What Do You Feed a Dog With Cushings Disease?

An animal suffering from Cushings produces too much cortisol, leading them to overeat, drink excessively, urinate more often, pant more frequently, gain weight, develop a pot belly appearance and experience recurrent bladder infections or break out in little bumps (Calcinosis Cutis). His coat may thin as well.

Cushings dogs benefit from eating food designed by their veterinarian specifically to aid weight management, as it contains low amounts of fat while still providing essential nutrition.

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Dogs suffering from Cushing’s disease produce too much cortisol, leading to an accumulation of fat in their bloodstream. A diet low in fat will help your pet remain at an ideal weight; additionally, eliminating sugars and non-structural carbohydrates from its diet will ensure steady glucose levels.

Most dogs with Cushing’s disease tend to be overweight. This could be attributed to increased cortisol levels or due to poor appetite or an underlying health issue; to effectively control its symptoms, try maintaining your dog at their ideal weight by keeping him within his ideal body mass range.

Diets high in proteins and fiber are typically ideal for dogs suffering from Cushing’s disease. Furthermore, diets moderate in fat content should also be beneficial. In particular, its ideal that your dog’s food contain less than 12 percent fat when calculated using dry matter; however, you must account for moisture when calculating this percentage.

Your veterinarian will recommend feeding your dog a diet low in fat and rich in protein, with protein levels depending on their stage of Cushing’s disease (hypercortisoneemia). In its early stages, liver qi stagnation and yin deficiency cause liver qi stagnation which results in thirst and urination as well as symptoms like ear infections, dry skin patches, fatigue/lack of energy levels and hair loss; to address these concerns consider feeding rabbit, beef, duck, shiitake mushrooms tangerine peel dill and ginger to support their immune systems.

Alongside dietary changes, your vet may also suggest herbal remedies like milk thistle and dandelion that have been shown to aid liver function and decrease inflammation. Acupuncture can also help manage stress; stress reduction can reduce muscle wasting and fatigue symptoms associated with Cushing’s disease; while acupuncture helps relieve pain. When combined together, all these measures should significantly enhance your dog’s quality of life while lessening signs of Cushing’s disease.


Cushing’s disease requires maintaining healthy liver and kidneys. A diet high in protein from lean meat sources is generally easier for your dog to digest and metabolize, and lessens stress on his organs. Dogs suffering from Cushing’s can experience muscle loss; by making sure your pup gets adequate amounts of protein, you may help preserve his strength and body mass.

Low-fat diets are recommended as they promote more stable hormone balance while simultaneously aiding with better lipid metabolism and preventing abnormal fat accumulations.

Natural raw food diets (commonly referred to as the BARF diet) can be an ideal choice for dogs suffering from Cushing’s disease, providing maximum protein while simultaneously minimising sodium, carbohydrates, and fiber intake. Furthermore, supplementing this food with extra nutrients such as lignans or SAMe could improve liver function while potentially slowing disease progression.

If your pup has just begun showing symptoms of Cushing’s Disease, herbal treatments like milk thistle and dandelion may help balance their lipid metabolism. These herbs can strengthen an overburdened liver while supporting normal functioning adrenal glands.

At later stages of Cushing’s disease, you may wish to introduce immune-enhancing herbs such as ginseng and astragalus as tonics in order to slow adrenal deterioration and enhance quality of life for your dog. These herbs could potentially prevent further decline of their adrenals while improving quality of life overall.

Dogs with Cushing’s disease often exhibit a pot-bellied appearance because their abdominal muscles lose tone and strength, leading to decreased bowel volume. As this means they require additional potty breaks, more water needs to be consumed as they will need more frequent feedings in order to stabilize blood sugar levels and avoid bloat. Exercise is beneficial in managing their weight as it maintains muscle strength; and to limit treats, table scraps, or snacks that contain extra calories in order to help control their weight and avoid further health complications.


Cushing’s disease puts dogs at increased risk for hyperlipidemia (abnormally high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides), so it’s crucial that their diet contains foods with an acceptable fat percentage (roughly 12 percent on dry matter basis). Dry matter refers to total weight minus moisture content; using this measure allows more accurate comparison between various food products as it accounts for differences in protein, fat and fiber proportions more accurately.

Not only should dogs with Cushing’s diets contain less fatty acids, but consuming fiber is also highly recommended to aid their condition. Fiber helps prevent bloat, bulk up stool and promote healthy gut bacteria – plus it may even lower cholesterol! So make sure your pup gets plenty of foods packed with soluble fiber!

Your dog should ideally consume a diet high in digestible and low purine content protein sources to avoid muscle wasting and weakness associated with Cushing’s. Look for proteins derived from meat sources without highly processing like egg protein, chicken and lamb as these tend to contain minimal purines compared to products that include organ meats that often have higher purine levels.

Your pet with Cushing’s may benefit from eating a grain-free diet, which will limit how many carbohydrates he or she ingests and reduce the chance of diabetes and/or Cushing’s.

Herbal remedies may provide additional support, helping your dog live more comfortably while complementing traditional medicine. Some holistic vets suggest Chinese herbal formulas like Si Miao San, which regulate insulin and reduce inflammation in the body; or botanical supplements such as Ginko Biloba or Shiitake mushrooms for supporting immunity boosting. Speak to your vet today about which options would best fit your pet!


If your pet exhibits signs of Cushing’s disease, he or she may drink water more often and require frequent trips outside for potty breaks. This is due to excess cortisol interfering with water absorption in their kidneys; dehydration can then occur, leading to weak bladder muscles that do not empty urine properly and an accumulation of fluids which in turn could result in bladder stones or even infection.

Cushing’s can also cause fat deposits around the dog’s neck and shoulders, contributing to its characteristic “pot-bellied” look, along with symptoms like muscle weakness, difficulty walking or standing, loss of appetite and muscle weakness. Female dogs may experience abnormal menstrual cycles.

Veterinarians advise taking an integrative approach to managing Cushing’s, including diet management, herbal remedies and supplements as well as exercise. Although there is no known cure for Cushing’s syndrome, these strategies can help manage it and enhance the quality of life for your pup.

Your veterinarian may prescribe oral steroids or medication in addition to diet changes to treat Cushing’s. Steroid dosage will depend on your dog’s individual health and bodyweight – low doses may help relieve common symptoms while high dosages could result in serious adverse side effects like heart disease and diabetes.

Change your dog’s diet to one with lower caloric intake can help control his weight and avoid fat accumulation. These low-cal food options can usually be found in pet stores’ “light” or “low fat” sections, while some special diets for Cushing’s disease dogs that also offer reduced calories and fat contain high protein and reduced fat contents – an excellent solution.

Raw food diets have also proven therapeutic for various illnesses in dogs, from allergies to diabetes. By feeding raw meat, bones, vegetables and fruit to your pet you’re providing optimal protein levels while simultaneously decreasing fats, carbohydrates and sodium intake.

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