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

We believe pets make us better people.
Donations provide nutritional consultations to disabled military and seniors citizens with sick pets.
If you wish to make a contribution for the information you have received, please click to donate.

Thank you for your contribution!

  • Out of Fromm 4 star, Orijen and Royal Canine which brand do you like best and why? I'm trying to find the right food for my 1.5 year old standard poodle. He does not have food allergies. Thanks!
  • In my  opinion, Royal canin because they make their own food in their own plant and do original canine nutritional research. to advance our knowledge base.

  • Hi, We recently got a pointer mix puppy (9 weeks old). We looked into raw feeding, but it wasn't for us. We do however give raw bones weekly. We are making our own dog food and are having a hard time finding the right balance looking for some good easy COMPLETE dog food recipies. Also we own a vita mix and i'm wondering if I can just puree everything, we did a whole chicken and bones last week and she loved it. Turned into a canned dog food like consistency. Thank you
  • Pureed or not - there is less than a 3% chance you have a nutritionally complete and balanced recipe for your puppy given some recent independent studies that looked at over 200 recipes available to dog owner who want to home cook.  Yes I can formulate a recipe for you through our Nutrition Consult service because you have a dog under 1 year of age.

  • I have a Havanesse bichon, almost 7 years old. He is a little bit overweight (24lbs), he has joint (patella, mild ACL and herniated cervical disc) problems but he is overall in good health. He is on dry food 1 cup/day and 1cup coocked salmon or chicken and 1 teaspoon butternut squash and 1 baby carrot. I give him supplemets - Omega 3 and Joint gummmies with condrointin and glucosamin. Also, I give him dried lipid mussels, turmeric and 4-5 blueberries. I want to change his dry food (Hill's) to other brand, maybe a senior one. I don't know what to choose. Maybe grain free. Can you help me to choose a good dry food for him. Thank you!
  • There is a simply effective solution.

    My suggestion would be to feed Hill's j/d (specifically designed for overwt dogs with joint problems) at his IDEAL (not current) body weight.

    You cannot give enough individual supplements to match the dose in j/d. You can continue with the squash, carrots and blueberries but you can stop feeding the extra salmon & chicken, Omega 3, joint gummies, mussels or turmeric. You will be more strategically effective with the j/d and save some money not feeding those overpriced supplements fed at a non-effective dose.

  • Hello, I recently change my Polish Lowland Sheepdog from Nutro Lite Chicken dry and can to Blue Freedom Grain Free Mature. I am finding that she has started to wet herself and seems constipated. Can a switch in food create this type of manifestation of symptoms? What is the consensus on the Blue Products as I also switched my two OES's from Nutro Grain Free fish to Blue Basics Limited ingredient grain free Salmon. I am always very concerned about what I feed my dogs and Blue seems like a good product. Thank you in advance
  • Yes a change is dog food formulation can cause those issues. If you changed from Nutro to BB for no reason other than you were influenced by marketing, then I suggest you go back. Your dogs, not your TV, let you know the right food for your dog.

    I am not pleased at all with BB marketing that places an inordinate unwarranted emphasis on ingredients. So if your dog was doing well on Nutro and you changed for some reason other than they had a specific problem on the Nutro, then changing the food was not well founded.

  • I know it is fine to feed the same food if it is balanced on a regular basis but is it not good to feed dogs/cats different foods daily (commercial foods)?
  • It is not clear what would be the advantage to feeding a variety of complete and balanced products.
    However there are pretty good reasons why one would feed the same food, in the same amount, at the same time, in the same place daily. You will recognize much sooner rather than later that your dog is not well. Some dogs (not all) are sensitive to ingredient differences. So although the nutritional profile might be the same, the foods used to make up that profile may or may not tolerated by the dog. I do not change my dog's food or recommend to my clients to do so unless there is a clear medical reason to do so.

    The recommendation for "variety" comes directly from human nutrition - where is no one complete and balanced product unless you want to drink a product like Ensure. Variety was encouraged to help meet all the nutritional requirements. Not necessarily true but more so than if you eat the same foods because there is no one perfect food.

    So the thought that dogs need variety is nutritionally false. In fact most species we are responsible for feeding do have complete and balance products, rations, etc.

    Human are a notable exception to the rule.

    Too many human nutrition "rules" are extended to our dogs and cats which are simply not true or necessary. Vit C for example. Humans are in the minority when it comes to needing a source of Vit C in their diet. Most species on earth make their own.

  • I have a 3 year old male maltipoo mix. No crystals, stones or urinary tract infection. His PH level is an 8. I add water to his food. What can I do to reduce his ph level? Thank you!
  • If there are no crystals, stones or UTIs - you not worry about the urine pH.

