The 5 Most Common Problems In Dogs From The Wrong Food
Imagine putting diesel fuel in a car that takes regular unleaded. In a matter of minutes, the engine will be wrecked. This is essentially what it is like when the wrong food is fed to a dog only it takes a lot longer to show.
The food that you give your dog is one of the biggest factors in their health. It can be part of the treatment for colitis in dogs, for instance, when it is formulated for digestive issues. The opposite can happen when using the wrong food. It can cause many different ailments.
In this article, we will go over several of the most common problems associated with feeding dogs the wrong food.
1 – Intolerance
Intolerance to some of the ingredients in dog food is often misattributed to an allergy. The responses are very similar, but an allergy is an adverse immune system reaction. Histamines are released that cause itchiness, inflammation, and rashes.
The difference with an intolerance to food is that there isn’t an immune response that occurs. It manifests itself in other ways. Diarrhea is an example of intolerance from an ingredient that the dog’s body is unable to process. Something like dairy in the food.
Intolerance is far more common in dogs than allergies which makes it tricky to find the right food. Having your dog undergo allergy testing could result in nothing being found while the problems persist due to it being an intolerance.
Many intolerances will show up as digestive problems. Besides the aforementioned diarrhea, you may also see vomiting, abdominal bloating, and near-constant flatulence.
It is hard to narrow down which ingredient is causing the problem since an allergy is not present. The best way forward is to stitch to a single ingredient type of food. You’ll likely be switching foods until you land on the one that doesn’t cause any problems through a process of elimination.
2 – Diabetes
Many dog foods contain high glycemic index ingredients that raise blood sugars. Combining overeating with these ingredients raises the risk of diabetes in dogs. Look out for foods with high glucose corn syrup and ingredients like white rice.
The most important thing is to make sure that your dog doesn’t overeat at all. Even high-quality dog food that is properly balanced will lead to an overweight dog if they overeat. Once a dog becomes obese then diabetes becomes a major concern.
If your dog is overweight and at risk of becoming diabetic then the best treatment is to switch to the right food. Dog food with low amounts of carbohydrates is the best to focus on. It is tempting to switch to low-fat dog food, but be careful about excess carbohydrates. Many low-fat mixes are high in refined carbohydrates that are high glycemic.
3 – Gastroenteritis
Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract namely the small and large intestines. Your dog’s ability to absorb the nutrients in food is directly impacted by the presence of gastroenteritis. It is uncomfortable as it causes bloating and even diarrhea. In extreme cases, gastroenteritis causes hemorrhaging that can be very serious.
There are many causes of gastroenteritis in dogs, but food plays a major part. A raw diet of meat is a big factor so avoid giving them things like raw ground beef. Some processed foods also contribute if they have bacteria in them like salmonella or E. coli. Cheap canned dog foods are a big culprit.
Keep an eye out for recalls and avoid feeding the dog foods from discount brands that are questionable. Sticking to well-established brands that use quality ingredients will help to avoid gastroenteritis caused by canned or kibble dog food.
4 – Periodontal disease
Gum disease is a common problem for dogs and is quite painful. It is caused by the bacteria on your dog’s teeth that eat away at the plaque. It ends up causing problems like gingivitis and tooth loss. Particularly bad bacterial infections also cause other health problems as infections spread.
Dog foods that are high in starch from ingredients like legumes and rice cause plaque build-up on the teeth that feed the bacteria. Raw food diets are good for dogs that have problems with gum disease as they don’t cause a plaque build up on the teeth. They also contain enzymes that help to break down the bacteria present on the teeth and gums.
If you see bleeding gums or discolored teeth then this is a sign of periodontal disease. Chronic bad breath is also something to look out for.
5 – Chronic disease
Dog food that is not properly nutritionally balanced causes malnutrition in dogs that lead to many chronic diseases.
Dogs require a specialized diet that is balanced not only with the proper nutrients, but also things like amino acids. For instance, many people are trying to wean their dogs off of dog food that is high in grains. This in itself is a good thing as diets with too many carbohydrates can lead to diabetes and obesity.
However, dog food that is high in legumes such as peas and lentils as a replacement for grains is not good for your dog. These foods are too low in taurine which is an essential amino acid for heart health. These diets lead to heart conditions that is not easily seen right away.
Kidney disease is also rampant due to a diet that is exclusively dry. Kibbles can be well formulated and balanced, but they need to be supplemented with wet or raw food based feed. The dry food doesn’t give dogs the proper hydration to keep their kidneys flushed. And table scraps often contain more salt than they should eat, contributing to kidney problems.
Unfortunately, dog owners try to avoid things like carbohydrates and end up replacing it with a high fat diet. This leads to pancreatitis which is an inflamed pancreas. A low fat diet that is also low in carbohydrates and high glycemic ingredients is your best bet.