The food you give to your pet dog is perhaps the most important element of its continued good health. Unless you give your pet, a diet that is nutritionally balanced as well as high in quality and taste, a number of common problems can often be noticed.
Just like in human beings, obesity has assumed the nature of a nationwide epidemic with more than 50% of dogs in America afflicted with obesity. Due to this, dogs are increasingly prone to developing secondary diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, and even cancer. A decrease in life expectancy has been observed in obese pets by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). However, what is really alarming is that over 90% of the owners were under the impression that their dogs’ weight was normal till it was brought to their notice.
It is vital for dog owners to pay special attention to the calorific value and fat content of the food they are serving to their pet dogs. While no doubt they are important constituents of food, a superabundance of anyone or both can lead to or aggravate the obesity condition in dogs. Consult your vet to determine the ideal weight of your pet and the size of the portions as well as the frequency of feeding so that you can control the calories and fats that your dog consumes. A regular exercise regimen helps to keep obesity at bay.
When the dog’s pancreas gets inflamed the digestive enzymes are released into the abdomen and begin to break down the proteins and fats in the organs located there, including the pancreas. The leading cause of pancreatitis in dogs is a dietary fat that stimulates hormonal secretion that in turn prompts the pancreas to secrete its juices. Periodic consultation with your veterinarian will help you know if your pet’s diet is increasing its risk of the disease. In case your dog is already afflicted with pancreatitis, then you need to switch to a low-fat diet that can be easily digested by your dog.
Urinary Bladder Stones
Dogs can develop a number of types of stones in their urinary bladders. The difference lies in the minerals they are composed of. For example, calcium is a primary constituent of calcium oxalate stones, while phosphates and magnesium are found in struvite stones. Usually, the stones begin very small, but with the passage of time, they grow larger in size and number. The development of these stones in the bladder leads to the dog straining to pass urine, discoloration of urine, and even urinary accidents. If you see any symptoms such as these, it is advisable to immediately consult the vet who will be able to diagnose if indeed it is a bladder stone and if so what type it is. Based on his investigation he can prescribe a food or medicine to dissolve it, if possible, else if the stone is not dissolvable, surgery may be advised.
The vet may even prescribe a diet that helps prevent further formation of stones. Even if your pet has no bladder stone currently, it may be advisable to provide a diet that’s low in phosphorus and calcium to try and ensure that the stones do not form.
Just like human beings, if dogs are not given a properly balanced diet, they can end up with cardiac diseases. One of the key factors that increase the chances of heart disease is sodium intake. The extra level of salt elevates the blood pressure in the blood vessels as more water is retained. The increased blood pressure causes the heart to get enlarged so that it can overcome the elevated pressure and still be able to pump blood from the heart ventricles. Consult your vet so that you can give your pet a low-sodium diet.