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  • 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!

  • Hi-I have changed my dogs food over since beginning of October to a different brand of kibble.
    The one he is on is grain free hypo allergenic and he seems to have quite a bit of wind now and then.
    How do I know if it’s the new kibble not agreeing with him? His toilet is all normal
    He is a 3 year old miniature schnauzer

    Thanks in advance
  • If you switched to a "no grain" food then you are most likely feeding a high level of legumes and they cause flatulence (gas).
    There is solid reason nutritionally for the 'no grain' fade (marketing ploy) so remove the legumes from this diet and breathe easier.
  • When we adopted our rescue dog we were told he had a sensitive stomach and have since tried several of the best dog foods available with no more than 2-3 days of relief before his diarrhea starts up again. We've decided to switch to a homemade diet and will be slowly adding ingredients (one per week) to find out what he can eat. At the moment his food consists of 80oz chicken, 40oz white rice, 29oz pumpkin, and 12oz green beans. We'll be adding cranberries, peas, and carrots over the next few weeks. I know that we need to begin adding in a calcium supplement but what other vitamins/foods do you recommend we add to his diet?
  • Diarrhea does not come from stomach issues but an intestinal problem; either small or large bowel, or possibly both. Your guessing at the ingredients to be included in a homemade diet is not advisable if you are looking for a remedy soon rather than later.

    You should be using as FEW ingredients as possible not more

    Green beans, cranberries, peas, and carrots have little to no nutritional value for the dog when attempting to balance a homemade recipe, but they do complicate/confound resolution of your medical problem.

    80% meat is TOO much

    You need a vitamin and mineral supplement - an amount dependent upon the deficiencies created by the main ingredients.

    You need a homemade diet formulated properly by a nutritionist, and if the medical issue with the intestines is significant, then you would be better off consulting with a Veterinary Nutritionist. See

  • My 8 yr old duck Toller retriever just had knee surgery. It was recommended by the orthopaedic vet surgeon that I put switch my dog to Hills j/d for joint health. I am a bit concerned about some of the top ingredients which I’ve read are of low quality and simply cheap fillers eg. brewers rice, powdered cellulose, soybean meal, just to name a few. Why do they use these if only that it is cheap? This food is considerably more expensive then what I considered was a good dog food recommended to me by my breeder.
  • You have been taking your nutrition information from the "blather" on the web.
    Those are not cheap, low nutrient dense ingredients and I personally have used the j/d product on several patients with success.
    You simply have to decide first from whom you will be taking your nutritional advice .... check credentials, licenses, diplomas and certifications and not testimonials.

  • Protein Requirements for Senior Dogs.

    I reading from the AKC Canine Health Foundation:
    “Studies show that there is at least a 50 percent increase in the dietary protein requirement in elderly dogs,” says Joseph J. Wakshlag, D.V.M., Ph.D., DACVN, DACVSMR, associate professor at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. They then referenced a Purina study about protein requirements for senior dogs.

    I'm searching but can't find any studies to support the above. Having trouble buying in to the 50% increase. I feed J/D (19.2) which is a bit on the lower end of the AAFCO recommendations. How the heck do I get to 38.4? I'd appreciate your comments on the science of protein requirements for senior dogs. Thanks! Oh by way, my 12 year old Golden does not appear to be losing muscle mass on J/D but we do a lot of core work outs using FitPaws equipment.
  • "50% more" is not 19 x 2 that would be a 100% increase but 19 x 1.5 = 28 is a 50% of 19 more.
    AAFCO makes no senior dog recommendations but min of 18% with no upper limit, so if you follow through 18x 1.5 = 27%.

    I have no doubt that due to decreases in metabolic efficiency that senior dogs have decreased ability to maintain muscle mass, but does simply feeding more of the same protein overcome that?
    I doubt that very much.

    Actually dogs (and people) do not have a 'protein' requirement. They actually only require nitrogen and specific amino acids. We just lump it all together for the non-scientists and call it protein.
    In truth if you provide more of the same specifically required amino acids in an amount that hopefully overcome decreased digestibility and metabolizability, then we should be minimizing the loss of muscle mass.  So you can beat yourself up to find a 27-28% crude protein diet but may not be providing more of the specific amino acids needed.  The crude protein # (everyone harps on) actually tells us NOTHING about the protein quality (amino acid profile relative to the dog’s need).

    I would go with what the dog shows me.
  • While trying to determine what companies are reputable and use nutritionists to help formulate their diets, companies are providing a wide variety of answers about how they develop their diets.
    Can you please tell me the validity of a PhD, DACAN, CNS, PFS in comparison to a DACVN boarded nutritionist? I know the DACVN is the ideal. If they are using a “nutritionist” with the other certifications to formulate their diets, should those diets be avoided? Specifically regarding the taurine deficiency issues currently?
  • The distinguishing features of the DACVN is that one must be a veterinarian, completed 1 yr veterinary internship and 2 yrs of a Veterinary Clinical Nutrition Residency (similar to MDs).

