Ask the Veterinary Nutritionist

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  • I have a 3 year old patterdale terrier who has gastritis and chicken intolerance, i have been making her food since she was 6 mo old and I am worried she is not getting enough nutrients. Her meals consist of boiled ground meat, sweet potato, russet potato, carrot, green bean and oats. I have tried several different foods from dry to raw, she always gets diarrhea within the first 5 days of weaning this into her diet. What can I do.
    Thank you for your time.
  • Your homemade diet is not nutritonally complete or balanced.
    I suggest you have a Boarded Veterinary Nutritionist balance a recipe for you, likley using the some of the same ingredients.
  • I know the AAFCO guidelines, but what is the ideal omega 6-3 ratio for oil being added to homemade food?
    Thank you.
  • No one knows - despite claims by different pet food companies. It is not clear. It may actually be an optimal range, and that may be different in different cases (maintenance vs. growth vs a disease process). This is why independent groups such as AAFCO, NRC and FEDIAF, after assessing the scientific literature, could not make a ration recommendation. Each has made some suggestion on the concentration of individual fatty acids, and not by category. Omega 3 is a category including several different specific fatty acids. For example, ALA is an omega 3 with very likely little hepatic conversion to the more potent EPA or DHA. So within the category omega 3, there are different fatty acids and not all are beneficial. Hence if the suggested intakes of individual fatty acids is unclear – then attempting to say what is optimal by category is pretty near impossible if not useless.
  • Hello, My dog, Jackson, is a Coton De Tulear and is 11 years old. He has protein in his urine and is in the early stages of kidney disease. I am needing to change his food, but would like to stay away from commercial dry/wet food. I have made his food in the past, but since getting a second dog, have switched to Pet Fresh refrigerated food. Jackson's homemade food consisted of coconut oil, chicken livers, ground chicken, dried seaweed, eggs, brown rice, oats, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, green beans or peas, blueberries, and after reheating his food we add fish oil. What modifications do I need to make? He usually eats two 8oz portions per day. He is 20lbs.
  • If you are buying a commercially made product: dry, canned or fresh - you cannot make the correct changes to the diet for protein losing nephropathy (PLN). Treating PLN is NOT about adding more things to the current diet but altering the nutrient profile (readjusting the formulation of ingredients) of the diet. If you want to continue feeding a fresh food, then you will have to make it yourself (homemade) or have a specific recipes made and sent to you.
     
  • I am getting a new dog soon (no known health issues) and I have a serious gluten allergy. Even cross-contamination or breathing gluten can affect me. Could you take a look at this brand link [omitted] and tell me if this is nutritionally complete and/or if there might be any other issues? Thank you so much.
  • The product has a complete and balanced claim for all dogs except growing large breed dogs. However the issue for you is NOT only is this dog food gluten free but is the food made in a gluten free plant. It is unlikely that this company has its own dry dog manufacturing plant and more likely the food is made by a Co-packer. If the Co-packer makes dog food for other companies that use gluten grains, then likely all dog foods made in that plant contain some gluten. Cross contamination is highly likely. Depending on your level of sensitivity, you may want to make your dog's food yourself in your own kitchen. 
  • Hello, I feed my dogs a good high quality kibble but also add in raw food, and other things like duck feet, quail eggs etc. i don’t want to go 100% raw because having them on kibble still makes it easier when we are gone camping for a week, rushing in the morning before work and what not. My question is, I don’t know how much raw food I should be adding to my dogs kibble. My lab is 8 months old, and eats 1 1/3 cup 3 times a day. I take out about 1/3 cup of kibble to add his raw but I just eyeball it. I’m very worried about making him overweight. My other dog eats 1/2 twice a day, I also take out some kibble and add raw to his dinners but again, just eyeball it. It would be nice to know how much raw to kibble exactly I should be feeding. Thanks!
  • We do not recommend feeding raw meat or eggs to household pets.
    Most kibble are nutritionally complete and balanced. If you any ADD single food items (raw or not) to the kibble, you are then Unbalanced the nutrient profile you just paid good money for.
    At best most commercial kibble have a 10% margin, so at best you can risk adding up to 10% of any food without Unbalancing the diet.
    Simply put, either feed the kibble or balanced homemade recipe. You can mix two balanced diets, in any portion you wish. 
  • Hi,
    Some people recommend switching proteins quickly or often to build "immunity" for "the gut" so that it is less sensitive to changes. Is there any evidence to suggest this is beneficial?
    Is Vitamin B destruction from cooking significant enough to alter how a raw vs cooked home diet should be formulated?
    Thank you!
  • Is there any evidence to suggest this is beneficial? NONE.
    Is Vitamin B destruction from cooking significant enough to alter how a raw vs cooked home diet should be formulated? There are many "B-vitamins" and yes 2 of them are partially denatured by over cooking. There are not enough B vitamins in any raw diet to meet the dog's requirement, so it is a moot point. Feeding a raw or cooked homemade diet, a vitamin supplement is always needed to meet current canine recommended daily intakes. 
     
