Eating Out of the Pom of Your Hand

Love Dog

In This Chapter

  • Realizing the challenges of feeding toy dogs
  • Understanding nutrients and ingredients
  • Deciphering dog food labels
  • Taking the fat off or putting it on
  • Feeding dogs with food-sensitive disorders
Feeding a little Pom seems pretty simple: Buy a giant bag of dog food, open it up, and let your dog tunnel his way from one end of the bag to the other. Replace the bag once a year or when he gets to the other end, whichever comes first.
Of course you know better — and want better. One of the joys of having a tiny dog is the luxury of feeding him only the best. But tiny dogs have big challenges when you try to decide the best for them.

Remember

Your Pomeranian thinks you must be the greatest hunter on earth as you return from the grocery store with bag after bag loaded with food. Eating is one of a dog’s great joys in life. Help him be happy and healthy by hunting down the best and tastiest foods.

Avoiding Toy Dog Food Follies

It’s not unusual to see people buy giant bags of dog food filled with giant chunks of food suited for giant dogs — and then feed those chunks to their tiny dog. But that’s like handing your baby a lobster and telling her to have at it. The intention may be good, but it’s not right for her size. Like your baby, your Pom needs not only age-appropriate food but also size-appropriate food for reasons of safety, nutrition, and enjoyment.

Feeding bite-sized bits

Look at those tiny teeth and jaws! You can’t expect your Pom to munch down those rocks of kibble that larger breeds practically inhale. He’s likely to just give up chewing and swallow them whole, which makes for a bad situation.

Warning!

Too many dog treats and kibbles are actually choking size for a Pom. In fact, many popular training treats (which are purposefully small — about 1⁄2 inch in diameter — for larger dogs) are the perfect choking size for a Pomeranian.

To ensure your Pom’s snack-time safety, try the following tips:

– Squish some dog-training treats to make them flatter.

– Try human donut-shaped cereals.

– Tear off bits of flat string cheese.

– Give her small pieces of thin deli meats.

Many dog food companies now make dry food specifically for small dogs. Besides being easy to swallow, it’s usually more nutrient-rich and higher in calories. For more on dry dog foods, see the later section “Perusing the Pet-Food Aisle.”

Watching out for low blood sugar

It’s no hype: Low blood sugar, technically known as hypoglycemia, can kill. This emergency condition is related to feeding, and you see it mostly in small, young, stressed, or active dogs.

Technical Stuff

Pomeranian puppies and some adults can’t store enough readily available glycogen (the form of glucose that their bodies keep in the muscles and liver for energy). When the glycogen runs out, the body starts breaking down fat for energy. But because puppies have very little fat on their bodies, they quickly deplete this energy store. And when that store is empty, the brain (which depends on glucose to function) starts having problems. The puppy may start to get weak and sleepy, perhaps wobbling and stumbling if she has to move. If she doesn’t get glucose soon, she can have seizures, lose consciousness, and die. 

Don’t worry too much about hypoglycemia. For most Poms, it’s just a puppyhood concern, and they outgrow it by 7 months of age or so. But all Pom owners need to be aware and ready, especially if your dog stresses easily. Just feed regular, frequent meals that contain complex carbohydrates, and be on the lookout for lethargic or otherwise odd behavior.

Keeping blood sugar at a healthy level

Hypoglycemia sounds scary, and it is! But you can take a couple of steps to make sure your Pom never experiences it.

Don’t let your Pom puppy go more than four hours without eating. If that’s not possible (like in the middle of the night), make sure he’s warm, confined, and quiet so he doesn’t use much energy.

Make sure his foods are fairly high in protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs slow the breakdown of carbohydrates into sugars. This steady breakdown leads to more efficient use of the carbs rather than a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows.

Complex carbohydrates are mostly from the whole-grain groups, such as corn, rice, and wheat. Although you can’t just feed your Pom a loaf of bread, you can feed him a good-quality commercial dog food that contains some grain-based ingredients.

Avoid simple sugars, such as sweets and semimoist foods. However, keep those foods on hand in case your Pom starts having signs of hypoglycemia.

Reacting quickly to a blood-sugar deficiency

Warning!

If you suspect your Pom is becoming hypoglycemic, you need to get some simple sugars into her. Follow these steps to perk her up quickly:

1. Try to give her corn syrup (a good choice for quick energy), but if she won’t swallow it, rub it on her gums and the roof of her mouth.

