Diets for Cats, Dogs, and Other Pets.

Comments and Discussion about Nutrition, Vitamins, Minerals, and other Supplements

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I've pretty much given up on this page: Put 2 nutrition experts in a room; you get 3 opinions!

Arguing about nutrition is like politics and religion. It sure isn't just science.

I don't know which brand or type of pet foods are the best for your pets.

And I don't beleive anyone else knows either.

So, this page is partly just a rant on the subject and some comments.

But what I do know is that feeding the right diet is a critical part of treating certain health problems. 

You will find links below to the diets I recommend for health and medical problems that respond well to therapeutic diets.

Nutrition information on other pages:

Introduction to therapeutic diets: Using Nutrition as therapy for diseases in pets

Diets used to Treat Urinary Tract Diseases     
Diets used to Treat Obesity
Diets used to Treat Kidney Disease

Diets used to Treat Heart Disease           

Maximum Calorie diets for recovery from major illness, surgery, or for military and other dogs under major stress                 

Diets used to Treat Arthritis and Joint Disease

Diet as a treatment for Stomach and Bowel Disorders including chronic diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and hairballs.    

Therapeutic diets for the treatment of Diabetes

Prescription diets I recommend for the treatment of anal gland problems, skin problems, and ear problems due to food allergies

The companies that make pet foods... a little history and some comments.


Over the last 25 years I've examined tens of thousands of healthy and sick pets. 

Part of the exam process is to discuss the pet's diet.  I often get an earful from clients who are super enthusiastic about some special diet that they have "discovered" that is so much superior than all the other diets.  I also get quite a few quilty confessions about all the "human" foods, tablet scraps, treats, and snacks many dogs con their "masters" into getting.

There are now hundreds and hundreds of different pet food brands available.  And each brand typically has ten or so different formulas such as "Original" "Light", "Active", "Indoor" (a euphemism for less active"), "Senior" and so forth.

The vast majority of these hundreds and hundreds of brands are owned by the just a few major companies.  (Proctor & Gamble, Nestle, Mars, and Colgate-Palmolive own most of the brands sold in America)  I've written a little about the pet food industry on the following page: The companies that make pet foods... a little history and some comments.

Here are my general impressions about pet food diets after seeing so many pets:

- Those pets getting extra expensive "natural diets", "whole foods diets", diets with sea-salt, kelp, free range meats, soy free diets, and all the diets that claim to be super premium because of added anti-oxidants, omega fatty acids from salmon or sharks, or whatever:  Yes; pets on these diets seem to do well and often have beautiful coats, healthy gums, and shiny eyes.  These pets tend to be well loved and cared for as well.

- Those pets getting mid to high priced National "Name Brand" diets like Science Diet, Eukanuba, Iams, Purina premium priced diets, or any other premium priced major diet ... most have jumped on the band wagon of adding things that have proven to be helpful such as fish oils, and anti-oxidants as well ...:
Yes; pets on these diets seem to do well and often have beautiful coats, healthy gums, and shiny eyes.  These pets too, tend to be well loved and cared for.

- Those pets getting mid priced National Name Brand diets like Purina Dog or Cat Chow, Gravy Train, Meow Mix, Kibbles & Bits, and hundreds of similar priced foods:
Yes; pets on these diets may eat a little more filler, fart a little more, poop a little more, and may shed a little more ... but other than that any difference in health compared to those pets on premium or super premium brands is not obvious.

-  Those pets getting the very lowest priced generic diets OFTEN ...but not always... have noticable health problems, increased shedding, increased gas, other signs of bowel irritation, and skin problems that are improved when the the diet is upgraded.

Many pets getting the cheapest diets make noticable improvements in their general health, coats, skin ,and disease resistance when their diet is upgraded. 

But it's a little hard to be sure because so many of the pets being fed the cheapest foods often belong to red necks that also use the cheapest... if any... parasite control.  They frequently have more than 4 dogs and even more cats hanging around their place and "they're eat up with worms and fleas", and don't enjoy high standards of care.

Now; I'm implying that I haven't seen a lot of general health differences in dogs getting typical "National Brand" pet foods and those getting premium quality brands, regardless of whether they are being marketed as pet "health" food, "back to nature' foods, or just as being PREMIUM.  I stand by that.  I haven't.

But sometimes I do notice that some pets seem to thrive or do better when you move up to the premium brands.  And I certainly have patients with various problems and diseases that are vastly improved with an appropriate diet change.

And for certain diseases, recommending a special diet is the most important part of the treatment.  Examples include:
Pets with Skin, Ear, & Anal Gland Allergies
Pets with Weight Issues; too fat or too skinny
Pets with Kidney Disease

Pets with "sensitive" stomachs, chronic diarrhea, frequent constipation, or hairballs.  

Pets with Urinary Tract Diseases

And for other problems and diseases, diet MAY NOT be the most important part of the treatment, but it can be a very helpful supplement to treatment. Examples include:

Pets with Diabetes

Pets with Liver Disease

Pets with Joint problems and Arthritis

Pets with Heart Disease

Pets with Skin, Ear, & Anal Gland Allergies
Meanwhile, click here for information on the prescriptions diets you can only get from a vet

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