    Urine pH changes throughout the day in relation to body metabolism there is no real normal or best.

    You could get a lower pH number if you fasted the dog 24 hrs or took a first morning urine and measured it on the spot, as it changes over time in the sample.

  • Science Diet regular dog food is lower in fat, higher in protein and carbs and fiber, has a higher calcium/phosphorous ratio, and is lower in calories than Science Diet lamb and rice--all by just a little. I would just as soon feed the regular food, but the lamb and rice is substantiated by AAFCO testing and the regular is not. Is there really that big a difference?
  • No.
    There is currently some unresolved issues about what is a "Family" of products. You can AAFCO feed one member of the family but put the feeding trial information on all "family" members. Because it is not clear what constitutes a "family" or "like" products, some pet food manufacturers are playing it tight and some are playing it loose.  Just when you thought you had a handle on reading pet food labels ...... it is a work in progress.

  • I have a 1 year old, 60 lb standard poodle. Assuming he has no food allergies and that price is no object, what type of commercial dog food would you recommend? We had him on Blue Buffalo large breed which he did not seem to like. We recently switched him to Fromm Beef Frittata which he seems to be enjoying. Royal Canin food was recommended to me but I do not like like that the first two ingredients are Corn and Animal By-products. (Maybe I have been reading too many reviews online). He is a relatively picky eater and tends to favor red meat over white meat. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.
  • Personally I do not let the "ingredient list" rule my decisions if there are no bonafide food allergy or food intolerance issues.
    I depend more on the company's reputation and the AAFCO nutritional statement than any one's ingredient list. 
    The importance of the ingredient list is far overplayed up by some pet food manufacturers and self proclaiming web site.

    In this case, the question is the dog at 60 lbs at an ideal BCS. Standard poodles tend to be thin so I would suggest a BCS of 4/9 is ideal.
    If the dog is NOT eating enough to maintain a BCS 4/9, then I would consider changing the food to figure out why the dog is underweight.
    If indeed the dog is a BCS of 4/9 or 5/9, then I would not call the dog "picky" as that is when an underweight dog does not eat enough food to maintain an ideal BW. 
    I see not wolfing down everything offered or found as advantageous.

  • How many recipes should be purchased?? I've heard variety is important in a dogs diet too - that feeding the same food over and over can lead to allergies. I started feeding my mini dachshund dog a diet which was recommended on Dinovite. It was 10lbs hamburger meat with five cups cooked white rice and 18 eggs with shells then you added their multi-vitamin supplement and drizzeled fish oil on top. He did great for about a year. Now he is losing his hair on his chest and neck. I'm afraid I did him more harm than good so I'm looking for some correct healthy recipes to get him back on track. Do you know much about Dinovite? Thanks! I"m very interested in purchasing some recipes but not sure how many--lol.
  • 1.  I've heard variety is important in a dogs diet too - not necessary if the recipe is nutritionally complete and balanced.
    2. that feeding the same food over and over can lead to allergie - absolutely false
    3. Dinovite is not going to complete and balance your homemade diet.

    It appears that the diet as you have described it is not complete or balanced - it lacks essential vitamins and is probably calcium /pho imblaanced.
    If your pet has no medical issues, we have an automated module for owners to obtain a balanced diet for their healthy pet. I would suggest one recipe (beef and rice) should be sufficinet. Hair loss can be a nutritional deficiency for sure but it may take 3-4 months to fully recover once the diet has been corrected. You may also consider having the dog tested for several hormonal disorders with your local vet. 
    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 'Services:’ drop down to “Homemade Diet Recipes’. Select the “See all ingredient options” to see all of our food options or one of several specific diet types (high  or low calorie, ect). You may 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 after payment.
    Thank you for visiting!
  • I have a 6 month old border terrier. I currently feed him 1 cup of Orijen puppy food per day. I also add coconut oil & fish oil to his food as well as give him 1/2 tablet of Hardypet complete multivitamin. My question is if I'm overdoing the supplements? Are these supplements (specifically the Hardypet complete) needed if I'm feeding him a high quality food like Orijen?
  • If the Orijen puppy food  has an AAAFCO statement that indicates the product is complete and balanced for canine growth or puppies,then yes you do not need a vitamin supplement. 
    The dog does not need coconut oil either ... even thought it is all the rage ... it is highly overrated for normal healthy dogs. Fish oil is helpful but only if it contains EPA and DHA ....
    Buyer beware of the supplement market!

1248 Results Found FirstPrevious 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27Next   Page 22 of 125