2. Feed her semimoist foods (the kind that look like fake meat and come in a clear pouch) if she’ll take them. But don’t put anything in her mouth that can choke her!

3. Keep her warm and call your veterinarian.

If you’ve gotten enough sugar in her, she should start showing signs of improvement while you’re on the phone — within a couple of minutes. However, she still may need to go to the clinic for intravenous glucose.

4. Give her a small, high-protein meal like meat baby food when she’s feeling better and can eat.

Avoiding toxic table scraps

Even though your intentions may be kind, your dog isn’t a barking garbage disposal, so don’t treat him like one. Table scraps are okay here or there. But a few table scraps can fill your Pom’s little belly — make sure they’re nutritious. And remember: When he finds out how good your food is, you can expect him to want more.

Warning!

Strangely, people are able to eat certain foods that appear to have toxic effects on dogs. This effect is magnified in small dogs. Avoid these human foods:

Alcohol: Can get a small dog drunk with just small amounts and can be deadly in larger amounts.

Chocolate: Contains theobromine (a mild stimulant related to caffeine), which can cause death in dogs because they metabolize it more slowly than humans do. Baking chocolate is especially toxic. As little as half an ounce can be life-threatening to a 4-pound Pom.

Macadamia nuts: Cause some dogs to get very ill; scientists don’t understand the cause. (The choking hazard is also an obvious warning sign.)

Onion: Destroys red blood cells in dogs. Eating an entire onion can be fatal to a Pom.

Peach pits and other fruit pits and seeds: Contain cyanide.

Raisins and grapes: Have been associated with kidney failure and extreme sudden toxicity in some dogs.

Raw dough: Can expand inside the warm environment of the gut, causing impaction.

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener in some chewing gums: Can cause a sharp drop in a dog’s blood sugar, resulting in depression, loss of coordination, and seizures (see the preceding section for more on this dangerous situation).

Boning Up on Nutrition

Feeding a tiny dog entails some considerations that you may not have to think about for a large dog.

Pint-sized Poms have tiny tummies. You may be able to feed a big dog a handful of potato chips and cookies before a meal, but try that with a Pom and her stomach’s going to be too full of junk to fit in any nutritious food.

Little dogs need more calories per pound of body weight compared to big dogs, so their food needs to be jam-packed with essential nutrients and energy. Study the ingredients and nutritional analyses on commercial dog foods. You don’t have to be a nutritionist, but understanding some basics can help you make decisions. Note: The dry foods that target the wee ones usually cram in more calories per gram than the foods for their larger counterparts do.

The nutrition guidelines in this section are for healthy dogs. Dogs with health problems have special nutrient requirements or restrictions, as I describe in Chapter Maintaining Your Pom’s Health and Happiness.

Remember

Nutrients come in two basic varieties: those that provide energy (calories) and those that don’t. Both types are vital.

The energy providers

Although you usually think of nutrients as providing energy, that’s just one of their jobs (see the next section for more info), and even foods that provide energy have several different functions.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates make up the bulk of ingredients in most commercial dog foods, and the most digestible carbs are in starches and sugars. But dogs can only utilize nutrients from cooked carbs; even then, they utilize the carbs to different degrees, depending on the source. The following list ranks the sources of carbs from best to worst:

1. Rice

2. Potatoes and corn

3. Wheat, oats, and beans

Active dogs have a hard time maintaining weight and condition when their diet is too high in carbs The more-poorly digested carbs (numbers 2 and 3 in the list) are especially guilty of causing diarrhea and flatulence. If this sounds — or smells — like your Pom, don’t blame the dog! Just change her food to one with higher protein or better-quality carbohydrates.

Tip

Dogs need particular enzymes to digest the carbs from dairy products and soybeans. But when they’re not regularly eating these foods, that enzyme activity can be low. So, if you intend to give dairy products and soybeans to your Pom, slowly work up to higher levels of these foods. Need more convincing? When enzyme activity is low, the carbs end up fermented by colonic bacteria, which produces — you guessed it — diarrhea and flatulence.

Protein

Protein contains various amino acids that provide the building blocks for bone, muscle, coat, and antibodies. Eggs have the highest quality and most digestible proteins, followed by milk, fish, beef, and chicken (the latter two are tied).
Puppies need higher levels of protein than do adult dogs, and old dogs need even higher levels than puppies.
Keep these points in mind:

Remember

– Your Pom requires very little food, so consider buying foods that include high-quality protein.

