the scientific study of pet nutrition by veterinary nutrition specialists and experts.
November 20, 2022
Dramatic changes to pet food labels proposed by AAFCO
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recently released the latest version of some dramatic proposed changes to pet food labels and held a short period of public comment. We review some of the biggest proposed changes and provide our commentary.
October 27, 2022
What Treats Can I Give my Dog with Calcium Oxalate Stones?
It’s best to give no treats, but if treats are important or necessary, we have provided some options and strategies for dogs with a history of calcium oxalate stones.
August 17, 2022
All About Ash
Many pet owners can become concerned when they see “ash” listed as a percentage on the label of their pet’s food. We explain what is meant by ash and why it is not very useful, but also nothing to fear.
July 22, 2022
Three Creative (and Healthy!) Summer Treat Ideas for Your Dog
With the warmer summer months, here are a few of my favorite tips to provide refreshing treats to keep your pup cool and not unbalance their diet.
June 27, 2022
Test your Nutrition Know-How for Cats with Kidney Disease
How confident are you in your knowledge of how to best feed cats with chronic kidney disease? Take our quiz to find out whether your confidence is well-placed!
May 17, 2022
Comparing kitty’s calorie costs
The type of your cat food – wet, dry, fresh, or raw – not to mention the brand, can make a dramatic differences in what you will pay to feed your cat. We compare daily and yearly costs for different food types for a theor
April 25, 2022
Can My Pet Have Sweets?
Because many people can have a ‘sweet tooth,’ I often get asked by pet owners if dogs or cats can also have similar cravings for sugary foods – and most importantly, are sweets (like honey or maple syrup) safe to add to food?
April 4, 2022
Think Your Pet has a Food Allergy? Eliminating Mistakes in Elimination Diet Trials
Although food allergies are uncommon in dogs and cats, the only way to diagnose them is with an elimination diet trial. Learn tips to avoid common mistakes and to plan a successful elimination diet trial.
March 21, 2022
Expensive eats? Comparing the costs of different types of dog food
Pet food costs are particularly relevant right now, when the costs of many consumer goods have increased rapidly in the last year, leaving many of us paying more for our food as well as that for our pets. The form of the food fed – dry, wet, fresh, or raw – can have dramatic effects on the cost of feeding. We compare the costs of feeding some popular diets of each type for a day and a year for a medium-large dog.
February 22, 2022
Does My Pet Need a ‘Bland Diet’?
Often when pets, especially dogs, have an episode of vomiting or diarrhea, families ask me about feeding their pets some form of “bland” diet until they’re feeling better. However, the nutritional needs of pets with an upset stomach can get complicated and the word “bland” can mean many things.
January 31, 2022
Growth Guide: Keeping your Puppy on the Right Track
Growing puppies have very specific nutritional requirements that are different from those of adult dogs. Too much food can result in too fast growth, which can have lifelong consequences, especially for larger breed dogs. Using a growth chart can get (and keep) your pup’s growth on track.
January 17, 2022
Raw diets: Pet owners frequently underestimate human health risks
Pet owners do not always have an accurate perception of the human risk of foodborne illness from raw meat diets. A recent study highlights the gap between pet owner’s perceptions of their risk and their food safety practices
December 21, 2021
Why did my pet’s black hair coat turn red?
For dogs and cats, the color of their hair coat is decided mostly by their genetics, however, in some cases, diet can also play a role.
November 29, 2021
What’s the Best Food for your New Puppy?
While good nutrition is important for all dogs, it’s especially critical for growing puppies due to their special nutritional needs. Therefore, you’ll want to be sure you’re selecting best food for your new family member.
Follow this step-by-step guide to make sure you’re feeding the best possible food to your puppy.
November 8, 2021
To Chelate or Not to Chelate [Minerals]?
Minerals in pet food can come from the main ingredients or be added as concentrated inorganic or chelated supplements. We review the differences in these sources so that pet owners can better understand the ingredients in their pet’s food.
