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I'm cooking lowfat for my elderly dog, post-pancreatitis and thought I'd share

My 15 y.o. dog (a Puli) had lost about 20% of her body weight from one annual exam to another. I wanted to get some of that weight on her so started adding different things to her food. Basically forgetting that I already knew that high fat foods can cause pancreatitis. Sure enough, she got realy sick. I thought we were going to lose her. So two days at the vet and $1500 later she was feeling a lot better. But she was having none of the lowfat canned food the vet sent home with her. So I was adding some boiled chicken, broth, jarred baby food, nonfat cottage and on and on. And she was eating it but honestly it was a pain. So perhaps a week ago I made up a batch of food that had one cup each of coarsely chopped chicken, chicken broth (really just chicken flavored water), boiled potato and green peas. I started with just the chicken and half the broth in the FP and after getting them pretty mushy added the potato, peas and the rest of the broth. Blended til it was pale green throughout so I knew the peas were completely broken down. She scarfed it down! In our 15 years together, I've never seen her eat like this. I'm now adding a small amount of kibble and some cottage cheese. She gets a smaller amount in the morning cause she's never wanted all that much and a larger amount at dinner. And NOW she follows me into the kitchen every time I go wanting more :) So I give her another tablespoon or two for snacks. Will weigh her Monday and see what's happening. Other batches I've subbed rice for the potato and spinach for the peas. Loved 'em. Later today I'm going to try some broccoli and another batch I'll try subbing sweet potato for the potato/rice.

I'm sharing this in case any of the rest of you ever have to deal with something like this. I'll likely stick with the chicken as it's cheap and lowfat but would be interested in any other starches or vegetables that you've tried.

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  1. It's great you found something that works. I know what it's like caring for an elderly dog and worrying that every little hiccup causes weight loss, and how important it is to keep their reserves.
    I did lots of poached/roast chicken and veggies batches!

    1. We were adopted by a stray dog with serious intestinal issues. When he came to us, he tolerated zero corn which pretty much ruled out most commercial dog foods. If he wasn't such a sweet animal, he would have been a royal PITA. As he aged, he became more and more difficult to feed. We hit on eggs with chicken + broth and rice as foods he could tolerate well. If you use just the egg white to keep it low-fat, this may be helpful to you also. We would add carrots from time to time as well as peas. The vet was pleased and this wonderful dog lived to be +/- 14 years old. Best of luck with your cute dog, c.oliver.

      17 Replies
      1. re: Sherri


        I like the carrot idea alot. I'm also freezing this as we're going to be away for almost three weeks in about a month. We have petsitters who've been there before and I don't want them to have to do everything, although she's a wonderful vegan cook. I've tasted it and if I added some salt it wouldn't be bad at all. I figure once Bob and I are "in the home" and have lost all our teeth, this might work for us also :)

        1. re: c oliver

          My neighbor, who is a good cook, dropped by and asked "what are you cooking, it smells great".... It was dog food...

          1. re: c oliver

            Our (now passed) dog had a nasty case of pancreatitis - she got into the garbage and ate the skin from about five pounds of chicken thighs -- and in aftercare instructions the vet cautioned us to go easy on the carrots, her favorite treat, because of the sugar content. Just throwing that out there, because it's not something you want to deal with more than once.

            For her treats, we would slide a can of that awful rubber food out (like canned cranberry sauces), slice it semi-thin, and bake. Bless her, she ate the makeshift biscuits like a trouper.

            1. re: harrie

              That is a MUCH better idea than trying to create a balanced medical pet diet at home. If the purchased ration is refused, usually a bit of enticement, like boiled skinless chicken (depending on the condition from which the pet suffers) added to it will get them to accept it, and it may be possible to wean the pet off the additional fillips.

              1. re: greygarious

                With veterinary guidance it's not hard to feed a balanced diet for an animal. And at the point in life that my dog is, getting her to eat ANYTHING is the goal. She was to the point that she wasn't eating. Period.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Edited: Just found that probiotics can worsen outcomes during acute pancreatitis: http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issu...


                  1. re: c oliver

                    I support that notion. Calories in was my goal for my elderly buddy when it was tough to keep weight on.
                    Of course, you want to make the best choices you can, but it really does come down to getting calories in and hopefully, enjoyment for your dog.

              2. re: c oliver

                do be careful with carrots -- we've been warned by vets in 2 countries to limit the carrots because of their effect on blood sugar -- apparently it is like eating candy to a dog.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  Thanks, sun :) I'll put that on my list of things to talk about. Not hard to leave that out. I wonder if other things that grow "down below" have that issue. Opinions? BTW, the lady sucked down more food for dinner than I've ever seen and then following me into the kitchen for more :)

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Mine like frozen green beans -- also recommended by the vet for the big lug of a lab who would eat until he burst (fiber, low-cal, low-fat, and fills him up)

                    I also give the lab the raw stalks from broccoli and cauliflower -- he loves gnawing them and begs for broccoli (go figure!)