Because meat and other animal-derived protein sources are expensive compared to plant-derived sources, commercial food companies tend to use minimal amounts of animal protein and often use less wholesome sources, such as meat and bone meal or animal by-product meal.

– Many people add meat or even eggs to their dog’s commercial food, which is probably a good idea. Note: No supplement should add up to more than 10 percent of the total diet.

Always cook the eggs because raw egg whites contain a substance that makes biotin unavailable. By cooking the whites or by serving them along with cooked yolks (which are so high in biotin that they offset the deficit), you don’t risk a biotin deficiency.

– A variety of meats ensures the best sampling of essential amino acids, but proteins from plants aren’t as beneficial (although soybeans are almost as high in amino acids as chicken). In addition, most proteins from plants are more difficult to digest and have insufficient levels of some specific amino acids.

Fat

Fat provides energy, contributes to good taste, and aids in the transport of fat-soluble vitamins. But too much fat can cause diarrhea, obesity, and a reduced appetite for more nutritious foods. In contrast, diets deficient in essential fatty acids cause skin problems, inability to reproduce, and slowed growth.

To provide a good balance of fat in your Pom’s diet, include rich sources of fatty acids, such as egg yolks and vegetable oils, and aim for a diet with at least 5 percent fat dry matter (the amount of nutrients in the food minus the water content). To figure this percentage out in nondry foods, see the formula later in “Reading the label and between the lines.”

The non-energy providers

Nutrients also provide substances that are essential to life, even though they may not fuel the body directly. For example, you may not think of water and fiber as nutrients, but they, along with vitamins and minerals, are critical components of a good diet.

Water

Water is the single most important nutrient. Although your Pom (and all of us, for that matter!) can skip other nutrients for a day or even a week with little noticeable consequence, your Pom needs water every day. Water dissolves and transports other nutrients, helps regulate body temperature, and helps lubricate joints. Like all animals, your Pom’s body consists mostly of water. If he gets dehydrated, he can become very ill.

Tip

Although water is a pretty simple dish to serve, your dog will appreciate your thoughtfulness in serving it. Follow these suggestions and revel in your little friend’s contentedness:

– Consider using filtered or bottled water. After all, how much can a Pom drink!

– Keep the water bowl full at all times. Just because the water’s running right through her and perhaps wetting the carpets is no excuse to hold out.

– Change the water every day; wash the bowl each time.

– Add some ice to her water on a warm day. Your Pom appreciates the gesture — just like you do.

Vitamins and minerals

Dogs require the following vitamins in their diet: A, D, E, B1, B2, B12, niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, folic acid, and choline.
Minerals help build tissues and organs, and they’re part of many body fluids and enzymes. Deficiencies or excesses can cause anemia, poor growth, a strange appetite, fractures, convulsions, vomiting, weakness, heart problems, and many other disorders.

Remember

Most dog foods have vitamins in their optimal percentages, so supplementing with vitamin tablets is rarely necessary. And supplementing your dog’s diet with minerals, especially calcium, is not a good idea.

Fiber

Fiber (like beet pulp, rice bran, or various gums) affects the absorption of other nutrients including carbs, proteins, fats, and some vitamins and minerals. Although fiber is common in weightloss diets to give the dog a full feeling, its effectiveness is controversial; some research suggests that it doesn’t really help dogs lose weight or even feel less hungry.
Fiber does increase stool volume and encourages more frequent defecation. So, if your Pom’s poop is as big as he is, check the fiber content of his food — it could be you’re using a diet food with more fiber than standard foods, or that you’re using a cheap food that’s mixed in a bunch of peanut hulls to save money. Look for a fiber content of about 4 percent for dry foods and 1 percent for wet foods.

Perusing the Pet-Food Aisle

What is it about the pet-food aisle that transforms confident connoisseurs into confused consumers? It’s probably all those labels shouting out to proclaim high protein, low fat, hypoallergenic, small breed, large breed, puppy, and geriatric. You just want to grab a bag and go, but there are too many choices. Don’t worry — all you have to do is narrow them down, and I help you do just that in this section. Start by deciding the form of food and then move on to comparing labels.

