Ask the Veterinary Nutritionist

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  • My 5 month old female Bernese Mountain Dog was just diagnosed with Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy. There is some research that shows that diet may contribute to this because of high protein diets. My vet suggested taking my dog off large breed puppy food and switching to large breed dog. Is there a good food to switch to? Could I keep her on puppy food and introduce other supplemental food? Do you recommend any low calorie treats?
  • Dietary protein is not part of that problem ..... that controversy was put to rest 10-15 yrs ago after a series of very good research studies.

    I would NOT change to a large breed adult dog food, b/c the actual intake of calcium will most likely increase in doing so. I would suggest getting professional nutrition advice from an ACVN boarded diplomate in your area ( after they have reviewed your case and/or dog. 

  • I have two dogs that are eating Natural Balance Vegetarian dry dog food. Is this food all encompassing in terms of their nutrition? Or do I need to supplement with anything?

    Both my dogs are between 70-80 lbs.
  • You can answer this nutrition questions yourself by simply reading the product label.

    Either the label says: 'for intermittent or supplemental feeding' OR it will say 'nutritionally complete and balanced for adult dogs'.

  • I have been feeding my French Bulldog K9 Cravings Frozen Raw Duck patties for a few years now. Recently, a new vet of mine said she is not a fan of raw diets for 2 reasons: concern over salmonella and insuring nutrional value. K9 Cravings and the pet store I purchase it from have said K9 Cravings is AAFCO certified and provides a complete and balanced diet but of course I feel they may be biased. How can I be sure my dog is getting all of the nutrients she needs?
  • AAFCO does not certify any foods, so whoever said that clearly does not understand AAFCO's place in the pet food market.

     You can answer this nutrition questions yourself by simply reading the product label.

    Either the label says: for intermittent or supplemental feeding OR it will say nutritionally complete and balanced for adult dogs.

    What the pet store clerk, vet or web site says is irrelevant.... what does it say on the product label?

  • What is the best food to give miniature schnauzer? I give her Blue Buffalo
  • Each dog is different and in order to make food recommendations, I would have to know much more about your dog.
    Please consider a nutrition consult with us if you have concerns. You may begin at: at any time.
  • What kind of fruits can dogs have
  • There are some limitations. The list of ones not to feed is shorter than the list of ones that can be fed.

    Please see animal poison control site for fruit and other foods not to be fed to dogs.

  • I had 3 diets made for our dogs, our shihtzu's skin get itchy and red when we give him the Chef's Canine Complete supplement. I am worried that he is not getting a complete nutrient profile without it, he is eating. Can you give us some options based on the diet you created?
  • Food allergies can only occur to a food protein, not a fat, carb, vitamin or mineral.

    The only protein in the Chef's Canine Complete is about 5% chickpea which is a novel protein source for the majority of dogs so it is unlikely to be the cause of the skin issue.

    It is necessary to feed a novel diet for 12 weeks exclusively in order to diagnosis a skin related food allergy.

    Additionally you purchased turkey based diets but turkey is not usually a novel protein source. Yes we can make other suggestions.


    If you are seeing rapid changes in the skin day to day changes, then mostly the dog has atopy and not a food allergy.

    If you want some help with this, please consider a nutrition consultation with us.

  • I have just recently adopted a rescue cocker spaniel. He is about 7 to 8 years old and tests show that he has poor kidney function. He doesn't appear sick to me. When we first got him he was drinking a lot of water and peeing more than my two senior dogs. Now that he has been with me and has had access to fresh drinking water and has been eating proper food, he doesn't drink or pee any more than my other dogs. He loves going on walks, is very energetic and alert. He has occasional fluid therapy at my Vets and and he is now on Hill's Prescription k/d kibble and canned food. Is this the best food out there for him and should he be on supplements as well? (Also, I still feed him treats because what the heck - you only live once)!
  • Yes this food has been shown in clinical trial in dogs with naturally occurring renal disease to extend thier lives by many months compared with renal dogs not feed a renal diet.
    No supplements needed this diet is specifically designed for dogs with renal disease including nutrients thought to be helpful.

  • Is it safe for a dog to remain on Hill's prescription cd dog food for life?
  • You can call the Hill's 800 number yourself but yes the product carries the following statement:

    Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Prescription Diet® c/d® Multicare Canine pet
    foods provide complete and balanced nutrition for maintenance of adult dogs.
  • Hello, I have 10 months old maltese. I've been thinking about switching her on ziwipeak air dried Food. My question is about the percentage of protein. Many people say that little dogs don't need more protein than 26% because they can have issues with their liver, I really like the ingredients in ziwipeak but I'm afraid of the protein level which is over 30%. Can you please advise. Thank you
  • Honestly 30% is unnecessarily high compared with their actual requirement but feeding high protein does not cause liver or renal diseases.
    Feeding a high protein diet does make it more difficult to feed them a lower protein diet later in their life if needed for a medical condition.
  • Hi there,

    This is an ingredient list for a dehydrated dog food. Should I have any concerns with these ingredients?

    Chicken (Cooked NAE Mechanically Separated Chicken, Rosemary
    Extract), Creamer (Coconut Oil, Soluble Corn Fiber, Sodium Caseinate, Sunflower Lecithin, Silicon Dioxide), Cranberries,Apples, Spinach Powder, Celery, Apple Powder,Cabbage Powder, Pumpkin Powder, Beef Protein Isolate, Rosemary, Basil, Vitamin Blend (Vitamin A, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, Biotin, Folic Acid, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K1, Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Selenium, Zinc.)
  • Contrary to blah blah blah about ingredient on the package, only those allowed by regulation can be used, so there should not any ingredients not already approved for pet foods in the product. If the product is contaminated or adulterated, that will not be written on the label for you to see. You have to trust in the manufacturer to produce a safe and nutritious product which is quite the leap of faith for some manufacturers. You can see previous posts if you are interested in why rating dog foods by the ingredient list is a waste of time, effort and bandwidth.


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