Ask the Veterinary Nutritionist

Do you have a specific question related to pet nutrition?

Our database contains over 1200 questions asked by pet owners and veterinarians.  Enter a search term, then use the "topic" filter if you would like to narrow your search further.  If you don't find an answer here, submit your question and a nutritionist will respond to your questions as best possible. Email responses will come from intelligen@aciemails.com.

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  • I have a slightly over weight lab mix at 64 lbs which we want to get down to at least 60lbs. She has tore her cruciate ligament and had to have a tplo sx 6 weeks ago. the vet recommended you guys for recipes to get her to lose weight, thats fine. How many cups daily for her for the ground beef or turkey recipes? Do i cut out her kibble all together with these recipes? And is there any supplements that can help her with regaining muscle mass that will not elevate her kidney/liver levels. I currently give her coconut oil and fish oils daily with phycox. Thank you
  • Yes we certainly can provide specific instructions but only within a Nutrition Consultation for legal and ethical reasons.
     
    We understand your problem and have experience in these areas. We are most willing to make dietary recommendations which may include a homemade diet OR other commercial products for your overweight dog with orthopedic disease. When your pet has a medical condition, the dietary recommendations should be done specifically for that patient. For a pet with medical condition(s), you may begin at www.PetDiets.com / Services / Nutrition Consult, select ‘Pet Owner’, and then select a consultation type. The fee is $500 (USD) which includes a teleconsult (phone or video) conference with a nutritionist. Written recommendations are sent to you and your veterinarian within days of the conference. Follow-up questions can be handled by phone or email and there are no additional fees for fielding questions or helping to resolve immediate unforeseen problems.
     
    Diet recommendations for pets with a medical condition are done individually. We will need more information about your particular pet, dietary history, and current medical data to make specific suggestions. We most often can incorporate current dietary recommendations and principles into one diet and complete that request in less than 5 business days of the teleconsult.
     
    IMPORTANT: We work as a nutrition consultant to your veterinarian. Your primary care veterinarian is a vital partner in the care of your pet and must provide us with the most recent or relevant medical records (MR) (fax 1800.649.2043 or email VetNut@att.net) at your request. Per AVMA and most state regulations, you the owner must request to have your records sent to us. You can check with us at any time to see if we have received the medical records after you have made that request of your local or specialty veterinarian(s). All nutrition consults must involve a local or specialty veterinarian with whom you have established a Veterinarian/Client/Patient relationship (VCPR) per state Veterinary Medical Board regulations. We will attempt to obtain the signed VCPR form for you after we have received the MR. The VCPR is not optional and cannot be sidestepped. You will be asked to provide your Veterinarian’s this contact information in the consult form. Providing us accurate contact information will aid us in obtaining your VCPR in a timely fashion.
     
    We can, on paper, balance most any reasonable dietary request. The fee covers the review of the medical record, product research, and recipe formulation. The homemade recipe instructions are quite detailed yet give options and allow for substitutions if appropriate for the medical problem(s). Unique dietary requests for individual patients are what we do best. We give the daily food amounts in grams for each food per day but you can make batches for several days if you wish. The homemade formulations involve protein and energy sources, vegetables if appropriate, and a single, readily available specifically designed vitamin/mineral supplement. Adding vitamin and mineral supplements to homemade diets for dogs or cats can be cumbersome and difficult to do properly. We most often suggest a veterinary all-in-one supplement designed specifically for dogs or cats fed a homemade diet.  However, other supplement options (human over-the-counter products) are possible if appropriate. Most times, we can design a diet that accommodates more than one pet in the household if needed.
     
    Recheck appointments if requested are $250 for 30 minutes. There is an additional charge of $250 to reformulate the diet ingredients or supplements are changed or if the pet should develop another medical condition. We guarantee that our dietary recommendations will be nutritionally complete and balanced for your pet’s medical condition(s) according to the most current dietary recommendations and based on clinical experience.
     
    Please let us know if you have trouble ordering the consultation online or have additional questions.
     
  • Hi, I recently lost my Westie. He was just under 11 years old. I cooked and baked for him. I made organic meals supplemented it with multi vitamins and omega fish oil. He enjoyed excellent health but was diagnosed with kidney disease a couple of months ago which triggered an autoimmune disease. I am planning on making homemade meals for the new pup. Please advise how I can make a balanced homemade meal for the new pooch. Thank you very much.
  • We are sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, balanced homemade recipes do not protect against the occurrences of the major diseases that take our pets.