    The others certifications do not require a veterinary degree, although some people may also have a veterinary degree but it is not required.


    The DCM issue may not be about taurine – first of all … not all the dog cases presented to the FDA were in fact taurine deficient. And not all affected dogs got better when taurine was given back. So the mechanism is still being worked out, and will most likely be more complex than just a taurine deficient diet. That does not explain all the canine cases under investigation.


    There is no requirement that any dog food product on the market has been formulated by someone who has XYZ degree or training or experience. Only that the final nutrient profile meets some criteria preferably by FEEDING trials and not by NUTRIENT profiles. Chances are very good that if those foods that caused the DCM problem had undergone AAFCO feeding trials, the problem would have been discovered in a highly controlled research setting much sooner, and those products would not have been on the shelf for sale.  I recommend feeding foods that have passed an AFFCO feeding trial. Most pet food companies and stores do not really know the difference or down play the importance, but this recent episode highlights the real need to have the food fed tested for min 6 months BEFORE it goes on the shelf. Only the top 3-6 pet food companies do this work routinely b/c it is expensive to do: ~$50K/ product vs. a lab analysis ~$2k/product done by med size to small to even tiny mom&pop companies that most pet owners think is local, quaint and therefore best. The smaller the company the more likely the product quality controls are poor, lax or altogether missing.


    If you feed a product that has undergone/passed a feeding trial, then you really do not have to be painfully worried about the credentials of the formulator. I am of the opinion, that if your dog is healthy, then you need not be that concerned about whether the diet was formulated by a DACVN. However if your dog does have a medical condition, then yes you want a DACVN on the team of formulators.  I do think you should have be comfortable that the formulator were certified by some independent nationally/internationally recognized body. So yes the companies should use a team of certified experience formulator …….. but that is not required to make a dog food …. So it can be a distinguishing point.

  • My vet said she put her 16 year old Lab on Hills Science Diet J/D food because a rep convinced her it would change her dogs life. It turns out after 50 days it did. It was then prescribed to my dogs. After researching this food I have found Science Diet is not a quality product. currently my dogs are on a five-star food that they are doing very well on. I supplement them with Dasuquin but I understand the benefits of having the glucosamine and chondroitin supplements in the kibble. But do I have to give up the quality of my food to get this? Can you recommend a food that is grain-free and can also provide benefits for my senior dogs with arthritis?
  • There is NO independently regulated dog food rating scheme. It is arbitrary and in my opinion is consumer fraud. Secondly, there is NO way to evaluate a food based on the ingredient list. This has been perpetuated by those who actually no very little about the pet food industry for if they did know the industry well, they would know that AAFCO does not allow quality ratings on ingredients, etc. The whole idea that one can rate a product based on a list that was not intended to indicate quality is the consumer fraud. The 5 star means actually nothing of real value = bogus. Crowd sourcing information by the uninformed is useless.


    On the other hand, when you read the sci literature completed on clinical trials done feeding j/d by independent University veterinary specialists the product speaks for itself in that it actually does change the metabolic profile of inflammation in these older painful dogs. I go with science over gossip every time. 

  • I’m transitioning my 65# Bully to a raw diet. Dr Becker’s “Real Food for Healthy Dogs & Cats: Simple Homemade Food” is my starting point as her approach is balanced with various meat mixes, fats, bone, and minerals. What is your take on a raw diet
  • Simple:
    1. We do not recommend feeding raw given there are NO documented nutritional advantages (often said/repeated but no independent documentation available in 10+ yrs) however the risks of food poisoning are real and has been documented. I have seen adult dogs die of food poisoning.
    2. Dr. Becker is not a nutritionist. Given she has no ACVN nutritional training and most general vets cannot properly balance a homemade diet - buyer beware. See uses Steve Brown's software who is not a veterinarian or nutritionist but does sell raw diet products.
    3. In a JAVMA, Vol 242, No. 11, June 1, 2013 review of 200 homemade recipes for adult dogs easily available to pet owners, some written by 'vets', 95% of recipes resulted in at least 1 essential nutrient at concentrations that did not meet NRC or AAFCO guidelines, and 83.5% recipes had multiple deficiencies.

  • Found you via skeptvet site
    Golden - 12 years - 2 x Agility Champion (wear & tear). Recent spinal x-rays revealed "impressive" spinal stenosis. Managing quality of life with pain meds. My question is: I've been feeding him Hills J/D for the past 6 years and wondering if further supplementing with fish oil, glucosamine etc would have any benefit (in your opinion). Thinking J/D is already formulated for maximum benefit. Thank-you
  • The issue is that we do not know the optimal or maximum effective dose of either. Having said that, the amount in j/d (in combination with the other attributes) did change the DNA foot print of inflammation to favor the dog, so we know that dose does have some positive effects. There is no evidence to my knowledge in this case that more is better, on the other hand, more would not be harmful if the dog would eat it.  So I do not know, and I really can't suggest how you would know (objectively) after giving more for 4 or more weeks. 

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