Ask the Veterinary Nutritionist

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  • Hello! I'm a little confused about the different types of white rices and the terms with them. For instance, will jasmine white rice be similar to enriched white rice? I'm seeing bags that say long grain white rice, long grain enriched white rice, jasmine white rice, enriched jasmine white rice... I want to make sure what I use is nutritionally correct for any recipes that call for enriched white rice, of course. If you also had any preferred/particular brands to recommend, that would also be helpful, but no worries if not! Either way, thank you all so much for providing diet-conscious pet owners with great resources!
  • 'Enriched' on any product means the manufacturer has added some nutrients, usually B vitamins to grains which does not make a significant difference in the long run to the final nutrient intake of a well-balanced homemade recipe that includes a vitamin mineral supplement. There are minor differences in the various types of white rice product types, which again are significant to the final nutrient intake of a well-balanced homemade recipe that includes a vitamin mineral supplement. 
     
  • I am feeding my dog a combination of cooked ground beef, rice and then his kibble. The kibble is dehydrated raw kibble and is a combo if 3 kinds. I vary the kibble and have just started combining it with the ground beef/rice mixture. It is more palatable and he is eating it more consistently.
    I am in a quandry as to know how much he should eat in a day. I used the internet to figure out he requires about 946 kcal/day for MER.
    He is a 19 month labradoodle, active, currently weighs 17.2 kg. He is of a good weight but should neither gain nor lose any pounds. Thank you for help.
  • If you want to feed the dog 950 kcal/day then you need to know the caloric density (kcal/ cup) of each food you are feeding which b/c you are mixing and matching products is plausible but more difficult to do. You will also need to know the caloric content of the beef/rice mix you are making which depends on the fat content of the beef and the ratio of beef to rice. 

    I must tell you that the final nutrient intake of essential nutrients other than calories, if mixing in more than 10% of the beef/rice combo will UNBALANCE the nutritionally complete commercial products. So ultimately, the dog will be eating a nutritionally UNBALANCED diet. Commercial products have little tolerances for having single item foods added to them, and become UNBALANCED when 10% or more is added to them.  Mixing two nutritionally complete commercial products is fine but adding just meat or rice or vegetables to the commercial will UNBALANCE the nutrient intake.  Why spends $$$ to buy a nutritionally complete and balanced product only to add to it and make the nutrient intake UNBALANCED is not logical. Either feed commercial product(s) or get a nutritionally complete homemade recipe.
    We certainly can help with those questions specific to your dog within a Nutrition Consultation for legal and ethical reasons.


     
  • I am currently using whole chickens (bones, skin, & organs) for my dog’s food. I pressure cook it then grind it. I am following recipe guidelines from a veterinary nutritionist for the full recipe. However, her recipe uses ground meat or boneless skinless meat and then the recommendation is to add a powder vitamin/mineral supplement. My question is, is my dog getting the appropriate vitamins/minerals from using the whole chicken? And is it possible he’s getting too much of anything?
  • Most likely the dog is not getting enough of the specific vitamins and trace minerals in the recommended supplement.
    On the other hand, IF you are feeding bones and organs, then adding the recommended vitamin mineral supplement will UNbalance the macro mineral and possible fat soluble vitamin intake of the dog.
    The supplement recommended is always chosen after exactly knowing the main ingredients in the recipe, and you have significantly altered the main ingredients. 
  • Do I need to add any supplements to the homemade food.
  • Yes ANY homemade diet must be supplemented with specific vitamins and minerals if the diet is to be considered nutritionally complete and balanced according to AAFCO, NRC or FEDIAF. Meeting the dog's nutritional requirements cannot be done using human foodstuffs alone.
  • What are the nutrients and the exact percentage of nutritional needs of cat per meal?
  • There are some 35 different nutrients and ratios recommended daily for an adult cat, a few more for kittens and reproducing cats.
    The recommendations are given per day, so by 'meal' depends on the number of meals the owner wish to feed in a day.
    There are two different percent systems: one on a dry matter basis and one on an as fed basis depending on the type of food fed (canned, dry, other).
    All these specifics can be had from the 2023 AAFCO Official publication (chapter four) available for purchase at www.AAFCO.org.
     
