What is Cushing’s Disease in dogs?
Though there can be multiple causes, the most common reason for the occurrence of Cushing’s disease is a tumor placed either on the pituitary gland at the base of the brain or on either of the glands placed next to the kidneys.
This tumor causes uncontrolled production of the stress hormone called cortisol. Excess of anything is bad, but the excess of the stress hormone cortisol is worse. It gives rise to a host of health issues and complicated comorbid issues.
Best Dog Food For Cushing’s Disease in 2020 [Reviews]
1. Weruva Grain-Free Natural Canned Wet Dog Food
The primary protein here is boneless, skinless, white meat chicken. White meat chicken is a high source of protein that has very little fat content. The low fat to protein ratio makes it our leading choice for best dog food for Cushing’s disease.
The formulation is not dry kibbles but has a wet gravy composition, which makes it very easy for your dog to eat. It is known that kidneys, liver, etc make Cushing’s disease worse, so it is preferred to not have the products which do not use whole, natural non-GMO chicken or chicken waste. It has a dolphin caught wild tuna for added protein benefits.
Allergies increase the symptoms of Cushing’s disease, therefore it is imperative to avoid ingredients that can provoke allergies. For that reason alone Weruva doesn’t contain any grains, wheat, soy, gluten or carrageenan.
The lack of any additives, artificial flavorings, or colors makes it an extremely healthy alternative. To make this healthier a burst of nutrients, vitamins and minerals has been added. Antioxidants which are free radicals to fight any disease, make it a vital addition. It is a complete meal solution for your pet. This alleviates most of the symptoms and helps build muscle mass.
- High-quality ingredients which are grass-fed and non-GMO
- High protein low fat and sugar ration is a good diet for Cushing’s
- The dogs enjoy the chicken meal
- It is a bit runny and messy to store
2. Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Shredded Blend Adult Dry Dog Food & Wet Dog Food
Cushing’s syndrome causes a high appetite for dogs. They are prone to overeating and gaining weight which causes weakening and wastage of muscles. So it is crucial that they are given a low fat, high protein diet, which doesn’t contain any organs form of the protein.
The main protein here is beef, which though has more fat than chicken, it has a way higher content of protein than chicken. The inclusion of rice fulfills the low carbohydrate requirement. This is actually the best dog food for Cushing’s disease in senior dogs. Dogs aged 7 and up largely benefit from this because with age the protein requirement increases.
Purina Pro Plan Savor propagates the power of nutrition is healing. They provide dog food which has specialized nutrition for carious dog needs. Even here they have provided a low fat to protein ratio for Cushing’s syndrome. Antioxidants have been packed to fight free radicals and prevent the body from disease. The omega 6 acids are there to protect the skin and keep the coat shiny and nourished.
They use all real animal produce and not by-products of animal husbandry. The lack of preservatives or additives helps to keep it as natural as possible avoiding triggers.
- This is singularly the best product of adult dogs.
- The meaty canned option with gravy is every canine’s favorite.
- A lot of owners register a vast amount of improvement.
- For dogs with a sensitive stomach, this is a rich product.
3. Pedigree Chopped Ground Dinner Adult Wet Canned Dog Food Chicken & Rice
If you are on a budget and are looking for the best dog food for Cushing’s disease, then you probably should go and choose Pedigree Chopped Ground Dinner as pet food. Cushing’s disease needs clean proteins, which do not have any form of organs. This is done to lower the purine level. Purine levels are counteractive to Cushing’s disease.
A high protein, low-fat diet shows a vast improvement in symptoms. Hence Pedigree concentrates on using Chicken as its primary protein. The chicken used is real chicken which doesn’t include a chicken meal or chicken byproducts. It uses completely grass-fed, cage-free real chicken.
The taste of this is savored by canines of all breeds and age. The nutrition here is complete and well balanced which means that one is not missing on the necessary nutrients and this can form a complete meal in itself.
You can mix this with their kibbles to add variety to their diet. But check the fat to protein ratio of the kibbles first. There are no additives, preservatives and contain all antioxidants needed for a dog.
- Healthy may not always be fun for the dogs, but this is a meal they relish
- The lack of any allergens means they keep the dog healthy
- It is a good budget option
- The product is not very high quality like other expensive options
4. Evanger’s Grain-Free Single Protein Game Meats for Dogs
If you believe in holistic treatments and natural welfare, you should find Evangers rabbit protein to be the best dog food for Cushing’s disease in your canine. It is a product that is not only free of any fillers or preservatives, but it is also 100% natural.
