latest posts

recipes, articles and simple tips to help you be a better human

Liver | Diet for Pancreatic

A diet for dog with liver shunts (portosystemic shunts)

A diet for a dog with liver shunts (portosystemic shunts) This is my full research on liver shunts and what any diet, homemade or prescription diet should be for a dog with liver shunts. Unfortunately, you will not find a veterinary diet suitable for liver shunts.  

What are Liver Shunts?

Liver shunts, also known as congenital portosystemic shunts, refers to an abnormality in the transport tubes of the liver, which is a key organ in your dog’s digestive system. A healthy liver processes all blood that leaves the stomach and intestines in order to support digestion, break down toxins, metabolise proteins, fats and carbohydrates, store essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients, and eliminate waste from your dog’s body. If, however, your dog has liver shunts, the abnormality in their liver will allow blood to bypass your dog’s liver and enter their blood circulation, enabling toxic substances such as ammonia to accumulate in the blood. This can lead to hepatic encephalopathy, which is a reduction in brain function and brain damage due to toxic build up.  

How Do You Know If Your Dog has Liver Shunts?

The following symptoms are indicators of liver shunts:
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Seizures or other neurologic problems
  • Jaundice (a yellow tinge noticeable in the skin, mucous membranes, and eyes)
  • Excessive urination and thirst
  • Blood clotting
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding can be seen in animals with liver disease due to ulcers or problems with blood clotting
  Current Treatment for Liver Shunts Generally, surgery is recommended for animals with liver shunts because surgical intervention leads to higher survival rates and a better quality of life when compared to non-surgical treatment (3). This is because non-surgical interventions aren’t able to affect your dog’s blood flow. However, studies have also shown that non-surgical treatments can improve the quality of life of dogs with liver shunts (1).

 

How Can I Treat My Dog's Liver Shunts with Nutrition?

Changing elements of your dog’s diet can control their symptoms of live shunts, including hepatic encephalopathy, vomiting, diarrhoea, and ammonium-urate urolithiasis. You can improve ammonium-urate urolithiasis by feeding your dog a diet that has lower levels of protein (approximately 40g per 1000 calories) and a high branched-chain amino acids to aromatic amino acids ratio (4). Furthermore, sources of soluble fibre such as lactulose help to reduce ammonia intake from the gastrointestinal tract; it transforms ammonia into ammonium that is not absorbed, and its laxative effect ensures the rapid expulsion of bacteria and ammonia (5). An antimicrobial treatment may also have a similar effect (2,6).

Diet Breakdown

Protein

A low protein diet of 40g per 1000 calories is recommended. In a study exploring the life expectancy of dogs with an Eck fistula, a model for liver shunting and hepatic encephalopathy, it was found that the life expectancy of dogs who were fed fish or milk-based proteins was almost twice as long as that of dogs fed a meat-based diet (7).

Fat

An increase in fat content will increase caloric density and palatability. This means the dog is consuming less quantity digesting less, but equal in calories. As well as being much tastier for the dog. Fat is tolerated by dogs with liver disease unless they are suffering with severe cholestasis, which results in fat maldigestion.

Carbohydrates and Fibres

If your dog has liver disease, they may see a decrease in hepatic glycogen storage, which potentially increases the risk of low blood sugar levels and increases the use of protein catabolism for energy. Therefore, feeding your dog high-glycaemic treats (carbohydrate treats that break down quickly) between meals will prevent low blood sugar. The inclusion of some fibre, especially soluble fibre, will increase the speed that food is transported through your dog’s gut, which gives toxins less time to be absorbed.

Vitamins and Minerals

Any disorder that decreases the amount of bile acids entering the intestine, enterohepatic bile acid circulation, or intestinal fat absorption requires the reduction in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Vitamin K and E deficiencies are common in dogs with liver shunts. It has been demonstrated that copper accumulation is often controlled using a low-copper diet. Dietary zinc can also block intestinal copper absorption, and zinc supplementation in a low-copper diet may also be beneficial following chelation therapy.

Recommended Supplements

Silibinin (Milk Thistle Extract): Antioxidant that suppresses fibrinogenesis, promotes fibrinolysis, and helps protect against hepatotoxins (8).   References
  1. Favier, R.P., de Graaf, E., Corbee, R.J. and Kummeling, A., 2020. Outcome of non-surgical dietary treatment with or without lactulose in dogs with congenital portosystemic shunts. Veterinary Quarterly40(1), pp.108-114.
  2. Berent, A.C. and Tobias, K.M., 2009. Portosystemic vascular anomalies. Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice39(3), pp.513-541.
  3. Tivers, M.S., Lipscomb, V.J. and Brockman, D.J., 2017. Treatment of intrahepatic congenital portosystemic shunts in dogs: a systematic review. Journal of Small Animal Practice58(9), pp.485-494.
  4. Proot, S., Biourge, V., Teske, E. and Rothuizen, J., 2009. Soy protein isolate versus meat‐based low‐protein diet for dogs with congenital portosystemic shunts. Journal of veterinary internal medicine23(4), pp.794-800.
  5. Bajaj, J.S., 2008. Management options for minimal hepatic encephalopathy. Expert review of gastroenterology & hepatology2(6), pp.785-790.
  6. Mankin, K.M.T., 2015. Current concepts in congenital portosystemic shunts. Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice45(3), pp.477-487.
  7. Condon, R.E., 1971. Effect of dietary protein on symptoms and survival in dogs with an Eck fistula. The American Journal of Surgery121(2), pp.107-114.
  8. Twedt, D. C., Chandler, M. 2014. Clinical Nutrition for Common Liver Diseases. World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings

