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, consider a phone conference with Veterinary Nutritionists, or submit your question and a nutritionist will respond to your questions as best possible.

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!

  • I have a male exotic shorthair. He was blocked at the age of 1 and was treated by flushing and hooking him up to a catheter. I was told he had to go on royal canin urinary s/o dry or wet for a minimum of 6 months. I had him on. Combination of wet and dry and after 6 months his tests were clean. I was advised to keep him on it. Aftee doing extensive research, noting the poor quality of ingredients in the food, I decided to feed him a high quality wet food diet. (Prior to his illness he was mostly on orijen dry with some wet). I also gave him the S/O dry at night.
    After 4 years I eventually decided to drop the S/O dry completely and keep him on wet food in the morning and a different high quality dry at night. Unfortunately, he mildly blocked again after 9 months and now he is back on s/o wet and dry.
    My problem with the food is that even though I measure out a 1/2can of wet in the AM and 1/4cup dry at night- he seems to be overweight. He is also shedding a lot and urinating way more. Is there nothing I can do to maintain his urinary health without feeding him this low quality prescription diet?
  • Your cat apparently needs a diet specifically formulated for FLUTD. Only a few companies do that well and some have lower calorie options. Increased urine output is desirable in preventing blockages - the more often the bladder is emptied, the better for him and you.

     

    "low quality" ingredients are not the or a problem in these prescription products. Ingredients in all pet foods are misunderstood by the many. Ingredient list mislabeling is occurring while exaggerating the horrors of competitor’s ingredients …. all in an effort to make the sale.

     

    How could the ingredients be so bad if your cat has not blocked in years and is gaining weight!

    If you doubt the ingredients, despite what your cat is showing you, then your understanding of the ingredients has come from less knowledgeable, inaccurate or untruthful sources.

     

    I would be horrified too if I read the junk on the web about pet food ingredients. I know better and empathize with pet owners agonizing over the mass confusion and mound of misinformation the internet has bought us - junk reads better than the reality. We must learn to check the credentials of the author before taking in any source of information.

     

    Basically you are questioning your food choice based on mountain of misinformation about the ingredients. Yet look at your cat!




     
  • I need to find a dry dog food for both, food sensitivities and bladder stones. Is this possible?
    I am currently giving her Royal Canin multifunction/ hydrolyzed protein and Urinary support.
    I don't feel Royal Canin is very good quality as the first ingredient is brewers rice, and salt and soy are in the first line, in ingredients list.
    Any advice?
  • That is the only dry dog food that is designed for both conditions. A canned food might be a better option for increased water intake.

    There is no problem with the ingredients (unless you believe the pure bunk on the web) as each ingredient has a specific purpose towards the end goal of preventing stones. Nutrition is not done by "feeling" but by knowing - it is a science and the plethora of bad information is making your choices more difficult than need be.

    You only need be concerned with “is the food nutritionally complete and balance and bioavailable”?
    Yes this food exceeds those expectations. 
     
  • Does anyone know a canine nutritionist on Long Island that will set up a good diet for my dog?
  • Please see www.acvn.org/directory.
     
  • My vet prescribed Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Chicken Flavor dry food for my dog who has occasional gastric problems. I have a problem with the top 3 ingredients being corn starch, hydrolized soy protein isolate, and partially hydrogenated canola oil preserved with TBHQ ( a known carcinogen ), as well as a few others. I have done a lot of online research on these ingredients and I'm not very happy with what I found. My questions are : 1. Is this a good food for dog. 2. Are these ingredients really as bad as they sound.
  • 1.      Is this a good food for dog?  I would have no concerns feeding to my dog if such a food trial was needed.

    2.      Are these ingredients really as bad as they sound? No ... all the ingredients used in the food are FDA and AAFCO compliant. 

     

    Remember discounting and fear mongering over ingredients by some pet food companies is a marketing ploy. If you cannot attract customers to your product, then dis the competitor’s product to the point of confusion. Then of course, unknowledgeable people repeat what they have read or heard, over and over again on the web, creates mass hysteria and now nobody is thinking for themselves.

     

  • All of my research says "Talk to your veterinarian regarding kidney diet for your K9". All the veterinarians want me to buy the canned kidney diet formula that they sell at their office. It is so processed and poor quality! Talking to your veterinarian about proper nutrition is like talking to your medical doctor about holistic health and nutrition for yourself.

    My dog is a 15 year old Chihuahua. His weight is normal and he has good dental hygiene. Additionally, he was having digestive issues and intestinal pain. All three veterinary clinics were not able to help me to get him healthy. They actually recommended that I give him Tums. I took matters into my own hands and introduced canine probiotics and digestive enzymes to his diet. In less than one week he had no symptoms and was eating like a champ. He no longer throws up and his stool is normal.

