Common questions about feeding your doggy raw ketogenic meals

What is ketosis?
Ketosis is a natural metabolic state in which the body uses ketones released from burning stored energy reserves, to fuel the body. This occurs when metabolism adjusts to an absence of carbohydrate, and begins to use fat as a preferred fuel source.  A metabolic state of lower serum glucose and higher serum ketones describes nutritional ketosis.

Where does eating ketogenically come from?
The Ketogenic diet has been studied since the 1920s as a therapy for children with drug resistant epilepsy, and is currently being studied as a therapy for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), traumatic brain injury (TBI), diabetes, and autism.

What exactly does a ketogenic meal look like?
A Ketogenic meal is composed of a higher fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate diet.  For doggies, raw meats like ground beef or ground chicken, veggies like cabbage or green beans, and fats like butter or olive oil can be used to compose a meal.

What do ketogenic ratios like 2:1 and 4:1 mean?
A 2:1 ketogenic ratio (fat: protein+ carbohydrate) describes for every 2 grams of fat consumed by your doggy, correspondingly, only 1 gram of combined protein and net carbohydrate are consumed. By caloric density this equates to 83% of calories coming from fat and 17% of calories from protein and net carbohydrate combined. A 4:1 ketogenic ratio (fat: protein+ carbohydrate) describes for every 4 grams of fat consumed by your doggy, correspondingly, only 1 gram of combined protein and net carbohydrate are consumed. By caloric density this equates to 90% of calories coming from fat and 10% of calories from protein and net carbohydrate combined.

How long can my dog remain on a ketogenic meal plan?
As with any nutritional program, one will end up cycling their doggy in and out of it for any number of reasons.  It may be the case that a very active doggy has higher protein requirements, or that some doggies might require greater or fewer calories, based on body composition.  Careful and close monitoring of your doggy is the key to ensuring that their nutritional program is serving their needs.
 
What are some of the side effects of a ketogenic meal program?
One of the most common side effects of a ketogenic diet would be water loss and fat loss.  Caloric intake should always be closely monitored and adjusted to meet the nutritional needs of your doggy.

What is the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis?
Ketosis is a natural state of metabolism described by HIGH serum ketones, and LOW serum glucose (the highest diet induced ketone levels are around 8mM in humans). Ketoacidosis describes an aberration of metabolism, typically seen in diabetics, where HIGH serum ketones are present alongside HIGH serum glucose (ketone levels can get as high as 20-25 mM).

How do I know if my doggy is in nutritional ketosis?
One can validate the metabolic effects of a ketogenic diet by having their family Veterinarian draw a panel which includes ketones and glucose.  Additionally, one can use a simple handheld meter to measure glucose and ketones at home.

Where’s the science on all this?
The ketogenic diet was developed at Johns Hopkins University in the 1920’s to address seizure in Pediatric Epilepsy- in fact today, it is part of the standard of care.  More recently, it has been applied to address brain and colon cancer.  Additionally, laboratory experiments demonstrate the profound impact of the ketogenic diet in a mouse model.

Furthermore, the use of a ketogenic diet exploits a well known attribute of Warburg Effect, which stipulates that a cancer cell’s inability to respirate normally combined with upregulated lactate production, are the fundamental hallmarks of cancer.  The ketogenic diet downregulates available glucose systemically, making the substrate which cancer cells rely upon, less available.  As well, the direct anti-tumor effects of ketone bodies themselves are starting to be understood.