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!

  • Is there anything high quality for a food that has no fish oil or anything fishy for my Anatolian Shepherd mix. She has been eating Blue Wilderness but we found she is allergic to fish in any form. Please, any input is very appreciated.
  • "a high quality dog food" is in the eye of the beholder and nothing more. There is no lack of personal opinion or self-proclaimed pet food experts or made up "rating systems" by those who wanna be a nutritionist in their next life but none are valid. There is NO official system of evaluation or certification on pet food product quality. Can we just put that aside?

    For your dog, yes there are of non-fish dog foods

  • My 11 year old mini poodle is on Royal Canin Fish & Potato RX canned for food allergens (beef and soy, via elimination diet) and fat intolerance (she gets acid indigestion symptoms). She is under the care of a Veterinary Dermatologist for food and environmental allergies.

    Would you recommend getting her Taurine levels checked to be safe? Is that file with the UC Davis info only for Golden Retrievers?

    Thank you. We will be discussing this with her primary care vet as well.
  • If you are feeding the Royal Canin adult PW canned food, if you look in the ingredient list, you will see that Taurine has been added to that food. A large international company like Royal Canin with an army of Veterinary Nutritionist has known of this potential problem for quite some time, tests their food accordingly, and colony dogs fed their food. DCM can occur in any dog however G Ret seems to be more vulnerable – possible a breed susceptible.  I do not know for certain if they are accepting samples from non G Ret.

  • Is there someone, even for a fee, that can analyze what I am feeding my dog and tell me if it is deficient is any way?
  • Please know that if you concocted your own homemade diet or obtained it from a book or off the net from someone who is not a veterinary nutritionist, there is a 95% chance the diet is not nutritionally complete and balanced according to a 2013 UC Davis study

    You have several options:

    1.     We can analyze your homemade recipe and correct it for $350 – includes nutrient corrections

    2.     You can send it off to the Lab for the full (~32 nutrient) AAFCO profile for $2500 – does not include nutrient corrections

    3.     You can send it off to a Lab for a partial (~10 nutrient) profile for $50 - does not include nutrient corrections

    4.     You can purchase a recipe online where you select the ingredients close to what you are currently feeding for $25 is correct from the start.

  • Are you familiar with Young Again cat food? I am looking to feed my 3 month old kitten the next best to a homemade diet. Right now I do a half can of Instinct wet kitten food in the morning and Young Again ZERO kibble as “free choice”, monotoring to make sure his intake doesn’t exceed the recommended amount. It’s an incredibly nutrient dense dry food with a lot of claims of illness prevention and even reversal (urine crystals, diabetes, etc.). My weary feeling is in just how high the protein content is, the trace carbohydrate content (I understand cats are obligate carnivores) and the small “mom & pop” company. I’ve done ALOT of research and this is the food I chose for many reasons. I’m just looking for a professional opinion on the adequacy of meeting my kittens nutritional needs and carrying him through his adult life. Here is a direct web address to the ZERO variety of food that I am feeding:
    Your insight and opinion is much appreciated. Many Thanks, Amanda
  • This statement indicates the food on paper meets AAFCO recommendations for growth and adult maintenance.

    "Young Again is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for All Life Stages."

    Apparently the food has not been fed in any actual feeding trials so your cat is a test.

    It is very energy dense which is what happens when you provide calories as fat and not carbs ... so most adult cats will become fat on this diet unless fed restricted amounts despite their claims. And if the cat becomes obese (no matter how that happens), the risk of diabetes is high, which of course again runs counter to their claim. I cannot tell you any more than that.

  • I am looking for a good puppy food for an 8-week old Pomsky that doesn’t contain any fish or fish oils as my wife is allergic and breaks out into hives when licked. We want to feed him with the best!
  • This is no small task given the importance.
    If you would like us to work up a search proposal, I'd be glad to do so.
    Will you not also need an adult food?
  • In the comment section below it was answered to someone that dogs cannot get all the nutrients that they need only from homemade food, hence they need supplements. I have a hard time thinking it may be so, then wild dogs and wolves that live and feed in nature are malnourished?
  • Yes mostly ... the diet need only minimally support them to meet their evolutionary duty - reproduce and that can be done by 18-24 months of age. So the hit or miss diet need only meet that low standard.

