You admit you love your pup like your own furry child, an important family member who only deserves the best! The wagging tail, the doughy eyes, and the little smile melt your heart every day. Since you know about the benefits of the ketogenic diet for humans, you’ve started wondering if keto can benefit your dog too. So, can a low-carbohydrate, higher-fat protocol be advantageous for those cute canines? Let’s discuss research, opinions, and options for a ketogenic diet for dogs.
Keto and Dogs
The largest focus on keto for dogs is on disease management and prevention, particularly with cancer. The research on humans and cancer is compelling, and research is continuously emerging for dogs, too, with hundreds of thousands of research articles along with reports from pet owners and veterinarians worldwide.
Keto is a low-carb, high-fat, and moderate-protein diet where your doggie’s body switches to burning fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates (glucose). You might think your primarily carnivorous doggie is already low-carb, high-fat, and moderate protein with the dog food you bought from the stores, but this isn’t true in most cases.
In the wild, predatory animals like your pooch would consume a low percentage of carbohydrates, with some people stating as low as 3 to 5%. A vegan diet isn’t usually recommended for canines since it can lead to deficiencies of vital nutrients and amino acids.
Primarily carnivorous animals like your dog in the wild on a species-appropriate diet would likely already be in ketosis. Dogs metabolize ketones more rapidly than humans. Research highlights how using dietary fats high in certain MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) can induce ketosis in dogs.  
A maintenance or nutritional ketogenic diet for dogs is believed to be a 1:1 ratio of healthy fats to high-quality protein. A canine keto diet could consist of 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbs.
Dogs can achieve nutritional ketosis with a fairly high ketone production of around 0.2-8mM and moderately low glucose production <75 mg/dL. 
Many factors play a role in your dog’s overall health, but nutrition is huge, and a keto diet can be pivotal, particularly if your dog is sick. Some dogs might have difficulty digesting and tolerating a high-fat diet, at least at first, so there’ll probably be some trial and error in the beginning as you figure out what works best for your pup.
You can also buy glucose and ketone testing for your dog if you feel like getting really involved and determining if your dog is truly in ketosis.
Keto and Canine Cancer
Respected German biochemist Otto Warburg discovered most cancer cells have an impaired or altered energy metabolism involving anaerobic fermentation processes as opposed to oxygen-based cell respiration.
Dr. Thomas Seyfried showed cancer is a metabolic dysfunction of mitochondria–the energy centers of our cells. He noted this could be triggered or exacerbated by toxins. In other words, to simplify, most cancer cells can’t use oxygen, so they feed on glucose from carbohydrates, and restricting carbohydrates can effectively starve cancer cells and slow tumor progression in many cases. When the body primarily runs on ketones, this can positively affect tumor growth. Animal studies of a ketogenic diet paired with hyperbaric oxygen treatments revealed a significant reduction in tumor growth.  
Advocates like KetoPet — a nonprofit organization founded in 2014, helps shelter dogs with cancer who would otherwise be euthanized. KetoPet placed dogs with cancer on a ketogenic diet and provided them with advanced cancer treatment. They were monitored to ensure they remained in ketosis, and PET scans were used to measure tumor size. Well over half the dogs on the diet were alive and active many months beyond their expected lifespan, showing an impressive improvement. A few of the dogs were cancer-free despite aggressive cancer diagnoses.
Plenty of vets share stories of patients with tumors given weeks to live, but they made full recoveries on a ketogenic diet and surpassed expectations. While cancer is complex and keto isn’t the answer to all pup cancers, the anecdotal stories and research is promising.
Don’t miss Blazer’s story and how this lovable Staffordshire terrier mix overcame mast cell cancer by going keto!
Keto and Canine Epilepsy and Cognitive Dysfunction
The research is growing on a ketogenic diet for improving canine epilepsy and other neurological disorders. For example, a study of 21 epileptic dogs on the ketogenic diet revealed three dogs became seizure-free, and seven had a 50% decrease in seizure frequency. Keto could benefit canine neurological disorders and cognitive functioning. For example, one study tested aged Beagadors (Beagle Lab mixes) following a ketogenic diet and reported enhanced cognitive function.