                    **caution** I know some dogs, like some people, have, erm, unpleasant gastrointestinal issues with raw cruciferous veggies...Mine don't, but proceed with caution. A friend of mine swears her dog could have peeled paint after she gave him raw broccoli....

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      LOL. Our lab, Levi, had, er, that issue :) Even without the broccoli. Our vet friend said 'well, if you also give him broccoli, don't complain' :) We had a big party after we married each other the second time. It got down to the last ten or so people sitting around in the living room. Levi and his sister Trudy were sound asleep on the floor nearby when Levi ripped one :) Suddenly everyone needed to get home :) Good memory. So, yeah, be careful with the broccoli.

                      ETA: Even without broccoli, Levi had this 'issue' so when friends were coming over for dinner, we put Beano on his food :)

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        I love the labs. They are true chowhounds. Gulp, gulp, gulp. I'm done. Got any more of that. I don't care what kind of food you give me.

                        1. re: emglow101

                          It's so great having food motivated dogs.
                          Actually, a bit of a blessing and a curse, but come feeding time, it's put food in bowl and be done with it!

                    2. re: sunshine842

                      how good to know. that must be why I love cooked carrots so much!

                    3. re: c oliver

                      This might be a useful article, lots of commercial food reccos for a dog with pancreatitis episodes. http://fetchportland.com/2011/pancrea...

                      I would definitely avoid starches and use non starch veggies for any living critter with pancreatitis. Some very strange reccos for glucose and grains for dogs out there, not wise.

                      I humans, I know that total food restriction is often used for a time to allow the pancreas to rest.

                      1. re: mcf

                        Yes, dogs with pancreatitis are hospitalized NPO until they are past the crisis. It's sad that so avoidable a condition happens so often. People either don't know better than to give dogs a lot of fatty food, or aren't careful enough about keeping their dogs out of the leftovers and garbage. It's an extremely painful ailment, and too often people who cannot afford the hospitalization and supportive care either have their pet put down or, worse, take it home to suffer, thinking it will get better without professional care.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          My dog while at the vets was offered canned food. They knew she was feeling better when she actually ate some. My point of this thread is to discuss WHAT foods. That's all. I don't like any discussions here where medical advice is given. Human or otherwise.

                  2. Here's the recipe for what I'm feeding my 12+ year old dog:

                    6 cups of water
                    8 ounces rice
                    6 pounds of 85/15 ground beef (or lower fat beef, turkey, chicken or fish)
                    1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
                    1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
                    10 ounces chopped green vegetable (frozen broccoli is my favorite)
                    1 pound cooked winter squash * or a 15 oz can of pumpkin
                    1 pound boiled sweet potato *
                    2 cups triple strength chamomile tea, cooled
                    2 tablespoons calcium carbonate
                    * preferably frozen

                    Bring the water to a boil in a large (8 quart) pot. Add rice and stir. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add hamburger (break up as you add it), stir well. Add garlic and cinnamon. Make sure there are no clumps of rice sticking at the bottom. Simmer, continue to stir every 5 to 10 minutes until the meat is done. Add the green vegetables and cook another 1 to 10 minutes, until just cooked. Remove from heat, add squash and sweet potato. Put the pot in a sink full of cold water. Stir every so often to distribute to mix in the squash and potatoes and to help cool. When fairly cool, add tea and calcium, stir well. Package into containers and refrigerate or freeze. (For my 62 lb dog, this makes 8 1/2 days of food)

                    I do add some natural vitamin supplements I get from the vet but he's been eating some variant of this for 3 years now and doing fine. The vet encouraged me to do the home cooking and has recommended all the ingredients. I have learned he is very allergic to chicken. Also, I use low oxalate vegetables due to bladder stone issues (and is why I boil the sweet potatoes separately). Choice of the meat will impact the fat level, dogs do need fat (when doing fish, I alternate with beef), although how much depends on health issues.

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: firecooked

                      Good point about not going TOO low fat. What's the point of the tea and calcium carbonate please? Do you chop or mash the squash and potato? I'm liking the idea A LOT of doing a much larger portion like you do. She's liking this so much that it seems like I'm doing it every few days :) TIA. PS: She weighed 30-32# before this and wasn't overweight.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Dogs require calcium in their diet, and would get it from bones in a raw diet. The tea is supposed to both calm the dog and be soothing for the stomach. I am not convinced it does anything, but what we are doing works so I don't change. I cube the potatoes then boil, so they are pretty soft. And when I freeze them, I put into baggies and press the air out, so they are pretty mashed. For squash (haven't used in a while, as I have been able to get canned pumpkin), I would bake halved squash until soft, then scrape out of the skin. The dog loves both pumpkin and sweet potatoes.

                      2. re: firecooked

                        Your vet recommended garlic? That's odd.

                        "Onions and garlic in all forms -- powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated -- can destroy a dog's red blood cells, leading to anemia. That can happen even with the onion powder found in some baby food. An occasional small dose is probably OK. But just eating a large quantity once *********or eating smaller amounts regularly********* can cause poisoning. Symptoms of anemia include weakness, vomiting, little interest in food, dullness, and breathlessness." (Emphasis added.)


