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  • What is your opinion of the new Purina Pro Plan Bright Minds dog food? Is it any better than any other senior food in helping with cognitive dysfunction? And is there any point to feeding the other Bright Minds formula for dogs 1-7 years of age? Are senior formulas in general helpful or are they a gimmick? Thank you.
  • Specifically formulated senior foods like Purina Bright Mind and Hill's b/d do have clinical trials in older dogs put through behavioral and new learning tests. Some of this work as been independently published, but most not to my knowledge.
    In fact Hill’s b/s was formulated with human neurobiologist on the team and won the 2002 Innovation Award. I do not know about any other "senior" foods that have clinical trials demonstrating improved cognitive functions.

    Given there is no "senior" category defined by AAFCO or NRC, the food could therefore be whatever the "manufacturer" thinks a senior dog food should have in it. Some companies have nutritionists, some have vets but a few  innovative companies like HIll's, Purina and Royal Canin have AVMA Boarded Veterinary Nutritionists on staff.

  • I have put a down payment on a Sheltie. The breeder is pushing NuVet vitamins. They are filled with a long list of ingredients which I am wondering are toxic . Among some are: alfalfa, blue green algae, brewers yeast, cats claw,copper, evening primrose,iron, phosphorus,pine bark just to name a few. She says she's giving them to the puppies. My concern is how toxic are they. Based on my own experience with taking human vitamins, I myself have become overcome with toxic symptoms that force me off vitamins.
  • Chances are very good the product contains very low concentrations of nutrients, so probably of very little benefit to the dog.
    Toxicity is a different thing from nutrition. I suggest you go to and look up individual ingredients on their Animal Poison Control web page.

  • I have two female litter mates about a year old. One is normal weight but the other has turned into a ball. I am feeding them 2-1/2 cups of Max Cat Indoor Adult dry food daily and a 3 oz. can of wet food 4 days a week. The "ball" spends a lot of time going back to the dry food. I can't feed them separately, logistically and because I am away one or two nights a week during the summer (I use an auto feeder for dry food). Should I feed less dry food, hoping the normal girl will learn to get her share? Or cut out the wet food?
  • Canned food usually has more fat.
    Considered a timed feeder.
  • I have a 7 month old Irish wolfhound who currently weighs 98 lbs , I am trying to feed him the best diet possible to keep him healthy . He was eating Fromm large breed puppy, which he was eating for a few months and then he began not eating the food so I gradually have been introducing Holistic select adult health . However I have been considering a home made diet because I feel this would be the best way to be sure he is getting the proper nutrition to keep him healthy. Would you suggest keeping him on a dry kibble or changing to a homemade food diet?
  • There are no known nutritional difference or advantages to feeding a complete and balance kibble vs a homemade diet. There are several differences in time, cost, quality control and consistency which only you can decide.
  • I would like to know what your opinion is of the Kirkland dog foods sold by Costco. Both grain free and with grain. They are manufactured by Diamond. They appear to be good products and are certainly cost effective. I usually stick with Purina due to the feeding trials, but the Costco food is tempting. Would like your thoughts. Thank you!
  • The Diamond Manufactured products have appear too often on the FDA Pet food recall list for my liking.
    Grain / no grain is irrelevant to canine nutrition. It is simply another marketing ploy.

  • I am a veterinarian looking for information to provide my client. My client has a 10 week goldendoodle who is estimated to be 25# at full maturity. The dame was 75#, and the sire was 5# (yes this is correct information). Their breeder insists that this 5#, 10 week old puppy be fed a large breed diet. Do you have an opinion on this? I have advised that they switch to a regular puppy food. I want to make sure I am not overlooking something with this breeder's recommendation. I cannot find any information on feeding a large breed formula to a small-medium sized dog. Any help is greatly appreciated!
  • It has been generally accepted that large breed dogs have a mature weight of 65 lbs or more.

    So I would agree a Large Breed Growth diet is not necessary - probably harmless to feed - but not necessary.

    There are some growth studies comparing large breed puppies with small size poodle puppies and there were very few (if any) clinical signs in the poodles, hence growth rate and weight were thought to be a major players in the problem.

  • My 11 yr old sheltie has been tested for hyperthyroidism and cushings disease and is negative yet his cholesterol and triglyceride levels are almost triple what they should be.He is not overweight (24 lbs) his coat is shiny and thick, does not drink water excessively, is not lethargic, actually has no symptoms. My vet is perplexed and suggested diet is to blame but he has been on Science Diet low fat ID for several months. Without changing anything the triglycerides came down and then went back up. I'm hoping to find a diet that might help. Please suggest a food that may help. I'm not a fan of the Science diet because of the ingredients.
  • If the TG were measured on a 12-18 hr fasted blood sample and near or above 500, then you should modify the diet.

    The cholesterol levels are not clinically significant in the dog. You need only be concerned about the TGs.


    Hill's make several "i/d" products

    If you were feeding HIll's i/d LOW FAT, there is no other product lower in fat.

    Royal Canin makes a GI LOW FAT but it contains the same level as the Hill's i/d LOW FAT.


