This month, Dr. Moser answers your questions about the proper diet for a cat with megacolon and what to feed a Havanese to encourage a shiny coat.
Q: My cat has megacolon and my vet put him on a prescription food, but he hates it. He loves Wellness and I have been feeding him the canned chicken and turkey. He also really loves Wellness dry food, so I give him a little bit with the canned food. The vet suggested that I need a low residue food. Can you recommend a diet plan from Wellness that would suit my cats needs?
A: Megacolon is not a specific disease, rather it describes a much dilated, flabby, incompetent colon, with loss of motility. It will result in severe constipation with a stool that is dry and hard (as water is absorbed by the colon). Cats affected with idiopathic megacolon (cause unknown) are usually adults between the ages of five and nine. The condition is chronic and usually diagnosed after constipation has been present for some time. This condition is common among obese cats. Chronically constipated cats often exhibit weight loss and poor body condition.
A Diet to Meet Your Cat’s Needs Should Meet the Following Six Criteria:
1. Hydration – Maintaining hydration is important for managing patients with chronic constipation. Ensuring adequate water intake is often overlooked. Moist foods (formulated with at least 75% water) are recommended for severe constipation.
2. Dietary fiber – Increasing dietary fiber is a great way to manage severe constipation. Foods for patients with idiopathic megacolon should have minimal crude fiber (less than 3%)
3. Digestibility – Highly digestible foods with increased nutrient density are desired to enhance nutrient uptake and reduce stool volume.
4. Diet Energy Density—About 4 kcal/g dry matter or greater; offer food amounts recommended by your veterinarian based on body condition score, and body weight.
5. Small Frequent Meals - Smaller, more frequent meals (4 to 6 per day) may aid in digestive efficiency.
6. Palatability – Select a highly palatable diet with a taste your cat will love. This will help ensure that he’ll eat enough calories to maintain a healthy body weight.
Recommended Wellness Diets:
Both of these natural products meet the key nutritional factors listed above. The diets are about 80% moisture and are quite palatable. They are energy dense, grain-free options that are low in dietary fiber, highly digestible and contain no artificial flavors or colors, wheat, corn, soy or meat by products. Each 3 ounce can contains 87 kilocalories of energy. Work closely with your veterinarian to determine how much to feed your cat based on his body weight and body condition score.
Q: I have a one and a half year old havanese. Her coat used to shine, but within the past six months her coat has lost its shine. She is all black and she looks a bit ashy. I brush her every other day and I feed her Wellness® Super5Mix® dry dog food only. Is there something I can do to give her coat its shine back?
A: Try a daily calorie diet plan including both canned food and dry food in equal amounts. I’d recommend trying Wellness® Simple Food Solutions® for Dogs – this limited ingredient diet is the simplest natural option for your dog . Each Wellness Simple Food Solutions recipe contains antioxidant vitamins, chelated zinc and copper and beneficial omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acid to aid in healthy skin and a glossy coat. No meat by products, wheat, corn, soybeans or chemical preservatives are used in production.
Recommended Dry Dog Food
Simple Food Solutions Rice and Salmon Formula; contains salmon, rice, canola oil, and tomato pomace. (405 kilocalories per 8 ounce measuring cup.)
Recommended Canned Dog Food
Simple Solutions Salmon and Rice Formula which contains salmon, rice, and canola oil. (471 kilocalories per 12.5 ounce can)
Assume a 12 pound Havanese will require about 250 to 300 kilocalories of energy per day. Check this estimate by measuring how much you are currently feeding. Also, obtain a body weight and estimate a body condition score.
Estimated feeding guide:
Morning feeding = 1/3 cup of dry kibble = 135 kilocalories
Evening feeding= 1/3 (12.5 ounce) can = 157 kilocalories
Total daily intake = 292 kcal
You may need to adjust the amount you feed your Havanese based on his weight, feed more if your dog is underweight and less if your dog is overweight.