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  • I have a 1 yo Shih tzu male, neutered, healthy, avg/typical activity level. I'm looking at Honest Kitchen food products for his daily diet, and would like your opinion on whether this line of food would be healthy for him. HK says their foods are FDA approved for human consumption. What is your opinion? Thank you.
  • Feeding foods with ingredients fit for human consumption whihc is thier claim to fame says nothing about the nutritional adequacy, digestibility or safety of the product. 
    In fact it is difficult to find the AFFCO statement on the web site for a product - which would be very helpful to owners. Although you can easily find an article on the limitations of AAFCO. You can also find the nutrient profile for a product but then you have to do the comparison back to AAFCO or NRC – not easy for the majority of pet owners.
    Digestibility estimates cannot be found.
    The product is no more safe than the human food supply itself, and that according to the USDA recall of human foods, is far from perfect. I do not like the pretense that because the ingredients are fit for human consumption that the product is more “wholesome”, nutritionally superior or the products are safe or "safer". food for thought: Hotdogs and many others are byproducts fit for human consumption …. So the marketing dept is playing with word here that I do not find very honest.
    As I see it, they are playing with words and truly not providing information one could use. To me ... feeding a dehydrated food is far from a dog's "natural" diet but it allows them to claim “concentrated nutrition” but then that is just again playing with the numbers. You add water or meat, so then it should be no different than you buying a canned dog food or making your own homemade diet. It does save you on higher shipping costs by lowering the weight.  Bottom line I do not see anything special here.
  • I have 3 dogs. A mini ausie(20lbs), a dachshund blue healer begle minx (30lbs), and an English mastiff puppy (110lbs, 9months old). I would like to feed them homemade dog food, but I want to make sure it has everything that they need in it. I need advice because all the websites out there are contradicting each other.
  • Yes you can and you should obtain a HMD diet recipe from someone specifically trained in veterinary nutrition, or obtain a guarantee that the recipe is nutritionally complete and balanced according to either AAFCO or NRC .....  Preferably you should get a recipe with all 3 criteria.
  • I go to my local pet store and I am told Purina uses byproducts and they try to sell me more expensive dog food for my 7 yr old border collie. She likes the Purina product I buy and is healthy. Does paying more for a dog food really matter? And now I hear that Blue Buffalo, the food that is suppose to be all the rage according to the pet food sales lady uses by-products too!
  • Interesting you should name these 2 particular manufacturers.
    "meat by-products" come in a very wide range of quality and are not all created equal even though they legally bare the same label. Some of it is highly nutritious organ meats and no bone, and some have alot of bone.  It is up to the manufacturer to establish guidelines for their ingredients and then TEST those ingredients each time before accepting them into their plant. Blue Buffalo obviously does not know very much about their ingredients which of course makes all of their product claims now sound hollow. In fact, it was Purina who tested Blue Buffalo's dog food and presented evidence in court that BB was using by-products. Purina knew more about the ingredients used in Blue Buffalo foods than BB knew. Purina apparently also knows more about the supplier of BB ingredients than BB does ….

    There is something very wrong at Blue Buffalo ... the Chairman publically stated “Slap on a good label, come up with a slogan, and off you go.” which sounds more like high priced marketing and far too little product quality control, product development and nutritional research for dogs and cats. In this time where we have thousands of pet food products to choose from, evaluating the manufacturer, and not so much each product, is not only more efficient but perhaps more telling.  
    I have no issues with a pet owner feeding a Purina product as long as the animal is doing well on it. I would pay more attention to what your dog is telling you about Purina foods than what Blue Buffalo is saying about Purina or what the sales clerk trying to sell you the higher commissioned dog food is saying about Purina.

