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  • We have a 3 year old male long hair who has been diagnosed with hypercalcemia. We would like to treat the condition by diet and not by medication. Thru research and on the advice of out locale vet we first tried increasing his fiber intake with adding canned pumpkin to his food and switching his dry food to Science Diet W/D. He liked the pumpkin but his last test showed no improvement, in fact his level increased slightly.

    Our vet then suggested contacting a group called BalanceIT who provided recipes of home prepared foods and their feline -ca supplement. He will not eat the meal because of the odor that the supplement has, which they state happens in many cases. Do you have any suggestions?
  • Lowering hypercalcemia via diet is not very effective b/c there is another metabolic problem driving the calcium up.

    So dietary options are not very effective ... maybe at first but has the metabolic problem escalates the diet is of no help.

    I would not recommend relying on diet only.

  • What food do you feed your own pets?
  • One dog is on a chicken and rice product formulated from Just RIght Purina.
    The other dog I am testing for food allergies (12 wks) using the Crocodile product from Rayne Clinical Nutrition.
  • A lot of high-quality pet foods have alfalfa in them. Is this a possible health problem in terms of digestion? Its cattle food after all
  • "High - quality" is an opinion and not a fact that can be determined by reading the label or asking the manufacturer - contrary to all the buzz.

    Alfalfa is commonly a fiber diet ingredient fed to animals that have section of the gut with fermentation.

    When used in a monogastric diet, it is probably there to raise the protein and calcium on paper b/c availability of those nutrients to the dog or cat has to be seriously questioned.

  • I recently started making homemade food for my two Boston terriers. Neither have any medical conditions, both are very fit and perfectly healthy. My food consists of about 40-50% protein (pork or chicken) sweet potatoes, apples, green beans, carrots, kidney beans, peas, and olive oil. I roast all of it in a crock pot for around 8 hours and then freeze individual portions. When I feed them I add a scoop of wholistic pet organics canine complete, dogzymes ultimate, and ground eggshells for calcium. My 25 lb dog gets about 2 cups a day while the 15 lb dog gets around 1.5 cups a day. Both love the food and seem just as happy and energetic as they were on dry food. I just wanted to make sure that this is going to provide the proper caloric intake and be a good diet for my dogs.
  • Thank you for checking - most homemade diets described by owners are not complete or balanced. You have several options for checking your recipe;

    1. You can have the diet analyzed at a lab for $45 for 12 nutrients and up to $2400 for all nutrients + $300 for us to correct any imbalances.

    2. We could assess your recipe based on having very accurate gram amounts per day of each food and very good description of each food so that we can find it in the USDA Food Database and then correct any imbalances for $300.

    3. If your dogs have no long standing medical issues from the previous episode, you could simply use our automated Homemade Diet Module for $25.


    Go 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  ‘Homemade diets’ (upper left) dog and cat picture. Select the “all options” to see all of our ingredient options or one of several specific diet types. Hopefully, you will be able to 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.


    Most owners select option 3 because it gets them back on track sooner and for less money. Please let me know if you need any other help.

  • I am a Licensed Veterinary Technician doing research on pet nutrition. I am trying to implement dietary recommendations as the 5th vital assessment for our clients. I have been emailing multiple food manufacturers asking 8 questions suggested by AAHA. I have to admit it is becoming overwhelming. I am trying to make non-bias in company recommendations. I would like to be able to put together a list of brands and specific foods by Hill's, Royal Canin and Purina. But also other companies that are not owned by major marketing businesses. This list would be tailored for healthy pets and in each life stage. Can you assist me in suggestions of companies and specific brands. As you know the food marketing tactics have gotten out of control and as much as we educate clients they can still be stuck in the marketing. Thank you for your time.
  • I agree and sympathize with you .... probably the question that most easily separates out companies I can recommend from those I have less or far less confidence in is the question about do you have your own pet food manufacturing plant. This question alone will separate out about 5% from the ~300 manufactures in the US.

    I cannot keep tract of products or brands (> 5000), so I concentrate on the company - if the company meets certain expectations (like stringent quality control procedures) then I have to assume that follows through to their products. In my opinion, if a company makes dietary therapeutic products for VETS to use in the management, treatment or diagnosis of diseases, then most likely they do no less in the production of their OTC foods. And Do not fall for those claims that they have never been on the FDA Recall list .... to me it means they are not testing or looking and so more dangerous.

