(Facebook Question) Hi Kelly! My friends have a 13 yr old Lab. They found he has a mass on his stomach. The poor guy can’t keep any whole food in his belly with out it coming back up. He has been to the vet and they said they can do surgery but my friends don’t want to put him through that. He is starting to lose weight because he can’t hold the food in. Do you have any suggestions for getting him nutrition? He drinks plenty of water. -Mario-
Hey Mario… I’m going to assume that your friend’s dog has been getting dry kibble (“whole food”). Not sure what his overall condition is, but as you mentioned he is losing weight because he can’t keep any food down, therefore he isn’t getting any nutrition. And, not sure what type or how fast growing the mass is, but let’s just focus on nutrition for the dog.
I would not be giving the dog any dry kibble at this point. Dry kibble is the least digestible type of food, particularly for an older dog or one who has a mass in his stomach. Also, it would be a really good idea to provide many smaller meals throughout the day instead of one or two larger meals. Depending on the location of the mass, it may be impacting the intestines too.
- I would suggest giving the dog some naturally preserved and meat based canned food. Grain free varieties are even better. The Natures Variety Instinct Cans (Chicken flavor) would be my first choice and they are also a balanced diet. Depending on the size of the dog it can get a little expensive, so you can add things to the canned food like canned puree pumpkin, additional cooked meat, cooked green beans, eggs, and cheese.
- Other food choices that are grain free, include more meat and are moisture based, are the Honest Kitchen lines or the Grandma Lucy’s foods… You just have to add water to them and they are complete meals. These alternatives are similar to a canned food and are more digestible. Additionally I would suggest adding canned puree pumpkin to avoid any stomach upsets due to diet changes.
- Include Answers Raw Goats Milk as it is very palatable, extremely nutritious and highly digestible. According to the Journal of American Medicine, “Goats milk is the most complete food known.” It contains vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, trace elements, enzymes, protein, and fatty acids all utilized by the body with ease. In fact the body can digest goat’s milk in 20 minutes. Having fat molecules one-fifth the size of those in cow’s milk makes it easily digestible and tolerable to those with compromised digestive systems. Here’s a link for more information: http://www.answerspetfood.com/additional.html.
- Definitely add an Enzyme/Probiotic supplement like Prozyme or Animal Essentials to the dog’s food as they will help to digest, metabolize and assimilate all the nutrients for this senior and immuno compromised dog. And he can surely use all the help he can get.
Further…if your dog becomes finicky, you can also try:
- Meat based Baby Foods (I’ve used baby food for my cats through several illnesses), Plain Yogurt, and Kefir.
NOTE: One last thing you may want to do is give the dog some clear Pedialyte occasionally to prevent dehydration. If the dog starts to decline and begins vomiting and isn’t drinking as much water, Pedialyte can be given. I’ve used Pedialyte for several cats and my dog in times of illness or crisis. Pedialyte is therapeutic hydration for child dehydration by replenishing vital minerals and nutrients lost during diarrhea and vomiting.
Not sure if your friend is looking to treat the mass holistically, but I recently posted on Canine Cancer if he is interested in incorporating some additional supplements, herbs or homeopathic remedies to try to fight the tumor… It’s always worth trying. Check out this post: http://blogger.thepetsperspective.com/canine-cancer/. Above all, don’t give up hope and Just do your best. Hugs & Slobbers from Gus & Me!