  • My 9 year old Miniature Schnauzer has been diagnosed with hyper lipidemia and she also is allergic to chicken. Finding a low fat dog food that doesn't contain chicken is proving very difficult. The only other option I've found is fish based which is not desirable from a dog breath / smell on her beard standpoint. Any commercial foods you can reccomend or do I need to consider making her food? Thanks for your help!
  • In most cases of hyperlipidemia, especially in this breed, you will have to use a veterinary therapeutic product that specializes in low fat. There are no OTC foods that will suffice that I know of regardless of the ingredient restriction. One other option is an ultra-low fat homemade diet.  
  • Thank you for reading this question. I would like some advice regarding my dog's diet. My family has a 9 year old Rottweiler/Boxer mix female dog. We have had Buttercup since she was 10 weeks old. This past August (2014), Buttercup became very sick very quickly. She required emergency surgery. She had surgery at Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital and the prep, surgery, and recovery were supervised by my who recommended I contact you regarding pet nutrition. The result of the surgery was the removal of a very large abscess on one of her kidneys. The abscess was not cancerous. The kidney which had the abscess was also removed. It was grossly infected, according to the surgeon, it was just bloody to the touch. Now, Buttercup has just one kidney. She has not been diagnosed with kidney disease, but we continue to monitor all of her kidney values. She pees normally, and drinks a normal amount of water. Our vet and the surgeons recommended a kidney diet after the surgery, so we put her on a kidney diet. She current is eating k/d made by Hill pet foods. I am very dissatisfied with this food product. I feel as if Buttercup is getting what she needs in regards to her kidney, but the rest of the nutritional value in this food is pathetic. Prior to Buttercup going through this surgery in August and her kidney being removed, we fed her top notch food - better than human grade. I am curious to know what your thoughts are on prescription diet foods for your pets. I am wondering if you feel there is a more wholesome food choice that might work for a dog with Buttercup's condition - like the low protein option with Honest Kitchen food brand - Keen. I am very impressed with the company and the food and ingredients. I very much appreciate your response. Thank you.
  • The short answer (without getting into the quagmire over ingredient name calling) is that the Hill’s k/d product has been prolonging the lives of dogs with all types of renal diseases for nearly 75 years. The first of its kind and the first attempt ever at managing any pet disease with nutrition. As more relevant research comes to light, the product has been modified appropriately. It was/is formulated by veterinary nutritionist. Today you have several choices for renal diets in the veterinary therapeutic market, but they all pretty much mimic this product just using different ingredients.
    As for honest kitchen ….. none of their products to the best of my knowledge are appropriate for an older dog with one remaining kidney. No over the counter dog food regardless of what they say about their ingredients would be appropriate. There are several reasons but first most is that they legally cannot lower the phosphorous intake down to where it should be for canine renal disease, and we are coming to realize through research paid for by Hill’s, Purina and Royal Canin, that the level of phosphorous in the diet is indirectly related to the progression rate towards renal failure, i.e., the lower phos intakes, slow the progression of the disease.  Since late 1990’s, publications have repeatedly shown dogs fed a renal diet live longer (dogs on maintenance diet = 188 days; dogs on renal diet = 594 days) than those fed an over the counter dog food.
    Please do not get suck into the never ending marketing rhetoric over the ingredient list. The regulations that govern that list are not/ never were intended to “evaluate” a dog food product despite how much time and effort lay folks put into attempting to decipher it. One simply cannot properly evaluate a dog food by the ingredient list. Some manufacturers, knowing that owners read the list, do manipulate the list to read well. 
    Lastly, I will tell you my own dog has renal disease and was eating k/d canned until a second disease developed that precluded using any product with that level of fat.
    As for whether feeding a commercial vs. homemade diet is “better” for the dog … this has never been directly evaluated. There are several advantages to feeding a properly balanced, consistent, tightly controlled product such as a veterinary therapeutic diet. To be honest, at this point feeding homemade vs. commercial is a life style choice for most pet owners and not a nutritional issue. There are exceptions, but these would not hold in your case at this time.
  • My 16 year old dachshund recently came down with pancreatitis which caused secondary kidney disease. I have found it extremely difficult to adhere to a diet that's good for both pancreatitis AND kidney disease. They seem to be contradictory diets! I understand that my baby is older but I will always want to do the very best for him so any suggestions or information you have that could help with this dilemma would be so very appreciated.
  • Correct ... there are no commercially low fat renal diets and no low fat diets sufficiently low in protein and phosphorous to be used in renal cases. Currently the only option is a low fat, protein and phosphorous homemade diet. We are most willing to formulate such a a HM diet for your dog with both renal disease and pancreatitis. You may begin the consultation process yourself online at any time.
  • i'm sorry but need to vent - i'm really sick and tired of people telling me that there is something wrong with the food i'm feeding my yorkie/chihuahua - when i buy royal canin i'm told that i'm an idiot, have bought acana, that food isn't appropriate for a small dog, has too much protein, this food has vitmains has vitamins sourced from china, or that food has this in it or that food has by-products, corn etc. - i had one lady yesterday tell me that royal canin canned food is simply the worst on the market - my dog likes it!!!! and eats it - i have to feed her something (don't mean feeding garbage stuff) - no wonder i'm so confused, this is driving me crazy.
  • Yes I understand your frustration. People do have opinions and are too quick to "mouth" what they have heard ..... this happens to all kinds of products however, pets bring out the emotion.

    I assure you feeding a Royal Canin product is a very fine product even though the company is NOT catering to current fads, whims, or trending twits about pet food ingredients.

  • I have friends who use feline only vet clinics in my area. They invariably get lectures about the dangers of dry food for cats and are told that canned food is the only way for felines to obtain the water they need health-wise. Like me, my friends keep Drinkwell fountains and water bowls all over the house for their furballs. This is not a new idea or concept, as you well know, but do feline only clinics know something the rest of us don't when it comes to the dry food/canned food debate?