    None of the veterinarians here will help me regarding preparing food for my dog. Every time they recommended the canned formulas he got sicker and sicker. Right now I am giving him omega-3 oil chews, probiotics, Dr. Mercola's digestive enzymes, a multivitamin from the vet's office, grass-fed lamb or beef ( reduced portions), some egg whites with a little yolk, white rice, canned organic pumpkin, steamed zucchini or riced broccoli/ cauliflower, or green beans and collard greens. PLEASE help me with any suggestions!
  • To slow the progression of the renal disease which cannot be stopped, several studies have confirmed that lowering the phosphorous intake is important.
    NO over the counter commercial food is low enough in phosphorous to meet the current renal recommendations.
    Only a product sold through vets can legally be lower in phos; hence why vets carry certain pet foods or write a prescription.
    Please do not think ill of them - they are in fact providing you with a product that you could not otherwise obtain.

    So you should probably NOT be adding all those extra foods and supplements (
    probiotics, Dr. Mercola's  digestive enzymes, a multivitamin) which  add phosphorous and fed a diet appropriately lowered in phosphorous.
    You should determine the phos content of your diets b/c it does not appear to be nutritionally complete or balanced. 

  • I'm looking for someone to help me understand the importance of AAFCO feeding trials. First of all, even if I go to AAFCO's website, I cannot find a document that outlines what the trial entails. Nevertheless, opinions about it abound. The main thing that caught my attention is that it is only a 6 month trial on 8 young, healthy dogs, and only 6 of the 8 have to make it to the end of the trial. How does this translate into an accurate investigation as to whether an ingredient is being under or over-supplemented and whether there will be ill effects from more chronic ingestion of other, potentially toxic, ingredients? Thanks!
  • The full AAFCO feeding trial protocol is available in the AAFCO manual ($150). See https://www.aafco.org/Publications.
    We do offer phone consults ($300/hr) on such topics.
    Please let me know if you would like to proceed with a consult.
  • My 13-year old black lab, 60 pounds, has been diagnosed with kidney disease. She will not eat any of the canned or dry food recommended by my vet. I located a recipe for homemade dog food for dogs with kidney disease at this website: https://topdogtips.com/homemade-dog-food-for-kidney-disease-recipe/

    My vet wants me to find out if this is a diet that is adequately balanced for my dog's nutritional needs. Are you able to evaluate the diet and make any recommendations? For example, can cooked chicken or ground turkey be substituted for the ground beef?

    The ingredients are listed below, with all items pre-cooked then mixed together, with about half pureed. Thanks in advance for your help. Charles Kenyon

    2 lbs. lean ground beef
    1 pint liquid egg whites or 12-15 egg whites
    1 lb. green beans
    1 large sweet potato
    2 cups brown rice
    2 cups pumpkin
    1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped or 3/4 cup dried parsley
    1 large apple chopped
    2 tbs. coconut oil
  • There are several different kinds of canine renal disease. This recipe is not appropriate for any of them. It is not nutritionally complete or balanced. It is excessive in protein, deficient in calcium, essential B vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, and has an inverse Ca:P ratio … which will hasten the demise of your dog even it did not have renal disease.  

    Note to the wise … see your veterinarian and shy away from those wanting to play one on the web.

  • What is the relationship between a diet's recommended portion and the complete and balanced threshold? In other words, if in order to feed the correct amount of calories for my dog's weight, I have to reduce the portion significantly, is she still getting complete and balanced nutrition?
  • Most commercial products have a 10-15% leeway built in, i.e., you can feed 10-15% less than that recommended on the feeding chart and still be within the daily recommended amount for most products.

    'Never say always and always say usually' ....

    However if you have to feed 75% or less of the recommended amount of food to get weight loss or proper weight maintenance, then you may be deficient on some nutrients and should find a more concentrated product.

    This is why weight loss diets are specifically formulated and why they are only sold through vets.

  • I looked up the ingredients of the Chef's Complete product that you recommend be supplemented and it contains 65% ash (which to me does not seem to have any nutritional value). Is there any supplement that does not contain that or at least so much of that?

    Thank you.
  • The laboratory test called 'ash' is the sum total of all the macro and micro minerals, and chelates of the vitamins.
    It is fact in the nutrients you are expecting to find in a vitamin mineral supplement.
    Every vitamin mineral supplement will have a high 'ash' content.


     
  • recently I was made aware of a notice from the FDA regarding grain free diets and a higher incidence of heart disease in dogs on a grain free diet. True?
    I feed my Brittany Merrick grain free back country and add Evanger's sweet potato as a wet food supplement. I have no reason to believe that she is allergic to grains but was of the mind that grain free was in general better for her. your opinion please.
  • Yes the FDA is investigating the relationship between canine Dilated Cardio Myopathy (DCM). The relationship or mechanism has not yet be clarified. Dogs do very well on grains and there is no nutritional advantage to feeding a grain free diet. It was a marketing ploy and worked!

1226 Results Found FirstPrevious 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10Next   Page 3 of 123