IN CHRONICALLY OR TERMINALLY ILL PETS
By guest blogger Jodi Ziskin, Holistic Nutrition and Wellness Consultant for Cats and Dogs
|Jodi Ziskin and Obi|
When a dog or cat is chronically or terminally ill or simply recovering from surgery, getting them to eat can be a challenge.
There are many reasons for loss of appetite including (but not limited to):
- Medications that cause queasiness in the tummy
- Diseases of the digestive tract
- Aches and pains that make it difficult to get up
- Pain due to tooth decay or other oral diseases
This is, of course, both frustrating and heart breaking for pet parents. We know that our furry babies need nutrition and hydration to help them recover or for those who are nearing sunset, to make them feel as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.
In addition, pets who need to take meds with meals or on a full stomach simply must eat.
To Stimulate Appetite
Emu Oil - Yep, you read that correctly. The taste of emu oil is irresistible to most cats and dogs. It also contains a plethora of health benefits. The oil is rich in omega 3s (and other important essential fatty acids) and is anti-inflammatory. This is wonderful for pets with irritable bowel disease, arthritis, pancreatitis and more. Emu oil can also be used externally. It helps heal bites, hot spots, rashes and more. I suggested the Premiere Pure Oil by www.emumagic.com.
Tuna Juice - The diluted juice poured over food can stimulate the appetite. I recommend the Whole Foods 365 brand of no salt added Wild Slip Jack. Simply drain the liquid from the can and dilute with the same amount of filtered water.
Dried one-ingredient freeze dried meat treats - Excellent options by Grandma Lucy's, Stella & Chewy's, Bravo and more. Pick your pet's favorite - tuna, salmon, bison, chicken, turkey, etc. Crumble a treat over food (and maybe even mix in).
www.grandmalucys.com, www.stellaandchewys.com, www.bravo.com. Each site provides information on retailers by zip code.
I always recommend adding a probiotic and digestive enzyme to each meal. The probiotic will help balance flora in the stomach, reduce bad bacteria and increase good bacteria in the gut, and will help strengthen the immune system. Digestive enzymes help break down the food, making it easier for your pet to digest and assimilate nutrients. One of my favorite products is a two-in-one by Animal Essentials called Plant Enzymes & Probiotics - http://www.animalessentials.com/#products:63. Start by adding just a sprinkle to meals and working up to the recommended amounts for your pet's weight. This can take a few days.
Foods to start with
Plain organic full-fat yogurt - Yobaby by Stoneyfield Farm is wonderful. It is creamy, cool and provides protein, fats, calcium and some probiotic. This is often a great first step in stimulating the appetite.
- For cats or small dogs, start with 1/2 tsp a few times per day. For large dogs, offer a tablespoon at a time.
Homemade Broth - Do not use canned or broth from cartons. Most of these contain onions, which can be poisonous to dogs and cats, MSG, too much sodium or other unsavory ingredients. Instead, make your own (you can eat this, too).
Simmer chicken (skinless, but with bones), preferably dark meat, along with carrots, kale, zucchini, parsley and a dash of sea salt for about an hour. Skim the broth so there are no solids left. Let cool and offer to your pet. Let them have as much as they want.
Scrambled Egg - Scramble an egg with some organic butter.
- Once cooled, mix in half of it with a teaspoon of the aforementioned yogurt for cats or small dogs or the whole egg with a tablespoon of yogurt for larger dogs. Not only is this a nutritionally dense meal, it is easy to digest and assimilate.
- If your pet does not like yogurt, serve with the broth.
As Appetite Increases
Chicken and brown rice *- This will take a little time to prepare, but it will stay fresh in the fridge for up to four days. I recommend using organic or at least hormone and antibiotic-free boneless, skinless thighs. Heat up coconut, sunflower or olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of filtered water and 1/2 pound of the chicken. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through. For the rice, cook with twice as much water as the directions call for. This will make it mushy and more palatable.
- Empty the chicken and all the liquid into a blender and pulse until the mixture reaches a pate consistency.
- For cats, just add 1/4 cup of the rice; for dogs, 1/2 - 1 cup of rice.
- Although cats cannot digest grains, adding rice to the chicken will help slow down the digestion process, making it easier on the whole system.
Grandma Lucy's Simple Remedy * - Quick and easy. Just add water. http://www.grandmalucys.com/remedy.html
*Please note: these suggestions are for temporary feeding only. For nutritionally balanced, species appropriate recipes, please work with a vet or pet nutrition expert.
· For very weak cats and dogs, you may need to initiate feedings by using a dropper or syringe (needle-free, of course) or spoon feed
· For mobile pets, be sure their feeding station is higher than their stomachs. This will improve digestion
· Most cats do not like to eat out of bowls - a plate is preferred
· Make sure there is plenty of filtered water available at all times - rinse out bowls and refill at least two times per day
Jodi Ziskin is a Holistic Nutrition & Wellness Consultant for cats and dogs. She is a Certified Pet Nutrition Consultant who also holds a Master of Science degree in Holistic Nutrition with a concentration in companion animal care. Jodi's mission is to help cats and dogs live healthier and happier. She coaches pet parents in their home environment, via Skype or by telephone on how to make the best holistic diet and lifestyle choices for their animal companions. Visit www.HolisticJodi.com.