Read more
Bleu scaled 1

Low histamine diets for dogs

Histamines, histamines, histamines... This is my full research on histamines and what role they play in your dog's diet.   A low a histamine diet for dogs? Canine allergies are so common at the moment and seem to be the number one issue my client’s dogs are experiencing. It’s important to remember that when treating allergy problems you take a holistic approach, as well rounded as possible. Sometimes you can get lost in the details and that can apply to owners trying to create low histamine diets, let me explain. (I’m also going to tell you how to approach it step by step) Histamines are in mast cells. Mast cells are activated when the immune system reacts to an allergen. The mast cells then release histamines which boost blood flow to the affected area, this is done to help flush the area of the allergen, but this histamine release causes inflammation the negative associated symptoms. Lowering histamines is a part of the diet which can help, not all the time, but generally it is recommended if your dog struggles with allergies. However, the most effective route to controlling allergies is to reduce the immune system sensitivity, to avoid the mast cell release. That means trying to avoid the triggers of mast cell release and creating a specific anti-inflammatory diet through a food elimination trial. The symptoms are a secondary effect of allergic inflammation, caused by the histamine release, so making sure natural anti-inflammatory foods are in the diet can help reduce sensitivity and increase immune system strength. Another part of the controlling histamine is increasing the production of an enzyme called Diamine oxidase. Diamine oxidase (DAO) is a digestive enzyme which primary function is to break down excess histamine in your body (1). With this in mind we’re going to take a step by step holistic approach.   Step 1 - Avoid the triggers of mast cell release You will need to learn about your dog, where and when they’re reacting, so hopefully you can identify what too? Remember initial exposure to an allergen produces a reaction, which is known as an early-phase reaction, this occurs within minutes of allergen exposure. The symptoms include conjunctivitis, asthma attacks, hive and vomiting and diarrhoea from food allergies or systemic (anaphylaxis). But many dogs, this is followed by a late-phase reaction. A reaction that typically develops after 2–6 h and peaks 6–9 h after allergen exposure. Things to avoid:

  • Your dog’s known allergies
  • Specific ingredients
  • Pollen, grasses, bushes
  • Dust mites
  • Hormone changes
  • Inflammatory foods (like glutamates, oxalates, histamines, salicylates, lectins, additives, preservatives)
  • Processed foods and additives, including carrageenan, flavourings, colourings, and preservatives
  • Stress of any kind – emotional, mental, physical
  • Fatigue
  • Some medications
  • Infections – systemic and gut-related
  • Heat or cold
  • Chemicals, including those in perfumes, skin care products, cleaning products, and cigarette smoke
  Step 2 – Food elimination trial using only low histamine food Low histamine foods for dogs:
  • Fresh meat and freshly caught fish
  • non-citrus fruits
  • eggs
  • gluten free grains, rice, quinoa
  • fresh vegetables except tomatoes, avocados, spinach, and aubergine (eggplant)
  • Organic cold pressed oils
  Step 3 – Boost DAO enzymes levels There are a number of nutrients that are effective at boosting DAO enzyme levels. These nutrients include:
  • Omega-3 fatty acids – quality fish sources
  • Saturated fat – organic grass-fed fats
  • Phosphorus – organic eggs and quality meat
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B12
  Step 4 - Avoid all high histamine foods for dogs or foods that trigger histamine release:
  • Processed or smoked meats
  • Fermented foods, sauerkraut, yoghurt, aged cheese
  • Dried fruits
  • Avocados
  • Aubergine (eggplant)
  • Spinach
  • Processed or smoked meats
  • Bananas
  • Tomatoes
  • Papaya
  • Citrus fruit
  Get Cam’s help: If you’d like a bespoke Allergy Recipe Plan, please click here. If you’d like to organise a Consultation, please click here.

Read more
german shepherd scaled 1

What causes kidney disease in dogs?

A diet for a dog with kidney disease This is my full research on canine kidney disease and diet. It's important to remember that kidney disease is extremely individual to the dog and their stage. I recommend signing up to a bespoke recipe plan or a consultation to get specifically balanced recipes.   What causes canine kidney disease? To understand the causes of kidney disease in dogs, you need to understand the role of the kidneys and what canine kidney disease really is. Chronic Kidney disease (CKD) is a progressive disease that is caused by structural or functional abnormalities in one or both of the kidneys. The reduction in the functional capabilities of the organs means a reduction in Globular filtration. Globular filtration is the kidneys ability to filter the blood. The reduction in the ability to filter the blood leads to a build-up of waste which becomes toxic, causing damage and further decline. (1) The rate of progression of kidney disease in dogs is extremely variable, for example an early diagnosis of CKD can slow disease progression, and with the correct management, it will ensure your dog’s quality and length of life remains unaffected. Depending on the stage of the disease, will depend on what management/ therapy your dog should receive, this is especially the case with diet. (2)   What do your dog’s kidneys do? To understand how to care for a dog with kidney disease, you need to understand what the kidney’s dog. Just like us humans, blood flows through the kidneys every single minute. Your dog’s kidneys filter out waste products that are in the blood (globular filtration) from the breakdown of food, old cells, toxins, metabolic by products, and drugs. They also balance minerals like phosphorus, potassium, sodium and calcium. All of these get into the blood via the digestive process, then the kidneys filter the blood and remove all waste in the form of urine. They also trap good substances, like proteins and supply them back to the body. By controlling what your dog is digesting, you can control the waste.   Kidney Functions

