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  • What is the definition of "premium" or "super premium" dog foods? Are these products more healthy because there sure do cost more? Is the cost justified?
  • “Premium” is defined legally in other countries but not in the USA, so it is a buyer beware market in the USA.

    Usually it refers to products with uncommon or novel ingredients, e.g., fish oil but the product is not nutritionally different based on what we all know as the basic nutritional needs of dogs and cats, e.g., NRC 2006 or AAFCO 2015. These products may meet the additional requirements of “natural”, “organic” or contain nutraceuticals (glucosamine), probiotics, prebiotics, etc which may be nice to have but are not known to be essential for canine or feline longevity. 

    Do you drive a Jaguar or a ride a bicycle to work - both get your there!

    Yes the price is typically 30% higher. It that justified? Yes because to add these perceived benefits does raise the cost of production. To be labelled “natural” requires certain preservatives, “organic” requires certification, “non-GMO” ingredients are more difficult to obtain. 

    Is the price justified in that the dog or cat food is “more healthy”? This has not been definitively determined. So the premium products contain more “nice to have ingredients” (probiotics, chondroprotectives) that are not known to be essential for life or cater to a particular lifestyle issue (organic, non-GMO).  Basically these added features are called "humanizing" the ingredient list for those who have the dollars to spend.

    I would suggest this article:
    Online pet food reviews: where’s the science? by Debbie Phillips-Donaldson  June 30, 2015.
  • hi - i realize i have asked many questions about dog food and my yorkie/chihuahua but i really need to be set straight on feeding her royal canin - so many people have told me that this food is not very good at all because of the corn and grains in it and she should be fed a grain free food or raw food (which she doesn't like and won't eat) - imo she doesn't need a grain free food. she doesn't have any allergies and grain free foods are high in protein and fat and calories, and she's not active enough to burn off those calories and she ends up gaining weight no matter how less of it i feed her - she does get her 4-20 min walks/day. - i like royal canin because the calories are lower as well as the protein and fat. but people just don't get it when i explain this to them. they go all funny on me because the food has corn in it and she will end up with gastrointestinal issues when she gets older (she's nearly 7 yrs) - one guy accused me of abusing her because i feed royal canin (i wonder what he would have said or done if i told him i also feed purina smartblend for small dogs) - i am really sorry to be a bother to you but i really need to be de-confused. also royal canin is really the only dry food and also the their wet food that she likes and will eat without any fuss
  • I understand it is easy to become confused... however, I see NO reason not to feed Royal Canin ... the flap about grains and corn is physiologically incorrect and it NO reason by which to select a dog food. I have found the people screaming the loudest - know the least, so take a deep breath and feed your dog what she does best on b/c there is NO one best dog food for all dogs.

  • Hello. I have a seven year old labradoodle who has suffered with arthritic joints from a young age. She has recently had a total hip replacement and has her second one due in September. Unfortunately she also has two bad elbows that we will review for treatment once she has recovered from the second hip replacement. I feel it is very important to feed her as good a diet as I can. She is a stable 31kg ( having lost 7kg in the last year) and currently is on Acana light and fit, which is rated 5/5 by "allaboutdogfood". It contains, amongst many other things, chondroitin 900mg/kg fats, 2.5% omega 6 fats and 0.3mg DHA fatty acid. In addition to this she has 3 Yumove advance capsules and 2 Omega 3 capsules (1000mg fish oil, total omega 3 EPA &DHA 300mg, each capsule)daily. My vet and the specialist she sees have both recently suggested the Hills jd reduced calorie diet. Whilst I understand that it will have the correct combination of joint supporting supplements at the correct levels and in the correct ratios, I can't get past the fact that the actual food itself would appear to be rubbish, only scoring 1.7/5. If I were to continue with her current food are there any other supplements I should add to be in the same ball park or is the combination and ratios of supplements so sensitive that in order to work successfully it would be worth putting up with a much poorer overall nutrition? Or have I been overly influenced by the nutritional reviews on 'allaboutdogfod" and the differences it makes to a dogs health is overhyped? Would greatly appreciate your advice. Many thanks
  • Whoever rated Hill's j/d a 1.5/5 clearly does not know how to evaluate pet foods properly. See toolkit. Simply ignore those who "evaluate" pet foods by the ingredient list - it is a complete waste of time and the “conclusions” are nonsense.

    You cannot add enough supplements to any food to match the EPA and DHA in j/d. Given the independent clinical success of this diet and the stark metabolic changes noted in dog fed this diet, I highly recommend it. Have used it in several clinical cases for weight loss needed due to joint and bone pain. I would not hesitate to put any dog on this diet.

    I would suggest this article:
    Online pet food reviews: where’s the science? by Debbie Phillips-Donaldson  June 30, 2015.


  • Just a quick question. Will it be disruptive to my dog's digestive system to change the recipes around ? Do you recommend sticking with one over time then slowly moving to another...Just want to be sure. Thanks!
  • If your dog has a history of GI upsets then I would use a 10 day period to transition between diets. Disontinue the transition at the first sign of GI discomfort and go back to the old food.
    Day 1,2,3:  25% new food to 75% old food
    Day 4,5,6: 50% to 50%
    Day 7,8,9: 75% to 25%
    Day 10:     100% new food

    If your dog has no history of GI upsets, then you could use the 4 day transition schedule. Disontinue the transition at the first sign of GI discomfort and go back to the old food.

    Day 1: 25% new food to 75% old food
    Day 2: 50% to 50%
    Day 3: 75% to 25%
    Day 4: 100% new food
  • Can you recommend any reading materials (books, journals, texts) so that I can learn more about canine nutrition? I enjoy being a well informed owner. I don't plan on formulating my own diets or becoming a "nutritionist" from this. Thank you.
  • We have a dog with IBD, food allergies as well as early stage Kidney disease (mostly caused by him having only one kidney). We are going to enlist in your services to create a home made meal plan for him as his response to dry kibble is poor. My question is are there allergy tests he can undergo before we do so. We know some of his food sensitivities but are still trying to figure out others (he sometimes gets secondary ear infections from allergies).
  • There are no accurate food allergy tests (although there are some labs that will gladly take your $$) by which I can formulate a non-reactive diet ... if you know what the dog is reactive to and/or have not fed certain novel proteins, I usually start there.

  • I have been feeding my 9 year old 35 lb. Jack Russell mix Hill's Science Diet Wet Dog Food almost all her life, thinking that it is a quality food. She likes it and does well on it. However, in doing research on the internet, it doesn't seem to get a very high rating among dog foods. Now I'm confused. Your opinion, please. The so-called experts seem to think that higher meat content is better.
  • I disagree completely with the internet experts.   I personally feed a Hill's product and it is often on my recommended list.
  • Can dog eat cooked pork shoulder bone?
  • I would not suggest feeding bones to dogs cooked or raw, pork or any other. The downsides risks do not outweigh any purported advantage.

  • Lately there have been news articles about pet food companies being sued for allegedly killing dogs and cats with their products. Many people on the Net and Facebook have given testimonials stating that they fed Brand X and their dog or cat got sick or died.

    I'm confused. How can a product that has undergone a feeding trial kill a pet? The Pet Food Company is feeding the same exact products as the consumer to their test animals and they're not dying. I do understand that a certain bag of product could become contaminated in shipping or storage, but the basic ingredients/formula can't be poisonous or the test pets would have succumbed to illness also. Am I right? Thank you.

  • If pets were actually dying due to any food product the FDA would be all over it as in the 2007 Pet Food recall.  People often blame the food or water, when they do not have good diagnostics on why their pet died.

    A pet food formulation fed for 6 month may have passed an AAFCO feeding trial but that need only be run once. A problem can occur in the day to day manufacturing of any product. You want to feed pet foods that are made in the manufacturer's own plant ... this increases quality control significantly.
    See and visit regularly

  • We have been feeding a homemade diet for about 3 years based on a recipe from the book The Whole Pet Diet. We had the diet evaluated by one of our vets, but she is not a veterinary nutritionist. We spend a lot of time making food for our six dogs because we want to keep them as healthy as possible. We are even trying to grow most of the vegetables and fruits we use. Now with everything I've been reading about homemade diets being nutritionally incomplete and harmful to your pets, I'm worried. I would hate to think we were doing our dogs harm. Is there a way to have our diet and supplements analyzed, or would it be better to just tell you what ingredients we like to use and have a new diet created for us? Our dogs are all healthy and in good weight. Size range from 12 lbs to 70 lbs and age range from 3 to 13 1/2 years. One of our dogs has food allergies, that is one of the reasons we started making our own food.
  • Yes unfortunately, if the recipe from that book does not guarantee you that the recipe has been checked, then you should assume it is not. Most HMD diet available to dog owners were found to be lacking in a 2013 Veterinary publication.  You have a couple of choices:

    #1. Computer assimilation of the nutrient profile - where we reconstruct your recipe using the average nutrient profile of each food in our database. We use the USDA and ESHA food databases and Mixit 2+ computer program. There are some foods for which there is no nutrient profile because people do not eat all the food items we feed our dogs (chicken wings or backs for example). If there is no comparable human food, then the nutrient profile of that food item will have to be obtained by sending a sample to the lab. Much of the answer to the balance of your diet will depend on the "supplement" you are using as most do were not designed to specifically complete a homemade diet.
    #2. Laboratory analysis of your recipe - where you take a 1-2 lb frozen sample of your food and send it off to the lab overnight.  In about 10 days, you'll receive a nutrient profile - the more nutrients analyzed the greater the cost. Again we can evaluate and adjust that recipe as needed based on the lab data. You have two choices on lab analysis:
    a. Minimum Lab assessment of 14 major nutrients could be assayed for ~ $45 with overnight shipping. We could then calculate 2 other nutrients from the lab data for you for a total of 16 nutrients. We can send you the DHIA Lab Analysis form and you need only complete your name, address and form of payment.  You would then send it to the lab directly with your sample. Our address and fax number will be inserted and we will receive a copy of your results automatically. The is DHIA Lab
    b. Maximum Lab assessment: A full AAFCO nutrient profile of ~40 nutrients costs ~$2400 per sample. Same procedure as above but to a different lab using a different form.
    A few points for you to consider about lab analysis:
    1. According to the US definitions of the terms "complete and balanced", there are about 43 different nutrients to be estimated, and that none of these assessments (computer or laboratory) will determine diet digestibility or food safety (presence of food borne microbes or parasites).

    One downside to lab analysis is that the nutrient profile is determined on one sample at one point in time and as oppose to the computer assimilation method which uses book averages for foods and may better represent the overall average nutrient composition of your diet over a
    longer period of time.

    #3 If your dogs have no medical issues, we have an automated module for owners to obtain a balanced diet for their healthy petGo to You begin the process by logging into your account or opening an account for you, your pet and link it to your Vet info, then click on 'Services:’ drop down to “Homemade Diet Recipes’. Select the “all options” to see all of our ingredient options or one of several specific diet types. You may select ingredients similar to those you are now feeding. The software will re-balance your diet properly and suggest vitamin & trace mineral supplements. The cost is $25 for the first recipe and $12 for each thereafter purchased at the same time. Recipes are available for immediate download after payment.
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