“When treating an illness, the first step should be dietary therapy. Only when this is unsuccessful should one try drugs..”
–Sun Si Miao
Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) Food therapy is practiced by TCVM practitioners as another tool to help their patients along with acupuncture and herbal therapy. Food therapy is used to treat specific health conditions, and to prevent disease. Homemade diets are the foundation of food therapy.
With senior pets the goals of treatment are to improve quality of life, slow progression of disease, and help the body breakdown, digest and utilize as many vital nutrients as possible. For older animals, feed moderate amounts of food often–that is 2 or 3 times daily for most dogs and maybe more for cats. Feed easily digested food. This is not the time to start a raw diet as raw diets are more difficult to digest. Food should be cooked or warmed, finely chopped, rich in nutrients ( organic is best) and non processed. Soups and stews with added digestive enzymes and probiotics work well for these pets. Avoid pro-inflammatory foods such as raw peppers, broccoli, kale, and processed canned foods.Vegetables need to be cooked to tender crisp or your old pet will not absorb the nutrients. Feed anti-inflammatory foods and supplements. Lower the amount of meats in the diet and increase the higher biological value proteins–these are cold water fish, eggs, quinoa, and free range chicken. Increase Vitamin C foods such as strawberries and cranberries. These help with collagen generation–a tissue vital to the soft tissue of the body. Add supplements of Omega 3 fatty acids and supplements to alleviate arthritis pain such as dandelion, turmeric, glucosamine, MSM.
Even if you can not home cook all the time for your pet you can supplement with things like soups and stews to help with digestion and add green supplements and vitamins to help counter act processed food. One of my favourites is a soup made with chicken bones called Marrow Soup. I will be happy to post the recipe if anyone is interested.