                        1. re: mcsheridan

                          The vet said that in this low a dose it was ok (I asked, as I am familiar with the list of foods that you should not feed your dog) and is a good prebiotic. I don't use it all the time.

                          I would also recommend discussing any home cooked diet for your dog with your vet first. And, I would not be doing this if the dog did not have multiple health and food sensitivities, but in doing this, I have gotten over my fear of giving dogs "people" food, and (if there is a next dog) I won't hesitate to supplement their kibble with meat and cooked vegetables.

                          1. re: firecooked

                            With the exception of things they just shouldn't eat, I'd not worry all that much about giving dogs "people food". I just think how many millennia dogs lived with humans before anyone thought to make special dog food for them.



                            1. re: mcsheridan

                              Agree... there has been so much propaganda from the pet food industries, reinforced by vets (who I'm sure make very good margin on the pet food they sell) about *never* feeding dogs scraps. Of course, people shouldn't be eating a lot of "people food"... I'm thinking of cheetos, fast food, soda, cupcakes, etc. etc.

                              1. re: mcsheridan

                                I'm just trying to focus on what one is cooking for their dogs and not so much a discussion of vets except when it comes to ingredients.

                              2. re: firecooked

                                I've fed only kibble unless there were a specific need for 'people food.' Our Airedale tends to have a sensitive stomach so she gets yogurt in her food.

                            2. re: firecooked

                              One other thing... It takes two and a half days for a container to thaw, so there are always three containers in the fridge.. Empty one, pull another out of the freezer (except when I'm planning to make more).

                              1. re: firecooked

                                What size containers do you use please?

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  Ziploc 4 cup containers, I am currently putting ~ 1 lb, 7 oz in each one. He gets half a container in the morning, the other half for dinner. At one point, when he was more active and eating more fish, I would put closer to 1 lb, 10oz per container. (And yes, I do use a scale to partition out the containers). Fortunately the dishwasher cleans the beef fat out of them!

                                  1. re: firecooked

                                    Wow, what does your dog weigh?!?!? :)

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      62 pounds.. It looks like a lot, but the mix has a lot of water in it. Also, it was a real shot in the dark on how much to feed (my guy is really a chow hound, and would each whatever you put down, so I could go by his appetite). That's why I frequently weigh him.

                                      1. re: firecooked

                                        Yeah, Woofy's serving sizes look HUGE to me compared to what she used to be eating but a fourth of the mix is water.

                            3. My dogs are more middle-aged than elderly but they get regular infusions of squash. Mostly butternut - I freeze cubes, then microwave with a touch of water. I also use zucchini, mainly shredded, broken off from a frozen slab. They sometimes get a little bit of bacon fat and/or a scrambled egg. Hell, these mutts eat better than many people!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: tcamp

                                "TOTES" re eating better :) Re the hard squash, do you cook, freeze and then reheat? Same re the zuke? I'm meeting with the vet on Monday re my other dog, my avatar, and will flesh out what she thinks. Thanks.

                              2. My Rhodesian Ridgeback also got pancreatitis from stealing tons of chicken, skin bones and all. He was a very sick boy. The bones passed right through but the pancreatitis almost killed him. I also had him on a low fat diet - he at the kibble but I had to add low fat cottage cheese or yogurt. I hope your dog gets better soon!! It can be along haul afterward.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: wincountrygirl

                                  After two days of IV and antibiotics she bounced right back. But wasn't keen on the kibble and wouldn't touch the canned food they sent. That's why I started doing the 'this and that.' But cooking for us is much easier. And I think I'm going to increase the quantities as mentioned above so I'm not doing it three times a week :) The little vulture!

                                2. Sorry to hear about your dog but glad you've found things that will work. Is there a reason people don't use raw meat for their older dogs? We switched our puppy (not quite a puppy now since she just turned one) to a raw meat mix that someone makes from ground chicken neck, liver, beef, not sure what else. She's done so well on it that she's stopped shedding. We had been buying good quality dry food but this has made a world of difference. She obviously loves it.

                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: chowser

                                    I know raw meat has tons of fans; I'm just not one of them. To each her own :)

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      There are problems w/ it, in food safety alone, but I was just wondering if there was a health reason. It just seems more natural.

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        chowser - I think the usual concern over the raw meat diet is that dogs seem to have evolved into omnivores (thx to us over the millenia) and really need outside sources for some of the nutrients otherwise found in whole animal hunt/kill. that and some adherents of the raw meat approach go 'exclusive".

                                        any approach of a 'yes only' approach has problems IMHO. while I doubt my dog would ever get bored with raw meat, he does seem to like some variation from the kibble now and then and I can't help but think an occasional supplement of beef, carrot, asparagus, rice and broth etc might be a good thing.

                                        1. re: hill food

                                          Yes, definitely not an all meat diet but the bulk of her meat is raw. I go w/ what the trainer recommends but am also learning more about what best to feed her which is why I asked. Sorry to hijack the thread, co!