The meat for this brand is first canned and then as per methods cooked while sealed in the can fortify the nutrients and the real taste in the can itself. So when you open a can of their food, you will be getting near real meat with no added ingredient.
This product is free from any allergen in the form of wheat, soy, corn, potato, which can provoke sensitivity and cause allergic breakouts. They use a rabbit as their main protein. Rabbit protein is believed to be lean, has a low fat to protein ratio and is wholesome. The game meat feeling keeps the dogs really upbeat and titillate their pallet.
Not only does this alleviate symptoms of Cushing’s, but they are also reportedly good with dogs who suffer from seizures and other health issues. The single meat with nothing else added is great with dogs with diabetes and helps regulate their blood sugar level.
- Rabbit protein gives the dogs the game feel.
- 100% natural with no added preservatives, additives, etc.
- Wholesome and nutritious.
- The issue is with finding out the list of ingredients that go into it.
5. Nulo Adult & Puppy Grain Free Canned Wet Dog Food
If you are dealing with an overweight dog or are bogged down by weight issues, this is by far the best dog food for Cushing’s disease and it’s weight management. They have done away with all ingredients that contribute to weight gain amongst canines. Wheat, soy, potatoes, tapioca, corn are the few ingredients that trigger sensitivity.
They have done away with those as well. Cushing’s disease causes elevated cortisol levels, a high cortisol level wreaks havoc with the cholesterol levels by increasing triglycerides amongst others. This needs to be stopped. To curb this, Nulo dog food has designed this dog food which is super easy for dog owners to feed.
It features Chicken as its primary protein, the low-fat high protein ratio keeps it as a natural diet as possible. The immune system is bolstered by antioxidants, nutrients amongst others. The low carbohydrate intake reduces the incidence of osteoarthritis, heart diseases and more.
Vegetables like carrot and peas have been added to give a necessary dose of the vitamins which will strengthen the immunity, whereby antioxidants will fight free radicals. This product has been known to alleviate the symptoms of Cushing’s.
- Is very good at weight management
- They do away with sensitivities and improve skin and coat
- Tasty flavor and most dogs would enjoy it
- It is an expensive product
Types of Cushing’s disease?
Cushing’s disease morphs into 4 forms, of which two are quite common, and two fairly rare.
- Pituitary dependent Cushing’s disease- This is by far the most common form of Cushing’s disease. This form of the disease happens when there is a very tiny, probably pea-sized tumor based on the pituitary gland on the base of the brain. This causes cortisol.
- Adrenal dependent Cushing’s disease- This form of tumor, which is placed on the adrenal glands near the kidney may or may not be malignant. This placement causes extra production of cortisol.
- Iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome- This condition is caused due to the side effect of taking excessive steroids for any other reason, for eg- skin allergies. It is rare, but there.
- Cushing’s caused by food or meals- This is an inexplicable type, where the enzymes and hormones are released by having some kind of a reaction that causes excess production of cortisol.
Is your dog the only one who suffers from Cushing’s?
Its occurrence is more frequent in canines than in humans. After a lot of research, it was found that nearly 2 dogs in every thousand dogs suffer from Cushing’s disease.
There is no distinction between Cushing’s syndrome and disease in dogs.
How to know if your dog has Cushing’s?
The occurrence of Cushing’s is in these symptoms, also called the 5 P’s:-
- Polyphagia which means increased appetite
- Polydipsia which means increased drinking of liquids
- Pot-bellied appearance due to excess eating
- Polyuria which means increased urination
- Panting excessively of normal
After these symptoms, in the long run, a dog may eventually develop symptoms of calcinosis cutis. A condition where excess calcium accumulates on the top layer of the skin, causes open sores, is not treatable and definitely not curable and is a massive point of discontentment.
It should be noted to not confuse Cushing’s with Hypothyroidism. When the body produces less thyroid hormone resulting in hair loss, gaining of weight, lethargy, dry skin amongst others.
Can Cushing’s disease in dogs be caused by a bad lifestyle in dogs?
We have already elaborated on steroid treatment for skin conditions or any other conditions that can result in Cushing’s syndrome. It should also be noted that Cushing’s syndrome may also be caused by bad and low-quality commercial diets, which have a lot of fillers and preservatives or with a diet of high fat and low protein.
