Saturday, March 24, 2012

An Comparative Analysis of Over the Counter and Veterinary Diets Recommended for Canine Growth

Marion Smart DVM, PhD, Jack Mills,DVM and Cory Haggart 24/03/2012

The pet products industry is expanding, and the promotion of pet nutrition is highly competitive as the players in the industry jockey for the consumers’ dollar. This competitive environment offers the veterinarian a challenge, as a client asks on a daily basis “What is the best diet for my pet?”  Can a veterinarian give unbiased advice?  With hundreds of new diets and diet related supplements released annually, each promising to embrace the latest concepts in nutritional research, how can a veterinarian keep up without becoming a victim to the same promotional advertising that their client is questioning?
For large breed puppies, the industry has accepted that growth must be controlled and that the calcium and phosphorous levels must be adequate and not excessive for proper skeletal development. Terms or variations of these concepts such as a “precise balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals”, “managing caloric intake”, “Scientifically formulated for proper bone and joint development”, “one hundred percent complete and balanced” are found in the promotional materials provided with the growth diets. In this information or the statements of nutritional adequacy, no references are sited of the companies’ research. The only supporting evidence of adequacy on the label is that the diets have met AAFCO feeding trial standards for growth or are formulated to meet AAFCO recommended minimum nutrient requirements for growth or all life stages.
Developmental orthopedic diseases (DOD) in dogs, osteoarthritis and joint health are popular topics within the lay and veterinary communities. This paper is a review the science behind the nutritional requirements for puppies in particular large and giant breed puppies. The energy density, protein, fat, and calcium and phosphorous levels of 44 veterinary and OTC growth diets, 15 alternative diets and 16 adult premium diets were compared to the published requirements and trends identified. The goal of this study is to help veterinarians make a more informed reply to the owner’s question “How should I feed my large breed puppy?

Large Breed Puppy Diets Applies to Extruded Diets (Kibble) Prepared by Meg Smart DVM PhD Clinical Nutritionist WCVM Saturday, March-24-12

Puppy Diets
Growth is a complex process involving metabolic changes, environmental influences, genetics, nutrition and unknown factors. The eventual size of the dog is determined by its genetics, the age it reaches its adult size can be in part controlled by nutrition. The only nutritional trial to follow Labs from weaning to death was done by Purina. Although flawed this trial gave us insight into in the role that nutrition plays in growth. They took two groups of puppies and fed one group all the food they could eat in a 15-minute period over their lifetime. The second group was fed 25% less. The initial diet was Purina Puppy Chow; the adult diet was Purina Dog Chow. The onset of hip dysplasia and arthritis was delayed in the second group; the second group lived significantly longer.
No matter what diet you choose you must feed the appropriate number of calories per day and monitor the weight and body condition of the puppy. Ideally, if you look at the puppy from above it should have a waist, the hipbones and ribs can be felt. The skin should be moveable over the hips and ribs with some fat. The ribs and hips should not be hidden or covered by a layer of fat.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cats Require the Protein from Whole Meat

A study was published in October 2011 on the digestibility of three different feline diets -- a raw beef-based diet, a cooked beef-based diet, and a high-protein extruded (dry food/kibble) diet. The study involved 9 shorthair domestic cats, adult females.(1)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Is Nutrition the Key to Wellness? Food for Thought

This article was written for The Guardian A health manual brought to you by Pet Planet.

Is Nutrition the Key to Wellness? Food for Thought  

Meg Smart DVM, PhD Nutritionist WCVM Oct  3/2011

Instinctively, we all know about nutrition but do we think about nutrition? Nutrition is often taken for granted. Basically, nutrition is wellness and the essence of life. When something goes wrong like the melamine disaster we suddenly become aware of how little we know about our food and were it comes from. But we soon become complacent as we believe new regulations or some nebulous independent organization will protect us. After forty years of experience and interest in nutrition I have come to the following conclusions:

Pet Food Industry and Nutrition: A Necessary Review For Veterinarians by M.E. Smart , J.A. Mills and C. Haggart First Published on the Veterinary Information Network 2007 updated Mar 13, 2011

This paper reviews the current status of the pet food industry from a veterinarian’s perspective. Summaries of market features, regulation and non-regulation are presented. In addition to a review of the industry, we also discuss the value of information currently provided to veterinarians and their clients, and some of its consequences.