  • Remove waste material from the bloodstream
  • Help regulate blood pressure
  • Regulate levels of certain essential minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium
  • Produce a variety of hormones
  • Regulate the amount of water in the blood and produce urine
  • Stimulate red blood cells formation
  • Help regulate vitamin D levels
By not overloading the functions of the kidneys, you will extend longevity.   How do you know if your dog’s got kidney disease?
  • Anorexia (Common)
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Anaemia
  • Weight-loss
  • Proteinuria (high protein in urine)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hypoalbuminemia (low albumin in blood) (3)
    What causes canine kidney disease? A significant proportion of the treatment of a dog with kidney disease is addressing the underlying causes. All of these causes either increase the workload of the kidneys, eventually causing it to deteriorate, or directly cause reduced function of the kidneys.
  • Low grade long term inflammation
  • Increased waste in the food
  • Gut Microbiome dysbiosis (wrong diet)
  • Chronic bacterial infection
  • High blood pressure
  • Urinary blockage
  • Certain drugs
  • Congenital or at birth malformation of the kidneys
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Prolonged periodontal disease
(3,4,5,6)   Get Cam’s help: If you’d like a bespoke Kidney Recipe Plan, please click here. If you’d like to organise a Consultation, please click here.   References:
  1. Polzin, D.J., 2011. Chronic kidney disease in small animals. Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice41(1), pp.15-30.
  2. Evason, M. and Remillard, R., 2017. Chronic kidney disease staging & nutrition considerations. Clinician’s Brief15(3), pp.89-95.
  3. Dunaevich, A., Chen, H., Musseri, D., Kuzi, S., Mazaki‐Tovi, M., Aroch, I. and Segev, G., 2020. Acute on chronic kidney disease in dogs: Etiology, clinical and clinicopathologic findings, prognostic markers, and survival. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine34(6), pp.2507-2515.
  4. Brown, S.A., Crowell, W.A., Barsanti, J.A., White, J.V. and Finco, D.R., 1991. Beneficial effects of dietary mineral restriction in dogs with marked reduction of functional renal mass. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology1(10), pp.1169-1179.
  5. Finco, D.R., Brown, S.A., Crowell, W.A., Duncan, R.J., Barsanti, J.A. and Bennett, S.E., 1992. Effects of dietary phosphorus and protein in dogs with chronic renal failure. American journal of veterinary research53(12), pp.2264-2271.
  6. Simona Mihai, Elena Codrici, Ionela Daniela Popescu, Ana-Maria Enciu, Lucian Albulescu, Laura Georgiana Necula, Cristina Mambet, Gabriela Anton, Cristiana Tanase, "Inflammation-Related Mechanisms in Chronic Kidney Disease Prediction, Progression, and Outcome", Journal of Immunology Research, vol. 2018, Article ID 2180373, 16 pages, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/2180373

Read more
kabo RCDcigzmtII unsplash scaled 1

How much food and how many meals for a dog with Kidney disease?

How much food should I feed a dog with kidney disease? The simplest answer to this question is that your dog should eat between 2–3.5% of their body weight every day, although smaller and more active dogs will need around 4%. If your dog is losing or gaining weight, this means you’re feeding them the wrong amount of food. Simply adjust the quantities of their meals slightly until you’ve hit the sweet spot. Remember the ideal figure for a dog with kidney disease is lean, as this limits the number of jobs their kidneys perform and ensures they’re not digesting more than they need.   How many meals should I feed a dog with kidney disease? If your dog has Stages 1–3 kidney disease, they should either eat one meal a day or two meals a day within a five-hour window. You can feed your dog treats outside of this window, but only if they’re small, training treats. This gap between meals will allow your dog’s digestive system time to rest; constant digestion is unnatural and stressful and can cause further aggravation to any digestive issue. Therefore, a reduction in time spent digesting will be a major part of ensuring your dog’s long-term health. If your dog has Stages 4-5 kidney disease, you should reduce your dog’s daily food intake by 20% and feed them three meals a day.   Supplement Quantity Recommendations If the supplements you’re using are specific to dogs, the packaging should provide you with information about the correct quantity your dog should be given. If they’re human grade, the amount your dog will need should be based on their weight. Follow the guidelines below to determine how much of each supplement you should give your dog.

  • If your dog weighs 5–10kg: 1/4 of recommended dosage
  • If your dog weighs 10–20kg: 1/3 of recommended dosage
  • If your dog weighs 20–30kg: 1/2 of recommended dosage
  • If your dog weighs 30–45kg: 2/3 of recommended dosage
  • If your dog weighs over 45kg: Recommended dosage

Read more
mike burke gxyfJQg7Lno unsplash scaled 1

What are the stages of canine kidney disease?

The Stages of Canine Kidney disease - International Renal Interest Society Stage for Dogs    The severity of your dog’s kidney disease and the loss of ability to filter the blood (globular filtration) is classed in Stages, which you can work out from a blood test. The nutrition therapy that you provide your dog is very much dependent on what stage of kidney disease they have and the balance of their blood work results. Stages 1 and 2 are treated the same. Stage 3 is treated different and Stage 4 even more so.   Stage 1 - Normal blood creatinine (less than 125 umol/l or slightly less than 1.4mg/dl) or normal or mild increase blood SDMA (18 or lower), proteinuria (protein in urine), abnormal renal biopsy results, increasing blood creatinine or SDMA concentrations. Persistently elevated blood SDMA concentration (>14 µg/dl) may be used to diagnose early CKD. Stage 1 is extremely manageable.   Stage 2 – Normal or mildly increased creatinine (125 - 250 umol/l or 1.4 - 2.8 mg/dl). Mildly increased SDMA (18 – 35 ug/dl). Clinical signs usually mild or absent. Stage 2 is very much manageable.   Stage 3 – Creatinine levels higher (250 - 440 umol/l or 2.8 - 5 mg/dl). SDMA levels (36-54) Stage 3 the long term outlook is dependent on the total loss of kidney function. Reduce protein levels of diet.    Stage 4 – The last of management. (440+ umol/l or 5+ mg/dl). SDMA levels (54+)   Stage 5 - This is low protein diet, high fibre, high in probiotics or your dog’s favourite meals.   Get Cam’s help: If you’d like a bespoke Kidney Recipe Plan, please click here. If you’d like to organise a Consultation, please click here.

