A Whistle Stop Tour Of Keto

A diet we get asked about all the time here at My Pet Nutritionist, the Ketogenic diet isn’t always appropriate, but if it is, there are some hard and fast tips to follow.  We thought we’d head on a whistle stop tour and give you what you need to know.

The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat and moderate protein diet.

In essence, it shifts the body’s energy fuel pathways.

Healthy cells use carbohydrates or fats to produce energy.  When carbohydrates are ingested, the body can either convert them to glucose for fuel, or it can store the glucose as glycogen in the liver or muscles.

When fat is ingested, it too can be used for energy metabolism, but it can also be stored for a later time as triglycerides.  When the body needs them, they are released as fatty acids which can fuel body movement, create heat and provide energy for body processes.

If there is excessive oxidation of fatty acids, the cycle that is responsible for all of this gets a little overloaded, and the resulting compound is diverted to create ketone bodies.  These ketone bodies can serve as a fuel source if glucose levels are too low in the body.

Organs that have classically be thought to be dependent solely on glucose, like the brain, can in fact use ketones as an alternative energy source; it makes sense, above all, the brain needs to function when glucose is limited.

The ketogenic diet has gained interest in epilepsy and cases of cancer, largely based on the Warburg theory whereby it was suggested that cancer cells have altered energy metabolism by way of increased glucose uptake.

Findings Here

A study of 21 epileptic dogs showed a 50% reduction in seizure frequency alongside a ketogenic diet.

Findings Here

That said, the ketogenic diet isn’t always as easy as thought.  There are a number of considerations to make:

  • Possible decrease in microbial diversity in the GI tract
  • Potential nutrient shortfalls if not considered thoroughly
  • Diarrhoea and constipation

Generally, for dogs, a ketogenic diet can range from 69-90% fat, 9-30% protein and 1% carbohydrates.  But true ketosis is generally achieved when the following are monitored:

  • Macronutrient control and elimination of glucose
  • Repeated testing (blood/ketone)
  • Metabolic conditioning

The bottom line?

There is increasing evidence that a ketogenic diet has been of benefit in certain conditions, however, the true ratios will be dog dependent and for that reason we would advise any dietary plans to be developed alongside a qualified professional.


However, we can use the basic premise of the ketogenic diet to support the health of our dogs.

Top Tips for Dog Health from the Keto Ethos:

1) Keep Insulin Low

Feed fat and protein and keep net carbs low.  Net carbs are carbs minus their fibre content, so remember, fibre is a carby friend!

2) Keep Calories in Check

Feed by eye – you want to see an hourglass figure from a birds-eye view.  Feeding guidelines are just that – just because a calculator says you should feed that much, if your dog is looking chunky, reign it in!  Feed for function, not for added (rounded) features!

3) Use Periodic Fasts

Calorie restriction has been seen to add years to the lifespan!  You can feed once per day, or limit feeding to a window (8 hours for example).  You can also use 24 hour fasts periodically too!  Fasting deserves a blog all on it’s own, so check back for more on this!

4) Reduce Inflammation

Low carbs along with a calorie-controlled diet has been seen to reduce inflammation.

5)Keep Moving

Most dogs will suffer from inactivity than too much exercise.  Regular physical activity is known to regulate inflammatory responses in the body, support heart function and health, prevent telomere shortening (associated with aging), promote growth in brain cells and reduce risk of cognitive decline.

If you would like any support creating a new dietary plan for your dog to address existing health concerns or simply to find what’s best for them at their stage of life, then please check out our services.

What We Offer

Thanks for reading,

Team MPN x

Keep up to date

Subscribe to our newsletter for recipes, DIY products, health solutions and more.

You have been successfully Subscribed! Ops! Something went wrong, please try again.

Customer Reviews

Related articles