immagini La dieta per i problemi al fegato degli animali

Indicated diet for animals with liver problems

The liver is an organ of fundamental importance for the health of the whole organism. When liver problems arise, many functions of our body are impaired. This is why it is important to know how to treat liver disease, starting with the right diet. Let's see together what characteristics the ideal diet must have for dogs and cats with liver problems.

What is the liver used for?

The liver is a large gland and is the largest and most complex organ in our body. Each of its functions is fundamental for the correct functioning of the body. However, not everyone would be able to describe exactly what the liver is used for.

stomaco cuore polmoni intestino reni organi anatomia cane

Firstly, the liver is used to digest fats, facilitating their flow into the blood stream from the intestine. Furthermore, it has the task of producing cholesterol, a very important fat for our body, if present in the right quantity. Indeed, cholesterol makes cells stronger and is used to make certain hormones, such as testosterone.

In addition, the liver also serves to eliminate toxic substances, such as ammonia and urea, produced by our own body, or those taken from the outside, such as drugs or some minerals, including copper.

When the liver has problems, it is generally referred to as a "liver disease". These can have different causes and symptoms, so it would be difficult to describe them all. In any case, the factors that can cause a liver problem are above all:

  • Accumulation of toxic substances or drugs;
  • Bacterial infections, especially leptospirosis;
  • Viral infections, especially the dog's Infectious Hepatitis;
  • Diabetes mellitus;
  • Obstructions of bile flow caused by stones or tumours;
  • Autoimmune diseases;
  • Liver neoplasms.

Furthermore, a particular case is that of the so-called "feline hepatic lipidosis". Felines, in fact, are very sensitive to fasting, so if they were to drastically reduce food intake, they would face this problem. In other words, fats would build up in the liver, causing serious problems.

In some cases the typical symptoms of liver disease, such as enlarged liver, faded faces and the presence of fluids in the abdomen, can be caused by other problems, so it is always important that the veterinarian carefully visits the animal to get a specific diagnosis.

Diet for liver problems

The liver is an organ with a special feature: it is capable of regenerating itself. This means that if a piece of gland is removed, it will grow back exactly as before. Therefore, the diet for liver problems must have as its objective to give it all the necessary time to regenerate.

gatto con problemi al fegato epatopatia lipidiosi dieta latte

Once the veterinarian has managed to identify the exact cause of the problem, it will be essential to adapt the animal's diet accordingly. In most cases, it will be necessary to distinguish between acute and chronic liver disease.

Acute liver disease is rarer, and is mostly caused by toxic substances or drugs, less frequently by viruses. In these cases, there will be a shortage of sugar in the blood, so it is necessary to guarantee the animal the right amount of sugar, eating little quantities more often. The food must have a good concentration of proteins, preferring those of soy or milk to those of animal origin. In addition, it can be useful to ensure proper integration of antioxidant substances, such as vitamins C and E.

Chronic liver disease, however, is a more serious situation than the acute one, because it appears slowly, so the owner does not always manage to notice its presence.

In both cases, it is always essential to proceed systematically. Especially if the dog has been fasting for more than 48 hours, as it often happens, the veterinarian will be able to proceed with a tube or, if the animal allows it, offering him the food directly.

The food must be administered often and in very small quantities, slowly increasing the dosage day by day. Initially, it may be necessary to start with half of the animal's normal daily energy needs, to increase it over the days.

The ideal food for liver problems must therefore have precise characteristics:

  • palatability, to stimulate the animal to eat;
  • High energy content;
  • Reduced concentration of copper, which can aggravate the situation;
  • Integration of antioxidants, such as taurine and vitamin C and E;
  • Integration of substances normally produced by the liver, such as vitamins B and K;
  • High content of soluble fibres, such as FOS, which absorb toxins and reduce the production of further ammonia;
  • Presence of proteins, especially of soy or milk.

The main advice is to always rely on your veterinarian, especially during the initial phase of therapy.

immagine Snack per cani e gatti: come sceglierli

Snacks for pets: how to choose them

Most dog and cat owners have large stocks of treats for their four-legged friends at home. These are sold in many formulations, from classic biscuits to morsels and sticks. In reality, we often tend to exaggerate with these products offering food to our animal out of their normal meal routine. Here you can find how to choose the perfect snack for your animal.