    Yes, we do puppy (and kitten) commercial or homemade recipe formulations with food dosage and weight projections through the first year of life but not through the automated homemade recipe module given the multitude of variances. The consultation fee is $500 (USD) which includes a teleconsult with the nutritionist, written recommendations. Follow-up questions can be handled by phone or email and there are no additional fees for fielding questions or helping to resolve immediate unforeseen problems. There is an additional charge of $250 to reformulate the diet if a major change in ingredients or supplements that were not previously specified, at maturity, or if the pet should develop a medical condition. See additional information at https://www.petdiets.com/content.aspx?ContentID=1744  or go to www.PetDiets.com / Services / Growth Consult, select ‘Pet Owner’, review the process, click on ‘continue’ at the bottom.

    IMPORTANT: We work as a nutrition consultant to your veterinarian. Your primary care veterinarian is a vital partner in the care of your pet and must provide us with the most recent or relevant medical records (MR) (fax 1800.649.2043 or email VetNut@att.net) at your request. Per AVMA and most state regulations, you the owner must request to have your records sent to us. You can check with us at any time to see if we have received the medical records after you have made that request of your local or specialty veterinarian(s). All nutrition consults must involve a local or specialty veterinarian with whom you have established a Veterinarian/Client/Patient relationship (VCPR) per state Veterinary Medical Board regulations. We will attempt to obtain the signed VCPR form for you after we have received the MR. The VCPR is not optional and cannot be sidestepped. You will be asked to provide your Veterinarian’s this contact information in the consult form. Providing us accurate contact information will aid us in obtaining your VCPR in a timely fashion. We will send our written recommendation to you and your veterinarian by fax and email.

    Please give us a call if you have questions about the consultation process.
     
  • I have a 4 1/2 year old Shorkie, her body composition is 6/9 ,10.2 lbs. She only eats chicken nothing else. How do I get a diet for her that will include the nutrients she is missing from only eating chicken breast and the right portion size? Thank you!
  • If your pet has no medical issues, we have two options for owners to obtain a balanced homemade recipe for their adult healthy pets.
     
    1. Go to www.petdiets.com / 'Services’ / ‘Homemade Recipes, review the process, click on ‘start your homemade recipe’ at the bottom. Log into or open an account. You may select “See all ingredient options” to see all food options or one of several specific diet types (high or low calorie, etc.). Most likely, you will be able to select the main ingredients similar to those you are now feeding. The software will re-balance your recipe properly and suggest a vitamin & trace mineral supplement. 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.
     
    1. If you do not want to use the automated module, want specific foods to be included, want your current recipe analyzed as is or the pet has a medical condition, we can balance a homemade recipe specifically for you. Go to www.PetDiets.com / Services / Nutrition Consult, select ‘Pet Owner’, review the process, click on ‘continue’ at the bottom and later select a consultation type: “Check and balance a homemade diet for my heathy pet”. The fee is $500 (USD) that does include a teleconsult (phone or video conference with a nutritionist).
    Please give us a call if you have more questions about the consultation process.
     
  • Hi! I have a 9 month old German shepherd husky mix, who has consistently had irregular stool. My vet recommended against raw diets because of parasites and such but I have heard so many good things about how raw diets can really help GI tract issues. I want to come back to my vet with more knowledge on this to hopefully allow her to agree and be on my side with things. He has also struggled clearing up giardia that he’s had for almost two months. We’ve taken panacure but after two rounds the vet said to wait it out. We’ve been using grape seed extract and are going to do a rutabaga cleanse as well. Do you have any insight on raw diets and GI tract help / is the raw diet going to worsen the giardia?
  • I too would hesitate to feed a young dog with an incompetent GI mucosa a raw meat or egg diet.
    There are likely other dietary option to be tried before taking such a risk.
     
  • What’s the best way to do a half wet half dry food diet for cats, we have four cats now so cost is a pretty big indicator in picking out food. We have them on Iams right now for dry food and we switch theirs wet food. I just don’t want to over or under feed them
  • If you are feeding a nutritionally complete and balanced dry and canned product, then you will not be altering the balance of their daily intake. If you mix in more than 10% of a single item food, treat, toppers or any product NOT nutritionally complete and balanced, then you are likely Unbalancing their total nutrient intake.
     