Read more
stas svechnikov rEgveRa 5ds unsplash scaled 1

NO to LOW protein diets for dogs with kidney disease.

The Protein Myth Strangely, there is no data at all to suggest that high protein diets for dogs affect the rate of kidney filtration. So why do most sources recommend you restrict it? The reason why protein is restricted in most renal diets for dogs is to rebalance blood work. Creatinine, protein waste, is often elevated in dogs that suffer from canine kidney disease and the idea behind the protein restriction is the less protein made available, the less creatinine in the blood. Phosphorus too, which is most present in lean meats is also likely to be elevated, meaning if you take out all the protein and meat, the markers will go down.  

Pickles was entering stage 3, but is now stabilised at low stage 2 and thriving on a medium - high protein diet.
Whilst this may be an adequate short term solution to a dog suffering from kidney disease, at least for the reduction in creatinine and phosphorus in the blood, long term it's a terrible idea, especially for protein restriction. Again, there's no evidence that protein levels effect kidney filtration. (1) This effect of the long term restriction of quality meat and protein via the current renal diets for dogs, will see the dog's coat becoming more dull, their hair will become more corse, their skin will become dry and their joint health and mobility will decline. The external signs will be clear, it's going to decrease the overall health of the dog, but internally, it could be a lot worse. These generic diets create a pay off, restrict nutrients for a rebalancing of the blood work, at the expense of so many other parts of the dog's health. The real kicker, is that it is not necessary. The reason for the ubiquitous restriction of protein for all dogs suffering from kidney issues lies with the attempt to provide a one model for all therapy. Making bespoke diets for dogs suffering from kidney disease is simply not possible from a large scale manufacturing perspective. And so they don't. No matter the stage of your dog's kidney disease, no matter what their blood work balance is, the current diets aim to treat every dog with kidney disease the same. That's not proper therapy and it's a bad solution for all dog. Did you know that none of my diets I create for dogs with kidney disease are low in protein? There is however, a restriction of phosphorus as there is data that shows it contributes to kidney disease progression. (2) As long as there is management of the phosphorus levels, increased dietary protein can be safely fed to dogs with CKD and this is a preferable route as protein is a vital part of any healthy diet for a dog. (2) Here's a quote from a testimonial, I'm not trying to blow my own trumpet, I'm going to point out some parts that are really relevant to why bespoke nutrition and medium protein is so much healthier.  
On 17th December, (Pickles' 11th birthday), we went to the vets for her monthly bloods and blood pressure check. The vet was astounded by the transformation in 4 months. Not only had she stabilised at a low grade 2 RF, her coat looks incredible, her eyes shine bright, her lust for life has returned and her new diet seems to have taken years off her! Pickles wouldn't have seen her 11th birthday if it hadn't have been for 'the dog nutritionist' - thank you Cam Wimble with all my heart and our vet thanks you too, she is now busy giving your details to all her renal failure clients!
  Coat looks incredible, lust for life has returned and her condition had stabilised. How? Protein. As you stabilise the blood work anomalies with a short term restriction (if necessary), address all the potential causes of kidney disease (necessary) and do this all with a fresh food diet that's contains amazingly health sources of protein, your can manage the disease and your dog can thrive at the same time. Low protein diets are recommended only at the end stages of kidney disease when minimal kidney function remains or a short term restriction can be implemented if there are severe blood work abnormalities (creatinine).  
  1. Sanderson, S.L., Rethinking Protein Restriction in Aging Dogs and Cats with Chronic Kidney Disease. Premise of Systems Microbiomics in Improving Health and Related Diagnostics for Human and Companion Animals, p.87.
  2. Leibetseder JL, Neufeld KW. Effects of Medium Protein Diets in Dogs with Chronic Renal Failure. J Nutr. 1991;121: S145-S149
  3. Jones, W.L., 2001. Demineralization of a wide variety of foods for the renal patient. journal of Renal Nutrition11(2), pp.90-96.

Read more
alison pang QgzaBKindHI unsplash scaled 1

Best dog treats for sensitive stomachs.

Sensitive stomachs are never fun for an animal that really loves food (most at least). Digestive issues are extremely individual, which means there’s no one treat that can do everything to help your dog recover. A bought of vomiting brought on by eating something dodgy in the park for example, is not the same as consistent loose stools or diarrhoea brought on by a food sensitivities. If your dog’s been vomiting or has diarrhoea, I recommend you don’t feed your dog anything for 24hrs. This gives the system time to recover naturally. If it’s a persistent thing, feel free to email me now. These are the best treats I could find that work most effectively to help dogs with sensitive stomach or digestive issues.   Prodograw Bone Broth Digestive issues are normally the result of an unhealthy gut. When the digestive system is not fully functioning, it results in poor nutrient absorption and an imbalanced immune response. The knock on effects of this are massive, causing systemic inflammation in the body, which in turn creates a whole host of health conditions for your dog. Bone broth contains collagen, which forms gelatin when it’s cooked. Gelatin contains amino acids such as glutamine which works to strengthen and heal the gut lining to make sure your dog’s digestive system is operating at its very best. This broth is exactly the type of nutrient boost that will help stop the issue from reoccurring. I recommend this a couple times a week for all dogs.   Golden Paste CompanySome small, easy, everyday treats According to the legendary Veterinarian Dr Jean Dodd’s, turmeric, but more specifically curcumin, the most active compound within turmeric and these treats, is a superfood for dogs. Not just a traditional remedy for loads of human issues. Recent research is confirming its potential as an anti-ulcer and as a gastro-protective agent, due to its amazing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities. Honey also contains digestive enzymes that will help breakdown food and support your dog's digestion.  

