Diet for Cushing's in Dogs

Though canines and humans are very different in physiology, there are some universal truths that apply to both. One such universal truth lies in the realm of diet and health.

Centuries ago, humans uprooted dogs from their natural habitat and domesticated them to help them in hunting and guarding. They were removed from the wild, and thus unable to obtain nutrition on their own. Human intervention continues to come in the form of food, shelter, and safety.

Furthermore, there are a fair number of diseases that are unique to domestic dogs. These diseases have not been known to occur in wild dogs; therefore, it can be assumed that these are in some way caused by human intervention.

Cushing's disease (hyperadrenocorticism) is one such condition that ails pet dogs. Cushing's disease in dogs refers to a disease that is caused by excessive amounts of cortisone due to an overactive adrenal gland. Major characteristics of this disease are thinning of skin, hair loss, excess of urination and thirst, and obesity (bloated abdomen).

There is not much research done on the most suitable diet for the condition of hyperadrenocorticism in dogs. Generally speaking, a healthy diet for a dog needs to have certain characteristics. The diet should have the following characteristics:

High levels of protein

Low levels of fat

Low amounts of fiber

Low levels of purine

Sufficient potassium and sodium content, especially if the dog is on medication for Cushing's disease

An adequate quantity of water

A diet containing high quality proteins is the right choice for any healthy dog. High quality proteins are available in foods like meat, milk, and eggs. These also contain the right amount of amino acids that are necessary for a healthy liver and kidney. Some amino acids are sensitive to heat; therefore raw meat is a better choice than cooked meat.

However, if your dog has other ailments, he may require a different type of diet. For example, a dog suffering from diabetes should be on a diet that has high levels of fat, moderate proteins, and low phosphorus content.

Dogs do not have any dietary compulsions for carbohydrates but are normally used only to reduce phosphorus intake. Dogs are carnivores, and they derive energy from fats rather than carbohydrates. For this reason, dogs are not at risk of developing fat-related human disorders like high cholesterol.


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