“You are what you eat” is an old adage and it really is true. What we put in our bodies – and our dogs’ bodies – has a direct effect on the health of the entire system. It makes sense if you think about it, after all food is what fuels our functions. However, not all bodies are the same and therefore, they don’t all need the same fuel. If your dog is not eating the correct diet for him, there can be many health consequences. And when we say “wrong food,” we don’t just mean low quality. Even high quality food can be wrong if it doesn’t have the right ingredients and nutritional make-up for your dog. Here are just a few of the things that can be caused by your dog eating the wrong food.
#1 – Skin Issues
One of the most noticeable things that the wrong food can cause in your dog is skin issues. And sometimes it’s easy to forget this and think our dog must be allergic to his shampoo or the grass (which they can be as well), because those actually come in contact with the skin. However, many food allergies in dogs manifest themselves as skin issues.
In addition, food that does not have the right balance of amino acids, fats, vitamins and minerals can also cause skin issues because the body isn’t getting enough nutrients to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.
#2 – Obesity and Pancreatitis
Feeding foods that are excessive in calories from fat can lead to obesity or a painful condition called pancreatitis in predisposed dogs. Of course, this depends on many factors. Some dogs need more fat than others depending on age, activity level, genes and even breed. But it’s good to know in case you have a dog that already has pancreatitis, as an example, to be aware of the food you are feeding.
#3 – Diabetes
More attention is being given to foods that have a high glycemic index such as those high in processed carbohydrates. Grains and high amounts of processed carbohydrates can cause problems in pets just like they do in us, in particular diabetes.
#4 – Gastroenteritis
If something in your dog’s food does not agree with him, it can cause ongoing stomach upset. In addition, some brands of dog foods have frequent problems with bacteria, which can also cause your dog to be sick. Avoid brands with frequent recalls for E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Clostridium. These are all bacteria that can lead to bloody diarrhea, and in severe cases, hospitalization or death. The transfer of Salmonella and E. coli to humans (from your dog) is also a concern.
#5 – Metabolic Diseases
These can be caused by deficiencies in important nutrients such as calcium. Too little calcium could lead to nutritional diseases such as nutritional hyperparathyroidism and developmental bone disease. See our article on calcium for more information about the importance of the right amount.
#6 – Bladder Stones
Thought not as common in dogs as they are in male cats, dogs can suffer from bladder stones and if they do, their food can make it worse. If your dog keeps getting stones, you may want to think about a food that is low in calcium and phosphorus. Be sure to ask you vet before you switch.
#7 – Heart Disease
If your dog’s diet isn’t properly balanced, it can lead to heart problems. Too much salt is a key factor in heart disease in dogs. It causes water retention in the blood vessels leading to high blood pressure. If your vet believes your dog is at risk for heart disease, watch salt content in his food and treats.
If your dog is experiencing one or some of these and nothing the vet has thought of has helped, you may want to consider trying a new food. Again, it’s not necessarily just about quality, it’s also about the ingredients. What’s right for one dog is not always right for another. That’s why we offer several formulas here at Stay Loyal, so you can pick the formula that is right for your dog’s health.