Pooch and Mutt Natural Treats Digestion and Wind – For the windy dogs.

For those of us whose dog is prone to wind, French Bulldog owners listen up, this treat contains both Charcoal and Parsley. Studies have found that activated charcoal can help to reduce the amount your dog farts! Both parsley and charcoal work to reduce abdominal bloating as well as gas. This treat also contains Chicory, a prebiotic dietary fibre that nourishes the friendly gut bacteria, to make sure your dog’s gut microbiome is balanced like it should be and working appropriately.   Green Tripe Bone – Prodograw This tripe treat is a real superfood replenisher for your dog. Green tripe (the good stuff) is packed full of enzymes that allows the system to breakdown food easily, it contains probiotics like lactobacillus acidophilus, that protects against harmful bacteria and is simple super nutritious, so your dog’s digestive system can start to replace what vitamins and mineral had been lost during their time with a bad tummy. This treat is about recovery, fast recovery through support and replenishment. For those of you owners who haven’t experienced tripe, it stinks, but the benefits it has for your dog should far out way the momentary pong.
  Yakers – Himalayan Hard Milk Chew When your dog’s feeling unwell, sometimes the worst thing you can do is put more food in them. If they’ve just been vomiting or having a bad case of diarrhoea, giving their digestive system a 24hr rest from food is going to allow it time to recover. Non edible chews, things too big for your dog to eat, like this natural Yak milk chew, will entertain your dog throughout this food-less time. These are 100% natural and obtained from yak or cow milk from the Himalayas. Natural is always best when your dog’s experiencing digestive issues.
  Get Cam’s help: If you’d like a bespoke Digestive Support Recipe Plan, please click here. If you’d like to organise a Consultation, please click here.  

Read more
freestocks t8SxccV0Agw unsplash scaled 1 1

Best Dog Supplement for Allergies

I start these dog supplement articles the same way every single time. Dietary change, to a specific fresh raw or cooked dog food diet, is the most effective way to manage any health issue, especially allergy problems. Think about it, a supplement vs. a whole diet…. Obviously diet is going to be more effective, it’s 99% of the food intake over the 1% supplement. However, supplements can be extremely beneficial and increase the efficacy of the overall dietary change. For those dog’s suffering from strong allergy issues, please feel free to email me for help if this is the case: cam@thedognutritionist.com Here are The Dog Nutritionist’s best supplements for dogs with allergies.   (Some dogs may even be allergic to the supplements, it’s very possible).  

Quercetin - Best Dog Supplements for Allergies If your dog’s skin is being effected, Quercetin is definitely a supplement I’d recommend. Quercetin exerts an anti-allergy effect by inhibiting the release of histamine from mast cells, acting as a natural antihistamine and effectively decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokine release. (1) A natural antihistamine, which is definitely recommended prior to trying more chemical based products. Histamine release from mast cell degeneration are often the cause of the redness you see on your dog’s skin.   Digestive Enzymes - Best Dog Supplements for Allergies The reason I recommend digestive enzymes for most dogs suffering from allergies, is because food hypersensitivity is so often confused with an allergy. An allergy is an immune reaction to a substance, could be a food or loads of other things. (2) A food intolerance, which just to confuse you has very similar symptoms, is an inability to digest a certain protein/ food compound. Digestive enzymes provide support to a digestive system which has a reduced ability to digest, helping it to breakdown the foods it struggles to do will minimise sensitivity. I recommend a getting a vegan brand, because it’s suitable for dogs with all allergies.   Fish Oil – Best Dog Supplements for Allergies Inflammation is at the heart of all allergy symptoms. Fish oil has been shown to increase skin hydration and reduces clinical severity of skin inflammation and scratching behaviour. Fish oil is abundant in fats and fatty acids, which can contain, depending on the quality, a whole host of contributors to healthy skin. Vitamin A, vitamin D, cholesterol, monoglycerides, diglycerides, triglycerides, free fatty acids…lots. However not all fish oil is the same or as effective as the next. The efficacy of the fish oil is again, dependent on the quality of the source and the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids percentage (PUFAs). (3) Low quality fish oils can be rancid and high extremely high in toxins.     All-Round by The Dog Nutritionist - Best Dog Supplements for Allergies A nourished gut that’s free of pathogens will build up the immune system’s strength. (4) That’s exactly why I made this supplement, designed with natural herbs that kill off invading pathogens, whilst also providing ingredients to build up the immune system (reishi mushrooms) and improve digestion (cranberry and papaya). It’s for gut health and immune strength. A little a day keeps the Vet away.  
The Dog Nutritionist’s Natural Shampoo A natural shampoo/ body wash which I recommend apply topically to affected areas, at least 3 times a week. You can either bathe your dog and apply it, or put it into a spray. Applying probiotics to inflammed areas can help regulate the levels of bacteria and reduce redness. (900ml water – 100ml ACV).  
Get Cam’s help: If you’d like a bespoke Allergy Recipe Plan, please click here. If you’d like to organise a Consultation, please click here.  
References:
  1. David, A.V.A., Arulmoli, R. and Parasuraman, S., 2016. Overviews of biological importance of quercetin: A bioactive flavonoid. Pharmacognosy reviews10(20), p.84.
  2. Bhagat, R., Sheikh, A.A., Wazir, V.S., Mishra, A. and Maibam, U., 2017. Food allergy in canines: A review. Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies5(6), pp.1522-1525.
  3. Sawada, Y., Saito-Sasaki, N., Mashima, E. and Nakamura, M., 2021. Daily Lifestyle and Inflammatory Skin Diseases. International Journal of Molecular Sciences22(10), p.5204.
  4. Wu, H.J. and Wu, E., 2012. The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity. Gut microbes3(1), pp.4-14.