                                          1. re: chowser

                                            Not a problem, c. Since I don't feed raw I just didn't participate in that discussion. Plus it can get heated and, heaven knows, this isn't a subject that could ever cause that :) LOL.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              Yikes, I never knew there was even a debate about it. My biggest concern is that nothing comes from China.

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                Me either! I suggested some raw food already on this thread!

                                                My neighbors terrier takes the raw food issue into his own paws....he stalks mice and moles outside and lays in wait...swallows them whole. Gulp. It is amazing.

                                                1. re: chowser

                                                  Fifteen years ago when "The Puli" was a wee lass I was on a Puli breed message board. People were "screaming" at each other, pro and con, on the raw meat issue. I left it alone :)

                                        2. re: chowser

                                          According to my vet (the one that advocated home cooking for the dog) raw diets were good for young, reasonable healthy dogs, but that older / not so healthy dogs couldn't handle raw food (I think it was because it was more work to digest, as will as tolerance to the bacteria in meat). To just get my dog to tolerate meat we gradually shifted from kibble to the home cooked diet, with enzyme and probiotic supplements to enable proper digestion.

                                          1. re: firecooked

                                            That's good to know. I'll have to pay attention as the years go by. I do give her our food, too. I figure she could do worst than Alaskan salmon, cooked eggs, chicken, meat, roasted vegetables, etc.

                                        3. I feed my dog good kibble & meat. I buy a bunch of boneless & skinless chicken breasts when they are on sale then cook & freeze. She has been scooting a lot lately so I've added fiber to her diet in the form of unflavored psyllium husks (Metamucil) and olive oil. I've also been told canned pumpkin works well too. The olive oil (pure grade) seems to stimulate her appetite

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: zackly

                                            I've been thinking about oo also. Since most of what I'm feeding has little fat, this would add something I need may be missing. Will be meeting with the vet in the AM. I remind myself that a human diet isn't necessarily what a domestic dog needs.

                                            Just starting a new batch using sweet potato and rice with chicken this time.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              Happy that your pup is feeling better!

                                              My almost 10 y.o., 45 lb. pup gets a tsp. of oo in his dinner every day and our vet is ok with it. He has a beautiful, shiny coat – the dog, not the vet.

                                            2. re: zackly

                                              scooting? that can mean a need to have the anal glands expressed and it's not to be sniffed at.

                                            3. Just wanted to add positive thoughts.

                                              I've done the home-cooking/syringe-feeding/pallet-on-the-floor thing.

                                              Stay strong.

                                              And let your friends buoy you up when needed.

                                              Take your four legged friend for long walks, as (s)he is able.

                                              20 Replies
                                              1. re: pedalfaster

                                                Thankfully, she seems more than 100% recovered! She seems perkier than ever. Just want to get some weight on the lass. Thanks for your kind words. We say our animals never die , they just run up large vet bills :)

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  That's great news!
                                                  I wanted to add that ground meats worked really well for prepping ahead meals.
                                                  I used mostly turkey and chicken, but also low fat beef with the fat drained.
                                                  Then, I'd add homemade chx stock and veggies, and a little starch.
                                                  That could last for a couple days and I'd even add in a bit of good kibble.
                                                  My old guy got pretty picky in his old age, but whenever I could provide him something he could enjoy, it made me very happy.

                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                    Did you put the kibble into the "melange" when you first assembled or when you "served" his highness? I add a small amount of kibble (don't want her to think I'm poisoning her), another small amount of the lowfat canned food and some cottage cheese to the 'melange'.

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      I add the kibble and/or canned food when I assembled.
                                                      Heaven forbid I sully any magic elixir that he would eat ;-)

                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                        I know! I ain't messing with success.

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          Seriously, I was a short order cook!
                                                          It was worth it, and I'll do it again when and if...

                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                            I've never had to do this before. But, yeah, tempting her with food that she'll actually eat is well worth it.

                                                    2. re: monavano

                                                      Bison and venison - and other game - are low in fat, too. So are a lot of, perhaps most, fish.

                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                        I've wondered about fish. Would you poach it and then add to the other ingredients? Do you think it would freeze alright? As I mentioned, we're going away for almost three weeks and I'd like to leave our wonderful petsitters with a good supply of what they'll need.

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          There's no need to cook it but poaching or steaming would be fine. Texture not being important in this instance, freezing is no problem.

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            I had a bunch of fish that had been in freezer for well over a year (left from a family members long-range fishing trip). I would just toss (usually still mostly frozen) chunks into the pot of water / rice and cook until it started fall apart, this would only take 5 minutes if the fish was thawed, longer depending on how frozen. A bit of ginger made it smell better. I finished with the veggie / pumpkin / sweet potatoes, and would freeze. Dog liked it just fine.

                                                            1. re: firecooked

                                                              Ooh, I like the idea of making it smell better :) Thanks.

                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                To people, but probably not to the dog.

                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                  True but I haven't taught her to feed herself :) Although she's smart enough she probably could!

                                                              2. re: firecooked

                                                                Before I retired I worked in the frozen seafood industry. I always had a lot of gifted shrimp in my freezer. When it started to get freezer burned I'd cook it up for my dogs. They loved it shell and all!

