We were delighted to have a live chat on pet nutrition and pet diet issues by none other than the nutritionist expert – Rashee Kuchroo on our Facebook page last week. Here are the common Pet Nutrition and Pet Diet related Questions & Answers that we have compiled together:

Question 1: Our Turkish Van Cat – Snowbell, is now ten plus years old and has been diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). We have put him on renal diet (even biscuits and wet food) along with supplements. What else can we do for him??

Rashee: Right now that is the best thing you can do. Renal cases are particularly complicated as we cannot do anything to reverse kidney damage. You can give pumpkin powder to help flush out the kidneys. Continue to monitor all blood levels on a monthly basis till stable. Stay away from grains and high carb diets. 

Question 2: I have two Indian Dogs at home. Our female dog is 11-years-old and weighs around 10 kg. She only eats chicken, mutton, paneer and exotic treats. Our boy is 4-years-old, weighs around 20kg and follows the same diet but at times, eats dry food. We have got them from the streets, so find it difficult to change their eating habits. Please help. 

Rashee: Indies are a little particular and tend to prefer high protein diets as they naturally know it is the best thing for them. Avoid grains and too many carbs. For your 11-years-old female, I would say let her enjoy what she is eating. Give multi-vitamin supplements after speaking with your vet. For the 4-years-old boy you can still correct the eating habits by being strict about food. Place the food down for 15 minutes only, if he does not eat, pick it up and serve at the next meal time (no snacks in the middle). It is tough, but in the long run, it is the best thing for him. It will take time maybe around a month but you should be able to sort out the issue. Do supplement both of them with essential fatty acids & multi-vitamins.

Question 3: How do I calculate the total food grammage (home made food) per day for my 3-year-old male Lab Bruno. Presently I give him 350 gms meal each/twice a day (morning & evening), 100 gms brown rice, 150 gms boiled vegetables (cabbage/pumpkin/cauliflower/spinach/french beans), 100 gms boiled chicken (chicken breast/keema/liver) with some stock. Along with that, his supplements include Nutrich tablet, Beaphar, Biotine tablet & Nutricoat oil/Coconut cold pressed oil & Calcium Chew Bones. I also put golden paste in his food. Also 100-150 gms of Yoghurt & 2 wheat chapattis (approx. 50 gms in total) in afternoon. He has a 30-40 mins of walk three times a day. But I want to reduce his weight since he is slightly overweight….please suggest. 

Rashee: Few things…in order to determine the grammage, we need to test the food in a lab to understand how much digestible protein is there in the food along with the KCal requirement for the dog. I can tell you this, liver must make up only 5% of your dog’s overall diet. So ensure it is limited to that in order to prevent Vitamin A toxicity. If you want to reduce weight the first thing I would say is to stop the afternoon chapati and reduce the amount of rice you give. I would avoid calcium chew bones as it really doesn’t do much for the calcium intake. You are already giving curd and other supplements where a calcium chew bone is not really required. Do a CBC, KFT, LFT, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Calcium & Phosphorus test and see if any levels are up or down. You can adjust the supplements you are giving accordingly. 

Question 4: What’s the best diet for a 4-year-old boxer? He has a sensitive tummy and is prone to nausea and diarrhoea. We give him an egg in the morning and chicken/veggies/rice or roti for meals. Is yoghurt advisable? 

Rashee: You should speak to your vet about the possibility that your dog is a gastro patient. Symptoms of gastro include frequent upset tummy, nausea & diarrhoea. Specifically to sudden changes in food.Often, eggs are the cause of upset tummies. The first thing I would suggest is do not give eggs everyday. Give 1 egg every 3 days and see if the symptoms persist. If the symptoms still continue, then it’s possible he has Gastro, in which case, he will need special food throughout his life and a little restricted diet (avoid too much diet change). I would not recommend roti, you can give Yogurt. If you are home cooking, please consult your vet about a good multi-vitamin supplement.

Question 5: My 1.5 year old Shih-Tzu eats 1 pc boneless boiled chicken with rice, dal and turmeric in the morning. In the evening, he eats 2 pcs of boneless boiled mutton with roti and some Science Plan Dog Nuggets. Is he getting enough nutrition? Please advise. Thank you.

Rashee: To know if your dog is getting enough nutrition you should do these tests: CBC, KFT, LFT, Calcium, Phosphorous, Vit. B 12, Vit. D & Magnesium tests. This should give you a “screenshot” into your dog’s system and you can see what supplementation his diet requires. Dal should not be used as a source of protein so avoid that. Roti is another thing I would avoid.

Question 6: Another vegetarian diet + treat question: I have an 11-month-old Indie. He eats rice, lentils, veggies, yogurt, occasional eggs and roti. For treats, he gets the market treats along with bits of bread and rusk. We also give him multivitamins every now and then. He is chirpy, energetic and truly a joy to be around. This is his first summer as an adult and he started developing red rashes here and there. Some disappear on their own. At our vet’s suggestion, we have started bathing him with anti-tick, flea, mite shampoo regularly. He does not have ticks and we can’t eliminate mange or fleas. Is it diet related? Or perhaps allergies? Summer heat? Suggestions!!

