Dogs with heart disease require special diets. According to nutrition expert Dr. Julia Fritz is fundamental for this:
Warning: Regardless of the nature of your dog’s illness, be sure to talk to your veterinarian about which food is especially suitable for your dog. You should also always discuss any nutritional supplements with him before giving them to your dog.
In the advanced stages of heart disease, other organs such as the liver or kidneys are often also affected. If the kidneys are affected, the body often stores more sodium and thus water, as it can no longer completely excrete it through the kidneys.
Because normal dog food is too high in sodium, heart disease dogs need special heart diet food, which of course has to be given for life. Ready-made products are available from the vet, but you can also prepare appropriate light foods yourself. As nutrition expert Dr. Fritz explains that in very severe cases, because of the sodium content, the dog should not be given tap water, but distilled water or low-sodium mineral water, which is also suitable for babies.
According to the expert’s experience, classic barf rations, in which no carbohydrates are fed, are not suitable for heart patients because of the high protein content. This can be particularly problematic in dogs whose kidneys or liver are also damaged, as these organs play a major role in protein breakdown. With barf, the meat ration should definitely be supplemented with carbohydrates and also be of top quality.
A special case of heart disease is the pathological enlargement of the heart (dilated cardiomyopathy), which occurs mainly in large breeds of dogs. The carnitine levels are often too low in this disease. Carnitine is an amino acid compound that is important for burning fat.
In addition, scientists suspect one of the triggering factors is a lack of taurine, also an amino acid. A feed supplement with taurine and carnitine can therefore help dogs with heart problems.
Dogs with heart disease must be fed a low-salt diet. © Ruben-stock.adobe.com
Diet plays a very important role in liver disease, as the liver is the main organ of detoxification in the body. Correct protein feeding is particularly important: “If you feed a lot of meat, it puts a strain on the liver,” explains nutrition expert Dr. Fritz. How much protein the dog is allowed to get depends on the specific liver disease. “In any case, you have to use high-quality protein,” says the expert.
The following points should be considered when feeding dogs with liver disease:
If you want to use ready-made food, you can get special diet food from the vet.
If you want to baref for your dog with liver disease, these points are important:
If the dog has hepatic encephalopathy, a functional disorder of the brain caused by an insufficient detoxification function of the liver, fermentable fibers (such as pectin), lactulose or lactose can be used to make the digestive pulp in the large intestine more acidic. If the pH is below 6.5, ammonia is converted to ammonium and excreted with the feces. It does not get back into the bloodstream and does not burden the liver.
Fortunately, the liver has a high regenerative capacity, so that the special diet may be discontinued after a while, depending on the cause of the disease.
Dogs with liver disease need high quality protein. © Chalabala-stock.adobe.com
If the pancreas is inflamed (pancreatitis), you should pay attention to a low-fat diet. In chronic cases, you shouldn’t feed too much protein in order not to stimulate the digestive juices too much.
If you want to cook or cook yourself, you should consider the following:
No matter what you feed, divide the daily ration over two to three meals if possible.
A chronic patient needs a permanent special diet. Even if pancreatitis has subsided, a meager diet should continue to be given, as the disease can be triggered again and again. Food that is too fat can be the main reason for this.
Dogs with pancreatitis need low-fat food. © Javier brosch-stock.adobe.com
If the pancreas is underactive (endocrine pancreatic insufficiency), too few digestive enzymes are produced. Classic symptoms for this are:
The following aspects are important when feeding dogs with an underactive pancreas:
The digestive enzymes do the work of the body outside of the small intestine. “With some dogs it is enough to give it half an hour before eating, with others it has to be pre-digested in the bowl for four hours. It smells like vomit, but it doesn’t bother the dog, ”says expert Dr. Fritz.