    Logically, the water- hydration debate makes no sense to me. For the sake of discussion, if a kitty takes in 2 ounces of water daily when she eats a six ounce can of canned food by virtue of its moisture content, how is that preferable to her drinking 2 ounces of water daily straight from a Drinkwell or bowl Seems like apples to apples to me.
  • The only difference between offering a water fountain vs feeding canned food is the voluntary vs force feeding nature of providing water. If you feed canned food you are force feeding the water because on average if the cat consumes it’s total daily calories from a 75-80% water food, it will intake slightly more water than its maintenance water requirement, and the body will get rid of it by producing more urine, which you might want to do in cats the form crystals and/or have feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) … not necessary in a healthy cat.
    If you provide a water bowl fountain, a healthy normal cat will consume enough water voluntarily to meet its maintenance water needs this has been documented in feline research facilities. There is nothing evil about feeding dry food in fact from a different perspective it allows for a more normal GI physiologic consumption of food (small frequent meats through the day and night light cycle). Canned food goes ugly after a few hours … and so it is usually meal fed according to the convenience of the owner which does not match the normal diurnal eating patterns of cats.
    From the Vet’s perspective, I would suggest that a cat only hospital adopting the recommendation of feeding canned food only would potentially minimize the FLUTD calls to them because pumping more water through the cat will make a FLUTD cat appear more normal.  Personally, I reserve the recommendation of feeding canned only to cats documented to have FLUTD as it is not for every cat. The only is that there are no rules and that each case should be viewed independently.
  • I care for a 4 year old Swedish Valhund. Atopic dermatitis which used to be seasonal is now year round. Controlled with meticulous bathing, benadryl and course of Prednisone tapers as needed. Dog has been Acana and Natural Balance limited ingredient diets. Upon asking for a more complete w/u first thing the vet recommends is Purina H/A WHY would a dog food with preservatives, corn and soy oil sourced from GMO's and minerals "sourced world wide including CHINA" be recommended in a case like this?
  • Given the problem is now year round, the allergen inciting the reaction is probably not environmental such as grass, trees, insects, etc. It could be in the house wherever the dog lives year round or more likely in the food. The dog is reacting to a protein of a certain type and size - not a preservative, carb or mineral. It could be allergic to corn protein or the glycoprotein preservative; however, this is extremely rare (1 documented case in the literature - despite the prevalence pet owners are claiming.
    The immune system only reacts to a protein (contrary to popular google mythology) - the source of this protein could be in the food, in the house or the dog herself (auto immune). Source of the ingredients (China, India or USA) does not change the dog's reaction to this protein. Method of production (GMO, free range, organic, etc) does not change the dog's reaction to this protein. So thsese are not relavent issues when attempting to diagnosis food allergy.
    The Purina HA is one of several dog foods where the food protein itself has been hydrolyzed = broken into small fragments known (on average) to be too small for the antibodies to detect.  This methodology is not new to dog foods.
    The best known way to find the source of this protein is to feed a novel (kangaroo, ostrich, venison, etc) or hydrolyzed (HA) protein for 3 months. If the food successfully controls the symptoms, then you have a diagnosis of food allergy and know the origin of the protein, not which protein was inciting the dog's immune system - just that is can be found in dog food. If the HA does not control the symptoms, then you MAY not have a food allergy … the negative is not conclusive …. It may in the environment all year round like fleas in the house, the dog may be reacting to the larger pieces of soybean, so if you got partial success feeding HA, you should them feed a novel protein food.
    Most dogs get better when fed HA for 3 months IF the allergen was a food protein. If the allergen is elsewhere then feeding the specialized food will not change the symptoms. There is no blood test recognized to diagnose food allergy – despite some being offered by some labs.
  • I have a four month old lab pup. She is currently on Pro Plan sport 30/20. This is what the breeder was feeding and said to switch to a food with 26/16 at 4 months. She recommends Pro plan, but I am not sure I want to keep her on an all stage formula. I was going to switch to Wellness large breed puppy, but I am concerned there is too much calcium, it is min 1.2 and max 1.5. The Pro plan is min 1%, but doesn't disclose the max. I have read that manufacturers do not need to put the max on the guarantee, so I am concerned that it may not be 1%, but rather a higher amount. I am confused as to what to believe and how to figure out what would be best to feed my pup. I had an older lab that had multiple joint issues and I want to try to avoid that at all costs. Any insight would be very helpful, thank you in advance.
  • All good points ... correct the max Calcium is not required on the bag but if you call Purina 800# they should be willing to tell the target max calcium on the specific product you have.
    I think a lower fat and calcium kept in the 0.9-1.5% is wise. We do not know exactly the calcium % at which problems will occur. We do know that 3% creates many problems. AAFCO allows the max therefore to be up to 2.5%.  Having said that, most nutritionists would agree that about 1-1.5% is not harmful and safe. Secondly you want to feed a lower fat or lowest kcal/cup ..... to help control the growth rate now and prevent obesity later. I would suggest you select the food with the lower kcal/cup (350-375 kcal/cup), lower fat and higher fiber, if the calcium is about the same on both products.
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