WHAT TO FEED YOUR EPI DOG
Dry or Canned Commercial Food
Finding the right diet for an EPI dog can be very confusing .. especially for the newly diagnosed EPI dog owner (and for the dog too!) but a lot of good EPI management comes about via trial and error with each individual EPI dog.
This is Bonbon......
trying to decide if he wants fish or bison.......
An exhausted Bonbon......selecting the right food can be very tiring!!!!!
The body is such a cohesive machine, that once one aspect is not working properly (such as a lack of nutrient absorption) that it can trigger a multitude of other dysfunctions, whether genetically or environmentally. For example, a lot of people ask about fat.
Previously we suggested that the easiest way to address the fat content is when the dog is initially diagnosed with EPI restrict the fiber to 4% AND restrict the fat content to 12% (temporarily).... and then once the dog is producing good poops and has been for a few weeks.... try to slowly increase the fat content in the meal. If the poops remain normal, you most likely can feed your EPI dog normal or almost normal amounts of fat as long as the dog is receiving the enzymes.
However..... now the recommendation is to start with fiber restriction as stated above, but to feed normal amounts of fat that is in any dog food....If diarrhea occurs and other EPI causes have been ruled out, then try a reduced fat diet because you might be dealing with EPI + another concurrent condition that needs the fat restricted diet (Sometimes dogs with IBD cannot handle a lot of fat). If you have to restrict the fat intake....try to supplement the diet with coconut oil and/or salmon or krill oil as these are medium chain triglycerides and easier than animal fats to digest. Bodies do need fat, but sometimes you have to be careful what type of fat is given, especially if there is also a concurrent condition. With an EPI dog, it is usually (but not always!) the fiber content that usually needs to be low...most often not more than 4%.....fiber does appear to be the main problem with "most" EPI dogs.
In the end, these ratio's are just suggestions and should be adjusted to your individual dog's tolerance (determined by the firmness and color of their stool). After using this as a guideline, you will discover over time if your dog can tolerate higher or lower percentages of fiber and/or fat.
Once you understand the fat and fiber content of foods.... when first starting to manage your EPI dog.... it is probably best to start with a grain-free food...there are many on the market now (some listed below to give you an idea). Start with a guideline of trying foods with 4% or less of fiber noted in the contents - -keep a journal, watch the results (poo). Observe the frequency, volume, texture and color or the poo. Use this as your starting point and adjust from here.
If using dry kibble or canned food, look for food made with potato (sweet) or tapioca.
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of canned pumpkin is usually good to add to the food for EPI dogs, especially if the grain free does not seem to be working as well as you think it should... it might mean that your dog needs a little bit of fiber and pumpkin is a good fiber to start with.
As you are probably beginning to gather... there is no perfect diet for all EPI dogs. And yet, finding the right diet seems to be one of the 4 cornerstones of effectively managing EPI.
More on fat: Previously it was suggested that the fat % content should not be more than 12% (some dogs can tolerate more fat, even up in the 20+%). New evidence debunks the 12% fat restriction theory ... BUT it does not mean that all EPI dogs can now digest fat...... Without enzymes, the EPI dog cannot tolerate fat. This is what the Lipase enzyme digests. Once an EPI dog is receiving the proper amount of enzyme replacement with it's meal, it should be able to digest fat in a normal diet. HOWEVER, if the dog is still having trouble digesting the fat after it is stable and on enzymes... there most likely is an additional gastrointestinal situation going on and the fat intake should be limited.
Automatically withholding fat because the dog has EPI, or withholding fat from any dog for that matter, without necessity may be detrimental to the dog's overall well-being, from skin condition to properly maintaining body and brain functions. per EPI: Diagnosis & Treatment by J Enrique Domínguez-Muñoz, pub Feb 16, 2011" "...it was demonstrated in an experimental model of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency in dogs that fat digestion and absorption was higher when enzyme supplements were taken together with a high-fat diet compared with a low-fat diet.10 As a consequence, fat restriction should no longer be considered as a rule in the management of patients with pancreatic exocrine insufficiency." This is why one should, after a time on the pancreatic replacements enzymes, try to determine what your dog's fat tolerance is - - how much fat your EPI dog can actually handle.