                                                              3. re: c oliver

                                                                My German Shep also had pancreatitis after eating 10 ft of carpet fibers (cost me a damn fortune to have those removed by the vet). I started her on fish, rice and veggies all cooked together in a huge pot and she ate small amounts for a few days until it was ok to increase portion sizes. I just bought frozen whiting fillets, a bag of rice and a bag of pre sliced stir fry veggies without onions.

                                                                Sadly she passed 3 weeks ago from Lymphoma but fish was the only thing she liked in her last few days.

                                                                1. re: smartie

                                                                  I'm getting so many great suggestions. My condolences. It's hard to lose these friends.

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    Really inspiring to hear how extensively you are caring for your dogs. I am sure having them around and healthy is certainly worth many times the work of your efforts.

                                                                    I haven't had a pet since childhood, and am envious.

                                                                    1. re: Tripeler

                                                                      You're very kind, T. I feel strongly that it's a lifelong commitment to do the best you can do. And I don't judge those who can't do that and wind up putting their pet down. Oh, yeah, and 'the girl' was in there staring us down as I was cooking OUR dinner so she got a spoonful more :)

                                                                    2. re: c oliver

                                                                      thanks, she was only 8 yo, went downhill in 4 weeks and I had no choice but to have her PTS.
                                                                      I have rescued a Catahoula nutcase since, but still missing my Abby. My other dog wouldn't eat anything till the new dog was brought home.

                                                        2. When my dog got sick (undiagnosed illness, she was used as a teaching example at Univ of Pennsylvania's New Bolton b/c her case was so complicated), she wouldn't eat the canned stuff the vet suggested either. She was an Italian dog (her dad, my ex-husband, is Italian)& she loved traditional Italian dishes, so I finally hit upon roasted chicken, marinara sauce & pasta. I just roasted a chicken once a week & cooked up the sauce & pasta, & that lasted through the week. No, not nutritionally sound, but I knew she didn't have much time left ;( so nutrition wasn't the issue.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: thymeoz

                                                            EXACTLY my point :) She's not a young dog, still growing. I LOVE the pasta idea!

                                                            Just fixed the sweet potato version but had a senior moment :) I had intended to do chicken, broth, SP and broccoli but instead did the SP and rice.

                                                            Here are two pix of recent batches.

                                                          2. A couple of more ideas (I was surprised to find out a couple of my friends cooked for their dogs too...)

                                                            The friend with 2 (!) Newfoundlands.. Cooked rice in a rice cooker every day. Added canned chicken from Costco, and thawed-out peas and corn.

                                                            The friend with an overweight small dog... Made lamb meatballs (I don't know what she put in them) and froze them. The dog loved raw vegetables, so she would make a "salad" and add a meatball she warmed up in the microwave.

                                                            Both were convinced that feeding their dogs people food added years to their dogs lives.

                                                            1. My dogs get a wide variety of foods cooked for them. Their favorite meats are liver (both cooked and raw) and chicken. I use a combination of things like meats, rice/pasta/sweet potato and pumpkin, green veg in the FP (so they can't spit it out) and they like tomato and blueberries for some fruit every once in a while. Bone broth is mixed with everything and I also supplement with healthy oils, nutritional yeast, calcium, fish oil, vitamin e, glucosamine for my senior dog, and seaweed.

                                                              For a cooked breakfast treat, my fur babes really like a soft cooked egg with a little bread or a cracker torn in pieces and mixed around with a pinch of salt or furikake sprinkle (they like the salmon furikake!).

                                                              14 Replies
                                                              1. re: sedimental

                                                                I've been reluctant to add organs cause of fat content. Talk to me about please.

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  My dogs do well on small amounts of bloody, raw meat mixed in their foods weekly. Raw beef liver, chicken livers and heart are chopped up and mixed in. They get about a tablespoon of the raw. I also add healthy oils but both are in good shape and get exercise. Raw heart would be a lean muscle meat you might try first and see if she likes it. My pups will gobble anything that the bloody, raw meat touches...even icky pills!

                                                                  1. re: sedimental

                                                                    Thanks. Would you feed this to an elderly, already struggling old dog?

                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      Don't you think that's a question for a veterinarian? After all, your senior dog's pre-pancreatitis weight loss is indicative of other ailments that should be pinpointed and considered before determining her nutritional needs.

                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                        Which is a conversation I'll be having with my vet, off CH, tomorrow. Thanks so much for weighing in. Oh, right, and if it's a vet only question, then I won't be sharing that here.

                                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                                          All her lab work from a year ago and then recently were all completely normal. While there's certainly a possibility of an underlying cause, the vet thinks just getting weight on her is the way to go at this point. Like some elderly humans lose weight, animals can also.

                                                                        2. re: c oliver

                                                                          well if you have to ask...

                                                                          I lucked out as my stray ONLY wolfs his food when there are wet people food things included (uhh edit that to wet, 'people' food). so now that he's about at his proper weight, they are only 'treats'.

                                                                          when he was drastically underweight on arrival last year, I sort of didn't pay much attention to his content beyond high protein, good fiber, low salt, low sugar and "The Forbidden List".

