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  • RE: Purina's purchase of Merrick pet foods (which includes a few other brands), a pet food company that touts a "holistic" lineup of dog and cat foods.

    I'm no longer taken in by slogans like "natural" and "holistic" but would like to have more food choices for my cats. As a consumer on behalf of my cats, variety appeals to me.
    Now, I stick with those pet foods that are commercially formulated by on-staff animal nutritionists like as yourself. Purina is currently the mainstay of what I buy for my pride. Science Diet and Royal Canin are just not affordable on my multi-cat household budget. My choices are further self-limited, however, because I don't feed any of the Purina formulas that contain fish.

    I always avoid cat foods from companies like Merrick. Now that Purina owns them, do you think Purina will oversee the Merrick formulas for nutritional soundness, etc. and make any necessary changes as per nutritional science and not marketing hype? If the price point is reasonable, I would have more foods to pick from for my kitties.

  • As I see it ..... Purina prides itself on excellent nutrition while saying one size food does not fit all pets and does not fit all owners preferences, so they are at the top when it comes to providing options after first providing sound nutritional value.

    So Merrick products bring yet another slate of options to accomodate the many different pet owner perferences, and yes if the current products do not fit Purina's nutritional criteria, then changes will be made to bring those products into line while not changing the "apparent" options Merrick offered. 


    The "Merrick" line of products may be discontinued - swallowed up and will disappear from the market place b/c one successful ploy in a competitive field of business is to simply buy out your competitor and make them go away. 

    I really cannot tell you which way it will go ....


  • My question is about carbohydrates and their role in food allergies. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is protein in carbs and that is what the dog reacts to? Now if that is true, will the dog only react if within the ingredient list you find, wheat gluten, corn gluten, pea protein, potato protein etc...or if they are sensitive to one of those ingredients they will react to the carb in it's whole form because of the protein fraction in it?

    For example, my dogs get treats with wheat flour, however the dog with food allergies (diganosed by food trial with RC Hydrolyzed Protein) seems to react to the Pro Plan tubbed wet food that contains wheat gluten, but not these treats. His symptoms include; red mouth, acne like bumps around his mouth, red/raw inbetween his digits, yeast build-up under his nail beds and inbetween his digits and constant paw licking. We stopped the Pro Plan tubbed food and went back to the normal canned food he gets which is the same variety as the dry (Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach) and the red digit and mouth went away.
  • In food allergy, the problem is with the protein fraction and yes grains do contain some (less than 10% protein). The immune system does not react to carb, fat, fiber, vitamin or a mineral - only a protein.
    Yes the gluten form of a grain as an ingredient in pet foods is a concentration form of the grain protein added to provide the essential sulfur amino acids that are lacking in meat proteins.

    Wheat flour is predominately (90%) starch which does not cause an allergic reaction but wheat protein fraction can cause an allergic reaction.  In RC HP, only the soybean protein has been hydrolyzed but the potato protein is whole. In the Hill’s z/d Ultra .... the protein source chicken liver has been hydrolyzed and the carb source is 'corn starch' - so the corn protein fraction was omitted. So yes, the grain ingredient does bring in protein, usually very small, glutens are concentrated grain protein ingredients which can cause a response from the immune system.

  • Hi, I recently purchased two recipes from you for my 12 year old mini dachshund. One was beef/rice/veggie 35% protein, 20% fat, 4% fiber and the other is chicken thigh/sweet potato/veggie with 31% protein, 9%fat, 8% fiber (isn't that very high carbs). The recipes are so varied in the nutritional ratio content, could you explain why? My main concern is making sure my senior dog has a healthy as diet as possible, what are the main objectives I should have when feeding him a homemade diet? Protein/ fat/ carbs/ fiber etc.? I am using the Balanceit supplement. Thank you so much for taking time to answer my questions.
  • The nutrient profile difference between these 2 recipes is actually quite small in protein. The fat varies depending on whether you want/requested high, low or moderate calorie content. The fiber content will vary depending on whether you want/requested high, low or moderate fiber content. The carb amount then completes the remaining percent which can vary between 20-80%. There is no carb minimum or maximum recommendation unless the dog has diabetes. The % protein, fat and fiber best for your dog depends on many factors such as body condition score and most recent blood work. If you need or would like a personalized nutritional recommendation, I can do that through our Nutrition Consultation Service.

  • I have 2 8 month old goldendoodle puppies. After 2 months of frustrating diarrhea we found out One of them has an intolerance to chicken so I have been feeding them Nature's Variety Limited Ingredient. I love the food however the price has increased twice and the bags have gotten smaller and local pet stores are no longer selling the rabbit flavor because of how quickly it expires. I would like to look into another brand that does the rotational diet and would be a good fit. A few people have suggested Zignature but i have read reviews that it causes dogs to defecate 4-5 times a day in large quantities. (Mine poop twice a day and somewhat small amount for being 65 lbs). Our other dog eats Fromm and I love that brand however they don't have a limited ingredient line. I've read through some of their 4 star flavored and there are a few that don't contain chicken. Would they be ok with these foods or should I just stick with NVLID?
    I'm so overwhelmed with all of the options and reviews!
  • The good news is that reading ‘reviews’ about a food fed to a different dog is not the best way to select a dogfood. If your dog is truly chicken intolerant and should not eat any chicken products, then you should not feed any OTC dog food because they are not clean enough. Limited ingredient dog foods are still "contaminated" with other ingredients in the processing system - but not on the label. This has been clearly demonstrated in half a dozen studies from as many different researchers in both the US and Europe. It is not even a debatable point any more. So you will have to first decide how important it is to you and your dog that you avoid chicken ....