  • Good morning,
    I have a dog that may had Addison disease. Do these recipes include all the nutrition I need?
    Thanks
  • Yes all recipes in the automated HMD recipe module for healthy pets are nutritionally complete and balanced.
    Yes all the dietary recommendations we make for a pet with a medical condition are nutritionally complete and balanced as well.
  • My 11 year old beagle had kidney disease and pancreatitis. Hard to find vet food to support both, can you recommend a home based diet?
  • We understand your problem and have experience in these areas.Correct there are no low fat renal diets on the market for most cases. We are most willing to make dietary recommendations which may include a homemade diet OR other commercial products for your dog with renal and pancreas disease.  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.
     
    We will need more information about your particular pet, dietary history, and current medical data to make specific suggestions. Diet recommendations for pets with a medical condition are done individually. We most often can incorporate current dietary recommendations and principles into one diet and complete that request in less than 5 business days of the teleconsult.
     
    IMPORTANT: We work as a specialty consultant to your veterinarian. Your primary care veterinarian is a vital partner in the care of your pet and must provide us with the most recent or relevant medical records (MR) (fax 1800.649.2043 or email VetNut@att.net) at your request. Per AVMA and most state regulations, you the owner must request to have your records sent to us. You can check with us at any time to see if we have received the medical records after you have made that request of your local or specialty veterinarian(s). All nutrition consults must involve a local or specialty veterinarian with whom you have established a Veterinarian/Client/Patient relationship (VCPR) per state Veterinary Medical Board regulations. We will attempt to obtain the signed VCPR form for you after we have received the MR. This is not optional and cannot be sidestepped. We will send our written recommendation to your veterinarian by fax and email. You will be asked to provide this contact information in the consult form.
     
    We can, on paper, balance most any reasonable dietary request. The fee covers the review of the medical record, product research, and recipe formulation. The homemade recipe instructions are quite detailed yet give options and allow for substitutions if appropriate for the medical problem(s). Unique dietary requests for individual patients are what we do best. The homemade formulations involve protein and energy sources, vegetables if appropriate, and a single, readily available specifically designed vitamin/mineral supplement. We give the daily food amounts in grams for each food per day but you can make batches for several days if you wish. Adding vitamin and mineral supplements to homemade diets for dogs or cats can be cumbersome and difficult to do properly. We most often suggest a veterinary all-in-one supplement designed specifically for dogs or cats fed a homemade diet.  However, other supplement options (human over-the-counter products) are possible if appropriate. Most times, we can design a diet that accommodates more than one pet in the household if needed.
     
    There is an additional charge of $250 to reformulate the diet if a major change in ingredients or supplements that were not previously specified or if the pet should develop another medical condition. We guarantee that our dietary recommendations will be nutritionally complete and balanced for your pet’s medical condition(s) according to the most current dietary recommendations.
     
    Please let us know if you have trouble ordering the consultation online or have additional questions.
     
  • Hi. Our dog is a Pit Bull/Australian Cattle dog mix and has allergies. We tried an elimination diet with the guidance of our Dermatology Vet but his allergies didn’t abate.
    We also did Cytopoint injection which the first time or two he received it seemed to help but the last one not at all. Guessing he is allergic to something in the environment. Wondering if you would suggest we do an allergy test for environmental factors only. Believe they can be costly and wondering if they are accurate. Not sure if this information is relevant but our dog also has an autoimmune disease. We have made homemade food for him and he loves it but it didn’t seem to affect his allergies either way.
  • The environmental allergy test has been validated.
    The blood allergy test for food has not been validated - but they'll take your money to run the test.
    If positive on the inhalant test, then do a food elimination trial if clinical signs persist.
  • Hi. I am making to a diet for my pet under the guidance of a holistic vet.. but I think this question is more for a vetinary nutritionist so I hope you don't mind me asking. I've spent so much money trying to formulate the best way to feed my baby.
    I need a vitamin E suppliment and I just use one capsule 268 mg per 1.5 kgs food. So the active ingredients are natural mixed vitamin E tocepherals -d alpha d beta d gamma and d delta, and I wanted to check please that a tiny amount of the other Ingredients arent toxic to cats. These are silica , whole rice concentrate and soy, from which the vitamin E is derived. I know soys not great but it's not much. Thanks very much.
  • Vit E in the form of beta, gamma and delta are not biologically available to the cat and do not fulfill the 'Vit E requirement'. Please beware. Most homemade diets formulated by 'Vets' in general, are not nutritionally complete and balanced. There is no requirement that a 'holistic' vet has had adequate nutritional training. I would strongly suggest having the recipe checked by a Veterinary Nutritionist before feeding.
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