                                                                          do post back what your DVM says, as mine and others may very well be there all too soon. each dog is different, but a rough 'thumbnail' guide is a starting point.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            I have no idea. I haven't researched it for a dog with pancreas problems because mine don't -but my senior dog has Addison's disease and takes steroids (his adrenal glands are shot). He is 12 years old and doing well on homemade customized food. He needs to eat to take his meds every morning. He has a small appetite anyway, so I try to pack in nutrition in small amounts of food for him.

                                                                            His custom food has increased his energy level, improved his weight, and has improved his dental health and GI upset problems ( throwing up and eating grass). Dogs seem to respond quickly to food changes, so if something doesn't agree with him, I know it right away. That helps.

                                                                            1. re: sedimental

                                                                              Thanks for your insight. I'm no longer dealing with pancreatic problems, and I'm sorry if I gave that impression. I'm just trying to get weight on my old girl.

                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                Assuming no kidney or other organ function issues, canned and dry puppy food and/or active adult dog food. Extra calories, balanced nutrition, per my vet.

                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                  Just back from the vet. The non-medical part of the visit involved his suggestion that cooking for her at this age is great. Fix her what she'll eat and don't worry about a nutritionally balanced food. And to have one part protein to three parts 'other stuff.' He said some dogs find it easier to eat rice than potatoes and chuckled when I said I use my FP :) Also chicken is more affordable but some ground beef cooked thoroughly is fine also.

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                    you food process your dog's food? no, it has to be a handheld ricer or they'll be buried at the crossroads. loved but nameless.

                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                      Dammit! So many rules. I'm making another batch later. Will get out the ricer :)

                                                                                  2. re: greygarious

                                                                                    I have always home cooked for my 3.5lb Chihuahua. He's a strange one. What works sometimes doesn't other times. Some days he'll eat his food as soon as I put it down, but then many days, he won't eat until the evening, for no obvious reason. Despite all that, my vet has encouraged me to keep doing whatever I'm doing, because his eyes are bright, his fur is shiny and smooth, his heart sounds great, etc.

                                                                                    Each batch varies somewhat in proteins and veggies, but on the list are: beef, chicken, pork, lamb, rabbit, salmon or trout, eggs (he'd happily eat duck, bison, venison, goat and probably any other type of meat or poultry, but they are not as readily available). Veggies include: green beans, peas, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, rutabaga, beets, turnips, zucchini. He loves pumpkin, squash and sweet potatoes, but they seem to make him scratch and rub his face a lot, so I believe him to have a sensitivity to them. He will tolerate small amounts of apple, pear, peach or blueberry, but it has to be pureed or he'll pick them out. I puree most of the veggies too, for the same reason.

                                                                                    He gets a lot of raw organ meats in his freeze-dried treats, so I don't go out of my way to add organ meats to his foods. If I have them (from a whole chicken for example), I'll cook them and offer them to him. I've found that when the organ meats are in every meal, he gets overloaded by the richness of it and will wind up either refusing to eat or getting the runs.

                                                                                    All food batches include yogurt, kefir, bone meal, ground flax and chia, assorted types of seaweeds, also ground, plus olive or coconut oil, particularly if the current batch of food is very lean. He's generally grain-free, but I have no problem including rice or millet here and there. Nuts and seed butters don't seem to go over well in the food, but he loves peanuts and pistachios as treats.

                                                                                    Because he's so tiny, cooking for him is easy. I can make 2 weeks' worth of food in a single batch. I freeze small containers that will feed him for a few days. I truly believe that the varied diet is what keeps him so healthy. Raw meats are not an option for him because he doesn't always want his food the moment it's offered.

                                                                      2. We have a 64# Siberian Husky named Tom whom we rescued when he was about 1 year old. He had been in the shelter for a long time before he came to us & had some problems adjusting. He didn't want to eat so we tried different things - various brands of dog food with mixed or poor results. Finally we decided to make our own which he has been eating for over a year now. I buy boneless chicken, breasts or thighs depending on what's on sale, in bulk & we use the following recipe for him:

                                                                        10# boneless chicken
                                                                        7 C cooked Brown Rice
                                                                        1# raw carrots grated
                                                                        2# Sweet Potatoes Steamed until almost tender.
                                                                        1 tsp salt

                                                                        I bake the chicken & add all the drippings to the rice. We use a 1 cup measure & pack a scoop into a muffin ring lined with plastic wrap to make a cake. We generally get 30 or so 'Tom Cakes' per batch & heats usually 2 a day. One bag goes in the fridge & the others in the freezer. My cost on this is about $0.75 per pound. Tom also gets a Cod Liver Oil pill in peanut butter every other day. He'll eat any vegetable & most fruits. From time to time he gets a couple Tblsp of yogurt or spaghetti sauce on his food. He has a dish of BilJac kibble he can snack from anytime but he doesn't eat much of that. So, about every two weeks I have to make a batch of dog food & everybody seems to be doing well with it.

                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                        1. re: JoeBabbitt

                                                                          Thanks for sharing. OUR rescue dog will eat ANYTHING :)

                                                                          Why the salt if I may ask?