October 21, 2021
Treat Options for Dogs and Cats Without Unbalancing Their Diet
We’ve created a list of foods that are healthy and relatively low in calories so you can avoid unbalancing your pet’s diet with too many foods coming from outside their main diet.
September 27, 2021
Carb Confusion: Part 2 – Measuring and Comparing Carbohydrate in Pet Foods
The determination of the amount of carbohydrate in pet foods is more complicated than most pet owners realize. We review how carbohydrate is “measured” in pet food and the limitations of this process.
August 16, 2021
Should You Be Weighing Your Pet’s Food?
‘How much are you feeding your pet?’ is a common question you’ve likely heard when your dog or cat has a visit to the veterinarian. But how accurate is the answer you might be giving? Weighing out your pet’s food may help your veterinarian better understand your pet’s needs and provide more tailored recommendations.
July 26, 2021
Whisker worry: Are cats’ whiskers a key to their eating pleasure?
Is there evidence for whisker stress in cats and do whisker-friendly dishes help cats enjoy their food more? Results of a recent study begin to answer these questions.
July 7, 2021
Carb Confusion Part 1: The Role of Carbohydrate in Pet Foods
There is a lot of confusing and contradictory information out there about feeding carbohydrate to pets. We review the science of how dogs and cats utilize dietary carbohydrate.
June 17, 2021
Stomaching the Problem: Could Your Pet Have Bilious Vomiting Syndrome?
Bilious vomiting syndrome is a term sometimes used to describe a condition where dogs vomit yellow fluid or froth but not food after not eating for a long period of time (which for most dogs is typically early in the morning after not eating overnight).
May 24, 2021
Is it the food? Pet food-associated illness
Pet food-associated illness or “food poisoning” is rare in pets but can cause serious illness. We review some situations that should raise your suspicion for food-associated illness and the steps you should take to figure out the problem, treat your pet, and help prevent other pets from getting ill.
May 3, 2021
Out of options? What to do if your pet’s food is out of stock
COVID-19 has caused turmoil in people’s lives this past year, but it has also had an impact on our pets’ lives, most recently because of some pet foods being temporarily out of stock. Here are some thoughts on ways to prevent running out and what to do if you do end up in that situation.
April 12, 2021
‘In the News’: Updates on Grape Toxicity
While you may have heard before to not feed grapes or raisins to your dogs for fear of kidney damage, the reason why they can be so toxic has been a mystery. However, recently a new idea has emerged that might finally help us figure out what is going on!
February 8, 2021
How Often Should I Feed My Pet?
Is there a “best” schedule for feeding pets? This is a common question, so we’ve provided some general guidelines to help you find the best fit for your household.
January 18, 2021
Research Review: Comparing “senior” and “adult” cat diets
A recent study compared nutrient levels in cat foods marketed for senior cats versus those marketed for adult cats – we discuss their findings and the implications for feeding older cats.
December 28, 2020
What Is Guaranteed about the Guaranteed Analysis?
I often hear from pet owners, breeders, and even veterinarians about how they’ve selected a particular pet food based on the food’s guaranteed analysis. The “guaranteed analysis” is required information on all dog and cat food labels and sounds very official and scientific. While the guaranteed analysis does provide a tiny bit of information, in reality, it’s not very useful.
December 8, 2020
Tips and Tricks to Get Your Cat to Drink More Water
Getting cats to drink more water can seem like an impossible task, but this article includes some of the tips and tricks we have used to increase water intake in cats who need it.
December 1, 2020
Pancreatitis: A Real Pain in the Abdomen
Pancreatitis is a common condition in both dogs and cats. Diet can be associated with the development of pancreatitis in dogs and an important part of treatment. Cats with pancreatitis are less responsive to diet, but tend to have additional health issues that may respond to dietary adjustments.