    Today people want their dogs to live "forever", disease free and thrive, so the demands on the dietary intake to meet these goals is very different than their ancestors and feral canines.
    Actually, what I say is that no one can meet AAFCO, NRC or FEDIAF daily recommended nutrient intakes in a homemade diet without using supplements. So now you have to decide if these 3 independent canine nutrient think tanks know what they are talking about when it comes to daily nutrient intakes that promote wellbeing in dogs through 15-20 yrs of life.
    Important to note: none of these 3 organizations have a food or supplement to sell you.
  • I have been told large breed puppy food can be bad for my dane puppy. People tell me to switch to adult food saying the puppy food is too high in protein.
    Should I stick with diamond large breed puppy, or switch to the adult brand.
    15 week's. Male greatdane/stbernard mix.
    Thank you!
  • 1. Protein intake is not the problem with Developmental Bone Diseases in large breed dogs .... so these "people" are about 20 yrs out of date.
    2. Yes stick with a large breed puppy food because the problem is really Calcium intake and AAFCO has set the maximum at 1.8% Ca on a dry matter basis to help protect these growing dogs.
    3. Adult brands actually contain too much calcium when you do the math correctly based on calorie intake, so that is not advisable until 12-15 months of age.

  • Why is iodine added to canned cat food? I currently feed my 2 cats First Mate canned cat food but the carbs on a caloric value are 19%. I am thinking of switching to Rawz but I see they also add iodine. Can you review the ingredients in Rawz, see below and let me know if this food is safe to feed. It is AFFCO approved and my 2.5 yr old kitties are healthy so far.
    INGREDIENT: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Fenugreek Seeds, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Vegetable Broth, Taurine, Tricalcium Phosphate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide, Folic Acid.

  • Why is iodine added to canned cat food? AAFCO requires a minimum amount of iodine in cat food and so if there is not a sufficient amount coming from the ingredients, regulations require that it be added.

    and let me know if this food is safe to feed? 

    'Safety' depends on the manufacturer following good manufacturing procedures, which is NO where on the pet food label.
    If you are asking are the ingredients 'safe to feed' ......... yes unless the manufacturer is in violation of AAFCO regulations which specifies which ingredients can be used in cat foods. Only approved ingredients may be used.
  • I am feeding my 11year old lab a homemade diet of ground beef or chicken, brown rice, pumpkin, green beans, chicken giblets,livers,hearts,some sardines and sweet potatoes. He also gets 2 vetri science senior multivitamins, 1 standard process Renatrophin, 1 1/2 cosaquin ds tabs. He is also on 500 mg 2 x a day of ciproflaxin for a cut tendon from 6 years ago. It is the only thing that keeps the infection away. He weighs about 86 lbs. takes I long walk and 1 or 2 short walks a day. Can still jump on the bed. Can you tell me how much I should feed him? Thank you so much for your help.
  • Despite feeding all those expensive supplements, it appears that the diet as you have described it is not complete or balanced.  If your pet has no medical issues, we have an automated module for owners to obtain a balanced diet for their healthy pet.

    Can  you tell me how much I should feed him?  

    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, etc.). You may select ingredients similar to those you are now feeding. The software will re-balance your diet properly, suggest a single vitamin & trace mineral supplement and give you the recommended daily food intake. 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 am trying very hard to home cook for my dog without supplements because I feel you can get all the supplements you need right in actual food. Wd you give me a simple outline that wd fit all requirements for a total diet for our dog. Thank you. One simple recipe wd help.
  • Sorry although you may 'feel' it should be possible, one cannot meet the current AAFCO, NRC or FEDIAF daily canine requirements for all 35+ nutrients in the proper concentration to energy and/or ratio to each other with a vitamin mineral supplement. I have tried to do it for 30+ yrs using all 8000+ nutrients in the USDA human nutrition database, so I am pretty confident it cannot be done.

    For example, the average 30 lb would have to eat 43 medium apples or 2 lbs of carrots every day just to meet 3 of the known essential vitamins. So vegetable and fruits do contain vitamins and trace minerals, but in very low concentrations. .... too low to meet the daily recommended requirement in a reasonable amount of food a dog can consume in one day.
1226 Results Found FirstPrevious 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10Next   Page 5 of 123