The formats

The snacks are specially designed to supplement the diet of dogs and cats, helping owners to reward them during training or simply to give them a tasty break. There are many formats on the market, which differ in shape, size, ingredients and even in functions.

bocconcini snack premio cani

As for the appearance, we can distinguish them mainly in biscuits, sticks, bones and small morsels. In addition to these classic snacks, we also find other products, specially designed to facilitate the teeth hygiene, thanks to their fairly rigid and irregular surface.

The ingredients represent one of the main elements to take into consideration when choosing the most suitable snack for our friend. In fact, most of these products are presented in all respects as a complete food, rich in all the nutrients needed by the animal, but above all in calorie intake.

This is precisely what we need to pay attention to. If we choose to allocate the snack to dog training, we will have to use a lot of them a day, completely unbalancing our pet's diet. At the same time, if our four-legged friend is obese or suffers from particular health problems, we can compromise his health conditions even more.

For this reason, we can find snacks with various ingredients. For example, we can find some low-calorie products specifically designed to control the diet of an overweight animal. At the same time, we can buy low-sugar snacks, based on whole grains, especially designed for diabetic animal. Furthermore, some snacks are supplemented with some essential substances for the animal, such as vitamins, mineral salts or Omega-3 fatty acids, to improve the well-being and health of dogs and cats. In the last period, excellent snacks have also been made based on single-protein or nutraceutical ingredients, specific for food allergies and intolerances.

Your animal can face many problems. However, the pet industry always finds a solution to prevent or alleviate them.

gatto con stick snack premioTips

  • We avoid giving too many snacks a day, but stick to the diet of our animal and the instructions on the product packaging;
  • We use snacks only when needed;
  • We choose a specific snack for our specific situation or purpose;
  • Let's try to alternate the premium snacks with the normal food of our animal, decreasing it from its daily ration;
  • If the animal likes them, we choose pieces of fruit and vegetables to alternate with classic snacks;
  • Let's remember that snacks are not the only reward granted, but that our friends can find a few minutes of caresses just as pleasant;
  • We do not give our pet a snack that is contraindicated for its health problems;
  • We leave the larger snacks (biscuits and buffalo bones) as an isolated reward, choosing small, low-calorie ones for more frequent use (training);
  • We integrate snacks that “brush” the teeth with a nice manual wash.

Maybe not everyone knows this, but some dogs can develop an addiction to premium snacks. The smarter or more schematic animals will be able to carry out the command requested only if we show them the prize they will receive afterwards. For this reason, it is important to alternate premium snacks with games, caresses and compliments (in the early stages of training).

Finally, an aspect that unfortunately most owners tend to ignore is that snacks are designed to reward the animal, possibly also providing some benefits. Very often, however, we tend to give them treats even for no apparent reason, for the simple pleasure of seeing our friend grateful and satisfied. This is how health problems begin to await us around the corner.

immagine La dieta per il cane e il gatto in sovrappeso

Indicated diet for obese pets

Everyone needs work hard to eliminate extra pounds. Even our four-legged friends, in fact, there are more and more overweight or even obese dogs worldwide. This is certainly not good for their health, so it is important to know how to make your dog and cat eat well to help them lose weight.

Overweight and obesity: what are they?

When we talk about these two phenomena, we are referring essentially to weight gain beyond the ideal value, which is calculated based on the sex, age, size, lifestyle and other individual factors of the animal.

Why do they become fat?

The answer is quite simple: you get fat when you eat more than you consume. This means that a man used to eating pizza and chips every evening, and then abandoning himself on a sofa all day, will certainly weigh more than a sportsman who feeds in the same way, but runs at least an hour a day.

cane gatto sulla bilancia

For our animals, the situation is quite similar. It is estimated that the energy requirement (i.e. the amount of daily calories we need for all activities) of an adult cat weighing 5 kg is equal to 300-350 kcal if it is active, whilst it drops to 250 kcal if it carries a sedentary lifestyle. Of course, the needs increases in kittens and in pregnant or lactating cats.

Clearly, it all depends on the type of food we offer him, the quantity and the lifestyle. In any case, there are health conditions that can affect weight, in particular some hormonal imbalances.

In addition, some breeds tend to gain weight more easily, such as Labrador, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshunds (also known as “sausage dog”), Basset Hound and Beagle.

What about castration / sterilization? In these cases there are no actual data linking the weight gain to the surgery. It is mostly an owner's attitude, which tends to feed the dog or cat more often.