Read more
online marketing hIgeoQjS iE unsplash scaled 1

Is it safe to take nutrition advice from your Vet?

Is it safe to take nutrition advice from your Vet?. Pet food has become an important source of revenue for almost all veterinary practices over the years and veterinary foods - that is foods that are only available through veterinary practices, are the products of choice for countless vets across the country and the world. But with so many food options and feeding philosophies out there, why are these narrow ranges from just a handful of companies so popular amongst vets? In this article, we'll be looking at what veterinary foods are, who makes them, and the extraordinary lengths these companies have gone to ensure that their foods are the only ones on your vet's mind.   Pet food domination: The Big Three Corporations We all know there are plenty of pet food options out there. All About Dog Food currently features well over 250 brands of dog foods and treats that are available in the UK and still have many more to go. Incredibly though, almost 90% of all pet food sales in the UK are from just three companies. Through relentless marketing and widespread buy-outs, 'The Big Three' corporations have come to dominate and define pet food in the UK and across the world. These three giant multinational companies, Mars, Nestle, and Colgate Palmolive, absolutely dominate the pet food industry, together accounting for almost 90% of global sales. These companies also produce the world's three most successful veterinary pet food ranges - Royal Canin Veterinary Diets, Purina Veterinary Diets, and Hill's Prescription Diets, each of which is advocated by an army of vets worldwide. Mars: Pedigree, Cesar, Chappi, Frolic, Kitekat, Pal, Nutro, Greenies, James Wellbeloved, Royal Canin, Sheba, Whiskas. Nestle: Bakers, Beneful, Beta, Bonio, Felix, Friskies, Just Right, ProPlan, Purina One, Purina Veterinary Diets, Winalot. Colgate-Palmolive: Hills Science Plan, Hills Prescription Diets. But how have these three companies come to control the pet food market so completely? It must be because their products are so good, right? Unfortunately not.   Why Are They Bad? Veterinary foods are promoted as the ultimate in dietary therapy for your dog - so good in fact that only your vet can give it to you. The pristine packaging, the massive price tag, the fact that they are only available through vets, even the names 'Prescription Diets' and 'Veterinary Diets' all give the overwhelming impression that these are not mere foods but medicinal treatments and must, therefore, be the best choice for your sick dog. Unfortunately, in most cases, this couldn't be further from the truth. The most important thing to realize is that the majority of veterinary diets are just standard pet foods. Most of them don't contain anything remotely medicinal and no prescription is required to buy them. I say most because there are still a couple of instances where veterinary diets can be effective in removing some symptoms of your dog’s health issue. However not without great cost to the other aspects of your dog’s health. Hypoallergenic diets for example remove full proteins (that dogs react too) from food and replace it with hydrolysed animal proteins, this means your dog doesn’t get full proteins, which is extremely detrimental to their overall health in the long run. Kidney diets, remove nearly all protein so the owner and vets see a reduction in creatinine levels, but at the cost of every other aspect of the dogs health. Certain veterinary diets are engineered to reduce symptoms in the cheapest way possible and not address the cause of the issue, thus tricking everyone into thinking they may be working. Example: Hill's i/d Hill's Prescription Diet i/d is probably the most popular veterinary diet in the UK. Vets recommend it for all sorts of gastrointestinal disorders from colitis to pancreatitis, IBD to bloat. According to Hill, it is ideal for these sorts of problems because of its high digestibility, low-fat content, and its high level of fibre. It also contains electrolytes to help replace losses caused by vomiting and diarrhoea. Hills i/d dry ingredients: Ground Maize, Ground Rice, Dried Whole Egg, Chicken, and Turkey Meal, Maize Gluten Meal, Digest, Dried Beet Pulp, Animal Fat, Vegetable Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Flaxseed, Potassium Citrate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Taurine, L-Tryptophan, Vitamins and Trace Elements. Contains EU Approved Antioxidant. It doesn't take a nutritionist to tell you that this is not great food, but I'm going to anyway. The first, and therefore most abundant ingredient in Hill's i/d is maize - a grain that has become increasingly associated with dietary intolerance and actually causing digestive upsets. Add in the second ingredient rice and the added maize gluten further down and it's clear that i/d is a very grain-heavy food. As dogs are primarily designed for digesting meat, this is not the best characteristic for food to aid digestion. Meat, in fact, is only the 4th ingredient on the list and since the percentage isn't specified, the actual amount in the food could be very low indeed. The remaining ingredients really aren't anything to write home about either - digest, unidentified animal fats, added salt, and even artificial antioxidants - all hallmarks of a low-grade food. So why do vets sell veterinary diets? There are several reasons why prescription diets have become so prominent within the veterinary industry: Firstly, as disillusioning as it might be, many vets just don't know any better. Nutrition makes up a very small part of veterinary training and of the few modules that are available, many are 'sponsored' by the manufacturers of veterinary diets themselves. Veterinary undergraduates learn that a dog suffering from condition x must be fed veterinary diet y. Other brands and feeding philosophies just don't get a look in so by the time newly graduated vets join their first vet practice, veterinary diets really are the extent of their dog food knowledge.   Then, of course, there's the money. Veterinary diets are incredibly expensive, the markup for the vet practice is huge and since you can't get them elsewhere, it makes good business sense for a vet to get you on to them. The manufacturers and distributors of the veterinary diets also offer massive cash incentives to practices that meet their sales targets - so large in fact that winning or losing the bonus can make a considerable difference to a practice's prosperity. With so much at stake, it's no surprise to find vets pushing veterinary diets so vigorously.   How This Affects Veterinary Health Care? ‘The Big Three’ are affecting the veterinary health care system in a number of ways. Veterinary diets - as discussed. With their clinical, medicine-like white packaging, veterinary diets are generally pretty easy to spot. Their similarity with medicines is no mistake. The manufacturers are very keen for you and your vet to think of these foods as specialist and medicinal - that these remarkable foods will cure your pet of whatever ailment he or she is facing. As discussed.   Sponsored vet schools In the UK there are seven universities offering degrees in veterinary science. Many would argue that nutrition is not given nearly enough attention on these courses, often only coming up as a side topic two or three times over the five years of study. Nevertheless, it is this small amount of nutritional study that will provide the foundation for a vet's future food recommendations and The Big Three have not been slow in realizing its importance. Due to chronic underfunding (or in some cases just greed), many universities are very open to external sources of revenue and are happy to accept 'sponsorship' from companies despite glaring conflicts of interest. Over decades, The Big Three have exploited this situation to develop ever closer ties with vet schools around the world, providing funding and support in return for a few concessions.   Nutrition textbooks All students need textbooks and for small animal nutrition, there is only a handful to choose from. But guess what, they are also made by the Big Three! The most popular text on the subject, entitled "Small Animal Clinical Nutrition" is made by Hill's. They also make the accompanying "Quick Consult" guide and the "Key to Clinical Nutrition". Royal Canin's best-known texts are the Encyclopedia of Canine Clinical Nutrition and the Encyclopedia of Feline Clinical Nutrition. It probably won't surprise you to hear that these texts are not what most people would call 'impartial' on the subject of pet food. The two Royal Canin Encyclopedias of Clinical Nutrition (you can see an online version of the canine edition here) are particularly brazen. As an example, the Canine Encyclopaedia dedicates more space to promoting Soy Protein Isolate Hydrolysate (a common Royal Canin ingredient) than it does to exploring the entire subject of home-preparing pet food. But what's possibly even more worrying is the way these books seamlessly merge nutritional science with the science of making money. The entire last chapter, entitled 'Integration of Nutrition into Clinical Practice' is essentially one long set of instructions on how to sell as much Royal Canin as possible. It includes info on how to best position the foods to boost sales and even includes the below diagram illustrating the optimal shelving arrangement. The very last sentence in the entire textbook perfectly summarises how Royal Canin consider your sick pets: "Ideally, space should be organized in such a way that owners are led to buy a new supply of food for their dog, and even to buy new products for the dog that they have not seen before (e.g., chewing bars for dental hygiene)". Remember that this book is one of the primary sources of information on pet nutrition for budding vets.   Ongoing Training and Education Throughout their career, most vets will continue to expand their knowledge through attending lectures, seminars, and conferences and by following veterinary papers and journals. The trouble is, the Big Three have these well and truly covered too. It is the same universities and their Big Three staff members that are giving the lectures and acting as speakers at seminars and conferences. They also account for the majority of scholarly articles on pet nutrition and are the ones carrying out the all-important peer review. And if you take a look at the sponsor list for any of the big veterinary associations and events around the world, you will soon notice that the same three company names coming up again and again.   So, is it safe to take nutrition advice from your Vet. If they're advising a processed dog food made by Royal Canin or Hills, Purina... NO. If they are recommending fresh food diets, YES.

