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  • Which vegan commercial dog foods meet or exceed the AAFCO recommendations and include all of the essential amino acids for long-term health?
  • Sorry I do not keep track of that simply because you do that better yourself by simply looking at the product or the web site information. If not such information is readily available on the web site, then move onto another product. You are looking for "formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Nutrient Profiles for Maintenance" or better yet "passed AAFCO feeding trials for adult dogs".

  • My dog had been on Science Diet Sensitive Stomach recommended by his vet due to loose to watery stools. I found out that Science Diet isn't a very good food and since he had on occasion eaten a friend's food (Blue Buffalo Small Breed Chicken) and had no issues I slowly weaned him off of the Science Diet and onto Blue Buffalo Freedom Large Breed Chicken (he's a 90lb Boxer/Great Dane mix). He had been doing well and then in the last week he had diarrhea all over the carpet 2 times (he does not does this unless he can't control it). I switched him to a boiled chicken and pumpkin diet for about 4 days to settle his stomach and he had no issues.

    I started to slowly add the dry food back in (1 cup dry and 2 cups boiled chicken). The following day he made a mess on the carpet again. It always happens 18-24hrs after eating the dry food.

    Do I switch him to a different protein? He's already on grain free. I don't know what step to take next so he's currently back on boiled chicken & pumpkin.
  • Diarrhea the dog cannot control is not a ‘stomach’ issue. It is more likely a large bowel issue.

    Most large bowel are resolved with fiber type and quantity to be determined in each case. Some large bowel conditions respond best to low fiber while others respond best to moderate or high fiber.

    It is unlikely to have ANY thing to do with the protein source or type, and has little to do with grain or no grain.

    I suggest you stop guessing, have the dog examined by your vet, get some medications to help control the diarrhea, and then consider a various types of fiber products.

    You may very well end up back on a Science Diet product because Hill's makes some very good fiber products when you know what you are looking at.

  • First, let me start by thanking you for this forum – it is an excellent way for us to educate ourselves based on science and not current fads, etc.

    Second: I feed my two dogs dry dog food and often struggle to determine how much meat-based protein is in the food – especially with grain-free foods which nearly always use peas to boost the protein. Looking at the protein% on the bag does not help because it could be mostly pea/non-meat based protein. I expect that if I called the pet food manufacturer, they will not tell me how much of the protein is meat-based vs vegetable-based. I am not necessarily looking for a high-protein food, but I also don’t want to pay $$ for a food that is mostly pea-based protein. I did a little research to see how the amino acids of peas differ from meat. What I read indicated that peas are very low in methionine whereas meats are high in methionine and that a food that has a decent amount of meat in it should not need to supplement with methionine. I looked at labels of various pet foods and it appeared that the cheaper products were supplemented with methionine and the more expensive products were not (though this was not always the case). Would it be reasonable to think that a dog food that lists methionine on the ingredient list has lesser meat-based protein?? Thank you for your help. This web site is invaluable!
  • The individual amino acids may be included in the product for a number of reasons .... and you will nevet know why.

    1. The actual amount of meat could be low in the product - just b/c it may be listed first due to water content and therefore is heavy also means is contributes less to the dry matter (nutrient content).

    2. The meat may indeed be of poor quality and they know it.

    3. They may not actually know the amino acid content of their ingredients and so adding individual amino acids is done just in case.

    In summary, despite the blather all over the web about how to evaluate a pet food by the label is just pure BS. This race to get meat listed as the first ingredient and 'grain free' has the pet food industry laughing all the way to the bank and those self-appointed pet food experts with their own "rating system" are simply perpetuating misinformation and adding to the confusion.

  • I have two Italian greyhounds (female-3 yrs old) and (male-2 yrs old). Since they were puppies I've tried multiple wet dog foods and also dry foods. They refused almost all wet food so I started feeding them canned chicken with vegetables (peas, carrots, green beans). They get 1/4 cup chicken morning and night along with the vegetables at each meal. I recently started mixing merrick dry food into their meals, which seems to be the only dry food they will touch. My question is, is this diet I've been feeding them incorrect? Are they lacking vitamins, etc. They mostly eat the chicken and veggie, barely any dry food.
  • If you have to feed less than 75% of the meal as commerical dog food, then yes it is most likely that their daily nutrient intake is unbalanced.
  • How much protein does a dog really need in their diet? I found one site that recommends that 80% of a dog's diet should be protein. The highest amount of protein that I can find in dog food is 26%.
  • IF the protein source has an excellent amino acid profile and is better than 85% digestible, the according to 2006 NRC 10% of the dry matter which is probably close to the actual animal need when the protein source is EXCELLENT. 2017 AAFCO pads in a buffer because sometimes less than excellent proteins are used in the dog food industry so they suggest a minimum of 18%.

