What Potatoes Do

I’d like to start a series of posts that talk a little more in depth about the things we used in Louie’s diet, and why we used them.

Let’s start with potatoes.  I became a big proponent of potatoes in the CIL diet after a time.  We had tried rice, with varying levels of success, but it was hit or miss in a variety of ways.  Rice can remain uncooked and can pass through the intestine undigested with much more frequency than we were comfortable with.  Undigested carbs can make a huge difference in terms of the effective fat content of a meal (the percentage of fat that gets presented to the intestines) when you are depending on carbs to counterbalance those fats.  Eventually it became clear that we needed a more reliable carbohydrate.

I started using white potato, with better success.  My personal preference was for plain potato flakes- the kind you use to make mashed potatoes.  That’s because I’m lazy.  You’re better off to cook a real potato for your dog, but not all of us will want to do that.  Either way is fine, as long as you use only the white flesh.  The skin contains fat and is harder to digest, so my suggestion is not to use that.

Potatoes accomplished two things in Louie’s diet.  First, they contain no fat, so adding them to a meal will reduce the overall percentage of fat in that meal.  For example, let’s say you have a food that contains 5% fat, and your dog is not tolerating that food well.  You don’t know if it’s the fat content of the food, or something else.  It would be helpful to find out.

One thing you can do is add white potato in a 1:1 ratio.  This is a bit of an oversimplification, but you could add 1/4 cup of potato flakes to 1/4 cup of that food , add some water, stir it up, and you would have 1/2 cup of food that is only about 2.5% fat.  If you feed that to your dog and he begins to improve, you have learned something very important– it’s the fat, and not the protein, that is the problem with what you were feeding previously.

The second thing that potatoes do is to add carbohydrates to the diet.  Too often we pass off carbs as “fillers” in foods, but when you have a dog that cannot eat any fat, there are not many options for weight gain.  Carbs that are easily digested, like potatoes, can be a very good way to get weight back onto our dogs and keep it on.

I did have to feed Louie extra meals in order to keep him from losing weight, but it was well worth it.

I hope this clarifies some things about the use of potato in his diet.  Next we’ll talk about proteins.

8 comments to What Potatoes Do

  • Mary Holly

    I would enjoy all your information. I have my first Chinese Crested and want to learn all I can about them. Thank you very much

  • Louies Mom

    You’re welcome! For general information about Chinese Cresteds I think there’s no better place than http://www.chinesecrestedcrush.com. You might want to check them out, too!

  • Joanne Carlson

    Potatoes saved Jasmine’s life for about 18 months until her sudden unexplained death. Her vet prescribed both sweet potatoes and white potatoes and she ate them with gusto along with her kibble made from rabbit. Her next step (which never came) was to go to kibble made from kangaroo. She was only 11 years old. I enjoyed your information about CIL and between that and the wonderful vet, she lived a longer life than she would have as her former vet had no clue what was going on and we wasted months.

  • Hi, Ella has started to reject her potato and egg whites. She eats her Rc id soft and kibble though. She needs the extra protein and the baked potato is what got her bm to a better constistancy. Any other ideas to get the carbon and protein. She has cilia and Ibrahim (19 mo). Any help would be appreciated!

  • Annie is still losing weight no matter what or how much I can get her to eat. So far we have tried purina veterinary HA diet, Hills zd canned, boiled potatoes and egg whites. I have been getting her to eat anywhere between 2-4 cups of food a day.
    She has been sick about a month now Has lost more than ten pounds.

  • Louis

    The plain potato flakes are what Ive been adding to my Jack Russell’s diet (I am lazy too) and I have this site to thank for it!

  • Louis

    One note about the fat in my dogs diet: as my vet explained it to me, it isn’t just fat that is the enemy of a lymphangiectasia dog, but a certain *kind* of fat (large fat molecules are bad).

    Either way, potato can only help.

  • Cutter's Mom

    I have only recently learned that my 6-year old German short-haired pointer has CIL. It took months for the diagnosis and I am only now beginning to feel my way through all of this to do everything I can to help him. We just started RC low-fat dry food, but I certainly like the potato idea to get him extra calories.

    Thanks so much for all your efforts and assistance.