In the long run, the consequences of obesity can manifest themselves with conditions and diseases that can be quite serious. We refer to:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Joint problem
  • Liver problems
  • Hormonal alterations

The correct diet to promote weight loss

We must change the animal’s diet to a healthier one. These are a few tips:

  • Change food: a low-calorie food will be needed, which will still be able to provide the right amount of protein, vitamins and mineral salts essential for the animal. All these foods (if you choose a commercial product) are very rich in fibre, which stimulate the sense of satiety, reduce the absorption of sugars and promote the proper functioning of the intestine;

  • Avoid do-it-yourself: an excellent quality industrial food represents a balanced meal. By choosing a home diet, however, you would risk unpleasant results, unless you turn to an expert veterinary nutritionist, to scrupulously follow you throughout the preparation of the diet, 

    cane scende le scale montascale

  • Moist food is better: remember to alternate low-calorie croquettes with their wet variant, which contains a greater quantity of water than dry foods. Always follow the vet's directions;
  • Do everything gradually: remember that we are not in a military training camp. Allow the animal time to gradually try out the new foods, reducing its doses little by little. The ideal would be to reach the new diet in about 6—7 days;

  • More meals per day: if you are used to feeding the dog only once a day, you will have to change this rhythm, dividing the same total amount of food for the whole day into 3 meals;

  • The differences with cats: cats at home do not have the same eating habits as dog, they are used to always having a bowl of croquettes available to eat several times throughout the day. Fasting, especially in cats, can create serious consequences. In these cases, a low-calorie food diet must be administered, preferable in the commercial version "obesity", rather than "light";

  • Bring timer bowls: there are special bowls equipped with a timer on the market. Food is hidden most of the time, but is shown to the animal on a regular basis, based on the time we set. These are ideal for the cat.

  • It is forbidden to feed the dog and cat at the dining table: reaching out to give some of our food to the animal while eating is absolutely forbidden. Rather, close the dining room door during meals, to avoid witnessing the dog's sweet eyes or the cat's raids;

  • Avoid snacks and biscuits: they are too caloric and are often used as random gratification, without an apparent reason. Their purpose, in fact, is to reward the dog and cat especially during the educational path. If you are still in this phase, choose rather specific products for the maintenance of body weight or go for small pieces of unseasoned chicken or fruit.

It is clear that nutrition is one of the first things that needs to be questioned. In any case, a lot of attention must  be paid to their lifestyle, making sure that the animal is able play, walk and run more. Sedentariness, in fact, is the enemy of physical and mental health.


immagine Le dieci regole per far mangiar bene il nostro cane

10 Rules to correctly feed your dog

It’s true that the basis of a healthy animal is actually the health of its intestine. For this reason, we must absolutely assure that our animal is in great health by providing a correct diet. These are the 10 basic rules we need to follow to ensure a balanced and correct diet for our dog:

  1. We should only choose quality foods: whether our choice falls on homemade or industrial diet, the important thing is to always pay attention to the quality of the food we put in our animals bowl. If we opt for the do-it-yourself method, or in other words homemade, we must make sure to always buy quality ingredients, always guaranteeing the right balance between the nutrients that make up each single dish. If, on the other hand, we prefer the convenience of the industrial power, lets always remember the rule of value for money. A food that costs more certainly offers us a higher quality product;
  2. Pay attention to the ration: overweight and obesity are conditions that in the long run can cause serious imbalances for the dog's health. For this reason, it is very important to always ensure a balanced daily ration, which should be evaluated together with our veterinarian based on the age, breed, weight and lifestyle of our four-legged friend. The ideal would be to fill our pets bowl twice a day, possibly morning and evening, without exceeding with its ration. Also, if your dog hasn't completely emptied the bowl, don't leave it at his disposal. Rather, let's take it away and keep it for the next meal;
  3. We set the meal time: one of the main tips of "human" nutritionists is to always respect fixed times for each main meal, in order to guarantee the body a certain stability. The same thing also applies to the dog, so we must set a precise time for meals, which we must respect every day. Remember that offering dinner after a certain time could stimulate the dog's physiological needs while we are sleeping. So we carefully evaluate which are the best time slots both for us and for them;
  4. Let's ensure the right amount of water: although it may seem obvious, this fundamental advice is not always respected by the owners. Remember to always leave a bowl of fresh, clean water available to our dog. If the water from our tap is rather calcareous, leave it for washing dishes and buy bottled or purified water for our four-legged friend. To stimulate the dog's intake of liquids, we can also purchase comfortable fountains that continuously filter the water, creating particularly attractive movements for animals;
  5. No to snacks and food from our dining table: the first enemy of the dog is certainly the food given by owners during meals. Unfortunately, few of us can resist his sweet, pleading eyes as he rests his muzzle on our legs to claim some mouth-watering food. He knows it perfectly! But lets try to resist, for the sake of our friend's health;
  6. We choose a suitable food: on the market, there are foods of all brands and for all needs. There is now no pathology or characteristic for which a specific food has not been made. We can find food for dogs of small and giant size, long-haired or short-haired, with a delicate intestine or steel stomach, with a weak bladder or with a lazy bladder. We should ask our veterinarian for advice;
  7. Remember to clean the bowls: even dog food can deteriorate if it is exposed to air or heat for too long. So let's remember to wash our dog's bowls often, to perfectly remove any food residues. Feeding the dog an expired or spoiled food can create various problems, from diarrhoea to serious infections and food poisoning;
  8. Let's contact our veterinarian: after asking us for accurate information and after a careful examination of our dog, the veterinarian can recommend a specific diet to ensure his well-being;
  9. Watch out for food allergies and intolerances: this problem is becoming more and more common among dogs and cats. In fact, most gastrointestinal and dermatological problems could be solved simply by choosing a single-protein or nutraceutical food, which minimizes the risk of food allergies or intolerances. Ask your vet for advice;
  10. Human" foods are not always good for your pet: salami, sweets, onions and fried foods are absolutely not good for the dog's body. We always pay attention to the list of dangerous foods for the dog, to avoid any problems

