Malnutrition is any disorder of nutrition or inadequate or unbalanced nutrition. It can also be due to over nutrition and excessive intake of nutrients. Consumption of excessive levels of fat and calories can cause this condition.
Unbalanced nutrition is found to cause orthopedic disease leading to rapid overgrowth of the body. It is due to excess calcium and energy intake.
Dogs require specific dietary nutrient concentrations based on their life stage. Usually the pet's owner is responsible for poor dietary choices for their dogs. Owners are found to feed their dogs with junk food such as biscuits and chocolates and also left over food. They have been dogs with home made gravy. Dogs are to be fed good quality commercial rations or one should be able to provide nutritionally balanced home made food.
Feeding dog with meat alone or food such as hamburger or rice is totally inadequate. This can cause calcium deficiency and secondary hypoparathyroidism. Feeding liver is known to cause vitamin A toxicity. Even diet specially prepared for dogs by the owners with good intension has been observed to be lacking in certain nutrients and has lead to malnutrition.
Generally most formulations contain excess of protein and phosphorus and at the same time there have been deficiency of calcium, vitamin E, and microminerals such as copper, zinc and potassium. Commonly used meat and carbohydrate ingredients are known to contain more of phosphorus than calcium. Home made diets have vegetable oil which may not be liked by dogs and this may cause them to reduce food intake causing calorie deficiency. Some times owner neglect can also lead to malnutrition.
Some of the symptoms of malnutrition in dogs are as follows:
- Ribs are visible
- Skin is swollen
- Dog has diarrhea or vomiting or both
- The feces smell badly
- Loss of fur
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