • There are many environmentally friendly ways that owners can care for their pets. Waste disposal can involve biodegradable or compostable bags or careful composting. Cat litter can be transitioned to recycled newspaper or sawdust pellets. Any toys, beds, houses and other accessories can be biodegradable and/or recycled such as cotton or rubber. Cats should be kept indoors to reduce their impact on the ecology of their surrounding environment. A nutritionally adequate diet composed of organic food can be provided.

  • Up to twenty-five of dogs have osteoarthritis. Diet can make a huge impact on the quality of life for dogs with osteoarthritis. Normalizing your pet’s body condition by helping your dog burn fat and preserve or build muscle is an important step in helping improve your pet’s quality of life. Your veterinarian can help you choose the correct nutrient profile for your dog.

  • When the digestive tract is upset, vomiting and diarrhea may result. Since the causes of these symptoms are varied, it’s best to consult a veterinarian. Often, a bland diet is recommended to rest the digestive tract and to decrease vomiting and diarrhea. Bland diets consist of a single easily digestible protein source and a simple carbohydrate. Pet owners may prepare bland diets at home or choose one of the many commercially available diets.

  • Pet owners may not realize that caffeine can be harmful to their pets. They also may not know that many foods and drinks in their cupboards contain caffeine. This particular chemical can be toxic for both cats and dogs.

  • Designer diets cover a range of options that target specific canine nutritional needs. While some designer foods include certain ingredients like novel protein sources, others exclude certain ingredients like grains. There is a potential link between heart disease and diet. Determining which type of diet is best for your dog should include a discussion with your veterinarian as there is no documented data that designer diets are any better for the average, healthy dog than are traditional, commercial preparations.

  • This handout discusses the causes and potential treatments for excess gas (flatus or flatulence) in dogs. Factors such as diet, speed of eating, exercise and foods to avoid are highlighted.

  • Periodontal disease is the most common problem affecting dogs of all age groups. The importance of daily dental home care cannot be overemphasized. Nutrition can contribute to preventing periodontal disease and gingivitis.

  • This article reviews the benefits and disadvantages of semi-moist, dry, and canned dog foods. Semi-moist foods are not generally recommended as a sole diet due to their high sugar and sodium content, as well as the addition of artificial colors, preservatives and flavor enhancers. Dry food, or kibble, is easy to portion control and can be fed in puzzle toys. Canned food is a good option but more expensive than kibble and may contribute to periodontal disease.

  • Dog food has been made so palatable that it can easily create gluttonous behavior. Meal feeding and portion control are important to prevent obesity. Owners should not give in to begging behavior. Dogs that are still hungry after their meal can be supplemented with snacks such as green vegetables recommended by your veterinarian. Dogs that eat too quickly can be fed creatively to slow down eating.