Comparing bags, cans, and pouches

Commercial foods come in dry (bagged), canned (wet), and semimoist (pouch) varieties. Differences among them are as follows:

Dry (bagged): Pomeranians, like most tiny dogs, can develop dental problems, but chewing hard foods may help avert them. The typical kibble, however, simply crumbles when the dog bites into it. Specially formulated dental foods maintain their shape long enough to scrape against the tooth surface. Note: After dental problems develop, the teeth may be too sensitive to chew any hard food. See Chapter Primping Your Pom for more information about dental problems.

Canned (wet): Most Pomeranian owners use canned food in their dog’s diet, either mixing it with dry food or making it the entire meal. However, a diet of just canned food isn’t advisable because it provides no chewing action. Canned foods also tend to be higher in fat, which adds to their texture, so they may not be good for dieting dogs.

Some veterinarians recommend feeding canned foods and other supplements first, then finishing the meal with dry feeds for better cleaning action from chewing. Some dogs with dental problems (missing, loose, or sensitive teeth) may only be able to eat soft foods; these dogs, of course, need veterinary attention first and foremost.

Pouches (semimoist): These foods are high in sugar and lack the better attributes of dry and canned food. The high sugar content makes them particularly unsuited for tiny Pomeranians or Pom puppies because the sugar can create a rebound situation that leads to hypoglycemia (check out “Watching out for low blood sugar” earlier in this chapter for this dangerous condition).

However, semimoist foods may be handy to keep around in case a dog’s showing signs of hypoglycemia and needs a sugar fix. Some wet foods now come in pouches, too.

Tip

When buying dry food (which I highly recommend), keep these tips in mind:

Dry foods formulated for small dogs are definitely a good idea. Many of the standard dry foods are too large for tiny Pom mouths. In addition, small dogs require more calories in relation to body weight than large dogs do (see this chapter’s earlier section “Boning Up on Nutrition”).

Buy the little bags. The food loses it nutritional value, can become rancid, and can hatch little bugs and moths (yuck!) when it sits around too long. Don’t stock up on it.

Poms eat so little food that you can afford to buy the best.

Reading the label and between the lines

Ignore the picture on the food package of the cute dog doing a back flip for the juicy hunks of meat pouring into his bowl. Your dog will probably just stand there, and the food won’t look anything like the picture.

Instead, look for the statement that declares the food to be complete and balanced according to feeding trials. Some foods are declared healthy simply because of their ingredients. But because dogs may metabolize some ingredients better than others, the better food companies go the extra mile to test several generations with that food alone.

Understanding label lingo

Here’s how to decipher the list of ingredients in commercial dog food:

Meat: Mammal flesh including muscle, skin, heart, esophagus, and tongue

Meat by-products: Cleaned mammal organs including kidney, stomach, intestines, brain, spleen, lungs, and liver; also blood, bone, and fatty tissue

Meat and bone meal: Product from processed meat and meat products

Poultry by-products: Cleaned poultry organs, feet, and heads

Poultry by-products meal: Product from processed poultry by-products

Fish meal: Dried ground fish

Beef tallow: Fat

Soybean meal: By-product of soybean oil

Cornmeal: Ground whole corn kernels

Corn gluten meal: Dried residue after the removal of bran, germ, and starch from corn

Brewer’s rice: Fragmented rice kernels separated from milled rice

Cereal food fines: Small particles of human breakfast cereals

Beet pulp: Dried residue from sugar beets (for fiber)

Peanut hulls: Ground peanut shells (for fiber)

BHA, BHT, ethoxiquin, sodium nitrate, tocopherols (vitamins C and E): Preservatives (tocopherols generally have the fewest health risks but also the shortest shelf life)

Know what your dog is really eating

When buying food for your Pom, be aware that what you see isn’t necessarily what your Pom gets. Marketing buffs have found a way to mask not-so-great food qualities in an enticing description. Hmm, imagine that.
Look at the name of the food and consider its real meaning. Buyer, beware!

– A commercial food labeled beef flavored may not even contain beef if feeding trials show a dog recognizes the food as beef.

– A food labeled with beef may contain as little as 3 percent beef.

– A beef dinner or entrée need not contain beef as its major ingredient, but beef products must make up at least 10 percent of the total product.

– Only a product that contains at least 70 percent beef can be labeled simply beef without any fancy modifiers. (The same is true for other types of meat.)

After checking out the marketing copy, study the label (it lists ingredients in descending order according to their amount). You want a product that has at least three animal-derived ingredients in the first six ingredients. But pay attention to words such as meal and by-products.