November 16, 2020
Treatment of Hepatic Lipidosis in Cats
Cats, especially overweight ones, can develop a severe liver disease called hepatic lipidosis if they don’t eat enough calories for days to weeks. As a lack of nutrients is the cause of this condition, aggressive nutritional support is required to treat it. Hepatic lipidosis can be prevented by monitoring cat’s intake and seeking medical attention promptly if appetite decreases.
October 26, 2020
The Scoop on Storing Pet Food
If you’re like most pet owners, you buy a bag of pet food, open it, and pour it into a container for storage. But it turns out that this common practice may make your pet’s food less nutritious and potentially expose your pet to health risks.
October 5, 2020
Boiling it Down: Adding Broth to Your Pet’s Meals
Though not necessary for most pets, incorporating a broth into the diet can be a way to provide added moisture to pets that need it or as a low calorie treat.
August 25, 2020
Are you sodium savvy?
A low sodium diet can be an important modification for a pet with heart disease. However, many pet owners do not realize how much sodium is in commercial pet foods and common human foods fed to pets. Test your sodium savvy with our quiz!
August 3, 2020
Behavior & Protein: Does Protein in Dog Food Play a Role in Your Dog’s Behavior?
We’ve previously talked about protein in commercial pet foods and home-cooked diets. Typically, our focus is meeting your pet’s biological needs. However, you may have heard friends, dog trainers, or even veterinarians talking about feeding a low protein diet to treat behavior issues. But what does a low-protein diet really mean, and how do these testimonials compare to the science?
July 13, 2020
Assisted Feeding: When to Consider a Feeding Tube
Many health conditions can result in pets who cannot or will not eat enough calories to maintain weight or will not eat foods that are best for their health conditions. Placement of a feeding tube can help the pet recover faster from short-term illness or injury as well as helping to preserve quality of life and often increasing length of life for pets with chronic health conditions.
June 22, 2020
Supermarket Surprises: Great Pet Food Options You Can Find at the Grocery Store
Good quality pet foods can be found at many retailers, including grocery and mass market stores. Here are some tips for selecting a good food no matter what your price range or favorite store.
June 8, 2020
Tips for Training with Food Rewards
Food is a common and powerful reward used for training pets. However, excessive treats can lead to weight gain and unbalance the diet. We discuss alternatives to food rewards as well as how to use food rewards sensibly.
May 11, 2020
Helping an old dog or cat maintain his tricks: Nutritional management of Cognitive Dysfunction
Older pets can suffer from Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, which is similar to dementia in people. While the disease is irreversible, some nutritional alterations have been shown to help affected pets
April 20, 2020
Your Kitten’s Diet is Linked to her Health as an Adult
What our pets eat has an important impact on their overall health, but it’s not just what they’re eating now. What our pets ate as puppies and kittens – and even what their mother ate – may increase or decrease their risk of diseases later in life.
March 30, 2020
COVID-19 and Your Pet’s Nutritional Health
The COVID-19 outbreak has understandably thrown ours and our pets’ lives into flux. We of the Clinical Nutrition team are here to help provide some answers to help keep you and your pet safe.
February 17, 2020
Double Trouble: What’s The Best Diet When Your Pet Has More Than One Disease?
What’s the best diet to feed when your pet has more than one disease? Many dogs or cats have more than one health condition that may benefit from nutritional changes, and this makes selection of an optimal diet even more complicated.
January 23, 2020
What’s the Best Diet for My Dog with Diabetes?
There is no ‘one-diet-fits-all’ approach to diabetes: body condition, pet preferences, and other diseases or medical conditions will guide the best diet for a dog with diabetes. Though there are some differing approaches for optimal nutrition in dogs with diabetes, the one strategy that is most agreed upon is to keep the diet consistent – use the same food, same treats and feed and give insulin at the same times every day!
December 30, 2019
Pondering Pet Protein: How much protein should my pet get?
The type and amount of protein are common marketing strategies for commercial pet foods. How do you know if your pet is getting enough?
December 16, 2019
Pet Food Decisions: How Do You Pick Your Pet’s Food?