    So now your list should be down to less than 10 companies. Then I separate out the good from the ugly but watching their commercials.... and ask myself.... did that commercial just make my life easier in educating clients or much more difficult? If they just made a 'marketing contrary to science or reality' statement and made my job more difficult - they are off my list. If they make an incredible claim ... I call them up and ask for the data.... if they send me to the scientific literature to read more ... I am all ears about new stuff. If they give me more marketing gobbly-gook - they are out! 

    Most of the WSAVA questions are valid but a few are not in my opinion. These are the things I look for and ask about.

  • How do I cook chicken hearts for two small dogs who don't eat raw? I want to retain as much of the taurine and nutrients as I can. Also how much and how often would I feed them this? Especially for one dog who has heart failure.
  • If your dog has cardiomyopathy due to a taurine deficiency - which can be easily measured in the blood, then you should be feeding a taurine supplement and not relying on cooked meat.
    You can cook chicken hearts by steaming in water but the taurine content will be unknown and should not be used to treat taurine responsive heart disease.  
  • I am looking to give my dog a product called curcumin by a manufacturer call Mercola, It is pure 95 curcumin which is the main ingredient in turmeric. I am interested because I heard curcumin can shrink the heart, and my dog has heart disease/failure. So would this 95 percent curcumin be safe or would it be better to buy organic turmeric powder from the grocery store? Also would I still add oil and pepper to the curcumin to make it more easily absorbed?
  • There are no safety studies in dogs for this herb.
    There is no evidence that such herbs work in dogs depsite what people (who have a product to sell you) will tell you.
    Beware very aware. Herbs are not harmless and only rarely helpful.
  • I have a cat who is constipated. She prefers dry food and doesn't like to drink much. I feed her as much wet food as I can but she's more of a grazer rather than eating a whole helping of food all at once. Once the wet food dries, she won't eat it. She's on blue buffalo food. The dry food is the "healthy weight, indoor, hairball" type. My vet said she needs more fiber. So she sells me a food that has less? The royal canin gastrointestinal formula. I'm reading through the ingredients list and finding that the royal canin has less than my food. But I'm not a vet. Nor a nutritional expert. But I can't help but feel like my vet just sold me a food they sponsor. Anything you can tell me?
  • To be fair only "crude fiber" is on the bag which best measures insoluble fibers and does not include soluble fiber types.
    Most indoor hairball formulas use insoluble fibers so it makes sense that your vet suggested a different fiber type to try as soluble fibers tend to help feces hold more water.
    So give the Royal Canin with a different fiber type a try ..... finding the right fiber mix can only be done by trial and error.
  • what would you recommend to feed an obese beagle with numerous allergies? the weight gain came from previous steriod treatment. his allergies are responding well on hills z/d diet but we have been informed this is high in fat content and could be why he isnt loosing weight despite good exercise and strict food management. Can you recommend any other hypoallergenic, lower calorie complete dog food we could try? much thanks.
  •                                                                                                                 g fat/Mcal
    1. Purina Veterinary Diets
      1. HA Vegetarian, dry                                                                26
      2. HA Chicken Flavor, dry                                                         32
    2. Hill’s Prescription Diets                   
      1. Canine z/d Low Allergen, dry                                                33       
      2. Canine z/d ULTRA Allergen-free, dry                                  34
      3. Canine z/d Ultra Allergen-free, can                                       35                               
    3. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet
      1. HypoAllergenic, canned                                                         39       
      2. HypoAllergenic small dog dry                                               42
      3. UltAmino dry                                                                         43       
      4. HypoAllergenic, dry                                                               48     
    If you need less fat, then you will need a homemade diet.
  • I have owned two German shepherds in the last twenty plus years and have a new puppy coming. With my second shepherd I bought into the marketing hype of the high priced designer dog foods and spent tons of money on the like of EVO, Wellness Core and others. I couldn't shake the belief that if I fed my dog a less expensive food like Iams or Pro Plan that he would get sick or get cancer. I am slowly coming around.

    May I ask though, do I need to be concerned with quality of ingredients? For instance If turkey or chicken is the meat source do I need to be concerned with where the meat source is raised or if it is human grade? Do dog food companies like Science Diet use diseased or dying or dead animals in their foods. I would love to feed a less expensive food and not have to worry that I am killing my dog/ Thanks
  • You cannot in any way "assess" the ingredients by reading the label....
    Only the manufacturer can do that at the time they decided to accept or reject the ingredient delivery.
    So you have to investigate manufacturers and not ingredient lists.

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