Some grain free (or minimal grain) products available (but not limited to) are:
4Health Grain Free by Diamond http://www.tractorsupply.com/content_landing-page_4health
Ashenbank Lamb Casserole (UK) http://www.thenookpetlitter.co.uk/proddetail.asp?id=878
Back to Basics (grain free) dog food http://www.backtobasicspetfood.com/
Before Grain http://www.beforegrain.com
Breeders's Choice: Pinnacle and Avoderm http://www.breeders-choice.com/
Burgess Sensitive Lamb & Rice (UK) http://www.burgesspetcare.co.uk/products/supadog/burgess-supadog---sensitive.html
Burns Pork & Potato (UK) http://burnspet.co.uk/products/burns-for-dogs/pork-potato-food-for-dogs.html
Burns Alert & Brown Rice (UK) http://burnspet.co.uk/products/burns-for-dogs/alert-lamb-brown-rice-dog-food-for-assistance-dogs.html
California Natural http://www.naturesrecipe.com/
Canidae Grain Free ALS Range 4 flavors Pure Land (bison & lamb meal); Pure Sea (salmon meal); Pure Sky (duck & turkey meal); Pure Elements (chicken, turkey, lamb & fish meal) http://www.canidae.com/dogs/grain-free-als/dry.html
Champion Pet Foods Orijen Adult; http://www.orijen.ca/orijen/products/
Orijen previously was 3% fiber content.... however, as of March 2013.... their product now contains 5% fiber content which may or may not agree with your EPI dog. Orijen (as of March 2013) has not updated their website yet to reflect this change, but the new fiber content is listed on the bags of food.
COSTCO'S "Nature's Domain" their own brand of grain free dog food that mimics Taste of the Wild grain free kibble
Diamond Foods Taste of the Wild various flavors; High Prairie, Taste of the Wild Wetlands, etc; http://www.tasteofthewildpetfood.com/
Dick Van Patte Natural Balance L.I.D., Potato & Duck, Sweet Potato & Fish, Sweet Potato & Venison; http://www.naturalbalance.net/dogformulas/home.html
Duck & Potato (UK product) http://www.workinghprs.com/content/duck-potato-30kg a very reasonably priced grain free and cereal free food. Please contact Mike Ede directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for personal service with your EPI dog.
Earthborn grain free foods http://www.earthbornholisticpetfood.com/ small company not mfg in large plants! (various lines) Primative, Great Plains, Coastal and Meadow.
Fish4dogs "Salmon Working Dog Complete" (UK) http://www.fish4dogs.com/Products/Working-Dog-Salmon-Complete.aspx
Fromm Family Foods Whitefish & Potato and Grain FreeSurf & Turf http://www.frommfamily.com/products-fs-d.php
Hi-Tek Rations (grain-free) Naturals
Honest Kitchen "LOVE" http://www.thehonestkitchen.com/products/love/
September 2012 - Honest Kitchen and Service Animals
The Honest Kitchen now offers a 20% discount to pre-approved, registered Service Animals including Seeing Eye Dogs, Canine Companions for Independence, Search & Rescue Animals as well as military and police dogs. Proof of certification for the animal’s professional occupation must be provided in order to qualify. Please email us in order to apply.
Since we have so many dogs on this forum that are service dogs, this may help out quite a bit! Kain has tried Honest Kitchen and loves it- Especially the wishes!
What an awesome idea this is!!!!! Just though tI would mention it. Go to the web site www.the honests kichen.com , and email for further info!James Well Beloved Natural Dog Food (UK product) http://www.wellbeloved.com/products/dog_food.aspx (new Lamb, Turkey & Fish cereal free products!)
Life 4 K-9 http://www.life4k9.com/
Luposan Sport Sensitive ( UK product) http://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/dogs/dry_dog_food/luposan/77013#composition
Go Natural Grain Free http://www.petcurean.com/
Merrick Pet Care Grammy’s Pot Pie, Mediterranean Banquet, and Thanksgiving Dinner; http://www.merrickpetcare.com/store/
Natura Pet Products EVO products such as: Red Meat Small Bites, EVO Reduced Fat, and EVO 95% meat canned foods; http://www.evopet.com/
Nature's Logic http://www.natureslogic.com/ingredients/
Nature’s Variety Instinc Chicken Meal and Duck Meal & Turkey Meal or Rabbit,; http://www.naturesvariety.com/instinct_dog
Newman's Own Organics Grain-Free Canned Dog Food available in most grocery stores in the USA. http://www.newmansownorganics.com/pet/home/
NutraCare "Beta" kibble (UK) http://www.nutrecare.co.uk/Product-2786/Beta-Dog-food/BETA-Senior-dog-Kibble
NutriSource http://www.nutrisourcedogfood.com/nutrisource/products/adult (although this product DOES have rice in it) some owners have found success in feeding it to their EPI dogs.