  • Hello, I have a 6 month old standard bernedoodle puppy, 50lbs, female, non-spayed. I have been feeding her Royal Canine Medium Puppy food since I got her from breeder. She’s getting 2 cups twice daily. She eats her food quickly like within seconds of placing it down. She’s been this way since I’ve had her. She also drinks a tremendous amount f water, also been this way since I’ve had her. Is this food providing her the nutrients she needs? I’ve read mixed information about this brand as it being poor nutritional value, high in carbs, and bad for any dog. I'm not sure if I should be looking at the guaranteed analysis or the dry matter. The dry matter has 30% protein, 18% fat, 3.6% fiber, 10% moisture, and 350 IU/kg Vitamin E, 393 kilocalories/ cup.
    Is this brand of food well balanced for her? If not, any suggestions for another brand?
    If brand better option, should I use the large puppy food instead of medium and how much should I be giving her? Thanks!
  • Is this brand of food well balanced for her?

    You need not get stuck in the weeds of individual nutrient concentrations, etc. If the food carries a legal claim of nutritionally complete and balanced, then it has met several independent standards. Given the food is made by Royal Canin, I have no reason to suggest a different pet food manufacturer. There is no one BEST dog food and there is no one BEST pet food manufacturer.

    If the dog’s final mature BW is expected to be OVER 65lb, then you might consider feeding a food designed for large breed growth.
     
  • I have been reading your "ask the nutritionist" page and really enjoy it. I found many dogs are suffering from "stones" in kidney and bladder etc and am amazed how prevalent they are. I have a 7-yr-old pug mix about 20 pounds and he has been eating Honest Kitchen base with proteins that I make for myself, including eggs and chicken mostly.

    I was wondering if you know what ingredients in commercial dog food (kibbles etc) brands or even home-cooked meals are the primary suspects/culprits for the stones? How are stones best prevented ? Thank you very much!
  • Most stones, in dogs are based on a genetic defect (oxalate, cystine, urate).
    However, struvite stones are caused by infection. Cure the infection with antibiotics, and the food rarely matters.
    So most canine stones are not caused by the food or an ingredient, but changing the food, depending on the stone type, can HELP manage the genetic defect.
     
  • I have a 3 year old patterdale terrier who has gastritis and chicken intolerance, i have been making her food since she was 6 mo old and I am worried she is not getting enough nutrients. Her meals consist of boiled ground meat, sweet potato, russet potato, carrot, green bean and oats. I have tried several different foods from dry to raw, she always gets diarrhea within the first 5 days of weaning this into her diet. What can I do.
    Thank you for your time.
  • Your homemade diet is not nutritonally complete or balanced.
    I suggest you have a Boarded Veterinary Nutritionist balance a recipe for you, likley using the some of the same ingredients.
  • I know the AAFCO guidelines, but what is the ideal omega 6-3 ratio for oil being added to homemade food?
    Thank you.
  • No one knows - despite claims by different pet food companies. It is not clear. It may actually be an optimal range, and that may be different in different cases (maintenance vs. growth vs a disease process). This is why independent groups such as AAFCO, NRC and FEDIAF, after assessing the scientific literature, could not make a ration recommendation. Each has made some suggestion on the concentration of individual fatty acids, and not by category. Omega 3 is a category including several different specific fatty acids. For example, ALA is an omega 3 with very likely little hepatic conversion to the more potent EPA or DHA. So within the category omega 3, there are different fatty acids and not all are beneficial. Hence if the suggested intakes of individual fatty acids is unclear – then attempting to say what is optimal by category is pretty near impossible if not useless.
  • Hello, My dog, Jackson, is a Coton De Tulear and is 11 years old. He has protein in his urine and is in the early stages of kidney disease. I am needing to change his food, but would like to stay away from commercial dry/wet food. I have made his food in the past, but since getting a second dog, have switched to Pet Fresh refrigerated food. Jackson's homemade food consisted of coconut oil, chicken livers, ground chicken, dried seaweed, eggs, brown rice, oats, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, green beans or peas, blueberries, and after reheating his food we add fish oil. What modifications do I need to make? He usually eats two 8oz portions per day. He is 20lbs.
  • If you are buying a commercially made product: dry, canned or fresh - you cannot make the correct changes to the diet for protein losing nephropathy (PLN). Treating PLN is NOT about adding more things to the current diet but altering the nutrient profile (readjusting the formulation of ingredients) of the diet. If you want to continue feeding a fresh food, then you will have to make it yourself (homemade) or have a specific recipes made and sent to you.
     
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