Frequently Asked Questions
- Choose products that are well known and proven to be consistent and effective. Always look for products that state that AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) feeding trials have been used to substantiate the effectiveness of the product.
- If you are considering products from a new company, call them and ask questions, such as:
– Do they have a qualified nutritionist on staff? A full time nutritionist is important to help identify and deal with problems as they arise. In small companies, a nutritionist may be hired only to formulate the diets and may not be available to oversee the day-to-day operations.
– Do they manufacture their own products? If not, who does, and how well are they able to maintain control over the production of their products? Do they have adequate input into quality control of the manufacturing process?
– Do they have regular suppliers or do they select ingredients based on the lowest cost? Ideally, you want to purchase a product that is made with the same ingredients, in the same ratios, every time you buy. Least cost practices mean that you may not be assured of a consistent product. When a steady supplier is used, suppliers want to keep selling to their customers. The raw materials they sell should be of a consistent quality.
– Ask them to explain their quality control procedures. How often are the ingredients tested during the process of making their products? Have these new products passed (AAFCO) feeding trials, or are they just formulated to meet AAFCO requirements? Tested products are best because you have assurances that they have been tested by feeding trials and that they have performed successfully. Foods that are formulated to meet AAFCO requirements and are not tested, are assumed to perform properly. Do you really want your pet to be a guinea pig for an untested product? AAFCO is the best program currently available for the evaluation of pet food products.
- Size appropriate puppy foods, such as large breed puppy diets are beneficial for large and giants breeds of dogs. They were developed to regulate the rate of growth and skeletal development of large breed puppies, and their formulation is backed by scientific research. Kitten foods do not need to be size specific.
- Puppy foods can be fed to the age recommended by the pet food manufacturer. However, puppies should never be allowed to become overweight, chubby, plump, etc. My motto has always been to maintain a lean, mean, puppy machine. During the puppy’s growth and skeletal development, it is essential to maintain proper body weight. We used to think that plump puppies were correct, but we know now, that this is not true. If your puppy is over 6 months of age and you are unable to maintain a proper body weight, a switch to an adult diet might be appropriate.
- If your pet has reached the age when senior food is recommended, should you switch? If your pet is trim and not having a weight problem, you do not need to switch foods. Senior foods usually contain less fat and contain fewer calories per cup than adult maintenance diets. If your pet is overweight, you may find it easier to manage weight with a senior diet. Many senior foods also contain chondroprotectants, such as chondroitin, glucosamine, or MSM. If your pet shows any symptoms of arthritis, consult your veterinarian to determine if additional supplementation is recommended. You may need to add a joint supplement to the senior pet food you are using.
If you are feeding healthy adult dogs or cats, that are pets, I apply the following litmus test:
- Is my dog or cat in optimal condition? Is the coat luxurious and shiny? Are the eyes bright?
– If not, I would consider selecting a different food. You should not need to supplement. In other words, don’t try to correct a poor quality food with supplements
- Dogs on the show circuit, performing in agility, flyball, or field work will likely need a performance food to maintain body weight and health. If your working or performance dog is not thriving on the best performance food you can buy, it might be time to contact a nutritionist to get assistance. If you supplement more than 10% of the nutrients in a balanced diet, you may unbalance the diet, which has the potential to create health problems.
Recent research has proven that nutrients play a significant role in the aging process, the ability to learn, immune function, and life span. New foods have been introduced that are supplemented with nutrients known to help delay signs of aging. You may wish to discuss this with your veterinarian or a nutritionist.
If you live in an area that has a veterinary college nearby, there may be a nutrition department that can help you. Some specialty referral practices may also have a qualified nutritionist.
If this is not possible, services can be provided to you or to both you and your veterinarian by phone, fax, and the internet. It is always best to meet each animal to get a feel for who they are. If this is not possible, you will be asked to provide lots of information about your dog or cat.
A complete nutrition history will be collected from you to help us understand how you feed and exactly what you fed your four-legged family member. You can ask all of the questions you have about pet nutrition. If you would like us to speak with your veterinarian, just ask. Support will be provided to be sure the recommended plan is working for you and your pet. Consultations are fee based.
Services include well animal nutrition for puppies and kittens, adults and senior, dogs and cats. Nutrition recommendations and custom diets are available for the management of medical conditions, through your veterinarian. If you live in an area that has a veterinary college nearby, there may be a nutrition department that can help you. Some specialty referral practices may also have a qualified nutritionist. If this is not possible, services can be provided to you or to both you and your veterinarian by phone, fax, and the internet. It is always best to meet each animal to get a feel for who they are. If this is not possible, you will be asked to provide lots of information about your dog or cat.
Your nutrition consultation will be conducted by PhD companion animal nutritionist that works daily with veterinary specialists, pet owners, and veterinarians to provide appropriate nutrition recommendations for dogs and cats. Custom diet formulations for healthy animals as well as those that have special dietary restrictions are formulated using human nutrition software that has been adapted for the dietary requirements of dogs and cats of all ages. You will work with someone who educates and works with veterinary students, veterinary interns and residents, veterinarians, and consults for specialty referral practices.
A complete nutrition history will be collected from you to help us understand how you feed and exactly what you fed your pet. You can ask all of the questions you have about pet nutrition. If you would like us to speak with your veterinarian, just ask. Support will be provided to be sure the recommended plan is working for you and your pet. Consultations are fee based.