Individualized Nutrition For Your Dogs
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Many clients ask "why do dogs eat grass?"
Some feel alarmed when they see Fido chewing on a lawn, and for good reason if that lawn has been sprayed with chemicals. Otherwise though, eating grass is a behavior known as “pica” which encompasses eating pretty much anything that’s not considered to be food. Here are a number of factors to decipher this grass-eating behavior.
Puppies have curious noses and eager mouths. Their world of discovery includes a need to understand if something is food, or a toy, etc. So, pups and young dogs may engage in eating grass because of that, or simply due to boredom. Typically, they will yank tufts of grass, perhaps chewing a little before spitting it out, and repeating the actions as if playing a game.
However, there can also be health-related reasons for dogs eating grass, and although we may not understand all of them, some are clearly medicinal in action. Grass consumption is often used to purge the body.
Dogs experiencing a gastrointestinal upset will often eat grass. They tend to eat it in frantic pace, and in fairly large amounts. They’re not selective about it. Instead, they will consume, lick their lips (often a sign of nausea) and vomit.
The internet, and especially social media has made it easy to find articles, videos, chat groups, magazines, and webinars, and more. While undoubtedly a good thing at times, it’s also confused a lot of people, and enabled some to promote themselves as experts. How can you tell if you’re following hype, or the real deal? Here are some basic things to look for.
1. Who is the author, and what is it they’re presenting? If there is bias toward a feeding method be it raw, cooked foods, or commercial diets, their world-view may not be balanced so much as promoting a belief system. There should be no emotional attachment to the outcome when an author, or presenter shows you what they believe to be facts.
2. Is the headline explosive, frightening, or urgently prompting you to Act Now? This would fall under promotional material to make a sale (be it a sale for monetary purposes, or to gain followers, and add to their belief system) rather than being a resource to count on.
3. Does an article provide a source/citation for their statement? If so, check out the reference. Really check it out. I’ve seen links to supposed studies that aren’t actually clickable. There are also plenty of instances that may seem to support the author’s stance if you read just one sentence in that study, but too often the rest of the study had nothing to do with the author’s claim.
The possible reasons for dogs licking their paws include
4. Pollen allergies
5. Food allergies
6. Flea allergy dermatitis
7. Mites 8. Bacterial and/or yeast infection
Bored, and stressed dogs find some relief in the licking of their own bodies, and even toys, and blankets. It’s a difficult habit to break because it’s self-rewarding behavior. Diverting the dog’s attention and doing something to alleviate stress can be helpful. Tug toy, food puzzle, going for a walk, teaching a new game, or trick to keep the dog’s mind busy usually works as the old habit becomes less of a problem.
Pain: The paws can become painful for many reasons. Nails that are too long, or torn; the skeleton being off kilter, so the paws are taking more pressure than they should have to; debris such as pine needles, sticky weeds, tiny bits of gravel between the toes, ticks buried between the toes, salt from winter roads, hot pavement, lawn chemicals that cause a burning feeling; growths/tumors, and even cancerous lesions. Inspecting the paws carefully, and seeing your veterinarian can bring results.
In the case of dogs eating garden plants and bulbs, the risks range from vomiting and diarrhea to seizures, and death. Here are the plants and bulbs to avoid:
Spring crocuses are attractive to many dogs. Ingestion can cause vomiting and diarrhea leading to dehydration.
All parts (flower, plant, and especially the bulb) contain poisonous alkaloids with potential to cause excessive salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and heart problems. Hyacinths All parts, and especially the bulb cause vomiting, diarrhea, sometimes with blood, depression and tremors.
Toxicity is based on the type of lily. The calla lily, amaryllis, lily of the valley are all deemed dangerous to dogs by the ASPCA. Clinical signs: intense irritation of the mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.
The following diet is based on the original one by Dr. Jean Dodds and I'm pleased that Dr. Dodds has approved it for long term use. Please note that the amounts of food have changed from the original diet and supplementation differs greatly. This diet meets the newest NRC recommended allowances for vitamins and minerals.
We can't expect to see positive results unless the diet is followed as written below. One of the best things about this diet is that you can purchase supplements that are well suited to your dog rather than a blend of things that may upset the gastrointestinal tract. For instance, if zinc citrate is not well tolerated, zinc gluconate can be used. If one manufacturer's B-Complex isn't suitable, there are many others available.
This diet has always been positioned to provide dogs with seizure disorders a source of branch chain amino acids and extremely low amounts of glutamate-aspartate. Since these dogs take medication(s) that can be hard on the liver, the diet is liver-friendly. However, it is not “just” a liver-friendly diet. It aims to serve a greater role, thus it restricts some foods. This diet has also been successfully fed to dogs that do not have seizures.
Recipe Per Week:
42 oz cod, baked
While any disease that strikes our dogs is one too many, there are situations that include more than one disease at once. In cases of cancer combined with just about any other disease, owners are likely to focus on the cancer first. From a nutritional point of view, this reaction can be dangerous. Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), and most cases of GI diseases demand a low-far diet. Yet, the most common diets for cancer are keto and those high in omega 3 fatty acids. In these examples of disease, feeding those poplar diets stand to harm the dog far sooner than the cancer will.
Dog owners/parents need to triage with a cool head when deciding the best course of action to take. As an example, pancreatitis is painful and can actually kill a dog. Kidney disease is progressive, and the dog should be fed optimally for it, but pancreatitis must take priority because if that’s not under control, no diet for kidney disease can work.