Owners are passionate about their pets’ nutrition, but often make mistakes because of the confusing and often conflicting information. Find out how to use your passion responsibly to make the best decisions about your pet’s diet.
November 24, 2019
How do I switch my pet’s food?
We have previously talked about all the reasons your pet could need a diet change, but we rarely discuss the next steps! You have your pet’s new food picked out, but now what?
November 4, 2019
Fiber can be frustrating because of the many different types and effects as well as the inaccuracy of most measurements of fiber in pet foods. We explain the common types of fiber and the ways that it can be reported in foods.
October 16, 2019
Think Twice: Reasons to Avoid a Home-cooked Diet
Considering a home-cooked diet or already feeding one? They may not always be in your pet’s best interest. Make sure you are avoiding common pitfalls and are feeding the best diet for your pet’s situation
September 25, 2019
Figuring Out Food Sensitivities
Many pets may have mild gastrointestinal signs with diet changes or related to being fed certain diets, supplements, or treats. Once major medical issues are ruled out, here’s a step-by-step plan to get to the bottom of things.
September 17, 2019
Can I change my pet’s diet to improve skin and coat health?
While we want pets to have a nice, shiny coat, having a shiny coat does not always mean the diet is best for your pet, since high fat diets, even if they are not good quality ones, will typically give pets a shiny coat. However, in addition to the absolute fat content, here are some other components of a pet’s diet that can help in skin and coat conditions.
August 26, 2019
When a Big Loss is a Huge Gain: The Role of Diet in Managing Orthopedic Conditions
Most of us know how important a balanced diet is for our own optimal health. The same holds true for our pets. For Max, a Samoyed suffering from painful hip dysplasia, conservatively managing his orthopedic condition with weight loss avoided the need for surgery.
July 17, 2019
Diet-Associated Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM): Update, July 2019
On June 27, 2019, the FDA posted an update on their investigation into diet-associated dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Since then, there have been many news reports, company responses, and internet/social media interpretations of the update.
June 10, 2019
Make “Cents” of Your Pet Food Budget by Calculating Pet Food Costs
Price per can or pound of dry food is not the most accurate way to compare pet food prices. We help you figure out how much your pet food is really costing
May 28, 2019
Asking the Right Questions to Make Informed Decisions about Pet Foods
We’re big fans of the WSAVA guidelines for selecting pet foods and there is a new online tool from the Pet Nutrition Alliance that allows you to see answers from pet food manufacturers to some of the questions WSAVA recommends asking about your pet’s food
May 13, 2019
‘As Long as He’s Eating, He’s Happy’: Is Appetite the Best Way to Measure Quality of Life?
Using appetite as the only test for whether your cat is happy or dealing with medical conditions means you might miss some subtle behaviors.
April 22, 2019
Feeding Frenzy: How Accurate Are Your Pet Food’s Feeding Directions?
Dr. Freeman discusses the accuracy of pet food label feeding directions and how to determine how much to feed your pet
January 29, 2019
Cooking Up Trouble: Common Home Cooking Mistakes
Creating and maintaining a nutritionally complete home-cooked diet can be challenging and many pet owners inadvertently make mistakes that could lead to their pet not getting adequate nutrition. If you choose to feed your pet a homemade diet, it is important to watch out for these common errors.
December 18, 2018
Cats are not Small Dogs: Unique Nutritional Needs of Cats
Different from dogs, who are omnivores (meaning they are designed to eat a combination of animal and plant foods), cats are carnivores and have unique metabolism compared to many other domestic animals.
November 16, 2018
When Less is More: Sensible Use of Supplements
Even if the dietary supplements you are giving your pet are high quality and safe, using multiple products increases the risk to your pet
October 9, 2018
How Fast Is Too Fast For My Pet To Lose Weight?
You’ve already conquered the first steps of determining that your pet is overweight and you’ve worked with your veterinarian to create a weight loss plan. But now what? How fast can pets safely lose weight and how vigilant do you need to be?