                                                                          I roasted a whole chicken so we've all been sharing it. Gotta mix up another batch. Love the "Tom Cakes." May be stealing that idea.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            SO he has some salt in his diet. Otherwise, there is none in any of the ingredients.

                                                                            1. re: JoeBabbitt

                                                                              I never thought of that and did some reading. Of course, they need some salt. And it reads like the amount you put in is just right. I'm making some in a bit and will add a pinch. Thanks, Joe.

                                                                              1. re: JoeBabbitt

                                                                                You dog Tom is one beautiful animal! I am sure your care in feeding is really appreciated by him.

                                                                              2. re: c oliver

                                                                                One of the reasons that I started cooking was that the vet-formula food for urinary issues had salt in it to promote more drinking, which then caused kidney issues. The list of things my dog can't have is like the gluten free vegan dinner guest that is allergic to mushrooms. Fortunately he's happy to eat the same thing EVERY day.

                                                                                1. re: firecooked

                                                                                  LOL :) Her only 'issue' is/was not wanting to eat. Always leaned in that direction. I'm pretty sure there's some senility that's come into play also. No joke. Just made a new batch: chicken, broth, rice, broccoli and a pinch of salt. Sucked it up.

                                                                              3. re: JoeBabbitt

                                                                                I have known for ages that the diets described in most of these posts will be damaging in the long run, but no one reading this has any reason to believe I know what I'm talking about. So here's a typical lay article from a canine nutritionist: http://thebark.com/content/10-myths-a... Please note that your dog is not getting adequate calcium, unless he's eating a lot more kibble than you think he is, or he hunts and eats small prey. At the very least, discuss what you are doing with your veterinarian, although a consult with a veterinary nutritionist would be far better, since general practice vets are no more expert in matters of nutrition than your G.P is.

                                                                                Following suggestions about your dog's diet from other well-meaning pet owners is potentially more dangerous than doing the same with what you yourself eat. At least humans don't usually eat the same food week in, week out.
                                                                                I'm outta here now...this is just too distressing.

                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                  Thanks for not bowing out before posting that article It's very helpful as I try to learn more about feeding our puppy. Learning nutrition for a new species is challenging. But, we work w/ a woman who know dog nutrition well and from the article, it sounds like she's got a good mix in her food, plus she changes it. My biggest problem is stopping our dog from eating things she finds, dead mice, acorns, pine cones, bugs, worm jerky (days post rain. I never know if they're a good source of protein and whether to let that go)), at one time a used condom.

                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                    g, I don't think you understand the purpose of my post. I'm not debating SHOULD one do this but rather, if one does, what are you feeding. I'm going to assume and encourage everyone to talk to their vet regarding any change in feeding. That's what I did.

                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                      g, I'm following my vet's recs. Yours may differ and clearly does. Perhaps the truth lies in the middle? I have a dog who was eating NOTHING and will still turn her head 90 degrees away from anything she won't eat. She's old and I'm trying to keep her eating. What's there to criticize about that?

                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                        <Following suggestions about your dog's diet from other well-meaning pet owners is potentially more dangerous than doing the same with what you yourself eat. At least humans don't usually eat the same food week in, week out.>


                                                                                        1. re: EM23

                                                                                          I completely agree. I and my vet are partners in the health of our animals. As I've repeatedly said, I'm cooking a low fat diet, at the rec of my vet, and wondered what others were doing. I've gotten some really good advice; things I wouldn't have thought of.

                                                                                      2. re: JoeBabbitt

                                                                                        What a beautiful dog! Mind is mostly on kibble but every once in a while I run out and then I make her a mash of poached chicken, peas, brown rice, and enough of the chicken poaching liquid to get a nice consistency. I'll have to try sweet potatoes-I usually have those. She also gets to share a bite or two of our food if it is unadulterated protein or veg-she's apparently something of a hipster because she has a special taste for kale.

                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                          Thanks, sun, for linking these two. Lots to know.

                                                                                          I found a pound of old ground beef in the freezer. I cooked it to well dome, drained it throughly and mixed with vegetables. Trying to get the freezer full before we leave the country in mid-Sept.

                                                                                        2. Quick followup. We were at the vet's today for another issue. I mentioned that she's loving the new food even though she's not gained back any weight. He suggested bumping up the starch and protein and to give her as much as she'll eat. I'm going to thaw all that I've frozen and add another portion of each. Good news is that with little effort, I'll increase my inventory by 50%. Leaving the country in a few weeks and trying to make enough for the petsitters is a challenge cause she wants this food ALL THE TIME :) This from the little girl who has always been picky.

                                                                                          Okay, so not that quick!

                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                            Darn, I was hoping to read through this and see that she'd gained some weight. But at least she's eating!

                                                                                            I've got two dogs whom I've cooked for on and off since they were pups. One is an 8 lb terrier mix I rescued when she was maybe 6 months old. The other is a 65 lb pitbull my ex husband got when she was only 4 weeks old.