    Your only next option if the TGs were greater than 500 on a 12-18 hr fasted blood sample, is to feed an ultra-low homemade diet, and we can formulate one for you through our Nutrition Consult Service.

    If the levels re between normal and 500 and the dog has never had an episode of pancreatitis, you may continue to feed the i/d LOW FAT and opt to simply recheck the dog in 6 months.....

    There is nothing bad about the ingredients in the Hill'd i/d and I would not want you to be scared off the right food for the dog based on popular internet myths regarding dog food ingredients.

  • What's the best kibble for a 11-12 lbs mini poodle mix female, almost 9 years old? No health issues (possibly soy or beef itchiness but not confirmed in light of possible environmental allergens, and prone to constipation) but I was curious about Science Diet or Purina, or else wise, for healthy aging. I understand they make cognitive function support formulas. I don't know which is the most researched, and also, she's dainty and doesn't handle medium sized kibble well, even though I fully hydrate before feeding it. She has dental damage from her past life, but I brush daily, don't need dental kibble for that.

    Currently I give Petcurean Now! Senior for petite breeds (she's a lazy girl, don't want to go high on calories). Egg is high on the ingredient list, but turkey is higher. I would prefer fatty fish over turkey for omegas (with egg in it as well). The main fatty acid sources are coconut oil (ever the fad) and canola oil. I don't know how well those stack up against fatty fish but am concerned about companies tending to use over harvested species like menhaden. I'd like to avoid josh species under pressure.

    I don't care about price and I actually prefer grains, which the Petcurean and SO MUCH else omits these days.
    I'd like to be able to feed a sizable quantity to keep her feeling full rather than nutrient concentrated tiny amounts.
    Any pointers, please?
  • I would suggest you try:, and see what Purina comes up with specific for your dog.
    This site should be able to cater to your needs and you'll benefit from the decades of research experience Purina has to offer.
    Let me know if this does not work for you.
  • RE: Purina's purchase of Merrick pet foods (which includes a few other brands), a pet food company that touts a "holistic" lineup of dog and cat foods.

    I'm no longer taken in by slogans like "natural" and "holistic" but would like to have more food choices for my cats. As a consumer on behalf of my cats, variety appeals to me.
    Now, I stick with those pet foods that are commercially formulated by on-staff animal nutritionists like as yourself. Purina is currently the mainstay of what I buy for my pride. Science Diet and Royal Canin are just not affordable on my multi-cat household budget. My choices are further self-limited, however, because I don't feed any of the Purina formulas that contain fish.

    I always avoid cat foods from companies like Merrick. Now that Purina owns them, do you think Purina will oversee the Merrick formulas for nutritional soundness, etc. and make any necessary changes as per nutritional science and not marketing hype? If the price point is reasonable, I would have more foods to pick from for my kitties.

  • As I see it ..... Purina prides itself on excellent nutrition while saying one size food does not fit all pets and does not fit all owners preferences, so they are at the top when it comes to providing options after first providing sound nutritional value.

    So Merrick products bring yet another slate of options to accomodate the many different pet owner perferences, and yes if the current products do not fit Purina's nutritional criteria, then changes will be made to bring those products into line while not changing the "apparent" options Merrick offered. 


    The "Merrick" line of products may be discontinued - swallowed up and will disappear from the market place b/c one successful ploy in a competitive field of business is to simply buy out your competitor and make them go away. 

    I really cannot tell you which way it will go ....


  • My question is about carbohydrates and their role in food allergies. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is protein in carbs and that is what the dog reacts to? Now if that is true, will the dog only react if within the ingredient list you find, wheat gluten, corn gluten, pea protein, potato protein etc...or if they are sensitive to one of those ingredients they will react to the carb in it's whole form because of the protein fraction in it?

    For example, my dogs get treats with wheat flour, however the dog with food allergies (diganosed by food trial with RC Hydrolyzed Protein) seems to react to the Pro Plan tubbed wet food that contains wheat gluten, but not these treats. His symptoms include; red mouth, acne like bumps around his mouth, red/raw inbetween his digits, yeast build-up under his nail beds and inbetween his digits and constant paw licking. We stopped the Pro Plan tubbed food and went back to the normal canned food he gets which is the same variety as the dry (Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach) and the red digit and mouth went away.
  • In food allergy, the problem is with the protein fraction and yes grains do contain some (less than 10% protein). The immune system does not react to carb, fat, fiber, vitamin or a mineral - only a protein.
    Yes the gluten form of a grain as an ingredient in pet foods is a concentration form of the grain protein added to provide the essential sulfur amino acids that are lacking in meat proteins.

    Wheat flour is predominately (90%) starch which does not cause an allergic reaction but wheat protein fraction can cause an allergic reaction.  In RC HP, only the soybean protein has been hydrolyzed but the potato protein is whole. In the Hill’s z/d Ultra .... the protein source chicken liver has been hydrolyzed and the carb source is 'corn starch' - so the corn protein fraction was omitted. So yes, the grain ingredient does bring in protein, usually very small, glutens are concentrated grain protein ingredients which can cause a response from the immune system.

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