These are the ten most important tips. Remember to apply them every day, to guarantee our dog impeccable health starting from its bowl.


immagine Curare i problemi articolari degli animali con l’alimentazione

Treating joint problems in animals with a correct diet

The pet food industry provides dog and cat owners with an increasing number of specific products for all needs, but above all for every health problem. For example, products specifically for animals with joint disorders has been created; such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, lameness and minor age-related problems.

How to tell if your dog or cat has joint problems

In most cases, all animals, over the years begin to show the typical problems related to aging. Among these, one of the first signs mainly affects the bones and joints, which progressively weaken over the years.

In these situations, joints become stiffer especially in the front and rear limbs, typically accompanied by pain, which can then lead to serious consequences such as arthritis and osteoarthritis (arthrosis). These two conditions manifest themselves with typical symptoms, but they are actually two different problems. Arthritis, in fact, is an inflammation of the joints caused mainly by autoimmune factors, very common in dogs. Arthrosis, on the other hand, is a progressive degeneration of the joints, which over the years inevitably undergo a certain wear.

To understand if dogs and cats suffer from joint disorders, we must pay attention to some signs:

  • The cat reaches the litter tray with difficulty;
  • Jumps with less energy;
  • Runs little and refuses to do it often;
  • He also refuses to walk during play times outside;
  • Tends to stay in his kennel for a long time;
  • Walk stiffly, especially when awake;
  • Limp or have a shaky gait.

If your pet is showing at least one of these symptoms, remember to talk to your veterinarian. Often, in fact, lameness can also hide other rather serious problems, such as hip dysplasia. In addition, all joint problems create a certain discomfort for the animal, affecting their lifestyle negatively.

The diet for joint problems

Foods for animals with joint problems have very specific characteristics. First, it is important to keep the weight constant, because the joints, already suffering, could be negatively affected from the excessive body weight.

For this reason, we must make sure that we give our friend a balanced diet, appropriate to his physical structure. If the dog is already overweight, we will need to make him lose weight by introducing a low-calorie diet. Furthermore, pay attention to the doses, which must be accurate.

We can also use food supplements in tablet form in addition to the normal diet. Alternatively, specific foods for joint problems are already enriched with some of these substances, which protect the joints, reducing inflammation. We are talking above all about Omega-3 fatty acids and two very important components: glucosamine and chondroitin-sulphate.

Among the Omega-3 fatty acids, the most suitable for joint well-being is mainly EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), mainly stored in oily fish, seeds and algae. The body uses this acid to produce another important substance, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Both are be able to reduce joint inflammation.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are included in supplements and foods with the term "sulphates". These are natural sugars, normally present in the joint cartilages. They are called "chondroprotectors", precisely because they would be able to help the body to strengthen and rebuild the cartilage present in the joints, providing relief in case of arthritis or osteoarthritis (arthrosis).

