Ike. my 13 yr old Aussie - is still losing weight. He's down to 62 lbs - after being a lean 72# his entire life. My vet just put him on Pancreazyme (sp?) before his big dinner at night, theoretically to see if it will help him utilize his food better? He has food available 24/7, I just fix him a "special" dinner at night (with dinner scraps) to encourage him to eat more.
He sleeps a lot, as most old dogs do - but he still gets silly and plays (briefly) with the other dogs or threatens to "herd" me. Can still jump in the car for a ride. My point being that I'm not ready to let him go - not yet. He still seems to be having fun.
But I was wondering - are some calories easier to utilize than others? Right now, he's eating a "high performance" food that's quite high in fat and protein. But if carb calories digest easier - I'd feed him glazed donuts slathered in peanut butter if it put a few pounds back on him (just partially joking).
Carbs if they are simple carbs, digest and burn readily and can spare protein for other things. Two issues are that too many carbs can unbalance the system/blood sugar, and that a gram of carbs (or of protein) has half the calories of a gram of fat, and most carby foods are a lot more bulky, so that proportion is even lower than that. Meaning that he has to eat more to get the calories. Very simple carbs are less bulky but are going to affect the blood sugar more and that may not be optimal.
Fat, however, can overload the system and too much could upset the pancreas.
Protein works the kidneys, and there are limits there, too, especially with age.
Assuming he's getting enough protein from his food, I might consider something like rice or sweet potatoes.... with fat added. Nothing like a bowl of buttered rice. YUM! Or rice cooked with ground beef?
On the other hand I guess you could try slathering a donut with peanut butter and see if he likes it. Start with small bites and work up! He's an old man, you want to give him what he likes. Just go slowly and figure out what he'll eat and what his system seems to tolerate.
Enzymes can be really helpful, so can a probiotic once a day.
Doug might know about meds to increase appetite. I seem to recall a discussion about it but it might have been for a human cancer patient, can't remember. It all sort of blurs together.
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a wabbit, Fuzzy Wuzzy had a dandelion habit! RIP little Wuz... don't go far.
Very good idea with the Pancreazyme. It provides lipase, protease and amylase to predigest the food (before natural addition in the duodenum) so the body gets a head start. I've found that this supplementation sometimes helps in older guys who's systems just are not working well.
Your biggest "bang for the buck" is fat. More calories per weight, but as Susan said the potential pancreatic and digestive problems occur with too much in the diet.
I'd not do proteins. Very poor energy source, requires a lot of "work" by the body to convert to glucose and fat and as Susan said by-products require active work by the kidney to eliminate. His diet seems to have enough protein.
As far as quick easy calories, simple sugars would provide calories - biochemically only one or a few bonds need to be broken to convert to glucose, but then you can get all the other problems with glucose spikes and potential problems.
I like Susan's idea of rice and butter. I ofen recommend pasta and butter. The donuts aren't a bad idea!! When I have kidney failure patients that are losing weight I sometimes recommend Twinkies (just half joking)
As far as appetite stimulants, we use two pretty regularly, Mirtazepine and Cyproheptadine. Sometime an anti-nausea medication or acid blocker like Pepcid can help also.
Doug & Sandy
Jill (12yr old Golden) Charmin (at the bridge)
Henry our camping cat
2009 Honda CRV
His appetite is as good as it always has been - he's a "nibbler". That's why I started giving him "special dinners" at night - which he bolts down impressively. It's basically 2 cups of food with something yummy mixed in, like cheese or meat bits from the table. Maybe I'll mix in some cereal - or start giving him "special breakfasts", too? "Ikey - would you like some Frosted Rice Krispies with your dog food this morning??" I'd like to think the fat content of the dog food would slow down the glycemic response to the cereal??
I'd not worry too much about glycemic index of foods with him. While type 2 diabetes does occur in dogs, it's much more common in cats and even more common in people. If he hasn't shown any glucose problems, just be reasonable in feedings and amounts. Steady diet of ONLY donuts and sugar cereals probably not a good choice.