Animal meat meal is unfit for human consumption because it can come from dead and even slightly decomposed animals. True, your dog may think a can of sun-roasted road kill is ambrosia from heaven, but that doesn’t mean you should buy it for him.

Meat by-products tend to be perfectly good parts of animals. They may turn your stomach, but your dog finds them delectable. They’re perfectly safe and nutritious, just not something you usually serve your human family — unless they’re visiting and you’re ready for them to leave. Spleen, anyone?

Weighing the nutritional value of dry versus wet versus semimoist foods

The first time you read labels, you notice that the dry foods seem jam-packed with nutrition compared to the canned or semimoist foods. And they are — kind of, sort of. Canned (wet) foods, especially, have so much water that it makes their nutritive content look low. So technically, if you really want to compare dry and wet foods, you have to first factor out the moisture contents and then compare them on their dry matter.

Technical Stuff

Here’s how to equate nutrients in foods with different moisture contents:

1. Subtract the listed moisture content from each food.

For example, if a food contains 75 percent water, then 25 percent of the food is dry matter.

2. Divide the remaining number (the food’s dry matter) into each listed nutrient percentage.

In the example for Step 1, if the food listed its protein content as 10 percent, then divide 10 percent by 25 percent to get 40 percent protein based on dry food matter.

Making your own?

Many owners have decided that, if they can cook for themselves and survive, they can cook for their dogs, too. (Or not cook, in the case of raw diets.) Raw-diet proponents point out that you never see a wolf cooking his catch over a campfire, so why should a dog eat cooked food? Several dog books now list bones and raw food (or BARF) diet ingredients. Unfortunately, many people who go this route forego the books’ wisdom and adopt a watered-down version of the diets. For example, they choose a diet that’s exclusively raw chicken wings, which is neither natural nor balanced.
Critics of raw feeding point out that you should just toss your dog an intact carcass, complete with fur, head, and guts if you really want to go au natural. After all, they argue, buying chicken parts from the grocery store isn’t exactly the way wolves do it in the wild either. Nevertheless, even true BARFists don’t care to plunk a dead bunny in a bowl. The kids react badly.
The few controlled studies on the nutritional value of common raw diets show that most of these diets lack important nutrients. Many of the diets contain salmonella and E. coli. Although dogs are more resistant to illness from these bacteria than people are, dogs aren’t immune, and dog studies have implicated raw feeding in several serious cases of food poisoning.
Some owners prefer to cook their dog’s food. This cooking actually makes some nutrients more available and certainly lessens the chance of food poisoning. A Pomeranian owner can easily make a week’s supply of food all at one time and freeze it. A few appropriate recipes are available in Dog Health & Nutrition For Dummies (Wiley).

3. Compare the protein content of the nondry to the dry food.

You may be surprised to see that the seemingly puny percentage of protein in the canned or semimoist food is really quite high. Of course, you’re still paying for a lot of water!

Deciding How Much, How Often

Pomeranians have been called the hummingbirds of the dog world because of their high metabolism. They have to eat more food more often than larger dog breeds. So just how often and how much does your Pom need to eat? This section tells all.

Starting and sticking to a feeding routine

How often your dog eats depends in part on his age. Because tiny dogs, especially tiny puppies, are prone to hypoglycemia (refer to the earlier section “Watching out for low blood sugar”), you need to feed your Pom puppy lots of small meals. In fact, many breeders advocate free-feeding (leaving a bowl of dry food down at all times) until the age of 6 months. If you prefer to feed separate meals, follow the guidelines in Table 8-1.
Table 8-1
Feeding Schedule by Age
Age
Frequency of Feeding
0–3 months old
At least five times a day
3–6 months old
Four times a day
6–12 months old
Three times a day
1 year and older
Twice a day
Although commercial dog foods often display recommended feeding amounts on their bags or cans, consider those amounts as only a starting point. How much to feed your Pom depends on her size, her activity level, her individual metabolism, and the surrounding temperature.

Remember

Your dog is still the best gauge of how many calories he needs. You should be able to feel his ribs slightly, and he shouldn’t have a roll of fat over his shoulders or rump. Just like you, he should have an hourglass figure. Keeping track of his body shape is a lot easier than computing calories!

Dieting your pudgy Pom

Poms can get away with hiding all sorts of weight problems under their lush coats, so you need to get in there and feel your dog’s body beneath the coat. In doing a chub check, consider the following guidelines:

– You should be able to feel your Pom’s ribs slightly when you run your hands along the ribcage.