To explain this concept, we must first of all understand how a joint is made. We assume that our body, as well as that of our animals, includes a large amount of joints, because the number of bones present is really high. Let's take movable joints, such as those in the hip, arm, or leg as an example.
articolazione cane femore tibia cartilagine glucosamina artrite

In these cases, the bones cannot be joined together, because otherwise the limb could not move. However, to enable their proximity (to be able to articulate perfectly), the space between the two bones is filled with cartilage (to be clear, the one that makes up the auricle), rich in collagen (a very elastic substance).

At this point, it is easy to understand what "chondroprotectors" are and what they are for. These are, in fact, substances that protect the cartilages present in the joints, constantly enriching and regenerating them. A joint, which is poor in cartilage, will not be able to withstand the many daily activities.

On the market, you can find many types of foods that include all these characteristics. Therefore, if your four-legged friend has joint problems, rely on the advice of your veterinarian, who will be able to indicate the most appropriate solution.

Always remember to keep training your dog or cat, to avoid or prevent joint degeneration. Make sure your veterinarian does not recommend absolute rest, at least for the first period, so try to get the animal to move even a few steps a day.


immagine L’alimentazione del cane e del gatto anziano

Indicated diet for old pets

As much as we would love to life with our pet forever, they inevitably get older. What we can do to guarantee a peaceful old age is to take care of their health, starting above all with specific nutrition for older animals.

On average, the period of senility begins from 12-13 years in the cat, and earlier in the dog, mainly based on the size. The large and giant dog is defined as elderly around 7-8 years, while small dogs generally begin to age no earlier than 11 years old.

What happens to old cats and dogs?

As they grow up, our animals inevitably undergo a series of changes in their organism, character and lifestyle, just as it happens to us. We must not let ourselves be caught unprepared and must know how to face this life phase for four-legged friends, starting above all from nutrition.

In particular, the factors related to aging that good nutrition for older dogs and cats must take into account are:

  • The metabolism is slower, so they use fewer calories;
  • Increase fat mass
  • Muscle mass is reduced
  • Digestion is slower and more difficult;
  • Intestinal transit is slower;
  • The amount of saliva produced is less;
  • Teeth start to swing and tartar can form;
  • Moves less;
  • Taste and smell are less sensitive;
  • Kidneys, heart and lungs are weaker.

Old animals diet

The diet of the dog and elderly cat must focus above all on specific objectives:

  • digestibility;
  • Reduced calorie content;
  • Intense taste and easy to chew;
  • Disease prevention.

For this reason, a diet for old pets should definitely include:

  • Proteins: they must be of excellent quality, therefore obtained from the best parts of meat, fish and eggs. Low-quality foods are loaded with grains and animal waste, so the actual protein yield is very low;
  • Amino acids: especially in cats, essential amino acids such as taurine must always be present, which helps keep the heart and sight in perfect condition;
  • Carbohydrates: Older animals have a greater predisposition to diabetes. This means that they can only tolerate low amounts of sugars, which are also found in cereals, pasta and rice. Therefore, you will have to offer the right quantity which must be much lower than that of proteins;
  • Fats: Older dogs and cats tend to gain weight more easily. For this reason, the fat content in the food must be limited more to "good" fats, such as those of vegetable origin. In particular, corn oil and soybean oil are ideal, because they are rich in essential fatty acids. The fats that must never be lacking are above all Omega-3 and Omega-6;
  • Fibres: fibres are important to ensure proper intestinal transit, especially in animals with constipation problems. Be careful, however, because if they are present in excess, they can limit the absorption of nutrients contained in food;
  • Antioxidants: important for stimulating the immune system, which becomes weaker over the years. The most important antioxidant for cats and dogs is above all vitamin E.

Never provide bones and raw meat to elderly animal. A delicate stomach would not be able to digest them and brittle teeth could be damaged further.

Food advice

The ideal diet of the dog and elderly cat should be studied according to the needs of the animal. For this reason, it is necessary to follow some dietary advice, which will support your animal through the aging process.

Firstly, it may be better to divide the right amount of food into several meals. The dog should consume about 2-3 meals a day to stimulate the metabolism.

The cat still needs its bowl of food always available, but wet food integration must still take place 2-3 times a day.

Remember to encourage him to drink more, with a bowl of fresh, clean water or by purchasing a drinking fountain specifically made for them.

If you want to supplement your dog's diet with a homemade food, opt above all for complete and digestible foods. You could cook a nice portion of boiled rice without salt, with cooked vegetables and chicken. Season with a drizzle of vegetable oil and I’m sure your dog will thank you for it.