September 28, 2018
How To Make Your Own Dried Chews
Interested in a healthy natural chew for your dog? Dehydrating your own fruit and vegetable treats can be a healthy and low calorie way to provide tasty chew options for your pet.
September 4, 2018
Pill-popping pets: Are the foods you use to give pills safe?
Is your pet on medication? How you give it, especially when you use food, does matter. We provide some tips on getting pills into pets.
June 13, 2018
Should I give fish oil to my pet?
There is a lot of interest in the use of fish oil because of potential benefits for dogs or cats from omega-3 fatty acids. Here are some times when fish oil may be helpful for your pet.
June 4, 2018
A broken heart: Risk of heart disease in boutique or grain-free diets and exotic ingredients
A recent increase in heart disease in dogs eating certain types of diets may shed light on the role of diet in causing heart disease. It appears that diet may be increasing dogs’ risk for heart disease because owners have fallen victim to the many myths and misperceptions about pet food.
May 23, 2018
What Treats Can I Give My Dog With Kidney Disease?
Consistently feeding your pet a therapeutic diet for kidney disease can help him to live longer and feel better and you can still have some creativity/flexibility through treats.
April 28, 2018
The A-B-C’s of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a nutrient we associate with helping the immune system and fighting off colds and keeping people healthy, but is this the same for dogs and cats? Let’s look at the A-B-C’s of vitamin C in pets.
April 2, 2018
The Skinny on Fat: Part 2 – Essential fatty acids and inflammation
In the second part of a 2-part series on fat, we discuss the different types of fat and how they affect inflammation and health
March 15, 2018
The Skinny on Fat: Part 1 – The Basics
There is a lot of confusion regarding fat in pet foods. In this two-part series, we will explain what types of fat your pet needs and what health conditions may benefit from more or less fat
March 2, 2018
Is Your Pet on a Veterinary Therapeutic Diet? Tips Your Vet Wants You to Know
Here are some tips to make sure your pet’s therapeutic diet is providing the greatest health benefit and value for your money.
February 20, 2018
Baby food: When puppies and kittens need a therapeutic diet
What happens when your growing pet has a health issue that requires a special diet? Read on learn about how you need a diet that not only helps manage the disease but also meets all nutritional requirements.
February 8, 2018
A big pawprint: The environmental impact of pet food
Your home is energy efficient and you drive a hybrid car, but have you thought about the environmental impacts of your pet’s food?
January 18, 2018
Why are so many of our pets overweight?
This was the moment I realized that I was treating pet obesity all wrong. I needed to focus less on the pet and more on the relationship between people and their pets. That’s what’s literally cutting the lives short of the dogs and cats we love so much.
December 27, 2017
Does an Apple a Day Keep the Vet Away? Harmful vs Healthy Foods for Pets
Some foods that are safe for people are not safe for pets. While some food items can be given in moderation as a healthy, low calorie snack, others can be toxic. Read on to learn more about foods you could try and those to avoid!
December 5, 2017
Can Joint Diets Help My Dog’s Pain?
Many pet food companies have come out with specific veterinary therapeutic joint diets that have claims to decrease joint pain from arthritis.So what makes these diets different?
November 16, 2017
What’s Your Pet’s Score? Assessing Muscle Condition
Muscle condition score is an often overlooked part of assessing the nutritional and health status of pets. We discuss what a muscle condition score is and how to assess your pet.
October 30, 2017
Digestive Enzyme Supplements: Breaking Down the Evidence
Digestive enzyme supplements are often touted to improve digestion and improve health even in healthy pets. We discuss the science versus the hype of enzyme supplements.
October 17, 2017
Five Ways Being Overweight Can Harm Your Dog’s Health
Though dogs may not have to be worried about being made fun of by other dogs at the dog park, being overweight has been linked with many conditions that can affect a dog’s health including…
September 21, 2017
Five Ways Being Overweight Can Harm Your Cat’s Health
With up to 63% of cats currently overweight, we now know about the problems that cats face when they are too heavy. If your cat is overweight, your cat is at risk for these common problems.