Read more
Kidney 1

Homemade dog food recipes for Kidney Disease

Here is all my research on Chronic kidney disease in dogs, condensed to help you make the best decisions possible for your dog. Kidney disease is extremely individual, I always recommend getting a specifically balanced meal plan for your dog.   Kidney Disease Research What is canine Chronic Kidney Disease? What do your dog’s kidney’s do? How do you know if your dog’s got Kidney Disease? What causes Kidney Disease? The protein myth What stage of kidney disease is my dog? How do I treat your dog’s kidney disease with diet     What is canine kidney disease? Chronic Kidney disease (CKD) is a progressive disease that is caused by structural or functional abnormalities in one or both of the kidneys. The reduction in the functional capabilities of the organs means a reduction in Globular filtration, this is the kidneys ability to filter the blood, which leads to a build-up of waste which becomes toxic (1) The rate of progression is extremely variable, for example an early diagnosis of CKD can slow disease progression, and with the correct management, it will ensure your dog’s quality and length of life remains unaffected. Depending on the stage of the disease, will depend on what management/ therapy your dog should receive, this is particularly the case with diet. (2)     What do your dog’s kidneys do? Just like us humans, blood flows through the kidneys every single minute. Your dog’s kidneys filter out waste products that are in the blood (globular filtration) from the breakdown of food, old cells, toxins, metabolic by products, and drugs. All of this gets into the blood via the digestive process, then the kidneys filter the blood and remove all waste in the form of urine. They also trap good substances, like proteins and supply them back to the body.   Kidney Functions:

  • Remove waste material from the bloodstream
  • Help regulate blood pressure
  • Regulate levels of certain essential minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium
  • Produce a variety of hormones
  • Regulate the amount of water in the blood and produce urine
  • Stimulate red blood cells formation
  • Help regulate vitamin D levels
  How do you know if your dog’s got kidney disease? 
  • Anorexia (Common)
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Anaemia
  • Weight-loss
  • Proteinuria (high protein in urine)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hypoalbuminemia (low albumin in blood) (3)
  What causes canine kidney disease? Your dog’s kidneys filter waste, waste which can be harmful or simply too much waste over too long causes the kidneys to degrade faster. All of these causes either increase the workload of the kidneys, eventually causing it to deteriorate, or directly cause reduced function of the kidneys.
  • Low grade long term inflammation
  • Increased waste in the food
  • Gut Microbiome dysbiosis (wrong diet)
  • Chronic bacterial infection
  • High blood pressure
  • Urinary blockage
  • Certain drugs
  • Congenital or at birth malformation of the kidneys
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Prolonged periodontal disease
(3,4,5,6)   The Protein Myth There is no data at all, to suggest that high protein diets affect the rate of kidney filtration. That means you should not restrict protein, however excess phosphorus is associated with disease progression and phosphorus is higher in lean high protein meats. As long as there is management of the phosphorus levels, increased dietary protein can be safely fed to dogs with CKD. (7) This is preferable as protein is a vital part of any healthy diet for a dog. (8) Phosphorus levels can be reduced by using high fat meats and boiling the meat (9) Low protein diets are recommended only at the end stages of kidney disease when minimal kidney function remains.   What stage of kidney disease is my dog? The Stages of Canine Kidney disease - International Renal Interest Society Stage for Dogs (10) The severity of your dog’s kidney disease and the loss of ability to filter the blood (globular filtration) is classed in Stages which you can work out from a blood test. Stages 1 and 2 are treated the same. Stage 3 is treated different and Stage 4 even more so.   Stage 1 - Normal blood creatinine (less than 125 umol/l or slightly less than 1.4mg/dl) or normal or mild increase blood SDMA (18 or lower), proteinuria (protein in urine), abnormal renal biopsy results, increasing blood creatinine or SDMA concentrations. Persistently elevated blood SDMA concentration (>14 µg/dl) may be used to diagnose early CKD. Stage 1 is extremely manageable.   Stage 2 – Normal or mildly increased creatinine (125 - 250umol/l or 1.4 - 2.8 mg/dl), Mildly increased SDMA (18 – 35 ug/dl). Clinical signs usually mild or absent. Stage 2 is very much manageable.   Stage 3 – Creatinine levels higher (250 - 440umol/l or 2.8 - 5 mg/dl). SDMA levels (36-54) Stage 3 the long term outlook is dependent on the total loss of kidney function. Reduce protein levels of diet.    Stage 4 – The last stage. (440+ umol/l or 5+ mg/dl). SDMA levels (54+) This is low protein diet, high fibre, high in probiotics or your dog’s favourite meals.   How to treat your dog’s Kidney disease with diet? Treatment of Kidney disease should be aimed at eliminating the underlying causes, to make sure to minimize further damage. Apart from congenital and birth defects and medication, the underlying causes can all be treated with diet. The initial diet that you make for your dog should have a specific balance, this will help control abnormalities in the blood tests, like high urea, phosphorus, calcium or creatinine etc. I do recommend signing up to a consultation for kidney disease, because it is so individual, it means a diet can be balanced specifically. Some tests will have high calcium and phosphorus, others low calcium etc.   Get Cam’s help: If you’d like a bespoke Kidney Recipe Plan, please click here. If you’d like to organise a Consultation, please click here.   References
  1. Polzin, D.J., 2011. Chronic kidney disease in small animals. Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice41(1), pp.15-30.
  2. Evason, M. and Remillard, R., 2017. Chronic kidney disease staging & nutrition considerations. Clinician’s Brief15(3), pp.89-95.
  3. Dunaevich, A., Chen, H., Musseri, D., Kuzi, S., Mazaki‐Tovi, M., Aroch, I. and Segev, G., 2020. Acute on chronic kidney disease in dogs: Etiology, clinical and clinicopathologic findings, prognostic markers, and survival. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine34(6), pp.2507-2515.
  4. Brown, S.A., Crowell, W.A., Barsanti, J.A., White, J.V. and Finco, D.R., 1991. Beneficial effects of dietary mineral restriction in dogs with marked reduction of functional renal mass. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology1(10), pp.1169-1179.
  5. Finco, D.R., Brown, S.A., Crowell, W.A., Duncan, R.J., Barsanti, J.A. and Bennett, S.E., 1992. Effects of dietary phosphorus and protein in dogs with chronic renal failure. American journal of veterinary research53(12), pp.2264-2271.
  6. Simona Mihai, Elena Codrici, Ionela Daniela Popescu, Ana-Maria Enciu, Lucian Albulescu, Laura Georgiana Necula, Cristina Mambet, Gabriela Anton, Cristiana Tanase, "Inflammation-Related Mechanisms in Chronic Kidney Disease Prediction, Progression, and Outcome", Journal of Immunology Research, vol. 2018, Article ID 2180373, 16 pages, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/2180373
  7. Sanderson, S.L., Rethinking Protein Restriction in Aging Dogs and Cats with Chronic Kidney Disease. Premise of Systems Microbiomics in Improving Health and Related Diagnostics for Human and Companion Animals, p.87.
  8. Leibetseder JL, Neufeld KW. Effects of Medium Protein Diets in Dogs with Chronic Renal Failure. J Nutr. 1991;121: S145-S149
  9. Jones, W.L., 2001. Demineralization of a wide variety of foods for the renal patient. journal of Renal Nutrition11(2), pp.90-96.
  10. Finco DR, Brown SA, Crowell WA, et al. Effects of Dietary Phosphorus and Protein in Dogs with Chronic Renal Failure. Am J Vet Res. 1992;53:2264-2271.

Read more
4 / 512345
freestocks t8SxccV0Agw unsplash scaled 1 1
more info

 

 

I start these dog supplement articles the same way every single time. Dietary change, to a specific fresh raw or cooked dog

Sign up to our newsletter

For the latest on dog health research, discounts and community stories.

Sign up to our newsletter

For the latest on dog health research, discounts and community stories.

Free Nutrition Guide | Diet for Kidney