What is the role of food in the common skin problems of our pets? Can all itchy dogs have their problems solved with a hydrolyzed protein diet or switching to raw food? How should you and your veterinary team proceed? These are important questions and understanding the answers will lead to more realistic expectations of outcomes coupled with more effective approaches to dealing with skin disorders.
The first aspect of food related to skin disorders is providing the baseline nutrition needed to perform all of life’s activities and thrive. Food affects EVERYTHING in the body by providing the energy all cells need to function, by providing the amino acids needed to build proteins which in turn are used to make all body tissues, cells, and hormones. Recent scientific work in human and veterinary nutrition focuses on a field called nutrigenomics which looks at the impact food has on the expression of genes. Diet can directly alter how an individual’s genes behave. Therefore, it follows that what you and your pet eat is vitally important.
Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives recommends feeding your pets as much unprocessed food as possible. If you are unable to feed balanced home prepared cooked or raw food diets*, we strongly encourage you to look at commercial foods that are whole food, grain free and low temperature cooking preparations. Even though your cat is an obligate carnivore and your dog an opportunistic scavenger who can eat carbohydrates and meat. Mammals have receptors that are either similar to or recognize plant based molecules; therefore adding some raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, tumeric, milk thistle or mushrooms to your pet’s commerical or home prepared diet will improve the nutritional status overall. Using real meat treats will also provide your pet with less processed meat supplements. Dehydrated tripe, liver, kangaroo, or lamb meats are delicious and readily available locally and at Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives in Dartmouth and at Full Circle Veterinary in the Valley.
The world of food is full of substances that can be used functionally to impact health. Starting your pet on home prepared raw or cooked diets is a first step in achieving the building blocks of wellbeing. The key in successful treatment of skin disease is to apply nutritional principles, functional foods and good medicine in a manner that best supports the desired outcome. This is the role of your holistic veterinary practitioner.
Dr. Jennifer Bishop
*Raw food diets can be locally sourced, commericially available unpasteurized or high pressure pasteurized. Unpasteurized raw diets carry a higher risk of bacterial contamination. We urge excellent hygeine as you would do for handling any raw meat in your house. We also advise extreme caution if you have small children or immunocompromised people in your household.
Participate in the Full Circle of Veterinary Care!
Our dynamic, passionate and dedicated customer care team wants you to experience inspired, integrated veterinary health care. Our broadly educated veterinarians, technologists and clerical support staff meld conventional veterinary medicine and surgery with diverse special interest fields including: nutrition (commercial and home prepared feeding plans), diagnostic ultrasound, acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, canine rehabilitation, feline focused medicine and more. Take the first step and join us online at www.fullcirclevet.ca to learn more and to link to our Facebook page.