Inflammatory Bowel Disease (aka IBD) in dogs is a chronic condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract, leading to inflammation and discomfort. While medical intervention is crucial, dietary management plays a pivotal role in alleviating symptoms and supporting overall canine health. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the complexities of IBD in dogs and explore the impact of diet on managing this condition.
What Is Inflammatory Bowel Disease In Dogs?
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a group of disorders characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. In dogs, the severity of IBD can vary from mild clinical signs to life-threatening protein-losing enteropathies, and clinical signs may be intermittent or persistent. Common symptoms associated with IBD include vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and decreased appetite– the type of clinical signs seen can often give some information as to which part of the gastrointestinal tract is involved. The exact cause of IBD is often unknown, but factors such as genetics, environment, parasitic and bacterial infections, microbiome imbalances, and immune system dysfunction may contribute to its development. There does not appear to be a gender or age predisposition although it typically affects adult dogs.
Dietary management is very important in the treatment of IBD. Tailoring a dog’s diet to meet its specific nutritional needs and address sensitivities can significantly improve the quality of life for dogs with this condition. Here are key considerations when designing a diet for a dog with IBD:
Dehydration is a common problem in dogs with IBD. Not only do they tend to drink less water, but this is further worsened by vomiting and/or diarrhea. Providing your dog with food options high in moisture can be a great way to add more water into their diet, our wet food for example is 75% moisture due to the delicious aromatic gravy.
Foods with a higher energy density (more calories per serving) are preferred as these foods allow for a dog to eat less, meaning less stomach distention and secretions. Because those foods with high energy density typically contain more fat, and fat can contribute to IBD complications, a moderately energy dense food is recommended, typically within the 4.0 to 4.5 kcal/g DM range. If feeding a fiber-enhanced food, the energy density should be at least 3.2 kcal/g.
THE PACK's Wet Food contains contains 1 kcal/g
THE PACK's Oven Baked Crunchy Feast contains 4.8 kcal/g
High fat diets can contribute to osmotic diarrhea and protein losses. Therefore it is recommended that fat content should be within 12-15% DM. If feeding a fiber-enhanced food, the fat content should be 8% to 12% DM.
THE PACK's Oven Baked Crunchy Feast has a fat content of 15.56% on a dry matter basis.
THE PACK's Wet Food has a fat content of 20% on a dry matter basis.
Dogs with IBD tend to lose protein in their feces, potentially leading to protein malnutrition, and therefore their diet should be made up of at least 25% DM protein and be highly digestible. Not only does the amount of protein matter, but so does the source. It is suspected that dietary antigens play a role in IBD and therefore many times, a hydrolyzed or novel protein diet is recommended (plant-based like THE PACK). If this is chosen, lower protein levels can be used at 16% to 26% DM. If choosing a novel protein diet, try to use novel protein sources that the dog has not been exposed to before. This helps reduce the risk of triggering allergic reactions or exacerbating sensitivities
All of THE PACK formulas are novel protein diets that are free from the most common allergens for dogs which include animal proteins such as beef, dairy, chicken, wheat, lamb and soy. These ingredients may contribute to inflammation and worsen IBD symptoms in sensitive individuals.
THE PACK's Oven Baked Crunchy Feast has a protein content of 27.8% on a dry matter basis.
THE PACK's Wet Food has a protein content of 40% on a dry matter basis.
In humans, studies have shown that eating small amounts of soluble or mixed fiber can be beneficial. This is because the beneficial bacteria in the gut ferment the fiber and produce short-chain fatty acids which nourish the intestinal cells. Furthermore, using prebiotic fibers also leads to the growth of beneficial bacteria. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, adds bulk to the stool, and is beneficial for small bowel diarrhea. For IBD, it is recommended that mixed fiber be included at less than 5% DM. For increased fiber foods using mostly insoluble fiber, fiber should be 7% to 15% DM.
THE PACK's Oven Baked Crunchy Feast has a fiber content of 4.1% on a dry matter basis.
THE PACK's Wet Food has a fiber content of 8% on a dry matter basis.
For dogs with IBD, it is recommended they eat a highly digestible food – ≥87% for protein and ≥90% for fat and digestible carbohydrate. For fiber-enhanced foods, digestibility should be ≥80% for protein and fat and ≥90% for carbohydrates.
As we do not condone testing on laboratory animals, we have conducted an in vitro digestibility study and our food.
THE PACK's Oven Baked Crunchy Feast is >93% digestible.
THE PACK's Wet Food is >90% digestible.
Can I Feed My Dog THE PACK To Help Their IBD?
Overall, our wet and dried food hit the majority of requirements and essentials for dogs with IBD need to combat their illness.
The moisture levels of our Wet Food will help combat dehydration, while our Oven Baked Dry Food is a higher source of moisture than most dried foods on the market due to our cooking process locking in more moisture.
The energy density of our dried food is high, at 4.8kcal/g, while our wet food is 1kcal/g so our wet food is more suitable as a topper for flavour, moisture and other nutritional benefits such as high protein and fiber.
The fat levels of our wet food are a little higher than guidelines but could be used sparingly as a topper / mixed in with our dried food which at 15.5% fat is slightly over the ideal limits, so may need consideration depending on your dogs severity of IBD.
Both our wet food and dried food are high protein and provide multiple sources of protein, so are ideal in terms of providing the high protein, from allergen friendly sources and with outstanding protein digestibility.
The fiber levels of our wet food are within the guidelines needed for dogs with IBD, but our dried food is a little below. To address this, more wet food could be used for your dogs diet, with dried added for the other nutritional benefits. Carrots, green beans, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and peas are excellent sources of fiber, we use these in our recipes but to add a fiber boost, the fresh variety of these can be cooked, chopped, and mixed into their food.
Both our wet food and dried food have outstanding levels of digestibility, meaning the protein, energy, fiber etc are highly absorbed into the body which is crucial for dogs with IBD.
Overall, a mix of our wet food and dried food will work best for dogs with IBD, but will of course vary for each dog depending on the severity of their IBD.
Always Consult Your Veterinarian
If you suspect that your dog has IBD or it has been confirmed and you are looking to make a change to their diet, it’s crucial to consult with your dog’s veterinarian. They will be able to provide personalized recommendations based on your dog’s specific needs. THE PACK is a novel protein diet that meets several, but not all (fat) of the nutritional recommendations for IBD, however it may be suitable for some dogs with IBD. As we have included the levels of each key nutrient in THE PACK so that can easily discuss with your veterinarian about whether THE PACK is an appropriate choice for your dog.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease in dogs requires a comprehensive approach that includes both medical treatment and dietary management. A carefully selected diet can make a significant difference in managing symptoms, promoting digestive health, and enhancing the overall well-being of dogs with IBD. By understanding the unique nutritional needs of dogs with this condition and tailoring their diet accordingly, you can contribute to a happier and healthier life for your fur child.
Make The Switch & Save 30%
To help encourage you to make this switch and try plant-based food for your dog, whether that's to help with their IBD, to add variety into their diet or to transition them to a plant-based diet, we are giving you 30% off your first order with code WELCOME30
Or, click the below link and we will auto apply the discount at checkout for you
If you have any questions at all about transitioning your dog to THE PACK, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org