– You should also be able to feel a waistline from above and from the side.

– Your Pom shouldn’t have a dimple in front of the tail or a fat roll on the withers.

Keep track of his healthy weight. Remember, a gain of just 1 pound is significant in a dog that should only weigh 6 or so pounds! It’s the same as a 120-pound person gaining 20 pounds!
If your fat Pom is simply fat from overeating, you need to dish out some tough love. You can try feeding smaller portions of a lowercalorie food. Commercially available diet foods supply about 15 percent fewer calories compared to standard foods. Protein levels should remain moderate to high, at least 25 percent calculated on a dry-matter basis (see “Reading the label and between the lines” earlier in this chapter to see how to calculate this) to avoid muscle loss when dieting.

Tip

If your dog eats a prescription (special diet) canned food but seems tired of it, try refrigerating the food so it holds its shape. Then cut the chilled food into thin slices, place the slices on a cookie sheet, and bake at a moderate temperature (350 degrees) until they’re crisp — or the smoke alarm goes off. Voila! Prescription dog treats!

Tip

Who can resist those pleading Pom peepers when it comes to treats? Substitute baby carrot sticks, broccoli, pea pods, or rice cakes for fattening treats. Mix some green beans in her dinner. Keep her away when you’re preparing or eating human meals, and, instead of feeding her your leftovers, make a habit of taking her for a walk.

Warning!

Sometimes a dog that looks fat actually has a medical problem such as heart disease, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, or the early stages of diabetes. A bloated belly in a puppy may signal internal parasites. And a dog with an enlarged abdomen is especially suspect. For these reasons, always get a health check before subjecting your little guy to a diet — which may be the last thing a sick dog needs. Your veterinarian can also supply you with healthy diet dog food.

Enticing your picky Pom

Older puppies often go through a poor appetite stage between 9 and 12 months of age. Stress can also cause a reduction in appetite. But, if you can feel every rib, if the bones in the spine are sticking up like a dinosaur’s, or if the hipbones remind you of an old cow, your Pom is way too thin. You need to have your veterinarian examine your skinny Pomeranian. Unexplained weight loss can be caused by heart disease, cancer, and any number of endocrine problems. If she checks out normal, try one of these strategies to beef her up:

– Feed her more meals of a higher-calorie food.

– Add canned food, ground beef, or a small amount of chicken fat.

– Heat the food to increase its appeal.

– Add a late-night snack; many dogs seem to have their best appetites late at night.

Tip

Sick dogs often lose their appetites, yet eating can be critical for them. And eating anything is usually better than eating nothing, even if it’s not ideal for their condition. The following are a few suggestions that just may do the trick:

– Feed the reluctant eater meat baby food.

– Keep the food cold for nauseous dogs (don’t warm it).

– Put baby food in a syringe (no needles!) for extreme cases and squirt a tiny bit in his mouth to get him started.

– Give him canned goat’s milk or a high-calorie drink for humans through a syringe.

Of course, sometimes your picky Pom is just being persnickety. He’s learned to play the starving-dog you-can’t-honestly-expect-meto-eat-dog-food routine in order to get you to dish your own dinner into his bowl.
Don’t fall for it. Let him stare at his full bowl while you finish eating your dinner, put the leftovers away, and go about your business. If he’s truly skinny or sick, of course, you have to give in. But if he’s the typical plotting Pom, you may have to wait him out. After he’s eaten his food, then you can give him some table scraps as a treat.

Feeding to Feel Better: Special Diets for Diseases

Most dog foods are formulated for typical dogs with typical health. But for some dogs with some health problems, these foods aren’t the best diet. For these dogs, the right diet literally becomes a life-or-death situation. Take heart: With certain foods, you can make your sick dog feel much better and live much longer.
You can get foods specially formulated for various conditions from your veterinarian. Some dogs tire of these foods, especially if they started eating the new food when they didn’t feel well. The reason for this rejection is that the dog can actually associate the new food with feeling nauseous; as a result, she mistakenly develops an aversion to that food.
Try not to introduce the new food when your dog is really sick. If your Pom does decide he hates the commercially available food, your veterinarian can supply special diets that you can prepare at home. By understanding which ingredients you must avoid with a particular illness, you may be able to include some treats in the diet as well.
by D.Caroline Coile,Ph.D.

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