    If very important ... then you will have to feed a food from the Veterinary Therapeutic Line of food b/c they are produced (plant shut down for an 8 hr cleaning schedule between different products), tested (ELISA and PCR) and guaranteed (sold to Vets) to be clean of contaminates. Examples are Hill's d/d line or Royal Canin Hypoallergenic line ... these foods cost more because of this guarantee.

    If not so important and you are willing to put up with the occasional contaminated food  and the diarrhea (usually occurs after opening a new bag), then continue to read labels and select a product that does not contain chicken or poultry ingredients from a company that makes THIER OWN FOOD, and does NOT use chicken or poultry products in any of their other dog food products. If a manufacturer does not make their own food but has it made for them (90% of pet food manufacturers) then you cannot assess if poultry ingredients are in the plant because you would have to review every body’s product line made at that plant = impossible.

    Ignore the reviews by self-appointed "dog food experts" and those that have made up their own "evaluation or rating" system .... all are bogus, misdirected, misleading and causing more confusion than clarity.
  • How would it be if I read your entire 1000+ question web site to research my dog's food choices, only to wind up feeding him Dog Chow? Do people routinely have to defend themselves against people who assume they are uneducated because they are feeding a common but unfashionable food? Will future breeders reject my puppy application if my current dog is eating Dog Chow?
  • How would it be if I read your entire 1000+ question web site to research my dog's food choices, only to wind up feeding him Dog Chow?
    You would not be the first.

    Do people routinely have to defend themselves against people who assume they are uneducated because they are feeding a common but unfashionable food?
    Yes .. if you read some of these FAQ you will hear the same frustrations.

    Will future breeders reject my puppy application if my current dog is eating Dog Chow?
    Well breeders already take the liberty of dictating what your dog can be fed ..... so yes it might happen.

  • I have a female dog who has been diagnosed with struvite stones. please can you tell me what tit bits I can use for training purposes?

  • Anything you want .... struvite in the dog is caused by a urinary tract infection .... which is an antibiotic deficiency and not a dietary issue.
  • What is your opinion on the claim that brands like Purina use 4-D animals and euthanized cats and dogs? Why do you feel that such a ridiculous rumor was started?
  • There is an anti-big business, anti-big pet food sentiment for some reason(s).
    The euthanized cats and dogs issue was laid to rest in 2005 when the FDA tested pet foods for canine and feline DNA and found none.
    Basically not enough people can or do read the scientific literature.

  • Do you use certified nutritionists?
  • Yes. See our "about us" page for details.
  • The recipe I ordered suggests wheat germ, crude, flakes and Chef's Canine Complete. I currently include fish oil, powdered egg shells and organ meats in my dogs diet which your calculator does not allow consideration. I don't wish to include supplements such as Canine Complete because I don't recognize the ingredients. This is why I make the food rather than buy commercial. Can you provide a recipe where needs are met without supplements? Any layman with a little research can come up with a recipe using supplements! Thank you in advance for your help.
  • Can you provide a recipe where needs are met without supplements?
    Sorry it cannot be done ..... IF you wish to formulate a diet according to AAFCO and/or NRC nutrient recommendations for adult dogs.

    Yes you can slam any thing together but if you wish to actually meet the nutrients needs in thier proper ratio to not only each other but the caloric density, one has to use synthetic formulations of the vitamins. One can easily look up the ingredient names online and quickly see what the common nutritent name is, in fact most ingredients in that supplement supply more than one nutrient. 

    I have been attempting to properly balance Homemade recipes for client owned dog for nearly 30 yrs, and although asked many times to do it using only "whole" foods, I have not yet been able to do so..... I have 15-20 colleagues who basically do the same type of work, and none of them have been able to do so either. So if you really meet AAFCO or NRC stated nutrient intakes ..... please show us all how it is done!

    "Any layman with a little research can come up with a recipe using supplements!" Apparently not so .... In an independent study of 200 homemade recipes for adult dogs made available to pet owners through the internet and books, only 5 (2.5%) were nutritionally balanced correctly, and those 5 were formulated by veterinarians with advanced training in nutrition. This study was conducted by the School of Veterinary Medicine at University of California and published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Assoc. June 2013 if you care to see more detail.

  • I have a two year old large Choc lab with allergies. I'd like to know if you know of a good quality food with limited ingredients. I don't care about the price, just want to find a food that will be of best quality and that will help with his allergies.
    Thank you,
  • If the dog does have food allergies, then your only option is a list of products that have been tested and specifically guarantee to be clean other proteins (routine contaminates).
    This leads you to the veterinary therapeutic market ... no OTC pet food can or does make this claim.

    Secondly, despite what you read everywhere ..... there is no "quality" assessment that can be of pet food based on the label. There is also no unbiased independent system of evaluating pet foods .....
    Each self-appointed expert has designed their own system of evaluation which may or may not include assessments that are important to you and your dog.
    So I have to ask by what criteria do you consider a pet food high vs low quality before I can begin to help to select a product.
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