What are the treatment options for the common types of Cushing’s disease?
The two common types of Cushing’s are Adrenal and Pituitary glands. For the tumors on adrenal glands which cause Cushing’s disease, a major abdominal surgery whereby they need to remove the entire tumor and make sure it has not spread to other parts. In that case, surgery would be successful in removing the entire tumor.
Surgeries are offered unadvised due to the graveness of it and the complications that it can cause. Medicinal treatment is mostly followed. Pituitary tumors are more complex than adrenal tumors. They are way complicated and difficult to treat.
Most commonly drug treatment is followed. Drug treatments followed by dietary management is the only way the canines be given a better quality of life. Dietary management becomes even more important post medicinal treatment.
Is dietary management really effective?
Since surgery is only advised on very few cases, medicinal treatment is the only option for you to alleviate some misery of your pets. Even the medicinal treatment leaves a lot to be desired. The treatment is not very effective to alleviate the troubles. This calls for a more holistic or natural treatment to help the canines.
Nutritional therapy helps allay cortisol levels, which reach extreme highs in dogs with Cushing’s disease.
Follow the tips to have a good diet at home:-
- It should be formulated for adults- AAFCO ( Association of American Feed Control Officials) has given a dietary recommendation for adult dogs. It helps to bridge the protein requirement because of muscle wastage and doesn’t have high calorific contents needed for other stages.
- Low fat, moderate fiber diet- As discussed earlier the cholesterol levels rise during Cushing’s disease. These issues need to be fought with food that has low fat and moderate fiber content.
- Easily digestible high levels of protein- It should have a higher mass of proteins which should be easy to digest by the compromised dog’s digestive system.
- Low in Calcium, Sodium and Chloride- Sodium and chloride affect the hypertension levels. Calcium is already excess in the dog’s body, hence these two must be avoided.
Basically, if you are looking for commercial dog food for Cushing’s disease, then you should select one with a high protein, low fat, low carbs diet.
Should supplements be added to dog food for Cushing’s disease?
Before one adds supplements to the diet of the dog, it is necessary to understand that
- The body with Cushing’s excrete calcium. That should not be supplemented until specified by doctors.
- The metabolism rate of vitamins is very high. Therefore one needs to make sure the dog food has enough as specified by AAFCO before supplementing the diet.
- To lower the circulation of fats in the blood, one needs to keep a healthy diet consisting of alpha-tocopherol, selenium, beta carotene, methionine amongst other powerful antioxidants. They fight free radicals and help combat weight issues
- To lower triglycerides and fats fish oil must be given as supplements. Fish oil also helps improve skin and coat.
What is the best diet of dog food for Cushing’s disease?
One should choose a near-natural diet with healthy natural ingredients like lean meat, vegetables, low-fat cottage cheese amongst others. Care must be taken to avoid anything which has high fat or can provoke diabetes. This is an expensive diet to maintain. Find canned options in your budget which uses real meat and vegetables without being dry or using preservatives.
FAQs about Best Dog Food For Cushing’s Disease
1. Why should organs be avoided for dogs for treats?
Organ meats have high purine levels. The purine levels are harmful to the health of a dog. Purine rich meat is difficult to digest. Instead, lean meats should be chosen to provide higher amino acids as compared to the organs.
2. Should I switch to homemade diets for my dog who has Cushing’s disease?
A homemade diet as dog food for Cushing’s disease is going to be time-consuming, expensive. If you can afford the same then it’s a good alternative. Conversely, there are good commercial options available that have good and well-balanced nutrition plans. They make it easier to maintain health.
3. What are the other health tips with regards to dogs with Cushing disease?
God’s with Cushing’s syndrome feel thirsty more often, so the owner should not regulate or restrict the water consumption. Water should be easily reachable by dogs.
Weight loss or weight management should be made the goal. It is important that increased appetite doesn’t cause excessive weight gain, as excessive weight gain will lead to aggravation of other symptoms.
It is a landmine of trials and failures when you have a dog with Cushing. Consulting your veterinarian, a nutritional expert might be the right place to start. One needs to understand that a healthy lifestyle is a must and that as an owner you are bound to make mistakes while trying to achieve that for your dog.
We have tried to pick our favorites and elaborate on why we think it’s the best dog food for Cushing’s disease. If you have tried any other, please let us know.