                                                                                            The little one will eat anything. She has never been picky, maybe because she survived on alley/dumpster scraps for her first 6 months of life. She has always loved to scavenge and will take dry food of any caliber. Her health has always been perfect as well. She is 11 years old now and spry as a puppy.

                                                                                            The bigger dog had obvious allergies from the beginning. As a puppy, she had recurrent ear infections, eye gunk, and skin problems. Her vet at the time suggested either lifelong allergy meds, ear drops, eye drops, and steroids, or (off the record) suggested I fiddle with her diet. Any corn in the food and my dog starts losing patches of hair and skin within days. Welts, hives, itching, etc. She is also very sensitive to chemicals and additives. She's almost 8 years old now.

                                                                                            I tend to feed them dry food supplemented with homemade. I have had several vets suggest to keep them on a 50/50ish diet, as dry food will help keep their teeth in good shape apparently. I also worry about giving them adequate vitamins and nutrients through human food alone.

                                                                                            Their dinners are not set recipes, but vary depending what I have on hand. Usually BLSL chicken breasts are the protein of choice (though sometimes also less fatty cuts of beef, turkey, or scrambled eggs). Brown or white rice, oats, potatoes, and/or yams are the starch. Yams and rice are great for upset tummies. The veggies vary the most and I've been experimenting lately to try new ones. Carrots, spinach (only the big one will eat it raw), broccoli, green beans. They also like bananas and apples. I put a drizzle of olive oil over the top of their homemade meals usually, and a pinch of salt.

                                                                                            My dogs' favorite "treats" in the world are raw carrots. When I bring home bags of carrots from the grocery store, they seem to think it's a bag of dog treats and they'll follow me to the kitchen and sit with perfect posture, eyes begging. I usually will take one big carrot and break it in two, giving them each a piece. They love to sit and take their time to crunch on them.

                                                                                            Frozen green beans or peas are great snacks in the summer when it's hot out.

                                                                                            I have read not to give too much broccoli as it has something in it that can be damaging to animals, but it is okay as long as it's not the main component of their dinner.

                                                                                            My big girl just came home tonight from the ICU after spending 2 days in there with a horrid infection, major surgery, and IVs. She hadn't eaten a meal in 4 days until tonight when I brought her home. She was refusing all food at the vet's office and they sent her home in hopes she'd eat with me. She refused all her favorite treats but I was able to hand-feed her a piece of poached chicken breast and a few spoonfuls of white rice.

                                                                                            I'm glad to see all of the ideas here. Her dinners will be all prepared from scratch for the foreseeable future. It has never once occurred to me to puree or blend their food for some reason. I may try that tomorrow.

                                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong


                                                                                              Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner.

                                                                                              At this point in her life, we're not concerned with nutrition. She's not still growing and she's really old. We just want her to eat and eat low fat. As I probably mentioned, we always fed 100% kibble to all our cats and dogs over about 25 years unless we're dealing with a stomach upset. But with her we're just wanting her to eat. Period. By FPing the food she can't 'pick and choose' so we do get some vegetables in her :) I'm anticipating some weight gain cause she's really packing it in. In addition to breakfast and dinner with the other dog, I'm working in two or three 'snacks' when the other one isn't looking :) By thawing and adding another portion each of chicken and rice, I now have a lot more in the freezer.

                                                                                              Good luck. They're worth it.

                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                If my dog is avoiding eating because something has bothered his tummy, I'm usually able to woo him back with either a hard cooked egg yolk or a scrambled whole egg. Another trick is to make a really delicious stew or a roast for dinner. The smell gets him interested in food again. I'll give him a few bites that have been rinsed or wiped of any rich or unacceptable sauces/spices. By then, he'll usually take a little of his own food.

                                                                                                I should add that I'll usually let him starve himself for a couple of days, if he has a bad belly. It's a dog's instinct to avoid food until the bad stuff passes through the system. I know he's on the mend when he accepts one of my offerings.

                                                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                  Fortunately, I have never experienced green tripe but have read about its benefits in multiple publications over several decades. Here's a typical one: http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/...
                                                                                                  You may want to consider trying it. Apparently the stench is irresistable to canines. Many owners swear by it as a trick to getting calories into a picky or ailing dog.

                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                    I wouldn't feed anything without checking with my vet. Especially a raw diet.

                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                      Oh that makes MY stomach turn, lol.

                                                                                                      My big girl is back eating again and recovering well from her surgery. It started with some filet mignon and BLSL chicken breast I found in the freezer. She ate about a handful. The next day she accepted another handful, plus about 1/2 of a baked potato. Then on day 3 I made a huge pot of chicken, rice, carrots, yams, green beans, eggs, and broth. Added in some chopped apples and olive oil once it cooled.

                                                                                                      She's been happily eating this for 2 days, licking the bowl. She's still not keen on dry food, so I have 2/3 of the pot left in the freezer in individual portions. I'll keep mixing in kibble with it to try and get more into her. She lost about 8 lbs while she was sick (65 lbs to start) so hopefully at her weigh in at the vet next week she will have gained a little back.

                                                                                                      Thanks all for the suggestions!