  • How much homemade food (meat/veg/carb mix) can I add to dry food without worrying about the homemade food being balanced? 20% seems to be the average answer when I search but none of those people are nutritionists either. Thanks!
  • The exact amount depends on TOO many factors, but in general, Veterinary Nutritionist recommend that commercial complete and balanced product be no more than 10% diluted. The simple thing is to add a ‘complete and balanced’ homemade diet to a ‘complete and balanced’ commercial diet, and then the percentage does not matter for healthy dogs. You can purchase homemade recipes online guaranteed complete and balanced from several veterinary nutritionists.
  • Hello. I’m struggling with my cat dry food decision. I recently switched to Open Farm because of their clean looking ingredients, no fillers, but now I’m seeing I should stick with the big names like Purina. What are your thoughts as an expert? I just want to give them the healthiest option!
  • We recommend companies with high independent quality control procedures in place. Often that is the larger/largest pet food companies.
    We also suggest pet food products that have thier OWN manufacturing plant, and often those are only the larger/largest pet food companies.
    See WASVA.org/nutrition/Tool kit for Pet Owners/ Guidelines on Selecting Pet Foods. 
    https://wsava.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Selecting-a-pet-food-for-your-pet-updated-2021_WSAVA-Global-Nutrition-Toolkit.pdf
  • Hello, I am considering switching my 12 yr. old lab mix to homemade meals. Not sure what all will be needed for her to get enough nutrients. I have been feeding her, rice, chicken, carrots, eggs, pure pumpkin, not all at once, but always rice. Any suggestions will be appreciated....thank you
  • It appears that the diet as you have described it is not nutritionally complete or balanced according to current AAFCO and/or NRC recommendations. It is deficient vitamins and trace minerals and has an inverse Ca:P ratio.
     
    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.
     
  • Hello,
    My 12yo cat has several health concerns- allergies, asthma, pre-diabetes, and has recently been diagnosed with stage one kidney disease. She takes lactulose, zyrtec, and potassium each day, receives an inhaler twice a day, and eats a prescription purina DM diet.
    She is picky about food and I think she gets bored of eating the same thing every day. Her meds have to be put in her food, but sometimes she just won’t eat it.
    I would like to consider using Smalls or another human-grade pet food company to hopefully give her some variety while sticking to food that meets her medical needs. My vet wants to make sure that she doesn’t eat food with more than 7% carbohydrates so her blood sugar stays regulated. She gave me your information and said I could look into it but that she would still need to be offered her DM food as well.
    Any ideas for me? I really like the idea of less processed food for her.
  • Yes we certainly can help with those questions and formulating a diet specific for your cat with medical problems but only within a Nutrition Consultation for legal and ethical reasons.
     
    We understand your problem and have experience in these areas. 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.
     
     
  • I have a 1 year old American bulldog. He’s got allergies,, biting and licking his feet and has had in the past medication for it from the vet. I’m thinking it’s his food. I’m going to start making his food homemade and my vet told me I need to talk to you to make sure he’s getting everything he needs in the food I prepare. Ive done research and have bought some items. White rice, brown rice, carrots, apples, sweet potato, green beans, sardines, spinach, salmon, flax seed (ground), chicken, chicken gizzard, beef, blueberries and eggs. I was going to make a big batch, freeze some, refrigerate some, date it and feed twice a day. Please let me know what you think of my plan and give me advice if I’m missing something. Thank you for your time.
  • I am sorry but your reserach has failed to provide you with the correct course of action.
    You may test for food allergy by feeding however, the diet should have as few ingredients as possible (not more).
    And the protein should be a single source (not several) and one the dog has NEVER had before. 
    Given the disease is in the skin, a limited ingredient, novel protein homemade diet must be fed for 8-12 wks - so the recipe should be known to be nutritionally complete and balanced for this feeding trial.
    The diet, even if you fed all those ingredients would not be nutritionally complete or balanced.

    If your dog has no medical issues but needing to have a food trial, 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 (novel protein). 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.

     
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