Nutrix "Hypoallergenic Duck and Potato Formulated without any Grains or Cereals" EXCELLENT for EPI dogs
(United Kingdom EPI FORUM members have had excellent results with using this food for their EPI dogs!) http://www.nutrixpetfoods.co.uk/
Old Mother Hubbard Venison & Salmon Stew; http://www.oldmotherhubbard.com/products_cupboard.html
PERO GSD (UK Product) grain-free food http://pero-petfoods.com/dog-food/breed-specific-complete-dry-dog-food-for-german-shepherds-labradors-staffys/german-shepherd-dog-food/dog-food-for-german-shepherds.html
Pet'sMart "Authority Grain Free http://reviews.petsmart.com/4830/13012593/authority-authority-r-grain-free-chicken-potato-formula-puppy-food-reviews/reviews.htm
Robbie's Grain Free (UK food) http://www.landofholisticpets.co.uk/shop/healthydogfood/robbie-s-grain-free-salmon-potato.html
Simpson's Premium Natural Hypoallergenic (available in the UK-recommended by EPI FORUM members) http://www.simpsonspremium.com/sensitive-dog-food
Solid Gold Barking at the Moon; http://www.solidgoldhealth.com/products/
Wellness Super5Mix Whitefish & Sweet Potato, Wellness Canned Venison & Sweet Potato, and Cupboard Creations Chicken Pot Pie. http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/dog_wellness_grain_index.html
Some EPI Dogs do not do well on commercial grain free foods but yet have done well on certain prescription diets (need a prescription from the vet)...
Trying to find the right diet for an EPI dog is much trial and error. If you would like to try a prescription diet, talk to your vet and ask about either of these two:
Royal Canin Hypoallergenic HP 19 http://products.royalcanin.us/products/veterinary/canine/hypoallergenic-hp.aspx
Royal Canin Digestive LF Veterinary Diet http://products.royalcanin.us/products/veterinary/canine/digestive-low-fat-lf.aspx
Hill's® Prescription Diet ® z/d® products are the only Hills "prescription" foods that are hydrolyzed at this time (12-2010). http://hillspet.com/
Some commercial frozen raw or raw fresh products (but not limited) to are:
Chasing Our Tail http://www.chasingourtails.com/index.html A holistic pet store in New Hampshire (USA) that is willing to custom make raw food for EPI dogs!
This company makes their own raw food mixes. Right now they go by prescriptions that holistic vets write for individual dogs...and they are willing to work on an individual basis with customers.
Regarding Primal Pets Frozen food...."I became aware of your EPI4Dogs website when my rat terrier, Jack, was ill. Although he ultimately tested negative for EPI, he has many of the symptoms, and his vet and I have been able to successfully manage his absorption and diarrhea problems and bring his weight up with the same treatments that seem to work for EPI -- he currently takes pancreatic enzymes daily and was on B-12 shots for several months, although he seems to be doing okay without the shots now. If he goes off the enzymes though, his diarrhea returns and his weight drops pretty quickly. Our best guess is that he may simply have a milder form of EPI, and the vet has essentially been treating him as if he tested positive.
Anyway, I wanted to pass on his diet in case it helps. Cutting the starch (potatoes and sweet potatoes as well as grain) was a big turning point for him, so he currently gets Primal Frozen, which is on your list. But I found that the leaner meats, like venison, were disastrous because he simply had to eat too much food to keep his weight up, and more food seemed to exacerbate his symptoms. Beef was great calorie-wise, but he's allergic, so we settled on lamb. I supplement with coconut oil and Honest Kitchen's Perfect Form, which keeps his poop firm.
When I first started this diet with him, he was 10.7 pounds (the vet wanted him at least 14), eating double the recommended amount for a dog his size, and averaging four increasingly mushy poops on his morning walk alone. Now he's 15 pounds and down from 12 oz a day of Primal to 9, and he rarely poops more than twice a day.
Anyway, I hope this helps. Thanks so much for this website. Whatever Jack has, following the guidelines on your site has turned him around, and I'm so grateful. The day he gained enough weight that I had to buy him the next size up collar (and he's still a slim dog) was one of the happiest days I've had since he got sick. And I really don't miss haven't to bring latex gloves and paper towels on his walks to clean up the poop. ~Jayden
Nature's Variety http://www.naturesvariety.com/raw
Oma's Pride http://www.omaspride.com/index.php
Dog Food Lists
If you are interested in looking at some lists of Grain Free food... please check out the following links: