Free Canine Nutrition Webinar

March 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the most common questions I receive from clients is “What should I feed my dog?”

In this 1 hour free webinar I am going to tell you what I tell my clients.bordercolliefood2

  • What type of food is best and why is it the best?
  • What is the big deal about grain free?
  • What about vegetarian diets?
  • How will feeding my dog help its health problems? ie inflammatory bowel, arthritis, allergies, etc


You have three choices of days and times to choose –

Sat, Mar 29th, 2014 at 2:00 pm CDT

Wed, Apr 2nd, 2014 at 7:00 pm CDT

Thu, Apr 3rd, 2014 at 8:00 pm CDT

Click on one of the above times to register for that webinar.

All three webinars will be live, but the same material will be covered. Looking forward to seeing you on the webinar.

Register now by clicking one of the dates that best fits your needs. There is limited space so please choose now so you claim your spot.


Does Your Fat Dog Needs to Lose weight?

November 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Simple answer to helping your dog lose weight, just as in humans – less calories and more exercise. There is one more component for some dogs, and for some people for that matter; it’s not HOW MUCH you eat that is as important as WHAT you eat! 

For people avoiding whites such as sugar, flour (wheat/gluten) and milk (dairy) will go a long way in helping you to lose weight. For some dogs it is similar – avoiding grains (corn, wheat, oats, barley, rice) will help reduce inflammation and allow a dog to lose weight.

Pet Obesity discussed by Kelly Lewis of barkTV. (fat dog health)

Pet Obesity discussed by Kelly Lewis of barkTV. (fat dog health, lose weight loss). Kelly is a mobile groomer from Raleigh (apex) NC.

Is Your Dog Too Fat? How to Get a Slimmer PetHealth News and

Helping Murphy lose weight required better eating habits and also some daily exercise, which, of course, is part of a healthy dog’s life. Every morning, Murphy and I walk for 15-20 minutes and another 30-45 minutes in the 

Maintaining the ideal weight for your Dog | GoSouthOnline

If a dog shows signs of being overweight consulting a veterinarian is crucial in adopting a weight loss programme supported by the right health nutrition. Veterinary practices are geared to monitor controlled weight loss in dogs 

Hill’s Science Diet feeling the change

April 24, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Hill’s Science Diet petfood brand losing market share as consumers look to smaller petfood brands for more natural options is the title of an article from

From the article –

In an effort to compete, Hill’s introduced the Science Diet Nature’s Best line, which included ingredients like lamb, brewers rice, soybean meal and apples. But, “the consumer had a disconnect with this idea of Science Diet and a naturals product,” said Ian Cook, Colgate CEO.

I wonder why? Is it because that Science Diet has ruined it’s reputation a long time ago with the holistic community and now the main stream pet owners are seeing the advantages of feeding their dogs a food based in similar fresh ingredients that they themselves would eat?

Or could it be that they have stagnated while the rest of the industry has changed with the consumer ideals? –

Hill’s launches new Ideal Balance natural petfood brand – New line of dog and cat food is first new petfood brand from Hill’s since 1968 – Is it better late than never or a little too late?

Interestingly, even though they are late to the party and have a large number of foods to model to try to reclaim market share they have still may have missed the mark on this new food. It only received 3 out of 5 stars from Dog Food Advisor, an independently owned website – Hill’s Ideal Balance Grain Free Dog Food (Dry) Although the food is acceptable and is better than their previous products it is still a dog food that your dog can survive on rather than thrive. As consumers we are looking for the best quality ingredients and a dog food that allows our dogs to be their best, to live optimally.

Dr Becker has a few comments about Hill’s decline in her article –
Buyers “Bust” This Pet Food Company – Should You Too?

She summarizes how to maintain a healthy pet extremely well –

While pet product companies and marketers try to find ever more unique and creative ways to lure you, their human consumer, your carnivorous cat or dog maintains the same basic requirement for whole, fresh, unprocessed food as her wild ancestors. In fact, your pet’s health, vitality and quality of life have little to do with how many nifty new pet products you purchase.

In addition to the right diet, your pet’s other most basic needs include:

Plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation
Minimal exposure to toxins including vaccines, veterinary drugs, and pest preventives
Regular (preferably twice yearly) wellness exams with an integrative or holistic vet
Routine at-home dental care, bathing and grooming
When it comes to caring for your dog or cat, it’s not about finding the latest new invention in pet food or products … it’s about providing your furry companion with a simple, natural diet and lifestyle that creates abundant health and a long life.

What is your opinion? Is Hill’s changing your mind about their pet food? Or have you always fed Hill’s because it has been good food for your dog?

Epidemic Canine Obesity: Killing Them With Kindness

November 6, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

Fat dog ObesityEveryday I see it, the pudgy dog whose owner just loves them to death literally. There is an epidemic in this country with obesity and that includes our dogs. Obesity in dogs, as in humans, leads to several health problems such as diabetes, respiratory issues, skin conditions and most important from my perspective on canine movement is osteoarthritis. Yes, osteoarthritis can be caused by canine obesity. Your dog being overweight puts more stress, strain, and ultimately more inflammation on joints and leads to destruction of the cartilage. So these owners with the little pudgy dogs that can’t help themselves and just have to feed that cute little face are killing them with their kindness.

What is very interesting is owner’s perception of their dog being overweight versus what we as veterinarians perceive as overweight. It is a sensitive subject for owners that their dog is fat. A British study published last year shows “Although a high proportion of owners claimed to have discussed the dog’s weight with their veterinarian, some discrepancies were apparent between owner perception of animal weight and the veterinarian’s evaluation of body condition score. Owner disagreement was significantly greater for the veterinarian-defined overweight dogs (P=0·005). Owners often provide personal narratives to account for their dog’s weight status.” The study concluded that verbal communication should not be the only information given to an owner of an overweight dog.

There have been several other studies recently in regards to the prevention and/or the decrease in progression of arthritis in dogs that were fed restricted calorie diets. A diet of only 25% reduction in calories has shown to decrease the incidence of arthritis in elbows, hips, and shoulders of dogs and it was noted in one study that it increased the average age of the dogs by almost 2 years!

Talk to your vet, talk to a canine nutritionist about how to feed your dog appropriately. Realize that the dog food companies are trying to sell you food and that the amounts on the bag that they recommend feeding are only estimates and of course they are on the high side for most dogs because the more your dog eats the more food you will buy. If your dog is already overweight do not treat him like a human and feed a diet high in fiber that will just produce gas. I know that those of you that have tried the store bought “diet” foods have experienced the problem with high fiber diets and your dog really is the one to blame for clearing a room. The first order of business is to talk to your vet, have an exam and possibly some blood tests to be sure your dog does not have an underlying condition causing him to be overweight; however in my experience it usually is the amount and quality of food being fed.

The best steps to take (after the visit to the vet) for the overweight dog is to go to a diet that is species appropriate which means for your dog a carnivorous or meat based diet with no grain. Similar to people some dogs have a problem with grain and especially gluten and no not celiac disease but rather grains being pro-inflammatory, meaning it promotes inflammation. Increased inflammation in the body can lead to weight gain, similar to people that have a puffy appearance. It makes it very difficult to lose weight. It is best to feed your dog a meat based, grain free diet and count the calories. Use the following formula for an estimate of what your dog requires for calories per day Calories = 132 x (body weight in kilograms) X 0.75

For example the daily energy requirements of a 20 lb dog –

Convert pounds to kilograms ( 1 lbs = 0.454 kg)
20 lbs x 0.454 = 9.08 kg

Determine the metabolic body weight (kg0.75)
9.08 x .75 = 6.81

Multiply metabolic body weight by 132 (for the average dog)
6.81 x 132 = 898.92 or 900 kcal per day

So a 20 lb dog needs only 900 kcal per day total. To do a reducing diet you need to reduce the calories by 25% which is 75% of the total 900 X .75 = 675 kcal per day.

You can calculate an estimate of calories of the food you are feeding by using University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine formula of 3.5 kcal per gram of protein and carbohydrates and 8.5 kcal per gram of fat. Just use the percentages found on the side of the bag and weigh a cup of the food to determine how many calories are in each cup. You will find some interesting results and that maybe, just maybe, you have been overfeeding your dog.

Remember a thin dog is a healthy dog and a long lived dog, one that is not as likely to have arthritis or other diseases. So the next time you go to give that begging fat face a treat just because he wants it; realize he doesn’t know what you know – he doesn’t know you are killing him :-)

Another great article with even more specifics – Pet Food Calorie Mis-Information

A dog food calculator – Dog Food Calculator

Carnivores are not vegans

August 25, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Carnivores are not vegans – sounds logical doesn’t it? Not so to some people and even a couple of Premium dog food companies that seem to want to make money versus doing what’s right for our dogs.

Our dogs are carnivores, they are not strict carnivores and can eat vegetables, however just because dogs fed plant-based diets can stay alive does not make it the best for them. An optimal biologically appropriate diet for a carnivore is to have a meat based diet. An optimal biologically appropriate diet allows the dog to thrive not just survive. It provides them with the nutrients needed for a healthy immune system and a solid base for a long healthy life.

A carnivores digestive system is not designed for efficiently digesting plant material. It does not have the appropriate enzymes in saliva to break down starch. Also the digestive system is too short in comparison to herbivores and does not contain enough of the necessary enzymes for proper breakdown of plant material. This makes it difficult to digest plant material and to be able to gain the optimal nutrients, such as amino acids. Dogs do not produce amino acids very well and so it is necessary to provide them in their diet. Essential amino acids for dogs come from high quality animal protein, such as beef, chicken, turkey, duck, fish, lamb, venison, and bison.

Another problem with feeding a vegetable/starch based diet to a dog is that it can over work their pancreas. The pancreas of a carnivore produces enzymes used to process fats and protein. When you feed plant material it produces more enzymes to try to break it down. A long term over production of enzymes overtaxes the pancreas making it more likely to malfunction. A malfunctioning pancreas can lead to pancreatitis and/or diabetes and not so surprisingly can lead to obesity.

So for those of you eating a vegan or vegetarian diet for your health, you must realize that your digestive system is that of an omnivore and is different than that of a carnivore. Your dog is a carnivore and it needs a meat based diet. Please for the health of your dog, feed it what it was biologically created to eat.

Grain-Free Dog Foods: What’s the big deal?

September 17, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

You may have noticed some dog foods being advertised as grain-free or you may have been suggested to find grain-free dog food for your dog. So what is the big deal with grains in the dog food?

Grains such as corn,wheat, oats, barley and yes, even rice are not bad for many dogs, however for some dogs they can cause significant issues. Grains are considered a “hot” food, meaning  they stimulate the body. In many cases they can stimulate the immune system and the inflammatory process.

Dogs with allergies, dogs with inflammatory issues, dogs with sensitive digestive tracts all can be helped by eliminating grains from their diet. Dogs do not have to be allergic to grains in order to benefit from having them removed from their diet. It is similar to people with allergies using hypoallergenic products. Grain-free food is hypo-allergenic for dogs.

For the normal dog it can also be beneficial to feed grain-free as it may help prevent immune system issues such as allergies and sensitive digestive disorders (Inflammatory Bowel Disease).

For more information you can check out The Dog Food Project

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Dandruff in Dogs

May 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Dandruff can be an irritating problem for you and your dog. It is a sign that the skin is not healthy. Read a good post on Doggy Dandruff from Bull Miller

Dog Health Questions & Problems » Ways To Solve Dog DanDruff Problems

Today blog post about dog health questions is relate to dog dandruff problems. Hopefully this blog post will cover 7 ways to to conquer this dog health problems that will also include some pf good prevention about this problems. …

Publish Date: 05/12/2010 3:17

Expanding on this topic I disagree that lack of grooming is the most common cause – heck I don’t remember the last time I groomed my dogs. Although grooming is very important for those that require grooming and for dogs that become dirty, I feel that nutrition and fluid intake are much more important in preventing dandruff. Keeping the skin healthy is easier done internally by providing the appropriate nutrients and proper hydration.

Also it is important that if you are having dandruff issues that continue to return or the skin becomes worse and has larger flakes with a greasy hair coat, a trip to your vet is required. Dandruff can be the first signs of more involved skin diseases such as allergies, skin infections, and parasites such as mange. So if you are concerned about dandruff your vet can help you determine if it is a medical issue or a nutritional/grooming/environmental issue.

Good topic and post! Thanks

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Horse Nutrition Protein: My irritation becomes your knowledge benefit

January 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

OK this is very irritating – one of my clients used my name to try and get the barn owner convinced that they need change the way they are feeding her horse. Now I would not have minded if the horse owner was telling the barn owner something that I believe to be true, but it is not something that I think is right for her horse.

We discussed that her horse was still a little thin but was improved from the last time I saw the horse. We also discussed that the horse could use some fat supplement to help with weight gain without making the horse excitable especially since the horse is a Thoroughbred and might be a little tough to handle if she was loaded up on a lot of grain. That was all that was said.

The owner told the barn owner that I insisted the horse be fed a specific product! To make matters worse that product is not a fat supplement but rather a protein supplement – 32% protein to be exact. Now it may be that I misheard the horse owner when she mentioned fat supplements or she thought that this particular product was a fat supplement, but in any case I would not recommend feeding a protein supplement for weight gain in horses.

A horse requires 10 to 12% protein in its diet and that is all! It does not add any benefit to add more protein as the horse does not use it to build anymore muscle but rather turns it into energy. When the body turns the extra protein into energy it produces more urea nitrogen which then passes through the kidneys and creates that horrible ammonia urine smell. Two things that make this scenario bad. One is that the ammonia produced in the urine can cause irritation to the respiratory tract which can then make the horse more susceptible to respiratory tract infections, especially in the winter time in an enclosed barn. The other is a financial issue – protein is an expensive resource to be used for weight gain – carbohydrates and fat are both cheaper and fat is the preferred for horses.

So in case that client is reading this I hope it was just a misunderstanding. I do not want you to feed that 32% protein supplement to your horse, but rather I would like to see your horse fed a fat supplement with Probiotics – something like Advanced Biological Concept’s Energy (

Other Related Articles on Nutriton for Horses

Horse nutrition

When protein is fed beyond what the horse requires, the body uses it as an energy source and excretes the unused nitrogen in the urine. Although doing so does not harm the horse, protein is a very expensive energy source. …

Publish Date: 10/15/2009 13:07

Horse Nutrition Essentials

I find many horse owners are unsure on the basic essentials for nutrition for their horse. There are thousands of supplements out there and many, many.

Publish Date: 08/30/2007 14:58

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