    Again as the protein quality decreases, the amount needed in the diet to meet the dog's need has to increase. So it is far from simply reading the GA on a dog food label.
  • I have a 12-year old cat who has a permanently dislocated jaw, and the vet needed to remove all of her teeth because the misalignment was causing her teeth to puncture the soft tissue in her mouth. She is currently on Hill's j/d for her arthritis. She does not like wet food, although she'll eat a tablespoon or so when I give her some at night. Since that isn't enough to sustain her, I'd like to know what I can do to allow her to eat kibble? The j/d kibble is really small, but she tends to vomit if it isn't chewed first. (At least, that was true before she broke her jaw.) What can I do to the kibble to make it easier for a toothless cat to digest? I'm concerned that simply adding water will just make it gel together in a big mess. I don't know if there are additives or other alternatives. Thanks.
  • If this issue is simply particle size of the kibble, you could play with changing the particle size of the kibble such that she likes the flavor and texture but need not chew the food before swallowing.  I would suggest getting a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder (electric). The size of the grind depends on how long you run the grinder .... the longer time in the grinder the smaller the particle size. So you can play around with particle by adjusting the time you run the grinder.

    Hill's j/d product is well designed for older cats. With smaller particle size she may consume too much per meal and then may vomit .... You may have to control the amount of food per meal and feed multiple meals per day in order to control the vomiting.

  • I have a 12 week old Wheaten Terrier. Started off on Bil-Jac. Want to switch foods, not satisfied with Bil-Jac for her. Had several suggestions. Breeders said ONLY feed her salmon based products, but nothing I've read stated that. I know Wheatens have issues with protein, so do I feed her a normal puppy food - salmon based or beef??
  • Yes I would suggest a solid puppy food until a real problem actually materializes instead of jumping through imaginary hoops for no sound medical reason.
  • Is mixing two different brands of dog food a no no? I know each bag is made with different nutrients. So is it bad to mix brands considering they may get more of a specific nutrient which could be bad for their heath. An example of mixing brands would be Fromm four star and instinct raw ultimate protein duck flavor. Thanks!
  • Each bag should not have different nutrients but the same nutrients from different ingredients.
    If both products are claiming to be Nutritionally Complete and Balanced, then there is no issue.
    If one or neither product is Nutritionally Complete and Balanced, now there will be problems eventually.
  • Would like some information from a nutritionist standpoint regarding grain free and higher protein diets. I am currently feeding my 2 year old chocolate Labrador the Nulo line of dry food. This product contains a dry matter protein basis of 33-34%, is advertised as grain free and obtaining 80% or more of their protein from animal sources. The product also utilizes a probiotic. My concern comes from varying responses regarding grain free diets and higher protein diets. I am receiving information that higher protein may cause renal problems after years of exposure. However I have also located information debunking this statement. When it comes to grain free, I have been told by a veterinarian that they have removed more bladder stones in animals that are on grain free diets. That being said, my dog has tolerated the Nulo well and has no issues eating this product. However I would like a non-biased nutritionist standpoint on what is the recommended amount of protein for the diet, are there dangers of higher protein diets over 30%, and are there harmful effects of going grain free such as the statement of urinary PH changes and stone formation. My current veterinarian has recommended we transition to Royal Canin Labrador. I do notice several byproducts and grains in this formula label when compared to the Nulo. Any thoughts or recommendations regarding either of these products would be greatly appreciated as this process is quite confusing and we simply want to provide good nutrition for our dog that will not be harmful later in life. Thank you. Brandon.
  • 1) 'I would like a non-biased nutritionist standpoint on what is the recommended amount of protein for the diet. 'Generally most adult dogs do very well on 20-30% protein DMB diet. NRC and AAFCO recommend at 8% and 18% respectively using a high quality protein source, i.e., excellent amino acid profile. The marketing rhetoric has driven the protein levels in food to extremes which are not environmentally sustainable, so that too will take a 180 degree turn eventually. 

     2) 'are there dangers of higher protein diets over 30%.' None documented to date.

     3) 'are there harmful effects of going grain free such as the statement of urinary pH changes and stone formation.' Yes high protein (not necessarily grain free) lower urine pH which turns the grass yellow and IF the dog should catch a UTI or inherently was going to form a stone anyway, then it will form. Low pH does not cause a UTI, does not prevent UTI and does not cause stones if the constituents of the stone are not in the urine.

     4) Despite the blather on the web, there is no substantive reasons to avoid a products from a reputable company (Royal Canin being one) simply b/c it contains a by-product. Some by products are the most nutritious.

     No dog food product can be properly assessed by reading the label - that is not what the label was designed to do. Most self-proclaimed experts and those with made-up pet food rating systems based on the label are delusional and driving the rest of us to tear our hair out because the label information is not the way to evaluate or rate a dog food. Like using an adjustable wrench to take out a screw ... Who does that ????

     Try to differentiate statements made for marketing vs scientific reasons, and if it's too good to be true ... it probably is.

  • I have a 9 year old maltese/yorkie breed.
    During his younger years my dog Louie itched for some reason.He was not tested for allergy but the vet suggested not to feed my dog chicken but feed him lamb or venison which I did. I have been feeding him dry foods which is lamb in the morning and home cooked lamb for dinner. I don't buy canned foods because I don't like how it smell. His food is cooked very well and scoops out the fat just like our home cooked meal. It has mixed vegetables (carrots, sweet potato, 10% of oatmeal or rice, green peas, broccoli or beans, no salt. How do I know if my dog is getting a balanced diet. He is about 16 lbs.
  • The diet as you have described it is not complete or balanced. 
    If your pet has no medical issues other than needing to avoid chicken, we have an automated module for owners to obtain a balanced diet for their healthy pet.


    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 and suggest vitamin & trace mineral supplements. 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!

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