August 1, 2017
You Are What You Eat – Providing a Good Diet History
It’s important to be able to provide your veterinary care team with detailed information about what you feed your pet so that they can make the best recommendations for your pet. Here are the things that are important, and not important, to include in a thorough diet history for your pet.
July 21, 2017
Battling the Bulge? Troubleshooting Tips for Pet Weight Loss
Struggling to get those lost few pounds off your pet? Weight loss can be challenging, so we’ve though through some strategies to help you troubleshoot!
July 3, 2017
Research Update: New insight into grain-free cat diets
We share some findings from a recently published study comparing the calories, carbohydrate content, and ingredients in grain-free versus grain-containing dry diets for cats
June 12, 2017
Good Bugs/Bad Bugs – The Confusing World of Probiotic Supplements
The gut bacteria and probiotic supplements have become popular topics lately, but will supplementing “good” bacteria make your pet healthier?
May 31, 2017
Top Five Nutrition Mistakes Pet Owners Make
There’s a lot of information and misinformation on the internet about what to feed your pet. Avoid these top mistakes pet owners make to feed their pet.
May 2, 2017
The Reality of Pet Food Recalls
Worried about pet food recalls? Not every recall means that a company makes “bad” food – sometimes it can even be a good thing, but how do you tell the difference?
April 3, 2017
If you have an older pet or one with a medical condition, it’s time to learn about an issue that pet owners and even veterinarians don’t think about enough – muscle. Maintaining muscle throughout a dog or cat’s life is incredibly important to her health.
March 6, 2017
Dietary Supplements for Pets: Harmful or Helpful?
Knowing the real facts about supplements can help to determine which ones might be useful, which ones are useless, and which ones can actually be harmful to your pet.
February 24, 2017
Confused About What to Feed Your Large Breed Puppy? New Rules May Help!
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has created new guidelines to help you better chose a diet for large breed puppies.
December 19, 2016
Questions You Should Be Asking About Your Pet’s Food
How can you tell about the quality and nutritional expertise of a pet food company? Here are some questions savvy owners should ask companies to select the best possible food for their pets.
December 13, 2016
Managing Multi-pet Mealtimes
It can be hard to keep cats and dogs from eating each other’s food, but it can be important to do your best, especially when those foods aren’t the same or pets have different calorie needs. Here’s tips on how to make it work.
November 18, 2016
Five Pet Weight Loss Tips That Work!
Weight loss can be challenging, especially in cats. See Sunshine’s story as he learned to shed the pounds and get more active with these healthy living tips!
November 11, 2016
What are these numbers? Nutrition Math 101
What do the numbers on the back of the pet food bag mean? If you’ve ever been confused by what to do with those numbers, we’re going to break down the basics of pet food nutrition math.
October 3, 2016
Premium pet foods – are they worth the premium price?
Are premium pet foods worth the premium price, or can you save money without compromising your pet’s health? We discuss what premiumization means for pet food and why premium foods may not always be the best nutritional value.
July 28, 2016
Who we are and why you can trust us
What does it mean to be a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and why can you trust us to provide accurate, unbiased nutrition information for your pet?
July 23, 2016
Paging Dr. Google: Nutrition on the Internet
Information on the Internet about pet nutrition can be confusing and contains lots of myth and misinformation, but there also is some excellent information available. How can you decide who to trust? We provide tips on effectively and objectively using the Internet so you can make the best decisions about your dog or cat’s diet.
July 21, 2016
Vegan Dogs – A healthy lifestyle or going against nature?
The story of a pet owner who was attacked online for posting a picture of her dog and describing her vegan dog diet has gone viral on social media. We discuss whether vegan diets are safe for dogs.
July 14, 2016
Should you make your own pet food at home?
An increasing number of pet owners are interested in cooking their pets’ food at home. We discuss what is involved in cooking for your pet and the pros and cons.