What is a Ketogenic Diet for Dogs?

Cancer is more common among dogs than you’d think. Estimates suggest that there are as many as 6 million dogs infected with it each year. It’s why, as pet parents, you have to become conscious about your dog’s diet. 1You need to keep your dog healthy and happy, and the ketogenic diet for dogs might be the right way to go about things. 

Finding the Right Diet for Dogs

Since dogs are carnivores, foods rich in protein like meat, organs, and bones find their place in dog meals. 

Unfortunately, though, these often make the dogs overweight, lethargic, and sedentary. It’s why apart from proteins, your pet also needs carbohydrates. 

  • These carbohydrates take the form of sugar, which serves as fuel for cancer cells. 
  • Your pet needs food rich in fat to have adequate energy throughout the day.
Dog eating food

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How does a Keto Diet Help?

Ketosis2 is a metabolic process. It comes into play when there are not enough carbohydrates in the food and fat is burnt to produce energy and ketones. These ketones help in the treatment of diabetic dogs. 

Since the keto diet contains low carbohydrates, the cancer cells do not get sufficient sugar. Sugar, you might remember, serves as fuel to replicate the infected cells. The lack of it reduces the threat of cancer. 

Apart from cancer and diabetes, the keto diet is also necessary to ward off seizures and obesity. In the case of a normal dog, cycles of conventional food and fasting automatically put the dog into ketosis.

Can Dogs Do Keto?

Yes. As pet parents, know that your pet dogs need a ketogenic diet. You can put their dogs on ketosis too easily.

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A ketogenic diet3 or keto diet mix these foods rich in proteins, carbs, and fats. What is right for your pet, though, depends on different factors.

  • The ratio of these macronutrients, namely fats, proteins, and carbs, depends upon the dog’s health. 
  • The fat level is kept more for dogs suffering from severe illness, whereas the percentage of fat is kept low relative to proteins and carbs for healthy dogs. 4

How Does A Ketogenic Diet Look For Dogs?

A ketogenic diet has high levels of fats, moderate proteins, and low carbs. The ratio of fats to proteins and carbs combined in the diet is maintained at various levels. It could be any of the following:

  • 4:1 maintained at 4:1 for dogs suffering from the most severe illnesses
  • 3:1, for dogs suffering from a mild disease
  • 2:1, for dogs who are only suffering from sudden bouts of illness
  • 1:1 or 1:2, for a healthy dog, depending upon the weight of the dog.

For a ketogenic diet, the fats recommended are:

  • Pasteurized Butter (Kerrygold), 
  • Pasteurized Heavy Whipping Cream, 
  • Ghee, 
  • Kefir,
  • Raw Goat Milk, 
  • Organic Coconut Oil, 
  • MCT Oil, 
  • Olive Oil, 
  • Avocado Oil

On the other hand, the carbs are Green Beans, Cabbage, Broccoli, and Collard Greens.

What Are The Benefits For Dogs On Keto?

It is also linked to the controlling of cancer. As a keto diet is low in carbs, the cancer cells do not get the sugar it needs to spread. Also, since the protein level is moderate, the cancer cells do not get a sufficient amount of glutamine, which rests on their strength. 

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Image from Shutterstock

Apart from this, low carbs ensure keeping obesity and diabetes at bay. The Keto diet also serves as a balanced diet, which helps maintain a balanced environment required for treating seizures in dogs.

Misconceptions Of The Ketogenic Diet For Dogs

A common misconception is just adding some fat to the dog’s diet will transform the diet into a keto diet. But that increases the weight of the dog, which in turn feeds any existing cancer cells. 

  • Raising the fat level should be accompanied by a decrease in proteins and carbs in the diet. 
  • As we talked about above, your pet can go for different types of the keto diet. What’s right for him can be determined only after veterinary doctors’ tests and analyses. You need to know the approximate portions of macronutrients like fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
  • Do not just force the keto diet on your pet. It would be best if you took the healthy dogs out of the keto diet on a break. Give them normal food for a while, and then bring them back on the keto routine. It will ensure that they go through the process of ketosis and maintain normal behavior.

What Is The Ketogenic Diet For Dogs With Cancer?

The ketogenic diet for dogs suffering from cancer consists of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. It has to be in the ratio of 4:1, four parts of fat to one part of protein and carbohydrate combined. 

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Image from Shutterstock

The amount of protein and carbs are to be taken less. Your pet may also need to fast at regular intervals to put them on ketosis. It will help to burn whatever extra fat is there. The cancer cells will literally starve to death, thereby increasing the life of the dogs.

Get Started On A Ketogenic Diet For Dogs

Firstly, take the dog to a veterinary doctor to check your pet’s health. After that, your vet will determine the ratio of fats to the combination of proteins and carbs in the diet. He might take into account a few tests, the dog’s weight for its size and even the dog’s nature. You can also make a food chart keeping in mind the likings of the dog. 

Do note, though, that the keto diet is not advisable for puppies. They feed on their mother’s milk, which is rich in sugar, growing very fast. After six to eight weeks, if any puppy is suffering from seizures, they can be treated by putting on a keto diet.

Read more from us here.

  1. Murphy, Dana. “Too much of a good thing: protein and a dog’s diet.” International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems 4.2 (1983): 7. ↩︎
  2. Zhang, Guanshi, and Burim N. Ametaj. “Ketosis an old story under a new approach.” Dairy 1.1 (2020): 5. ↩︎
  3. DIET, KETOGENIC. “The ketogenic diet revisited: back to the future.” Epilepsia 38.7 (1997): 743-749. ↩︎
  4. Li, Qinghong, et al. “Effects of the dietary protein and carbohydrate ratio on gut microbiomes in dogs of different body conditions.” MBio 8.1 (2017): 10-1128. ↩︎

Last Updated on by ayeshayusuf


Icy Health Editorial Team

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