Rashee: To begin with, lentils are not a complete source of protein. There are amino acids missing. The only complete vegetarian source of protein is Cottage Cheese which you can make at home. Your dog is also not eating any essential fatty acids. The omega balance is critical. Krill Oil is a naturally balanced source of Omega 6 & 3. If you can’t get Krill oil, buy raw organic Chia Seeds. Soak 1 teaspoon of chia seeds in 60 ml water for a minimum of 2 hours and pour over 1 meal a day. It’s tasteless and odourless. I would suggest to avoid roti as wheat can cause allergies in dogs. If you feel your dog is getting red blotchy patches all over, stop the eggs for a bit. I would not suggest giving bread & rusk as treats. Remember dogs need high protein and a LOW carb diet and that’s what you should work towards. 

Question 7: What about a good vegetarian diet for a Labrador of 12 yrs. He has eggs everyday because his hind legs and overall bones are becoming very weak. 

Rashee: Use homemade cottage cheese as a vegetarian source of protein. Avoid eggs on a daily basis. You should also do a CBC, KFT, LFT, Calcium, Phosphorous, Vit B 12, Vit D & Magnesium test. He may need calcium or Vitamin D supplementation. If it’s arthritis, you can start him on Golden Paste. (A mixture of cold pressed coconut oil, turmeric and a pinch of black pepper.) This will help with the inflammation. 

Question 8: I have a 3-year-old male French mastiff. His back legs seem a bit weak. Please suggest a perfect non-veg diet plan for him.

Rashee: At 3 years he is too young to have these issues. Im assuming here that he is on tiled or marble floors which is what is affecting his hind legs due to his weight. First thing he needs to be kept slightly underweight to alleviate pressure. Second he needs to walk for an hour a day on a proper surface where he will not slip. His protein intake should be high as well. Another form of exercise that will be great for him is swimming. You can also start him on Golden Paste (coconut oil, turmeric and black pepper) to help with the inflammation surrounding his joints. I would suggest an x ray to rule out hip dysplasia as well.

Question 9: My Dog is 7-years-old (BullMastiff) who just got diagnosed with Arthritis. What should be her diet? Thanks.

Rashee: The diet should be high in protein. Try and avoid chicken as a source of protein as it is pro-inflammatory. Weight management is also essential. Supplement with golden paste (coconut oil, turmeric & black pepper) and Green Lipped Mussel Powder, which will help with the symptoms.

Question 10: Kindly suggest a good diet for my 9.5-years-old boy…he’s a lab…does he need a specific diet to keep his bones strong?

Rashee: If you’re okay with non-veg, I would suggest a simple home cooked diet of chicken, rice & vegetables OR mutton, rice and vegetables. It is important that you supplement him with essential fatty acids. I would also suggest golden paste to help with possible future arthritis. 

Question 11: I have a 5-month-old Labrador Retriever puppy. He is very chirpy and always full of energy. I’d want to know what food is good for him for firming his stool. I give him Royal Canin dog food and rice and curd as his daily diet. I also give him boiled chicken and rice sometimes.

Rashee: Your puppy should be eating a high protein, low-carb diet with moderate fat levels. You can give plain boiled mashed pumpkin to help firm up the stools.

Question 12: My 15.5-year-old Bichon Frise has developed a very high creatinine level. What type of diet would you advise?

Rashee: For dogs with renal issues, the diet becomes very complicated as creatinine is not the only thing we need to consider. We also need to look at phosphorous levels and Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) test. The first thing I would say is, increase water intake and start with a phosphate binder after consulting with your vet. I would need to look at the blood reports and understand the treatment protocol and case history before I can give any more recommendations. You can email the reports to woof@headsupfortails.com and they will share the details with me so that I can get back to you with a proper plan.

Question 13: Hi, I have a 6-year-old Labrador. What food can you suggest for him?

Rashee: Your dog should be eating a diet high in protein, low in carbs & moderate fat levels. Try to stick to fresh foods and stay away from dry packaged foods. You can also supplement with golden paste (coconut oil, turmeric and black pepper) and essential fatty acids.

Question 14: Please advise a home cooked diet for the summers for my 11-year-old Labrador?

Rashee: Make sure your dog is hydrated. More than the diet, the issues we see in the summer are due to lack of hydration. Our dogs lose a lot of water during the summer…much more than we realise. Your dog should be drinking 2.5 litres of water per day. Curd mixed with water once-a-day is good, along with coconut water every alternate day. Fruits that have lots of water, such as cucumbers & watermelon (without seeds) makes a nice treat. Frozen ice cubes and frozen yogurt are also good ways to keep your dog hydrated.

Question 15: I have a Shih Tzu (pedigree) and her skin colour is pink and brown but the brown portion has now turned black. She is undergoing treatment since last year but the improvement has been temporary. I feed her pedigree puppy…please advise me.

Rashee: I would suggest you feed fresh. I am not a fan of heavy chemical laden packaged foods. The best thing you can do is switch to a home cooked diet and supplement with multi-vitamins and see how she responds to it. Please remember to slowly introduce new food to your dog and not make a sudden switch. Ensure she is getting a high protein, low carb, moderate fat diet.

Question 16: My dog sheds a lot..

Rashee: Try supplementing him with essential fatty acids and avoid wheat and a high carb diet. 

Do you have any other pet nutrition and pet diet related question? Join us at the Pet Nutrition and Pet Diet workshop with Rashee Kuchroo at Tail Lovers Company (Delhi), 100 foot road, Chattarpur Hills,Delhi. Read details on the event here.